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Politics in Georgia in the 19th century


Dahlonega
Dahlonega

After the revolution, the United States had made treaties with the Creek and Cherokee recognizing their right to occupy their lands in Georgia forever. At the same time, the federal government sent agents to encourage these nations to adopt white lifestyles. Nevertheless, the administration of President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 made a compact with Georgia that seemed to contradict the treaties. In exchange for Georgia’s claims to Alabama and Mississippi, Georgia was given $1,250,000 and a promise that the federal government would remove the Native Americans as soon as this could be done peacefully and on reasonable terms. When the federal government moved too slowly for impatient Georgians, Governor George Troup in 1825 threatened to remove the Creek by force. By 1827 the Creek signed treaties ceding their remaining lands in Georgia. They then moved west across the Mississippi River to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

With the Creek gone, Georgians turned their attention to the Cherokee nation of north Georgia. The Cherokee had transformed their society to emulate many practices of the whites. In 1821 Sequoyah, a Cherokee scholar, invented a syllabary (alphabet) for writing the Cherokee language. Within a few years the nation adopted a constitution, creating a government that was at least as democratic as that of the surrounding states. They then started a national newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, printed in both Cherokee and English. Commerce and agriculture flourished, and the wealthier Cherokee even used black slaves in their fields.

Nonetheless, when gold was discovered in north Georgia in 1828, whites rushed into Cherokee country to try to get rich. "Georgia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

The Georgia government illegally extended its authority over north Georgia, and in 1832 held a lottery distributing the Cherokee lands among white citizens of the state. In 1835 the administration of President Andrew Jackson produced a fraudulent treaty, signed by a handful of Cherokee but repudiated by the great majority of the nation. According to this Treaty of New Echota, the Cherokee were to move west to Indian Territory. They refused to go, so federal troops were sent in 1838 to move them out. About 4000 out of more than 18,000 Cherokee forced from their homes died in stockades or during the journey to the west, known as the “Trail of Tears.” "Georgia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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