treaties were opposed. Concern for Cherokee rights was not paramount.
Which is not to say that humanitarian sentiment was completely nonexistent. Horace Everett, a dissenting member of the House of Representatives from Vermont, stated before the House that "this policy cannot come to good. It cannot, as it professes, elevate the Indians. It must and will depress, dishearten, and crush them…it is all unmingled, unmitigated evil…"49 Like minded editorials from The Phoenix were recopied in newspapers across the country.
In light of the political maelstrom over states versus federal rights, the Cherokee soon discovered they had friends in high places, including a number of senators, writers, clergymen, editors, party managers, publishers, Christian rights organizations, and, most importantly of all, lawyers. One of these, William Wirt, a constitutional lawyer and former Attorney General, would soon bring two of the most important cases in Native American history to the Supreme Court.
Rainfall: Cherokee Nation v. Georgia
The Cherokee battle over sovereignty was one of the most important and gargantuan issues in the country. "The Cherokee controversy had now drawn into its vortex every major manifestation of power in the country: the President, Congress, the Supreme Court, political parties, the religious community and the press."50
In March of 1831,William Wirt brought a request to the Supreme Court. It was an injunction against Georgia for its infringements upon Cherokee sovereignty. Wirt argued that the Cherokee Nation, as a sovereign nation, was not subject to the laws of Georgia. "Thus, the Supreme Court of the United States should have original jurisdiction of its case and could award an injunction to restrain the state of Georgia from carrying her laws into effect against the Cherokee Nation."51 This was nothing less than an all-out-bid to overcome the Compact of 1802.
Wirt and the Cherokee lost. Chief Justice Marshall, declaring the court's opinion, stated
49. Horace Everett, "Speech of Horace Everett in the House of Representatives, May 19, 1830," in Woodward, 160.
50. Dale Van Every, Disinherited: The Lost Birthright of the American Indian (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1966), 141.
51. Woodward, 165.