Thursday, June 17, 2004

All Things Cherokee

Andrew Jackson - The Worst President The Cherokee Ever Met Andrew Jackson is often considered one of the best American Presidents ever. However, the Cherokee feel a little differently...

From the site:

The title of worst US president is hotly debated and is most often awarded to Andrew Johnson or Warren Harding. Many polls and studies rank Andrew Jackson in or near the top 10 best presidents. However, to many Cherokees Andrew Jackson is without a doubt the worst US president. Some Cherokees would rather carry two ten-dollar bills or twenty one-dollar bills than carry a single twenty-dollar bill. Why? Because the US has chosen to commemerate Jackson's presidency by putting his face on the twenty dollar bill.

So why is Jackson so disliked by the Cherokee? Oddly enough, at one point the Cherokee were allies with Andrew Jackson. It was at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend where Andrew Jackson's famous story really began. He was considered a hero after his victory in this battle against the Creek Indians, a victory he would not have attained had it not been for his Cherokee allies who fought alongside him.

Several years later in 1828 Andrew Jackson was elected president. His popularity and subsequent election are largely attributed to his pro-Indian removal platform. Once in power he began to allow whites to move onto Cherokee land. He also allowed Georgia to extend state law to include the Cherokee Nation. This called into question Cherokee sovereignty and declared their government and laws void.

In 1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act. Gold had been discovered on what was Cherokee land in western Georgia and the white settlers wanted to get the Cherokee out of the way. In Jackson's own words, "[The Indian Removal Act] will place a dense and civilized population in large tracts of country now occupied by a few savage hunters." Jackson painted a picture of the Cherokee as illiterate, uncivilized "savage hunters" even though 90% of the Cherokee Nation could read and write in Cherokee (many could also read and write in English) and were farmers.

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