In the early 1800s, the Cherokee tried to assimilate, along with their neighbors the Choctaws, Creeks, Chickasaws and Seminoles. Most of the leaders were convinced that to survive they would have to adopt white ways. These tribes became known as the Five Civilized Tribes.
The process of assimilation began when the Cherokee allowed Moravian missionaries onto their land in 1801. The missionaries taught the basics of European agriculture, domestic arts, English and Christianity. In the 1820s, Sequoyah invented a Cherokee syllabary that translated the sounds of Cherokee language into written symbols. The tribe began publishing a newspaper. They adopted a constitutional government based on the model of the United States. They even adopted a form of slavery, like their southern neighbors.
The Cherokee Trail of Tears has captured the imaginations of Americans.
Click here to watch a video clipNone of that made any difference to the state of Georgia. To them, the Cherokee were still "savages" who had too much land. In 1802, Georgia had ceded, or legally given up, its claim to land west of the Appalachian Mountains to the federal government in exchange for a promise to move the Cherokee out of Georgia. The federal government reneged on its promise.
In 1817, some 6,000 of the Cherokee were persuaded by future president Andrew Jackson to voluntarily move to Arkansas Territory. But others resisted.
Then, Jackson was elected President in 1828. He was committed to removing all Indians in the East and Southeast, by force if necessary. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in 1830. Soon, the Choctaws and the Creeks were on their way west along the other civilized tribes.
But the Cherokee decided to fight back politically and legally. John Ross had become Principal Chief in 1828. He was a mixed-blood Cherokee who was popularly elected with his strongest support coming http://www.pbs.org/i...tory/trail.html