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possession of gold.

The Funnel

In 1823, Creek chief William McIntosh, as an agent of the United States, attempted to bribe prominent Cherokee leaders to make major land cessions to the US. The $12,000 offer was rejected. In 1824, the Legislative Council sent John Ross, Major Ridge and other Cherokee leaders to Washington in an attempt to persuade President James Monroe to negate the Georgia Compact of 1802. The meeting ended in a stalemate, with the Cherokee refusing to cede their lands and Monroe refusing to negate the Georgia Compact.

In 1828, Andrew Jackson was elected President. "He was a frontiersman and Indian hater, and the change boded no good for the Cherokee. His position was well-understood…"43 Jackson would state, in his First Annual Message to Congress in 1829, that "a portion of the Southern tribes, having mingled much with the whites and made some progress in the arts of civilized life, have lately attempted to erect an independent government within the limits of Georgia and Alabama."44 It was clear which side Jackson was on.

Cherokee leaders noted the irony. The Ridge, an early antagonist of the removal policy, later to become a proponent, stated in 1829 that:

The case is reversed and we are now assaulted with menaces of expulsion, because we have unexpectantly become civilized, and because we have formed and organized a constituted government. It is too much for us now to be honest, virtuous, and industrious, because then we are capable of aspiring to the rank of Christians and Politicians, which renders our attachment to the soil more strong, and therefore more difficult to defraud us of the possession.45

In 1829 Georgia passed legislation that demanded the confiscation of vast regions of Cherokee land, using the Compact of 1802 for justification. Cherokee laws were nullified in these regions, and Cherokee leaders who protested were arrested and imprisoned. The Georgia Guard moved in and forced the Cherokee from their own gold fields. Many Cherokee reacted furiously, and rioted. Jackson ordered


43. Ibid., 111.
44. Andrew Jackson, Andrew, "President Jackson on Indian Removal Dec 8 1829,"in Documents of United States Indian Policy, ed. Francis Paul Prucha (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1990), 47.
45. Thurman Wilkins, Cherokee Tragedy (Norman, OK: University of Okalahoma, 1986), 207.
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