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Cherokee Nation v. Georgia / Worcester v. Georgia

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Griffin Kurtz

on 27 November 2012

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Transcript of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia / Worcester v. Georgia

Worcester v. Georgia
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia Background-
Cherokee were first given part of Georgia in a federal treaty in 1791.
Georgia passes laws that strip Cherokee Nation of their rights to their land
Cherokee refused to be removed to indian territory.
Cherokee cite treaties that they had made as an independent nation to their land. Arguments-
Cherokee believed that Georgia didn't have the right to make these laws, or they didn't have "jurisdiction"
Georgia looked at Cherokees like children that couldn't think for themselves therefore giving them no right to own land.
John Ross tried to get injunction from Supreme Court. Decision-
In Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, Supreme Court said they couldn't make a decision on this case because the Indian Tribes are "domestic dependent nations" not a foreign nation.
This meant that the court believed the indians were often viewed as an independent nation but they still depended on America. Dissent-
Smith Thompson and Joseph Story disagreed with the court's ruling in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia.
They believed that the court did have the power to judge the case, because the indians were a foreign nation. Impact-
John Marshall set in stone his idea that U.S. courts couldn't make rulings on cases involving indian nations.
This left the indians out to dry , because it essentially gave the states the ability to do what they wanted with the indians. The states could do this because, Andrew Jackson didn't care about what happened to the natives.
This ended up being the reason the Indians were forced to leave their homes.
This case matters today because it shaped the lives of the indians which were moved to present day Oklahoma. Rulings of Lower Courts-
In Worcester v. Georgia the lower court ruled in favor of Georgia saying they did have the right to make laws regarding the Cherokee Nation. Cherokee Nation V. Georgia Background-
Georgia passes law that requires citizens to require state laws before interacting with Cherokee.
Samuel Worcester was a white man that helped translate the bible into the Cherokee language.
He was pro-Cherokee.
Worcester was a missionary who refused to obtain a license Worcester V. Georgia Arguments-
Worcester believed Georgia had no right to interfere with Cherokee Nation
He argued to the supreme court that Georgia lacked authority to convict him
Georgia claimed Worcester wasn't following the state law of obtaining a state license. Decision-
The Supreme Court in Worcester v. Georgia ruled that because the Cherokee Nation was a separate nation that could not be regulated by the state, Georgia's license law was unconstitutional and Worcester's conviction should be overturned.
"Cherokee Nation is a distinct community with self-government in which the laws of Georgia can have no force." Dissent-
Samuel Baldwin was the only judge who disagreed with the courts ruling in Worcester v. Georgia
He believed that the state of Georgia did have authority to make laws against the Cherokee. Impact-
Worcester was free to interact with the Cherokee on his Missions.
The state of Georgia ignored these rulings and Andrew Jackson didn't care because of Georgia's power.
The missionaries were imprisoned until 1833 when the Cherokee were forced to relocate.
Today the Supreme Court still follows the ruling that a state can regulate the boundaries of its indian territory.
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