As America expanded into the West, there were still many Native American people who lived in the South-East.
Unfortunately, many white settlers wanted their land. To get that, they wanted to move the Native American tribes in that area to the lands on the west of the Mississippi River.
In 1830, President Andrew Jackson pushed the Indian Removal Act through Congress. It allowed the government to pay Native American people to give up their land and homes.
Although the Cherokee were legally recognized as their own sovereign nation, Georgia still claimed Cherokee land as part of the state, subjecting the entire Cherokee nation to the American systems of laws.
In the 1832 case of Worchester v Georgia, Supreme Judge John Marshall ruled that Georgia had no right to impede on the Cherokee as such.
Andrew Jackson ignored the ruling.
In 1835, about 500 Cherokee were convinced to sign a treaty that agreed that all Cherokee people would move west of the Mississippi by 1838.
In 1838, only about 2000 Cherokee had moved.
A petition against the treaty went ignored.
Military force was used to move the remaining 15000.
Roughly 4000 died on the journey. It became known as the Trail of Tears, due to the fact that around one-quarter of the entire Cherokee population had died unnecessarily.