review cases appealed from the districts. By 1823 the court had reviewed 21 cases. It dealt with both civil and criminal cases. While this was an adopted legal institution, the Cherokee were not without previous judicial practices. Formerly headsmen and individuals settled matters of justice, with the general intention of preserving the stability of the cohesive tribal unit. "The key to the Cherokee legal mind was the Cherokees' desire for social harmony and their resentment toward acts of hostility."24
By 1822 the Cherokee had begun to demand citizenship from the United States.25 The goal of citizenship was recognition. Once recognized, the Cherokee would be better able to defend their treaty rights. Georgia delegations to the US Congress, fearful of the implications of this, began to lobby more tenaciously to get the President to close the debate over the Compact of 1802 and seize Cherokee lands.
In response, the Cherokee Legislative Council passed legislation which stated that the Cherokee intended to cede no more lands to the United States. Cherokee acculturation had begun to bite back. They had good reason. Between 1794 and 1819, the Cherokee negotiated 24 treaties with the United States that involved land cessions. The reasoning behind land cessions was manipulative and seedy. The US received land through treaties in compensation for emigrations, unpaid debts, goods, and most of all, the bribery of Cherokee chiefs. Through these treaties with England and the US some 4,000 square miles of Cherokee land were lost, nearly half the traditional lands. They were understandbly distrustful and ready to acculturate in order to fight.
In July of 1827, the Cherokees created their most far-reaching Constitution. Of the 12 signers, 11 were slaverholders of mixed descent. It was modeled after the United States Constitution. Cherokee government, evolving along Western lines for the previous thirty years, was formally encoded
24. Woodward, 145.
25. Native Americans would not be granted American citizenship until 1923, due mainly to their service in World War I.