16. Trail of Tears
Congress passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, and for the next 20 years, the Native American tribes of the Southeast were forcibly evicted from their homes and herded to settlements west of the Mississippi River. Members of the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, Creek, Seminole and Cherokee tribes were forced to trek through the elements and battled disease and starvation, with thousands dying mid-journey. Part of the removal was caused by the discovery of gold in Georgia, that led to a gold rush which the government didn’t want the Native Americans to block.
15. Great Depression
The rampant excess and wild unregulation of the Roaring 20’s set up the conditions for the worst economic collapse in history.
14. The Dred Scott Decision
This “landmark” decision by the Supreme Court in 1857 stated that African-Americans, regardless if they were free or slaves, could not be American citizens. The court said that the enslaved Scott could not sue for his freedom, after he was taken by his owner into free states, since he was not a citizen. Outrage erupted in the north over the ruling, and it enflamed tensions that led to the Civil War. Scholars today universally call it the worst ruling in the history of the Supreme Court.