Worcester vs Georgia

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, Cherokee, Georgia Pages: 2 (301 words) Published: December 2, 2013
I. Worcester V. Georgia

A. Facts:
1. Samuel Worcester was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on 19th January,1798

2. Georgia passed 5 laws restricting authority of the Cherokees over their lands a. Included was a law requiring all whites living in a Cherokee Indian Territory, including missionaries and anyone married to a Cherokee, to obtain a state license to live there

3. Samuel Worcester and 6 other missionaries refused to move from a land that was labeled an “Indian territory” a. Also, the group refused to apply for the government license that would allow them to reside on the lands

4. An army entered the Native American lands and arrested Worcester along with the other 6 people a. Following his arrest, Worcester appealed his charges and took his case to the Supreme Court

B. Issue:
1. Worcester's attorneys claimed that the Georgia law he violated was unconstitutional because it conflicted with: a. U.S.–Cherokee treaties
b. The contract and commerce clauses of the U.S. Constitution c. The sovereign status of the Cherokee nation

2. Worcester’s main argument was that Georgia had no authority within the Cherokee Nation even though it was located within the state’s boundaries 3. This meant that Congress was the only legislative body with authority and not the state of Georgia 4. Should the national rights of the Cherokees be recognized? 5. Should the Georgia law at issue in this case be declared void?

C. Decision:
1. The court upheld the Cherokee’s treaty rights in Georgia 2. Chief Justice Marshall sided with Cherokees and stated that laws were “repugnant to Constitution, laws, and treaties of the US” 3. Only US had authority in Indian Affairs

4. Worcester was ordered free
5. All but one of justices agreed that the national (NOT state) could make laws affecting Cherokee Nation 6. President Andrew Jackson didn’t support decision- didn’t enforce the federal mandate
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