Cherokee Removal - Treaty of New Echota

Treaty of New Echota

Further information: Treaty of New Echota

With the landslide reelection of Andrew Jackson in 1832, some of the most strident Cherokee opponents of removal began to rethink their positions. Led by Major Ridge, his son John Ridge, and nephews Elias Boudinot and Stand Watie, they became known as the “Ridge Party”, or the “Treaty Party”. The Ridge Party believed that it was in the best interest of the Cherokees to get favorable terms from the U.S. government, before white squatters, state governments, and violence made matters worse. John Ridge began unauthorized talks with the Jackson administration in the late 1820s. Meanwhile, in anticipation of the Cherokee removal, the state of Georgia began holding lotteries in order to divide up the Cherokee tribal lands among white Georgians.

However, Principal Chief John Ross and the majority of the Cherokee people remained adamantly opposed to removal. Political maneuvering began: Chief Ross canceled the tribal elections in 1832, the Council threatened to impeach the Ridges, and a prominent member of the Treaty Party (John Walker, Jr.) was murdered. The Ridges responded by eventually forming their own council, representing only a fraction of the Cherokee people. This split the Cherokee Nation into two factions: those following Ross, known as the National Party, and those of the Treaty Party, who elected William A. Hicks, who had briefly succeeded his brother Charles R. Hicks as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation to act as titular leader of the pro-Treaty faction, with former National Council clerk Alexander McCoy as his assistant.

In 1835, Jackson appointed Reverend John F. Schermerhorn as a treaty commissioner. The U.S. government proposed to pay the Cherokee Nation US$4.5 million (among other considerations) to remove themselves. These terms were rejected in October 1835 by the Cherokee Nation Council meeting at Red Clay. Chief Ross, attempting to bridge the gap between his administration and the Ridge Party, traveled to Washington with a party that included John Ridge and Stand Watie to open new negotiations, but they were turned away and told to deal with Schermerhorn.

Meanwhile, Schermerhorn organized a meeting with the pro-removal council members at New Echota, Georgia. Only five hundred Cherokees (out of thousands) responded to the summons, and, on December 30, 1835, twenty-one proponents of Cherokee removal (Major Ridge, Elias Boudinot, James Foster, Testaesky, Charles Moore, George Chambers, Tahyeske, Archilla Smith, Andrew Ross (younger brother of Chief John Ross), William Lassley, Caetehee, Tegaheske, Robert Rogers, John Gunter, John A. Bell, Charles Foreman, William Rogers, George W. Adair, James Starr, and Jesse Halfbreed), signed or left “X” marks on the Treaty of New Echota after those present voted unanimously for its approval. John Ridge and Stand Watie signed the treaty when it was brought to Washington. Chief Ross, as expected, refused.

This treaty gave up all the Cherokee land east of the Mississippi in return for five million dollars to be disbursed on a per capita basis, an additional half-million dollars for educational funds, title in perpetuity to an amount of land in Indian Territory equal to that given up, and full compensation for all property left in the East. There was also a clause in the treaty as signed allowing Cherokee who so desired to remain and become citizens of the states in which they resided on 160 acres (0.65 km2) of land, but that was later stricken out by President Jackson.

Despite the protests by the Cherokee National Council and principal Chief Ross that the document was a fraud, Congress ratified the treaty on May 23, 1836, by just one vote.

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Other articles related to "treaty of new echota, treaty":

Treaty Of New Echota - Enforcement
... Winfield Scott to forcibly move all those Cherokee who had not yet complied with the treaty and moved west ... Ross’ partisans blamed Brown’s actions on the members of the Treaty Party, particularly those, such as the Ridge and Watie families, who had emigrated prior to the forced removal ... Adair, and others (notably absent from the list were Treaty Party leaders David Vann, Charles Vann, John Gunter, Charles Foreman, William Hicks, and Andrew Ross) ...

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