Reader Report”The Trail of Tears” is an essay recounting the great migration of the Cherokee people from their Georgian homeland west across the Mississippi. Jackson was primarily responsible for the Trail of Tears. Though the Indians had been forced to cede their homelands to the United States government for some time, Jackson needed the 35,000 square miles of Cherokee land in order to sweep the frontier and win the election. He promised to open up the land for frontier settlement. A small group of Cherokees (less than 500) thought it would be best to sign Jackson s treaty and move on. They signed the treaty without authority and moved after accepting government bribes. The others, totaling somewhere around 17,000, were later driven forcefully from their homes. Approximately one out of every four Cherokees died as a result of the enforced removal. Many of the military official involved in driving the Cherokees westward claimed it was far worse than any war they had ever experienced, even the Civil War which took place some thirty years later. “The Great Chief Justice” tells about the life of Chief Justice John Marshall; his early frontier life, rudimentary schooling, and great accomplishments a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Marshall was appointed by John Adams during the lame duck part of his administration before Jefferson was inaugurated. Marshall was Jefferson s arch nemesis. While Jefferson never gave up fighting for state s rights and the confederacy, Marshall fought to strengthen the central government and made milestones as Chief Justice. he strengthened the weak federal judiciary and made it the final arbiter of constitutional questions. The case of Marbury Vs Madison was recognized as a cornerstone of American constitutional law. It was the first case to exhibit the true power of the Supreme Court- that the United States courts have the right to declare laws unconstitutional. the most extraordinary thing about Marshall was that he never lost his roots as a frontiersmen and never abused his position and power. “The Louisiana Purchase: A Dangerous Precedent” tells how Jefferson annexed the Louisiana Territory. Jefferson feared Napoleon would begin settling the territory and set out to acquire the land from France. Jefferson did not believe he had the right under the Constitution to annex new territories and provide government for them. He wanted to amend the Constitution so he would have the power to do so but was pressed for time to ratify the treated with France granting the United States the territory. Eventually it was ratified without an amendment, and the United States gained Louisiana. Jefferson did not want to grant the people living in the newly annexed territory full constitutional rights because most of them were not white. Jefferson wished to govern the territory as a colony. He also refused to support any ideas prohibiting slavery in Louisiana. “Were the Puritans Puritanical?” goes on to discuss much that is unknown and/or misunderstood about the Puritans. The opening paragraph of the essay gives a quote from H. L. Mencken in 1925 that sums up how people generally view of Puritans, “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” However, we find out in the essay that the Puritans were not as opposed to pleasure as most people would believe. It is true that they were very strict in their religious practices, but they also enjoyed good food, good wine, and yes, even good sex. The Puritans believed in the practice of simple chastity but not celibacy. Husbands and wives genuinely cared for and loved each other. Puritans also believed wholeheartedly in education. Communities were required to have a schoolteacher for every so many families. Many of them were college graduates and ministers. The Puritans also established the first university in the United States.
“Clara Barton s Finest Hour” tells about Clara Barton s nursing services during the Civil War. She did not join Dorothea Dix and her Department of Female Nurses. Instead, she treated the soldiers of the Union independently. She traveled from battlefield to battlefield assisting the doctors and nurses in the hospitals and also treating the wounded right on the field. She had wanted to fight in the battles, but women were not allowed in combat. So she was decided to nurse the in the field hospitals behind the front lines. In one case, a Connecticut officer s leg was blown off as a result of an explosion. Clara, who was at the battle site, leaped to his side, ripped her clothing, and fashioned a tourniquet to the remainder of his leg. Though the doctors claimed the officer would not live, Clara nursed him back. Many medical officials disliked Clara and objected to her presence on the battlefields. Clara went on to become the founder of the American Red Cross. The article I like the least was the one regarding the Louisiana Purchase because I thought it was portraying Jefferson as a hypocrite and a bigot. However, it is possible I misinterpreted it. He would stand for strict interpretation of the Constitution, yet would make the allowance for loose interpretation when it convenience him? The author of the Declaration of Independence also wanted to rule his newly annexed territory as a colony in order to prevent giving full constitutional rights to the inhabitants because most were not white? I thought something must be missing because this is what I found it to be saying. The article that I found I liked the most was the one about the Puritans because it was very informative. That is to say, it sought to clear up any misconceptions about Puritan life. Most people, like myself, usually learn a lot of misinformation during elementary schooling like Columbus was a hero, the Indians were happy the white man invaded their homeland, and that the Puritans were puritanical. This essay gives insight through historiography.