"We were all made by the same Great Father, and are all alike His Children. We all came from the same Mother, and were suckled at the same breast. Therefore, we are brothers, and as brothers, should treat together in an amicable way.
Your talk is a good one, but my people cannot say they will go. We are not willing to do so. If their tongues say yes, their hearts cry no, and call them liars.
If suddenly we tear our hearts from the homes around which they are twined, our heart-strings will snap."
-Seminole leaders' responses to the US pressure for them to move west, out of Florida
The Seminoles were the one tribe who decided to fight back. In response, U.S. political parties unified and Congress appropriated the money for war.
It was an eight-year war. It cost $20 million and 1,500 American lives. Finally, in the 1840s, the Seminoles began to get tired. They were a tiny group against a huge nation with great resources. They asked for truces. But when they went forward under truce flags, they were arrested, again and again... The war petered out.
You’ve heard of the Trail of Tears?
“...In April 1838, Ralph Waldo Emerson addressed an open letter to President Van Buren, referring with indignation to the removal treaty with the Cherokees (signed behind the backs of an overwhelming-majority of the Cherokees) and asked what had happened to the sense of justice in America:
"The soul of man, the justice, the mercy that is the heart's heart in all men, from Maine to Georgia, does abhor this business ... a crime is projected that confounds our understandings by its magnitude, a crime that really deprives us as well as the Cherokees of a country for how could we call the conspiracy that should crush these poor Indians our government, or the land that was cursed by their parting and dying imprecations our country any more? You, sir, will bring down that renowned chair in which you sit into infamy if your seal is set to this instrument of perfidy; and the name of this nation, hitherto the sweet omen of religion and liberty, will stink to the world.””
“On October 1, 1838, the first detachment set out in what was to be known as the Trail of Tears. As they moved westward, they began to die-of sickness, of drought, of the heat, of exposure. There were 645 wagons, and people marching alongside. Survivors, years later, told of halting at the edge of the Mississippi in the middle of winter, the river running full of ice, "hundreds of sick and dying penned up in wagons or stretched upon the ground." Grant Foreman, the leading authority on Indian removal, estimates that during confinement in the stockade or on the march westward four thousand Cherokees died.”
“In December 1838, President Van Buren spoke to Congress:
"It affords sincere pleasure to apprise the Congress of the entire removal of the Cherokee Nation of Indians to their new homes west of the Mississippi. The measures authorized by Congress at its last session have had the happiest effects.””
Next Week, Chapter 8: “We Take Nothing by Conquest, Thank God”