27 Nov 2002 cmiller   » (Master)

I love my country's principles, but my country has done evil things.

History Lessons

170 years ago, as new settlers into the United States claimed more and more land, the presence of Natives already dwelling on land the settlers wanted was inconvenient, to say the least, to the white settlers. In 1830, the United States' Congress passed the Indian Removal Act (which proposed exactly what the title sounds like), and President Andrew Jackson promptly signed it into law.

The Cherokee of northern Georgia, the principal target of the legislation, a group 17,000 members strong, were not a group of savages. Years before, they saw the value of many European ideas and adopted a representational government and designed and used a new writing system, all within a few years.

The Cherokee petitioned the courts, and in 1832, won a case in the U. S. Supreme Court, acknowledging the Cherokee as a soverign nation, rendering invalid the laws that would force Indian's removal. President Jackson, referring to Chief Justice Marshall, said "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it, if he can!"

The executive branch eventually tricked a small group of Cherokee into an illegal treaty that signed away their lands, and the Cherokee were driven at bayonet-point from Georgia to wastelands in Missouri and Arkansas. 8,000 died in transit, and the survivers fared poorly. Now, the Cherokee are virtually nonexistent.

commentary

A moral government would have respected the property claims of the inhabitants, and offered citizenship, and representation and participation in government. A moral government would have respected the Cherokee Nation's "right to exist."

The Cherokee were totally peaceful, and were wiped out.

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