History Essays on The Cherokee Nation’s Appeal

Article Outline

Historical context

The section provides an exploration of a few historical facts surrounding the Indian removal act and the ensuing appeal from the Cherokee nation. It mentions the background of the Cherokee within their lands and goes further to mention the fact that Cherokees were settled in Georgia and based their right to occupancy on the Jefferson idea of assimilation and on the treaties previously signed to protect them in those lands.

Reasons for Refusing to be removed

The section describes various factors that the Cherokee mentioned as core to their unwillingness to move. Some of the factors mentioned include: their previous domination of lands and its consideration as their native home, lack of knowledge about their proposed resettlement regions and the probable hostility of other native Indians in the regions they were to move to.

Legal Argument to Stop Removal

The section highlights the key legal arguments raised by the Cherokee community in support of their unwillingness to be removed from their lands. The main reasons mentioned herein include reference to the Hopewell Treaty which guaranteed the protection of the Cherokee and the preservation of their land occupancy rights. They considered the actions of Georgia as a violation of their rights and of the federal laws.

Relationship between the U.S and the Native Americans

The section mentions how the forceful removal of the Indians by Georgia impacted the relations between the U.S and the Native Americans negatively. For instance, the separation of the people based on their races led to lack of recognition of other races and subsequent disregard for others.  The separation of the Indians led to their consideration as a mere curiosity rather than the neighborly people they were once considered to be.

The Cherokee Nations’ Appeal

Historical context      

The Cherokee nation, in spite of having been completely assimilated in the traditions and practices of the American people, experienced a lot of challenges in their settlement. One of the major challenges faced by the nation was the enactment of the Indians removal Act of 1830, which aimed at eliminating all members of the six native Indian tribes from amidst the Americans. This act and the subsequent appeal came at a time when the Cherokee had firmly settled in the area based on the Jeffersonian idea about immigration.[1] They had made so much progress and the events appeared unfair towards them. In particular, they had already established themselves as a potential American nation, with a modeled constitution and with great potential for better performance. Moreover, the act came at a time when the Cherokee had already signed treaties to keep them protected under the federal law. This history made them feel that the treatment accorded to them in terms of the intention to remove them from their lands was unfair hence the need to seek legal redress to the same. It can be said that the perceived unfairness existent and that it eventually resulted in national segmentation in terms of race.

Reasons for rejecting the move

There are two major reasons why the Cherokee felt they could not be forced to adhere to the requirements brought about by the act. The most crucial reasons according to Foner included their previous assimilation as an American people. The Cherokee was one of the largest and most civilized Indian groups in Georgia. As such, they had established themselves as assimilated Americans and had already built schools and taken the lead in their areas of residence.[2] Moreover, they had already established a constitution which was founded on the constitution of the United States. As such, they considered themselves American and felt that they could not leave behind what they had previously established. In addition to this, the Cherokee also has recourse in the treaties that they had signed with the American federal government for their protection. Based on these arguments, the Cherokee registered their unwillingness to be removed from their lands citing oppression and the violation of their individual and national rights to their lands as the driving factors behind their perceived forceful removal. They also reported that being forced to move towards the north of Arkansas would be unwelcome due to various reasons. The compulsion to move towards the region occupied by various other native Indian tribes was taken in negative light by the Cherokee citing potential for abuse by the other tribes, alienation from the civilization they were used to and removal from their natural heritage and the lands of their fathers.[3] They made it clear that even if the other Indian tribes would have been welcoming, they would only be removed through oppressive compulsion as they felt they would be taken away from what was naturally their possession.

Legal Argument to Stop Removal

The Cherokee decided to seek redress through a legal process, basing their arguments on the Treaty of Hopewell which was signed in 1785, November 28. The treaty guaranteed that the United States would protect the sovereignty of the Cherokee nation as an assimilated group and would ensure their protection against any removal. The Treaty of New York which was signed in 1790 went further to promise the Indian nations of the Creek that they would be protected from molestation on their occupied lands. The Cherokee nation thus based their law suits on the foundations of these treaties, arguing that any violation of the treaties could be equated to violation of federal laws. Consequently, they asserted, through their principal chief, John Ross, that their removal indicated Georgia’s action in disregard for the constitution of the United States. This was because other U.S laws had been formulated in pursuance of the Treaty of Hopewell and the Cherokee felt that they were within their rights to decline removal. Their decision to pursue the matter in court was however unsuccessful due to the decision of the Supreme Court judge that they had no standing as citizens of the U.S in spite of the agreement made in support of their occupancy.[4] This was contrary to expectations since the lands occupied by the Cherokee had not been left by the Brits nor used previously by other native American tribes but had previously been occupied by Spaniards.[5]

Relations between the U.S and Native Americans

While Georgia won the case filed by the Cherokee, the forceful removal of the Cherokee and other Indian tribes from their native lands by Georgia portrayed an image of a racially segmented America. The removal was not without force as the American soldiers were involved particularly in the removal of the Seminoles from their native lands. This in effect resulted in many deaths and pain across the multitude. The expansion of Georgia’s jurisdiction through the removal of the Cherokee created precedence for other forceful actions against them in future as indicated by Foner in the conclusion that their days of freedom in the areas they moved to were also numbered. The segregation of communities based on race led to future alienations of Indians as well as other races, with the white Americans considering themselves more powerful than other citizens. This is because Georgia’s actions separated them from the common site of the Indians, leaving the Cherokee a mere curiosity in the minds of the whites.[6]





Cater, Tracy Ebenezer, “Memoir of the Life of Jeremiah Evarts,” in Voices of Freedom: A Documentary History 4th Edition (vol. 1) by Eric Foner, W.W. Norton & Company, 2013, 190-192.

Foner, Eric, An American history: Give me Liberty! 4th Edition, W.W. Norton & Company, 2013, 301.

Norgren, Jill, “The Cherokee Nation of the 1830s,” Journal of Supreme Court History 19(1994):  78.

Watson, Stephen, “If this Great Nation may be Saved? The Discourse of Civilization in Cherokee Indian Removal,” Thesis, Georgia State University, 2013.



[1] Eric Foner, An American history: Give me Liberty! 4th Edition (W.W. Norton & Company, 2013), 301.

[2] Eric Forner, An American, 301-302.

[3] Tracy Ebenezer Cater, “Memoir of the Life of Jeremiah Evarts,” in Voices of Freedom: A Documentary History 4th Edition (vol. 1) by Eric Foner (W.W. Norton & Company, 2013), 190-192.

[4] Jill Norgren, “The Cherokee Nation of the 1830s,” Journal of Supreme Court History 19(1994):  78.

[5] Stephen Watson, “If this Great Nation may be Saved? The Discourse of Civilization in Cherokee Indian Removal,” Thesis, Georgia State University, 2013.

[6] Eric Foner, An American, 304.