"Trail of Tears - The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation" By John Ehle

Essay by emcgeiseyUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, December 2002

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Author John Ehle has written a book that follows the struggles of the early Cherokee people that were torn between the ways of their ancestors and the new régimes that some of their people want to follow. The Cherokee people were confused with how to adapt to their surroundings and to claim their own rights that the current government was denying to them. In the Trail of Tears, Ehle uses many different people and the historic accounts of their actions to tell the story of tragic and unfair deals made with the Cherokee people by the United States. One of the main historical figures Mr. Ehle centers upon is Major Ridge. He tells of Major Ridge's ideas and hopes that would lead his people to prosperity. The United States government is closely analyzed; specifically pertaining to how the government neglected to help the Cherokee people become more efficient for themselves and not protecting them from other land greedy states.

On the Hiwasse River, in approximately 1771, in what is now known as Virgina, a Cherokee woman, who's father was Highland Scot and her mother full Cherokee, gave birth to a baby boy named Ridge. The woman hopped that Ridge would grow to be a strong leader of his people. The Cherokee people were of a matrilineal society. This meant that Ridge's mother and her brothers took the active role of instructing him in the ways of being a hunter. From the time that he was born until the age of five he received instruction, in the town that he lived in with other boys, of how to be a warrior. When he was five a great war broke out between the Indians and whites and his parents decided it best to leave. This war helped give Ridge a...