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Even before he was elected, President Andrew Jackson had been instrumental in forcing Native Americans out of the South. Once in office, he continued this policy at an accelerated pace. The Cherokee nation was one of the "Five Civilized Tribes" in the southeast, and like all other tribes existing east of the Mississippi River, their removal was essential to Jackson's plan.

Chief Justice John Marshall made it clear that moving Native Americans off their land because gold was discovered violated federal treaties between Native Americans and the United States Government.

Worcester v. Georgia (1832)

In the court case Worcester v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court held in 1832 that the Cherokee Indians constituted a nation holding distinct sovereign powers.

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Trail of Tears Big Question:

Was the United States fair and justified in their policies towards the Native Americans in the Southeast?

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President Andrew Jackson's response to Chief Justice John Marshall's Supreme Court Decision: "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it."

1. There is a debate concerning if President Jackson actually said it;
2. Even if he didn't say it, he still went against a Supreme Court Federal Decision;
3. John Marshall ignored Jackson's continued angst against Native Americans;
4. Andrew Jackson ignored a Federal Government's decision.