Alexis de Tocqueville, the French philosopher, witnessed the Choctaw removals while in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1831, writing:
“In the whole scene there was an air of ruin and destruction, something which betrayed a final and irrevocable adieu; one couldn’t watch without feeling one’s heart wrung.
The Indians were tranquil, but sombre and taciturn.
There was one who could speak English and of whom I asked why the Chactas were leaving their country. ‘To be free,’ he answered.”