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Published on Apr 16, 2012
Poet, essayist, and lecturer Ralph Waldo Emerson argued in an 1838 letter to President Martin Van Buren that the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from its land in Georgia to modern-day Oklahoma was wrong. Emerson's was one of many voices protesting the government's treatment of the Cherokee people. This extended excerpt from his letter, read by Professor Amy Sturgis, demonstrates that people at the time were aware that what the U.S. government proposed to do was a grave injustice and should not have happened. Emerson's and others' protests fell on deaf ears. The forced removal of the Cherokee Nation became known as the Trail of Tears and remains a blemish on U.S. history.