HIS 131 I3
September 8, 2012
The Cherokee Removal could be said to have begun when England lost the Revolutionary War to the United States. That’s when the people of the United States felt that they could control “uncivilized” people and their land. Of course the Cherokee to those people were “uncivilized” so that meant that they could take over what rightfully belonged to the Cherokee. However, President George Washington and Henry Knox wanted to experiment with the Cherokee in hopes of having them become civilized. President Washington and Mr. Knox did not take into consideration how the United States people would feel about the Cherokee; they felt that no matter what the Cherokee were taught that they would never fully be equal because of race. The Cherokee accepted some of the changes and resisted others, eventually this led to the forced removal of the Cherokee. After several failed treaty attempts, the Cherokee finally accepted that they would have to leave when soldiers arrived. The final negotiation was for the Cherokee to be able to move alone in the winter or 1838-39 and this would become known as the “Trail of Tears” because so many Cherokee died along the way. “Becoming Civilized” meant changing the ways that the Cherokee were accustomed to. Cherokee women would be more homemakers and the farming that they had done in the past would now fall to the men who had once been the hunters of wild game. The experiment would have the Cherokee taking on more cattle, hogs and they would also begin to raise sheep. In addition to planting corn they would also plant, cotton, wheat and flax. This also changed how some Cherokee viewed themselves and the way they looked at family. One example of that change would be Young Wolf, whom after he died and his Last Will and Testament read showed how the views of the Cherokee had started shifting. Before Cherokee traced themselves through their mothers; this meant that when Young Wolf died his land and other possessions should have gone to his sister’s children. This however did not happen; he left his estate to his son. “A Cherokee view of civilization” had begun early with Cherokee chiefs’ sons’ moving about the white community easily. They had been educated, were now living in regular housing, had started growing crops such as cotton, and were becoming involved with politics. One such son was named John Ridge, “he became involved in national politics as a promoter of civilization and as a patriot who helped to execute the unscrupulous chief Doublehead for an illegal land sale” (Perdue and Green, 32). John Ridge was a big promoter in the “civilization” process, he was also “particularly interested in charting culture change among the Cherokees” (Perdue and Green, 34). In order to reach the Cherokee people the United States government had “Christian missions” become involved, as the agent that the government had placed among the Cherokee had not fulfilled the job. Missionaries took on the role of civilizing the Cherokee, “they set up schools, model farms and served as the United States postmasters. This peaceful partnership of missionaries and government agents had a relatively brief tenure” (Perdue and Green, 45). With the missionaries immersed with the Cherokees they would prove to not only be education teachers but also teachers of manners and dress; and some would also begin to side with the Cherokee people. The United States government wanted a way to keep track of the Cherokee so in 1835 they would begin “quantifying Cherokee civilization”. They wanted to know as much as they could about where and what the Cherokee were doing. The government looked at the makeup of the Cherokee family within each home; this included whether or not the family had full blooded, quadroons, half-breeds or whites that were related by marriage. This was not all that the government concerned themselves with, they also took note of the style of...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document