Final Project Proposal

Journal of Rev. Daniel Butrick

Brainerd. May 26. 1838 [Saturday]

“Women absent from their families on visits, or for other purposes, were seized, and men far from their wives and children, were not allowed to return, and also children being forced from home, were dragged off among strangers. Cattle, horses, hogs, household furniture, clothing and money not with them when taken were left. And it is said that the white inhabitants around, stood with open arms to seize whatever property they could put their hands on. Some few who had friends to speak for them, were assisted afterwards in getting some part of their lost goods.”

Final Project Proposal

My digital history project will focus on the Trail of Tears and the Indian Removal Act of 1830.  I will be focusing on how the Cherokee nation, the state of Georgia and the United States government interacted during the eight or nine years before the Cherokees were forced from their lands in 1838. This took place in the southeastern US, focused mainly on Georgia, from the years of 1829-1839.  My research question is how were the Cherokee Indians eventually forced out of their homes and pushed towards the west during the 1830s. To answer this, I will look at the federal and state governments, the people of Georgia, and the lives of the Cherokee Indians.  I want to look at the legal efforts and the physical efforts that eventually led to the removal of the Cherokees.  A possible thesis being that the Indian removal act, the court cases and treaties that occurred during this time, and the physical efforts of the Georgians wanting land and gold were what caused the Cherokee Indians to be forcibly removed.

For primary sources, I will be using government documents; such as messages, Acts, court cases, and Treaties, personal narratives; like journals, diaries, letters, and newspapers, and photos when I can find them.  I will look at the government documents and ask what they can tell me about the time period? What they can tell me about prejudice and how it manifested in the government.  How did the court cases differ from the Acts? Who made the Treaties and were the Treaties upheld? I also think that looking at and reading all of the government documents that might relate to the removal of the Cherokees will help figure out if this action could be considered illegal or if those who wanted the removal to happen managed to make it legal through all of the acts and cases and loopholes.  Personal narratives are equally helpful as sources as they describe from a single persons perspective what happened.  I will ask questions such as how was the roundup of the Cherokee different from the perspectives of the soldier, the Cherokee, and the sympathetic but not ultimately Cherokee?

I plan on using an Omeka site, and TimelineJS.  I will organize my project as an Omeka exhibit.  The exhibit will include as many primary sources as possible and the timeline so as show the evidence rather than just have the sources in the back of the book. I want to put an image or a section of a primary source on the exhibit and then explain how it helps show a ‘how’ the government and people of Georgia removed the Cherokee from their lands.  I think that including a timeline will make the exhibit easier to understand as it will put each ‘how’ in perspective with the others and will allow the sort of not particularly interested user to absorb the information in a way that is fun, quick and does not need too much reading.

I believe that this project is significant because the Trail of Tears is barely touched upon in K-12 schooling and unless someone is specifically interested most do not know much at all about why the Trail of Tears occurred.  In this project, I hope to be able to spread the word about what happened to lead up to the Trail of Tears and what our government did to the Cherokee.  Th removal of the Indians is only ever spoken about in broad terms, and I hope to inform about some of the specifics.  I think that this project will illuminate the relationship between the US government and the Native Americans.  I think this project will highlight greed, envy, and prejudice that we have not yet gotten rid of as a nation.


Secondary Sources

Anderson, William L., ed. Cherokee Removal Before and After. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1991.

Baker, Ralph Martin and Paul G. Pierpaoli Jr. “Trail of Tears (Overview).” In The American Mosaic: The American Indian Experience. ABC-CLIO, 2010-. Accessed March 6, 2016.

Foreman, Grant. Indian Removal: The Emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.

Littlefield, Daniel F., Jr. The John Drew Detachment. Resources on Indian Removal No. 2. Little Rock, AR: Sequoyah National Research Center, 2006.

Sturgis, Amy H. The Trail of Tears and Indian Removal. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007.

Trail of Tears Association. “Trail of Tears.” Vimeo. Accessed March 06, 2016.

Primary Sources

Atlas. “John C. Calhoun.” New-Bedford Mercury, July 20, 1838, Pg. 2. Accessed March 6, 2016. America’s Historical Newspapers.

This newspaper article is a way to see what the general public outside of the affected areas thought about Indians Removal and how certain people in the government were using it to their advantage or disadvantage.

General Assembly of Georgia. An Act. 1830.

This Act spells out the final push that forces the Cherokee Indians off of their lands.  I will use it to show how the Georgian government helped push the Cherokee Indians away.

Montiero, Lorrie. “Family Stories from the Trail of Tears (taken from the Indian-Pioneer History Collection, Grant Foreman, Editor) [a Machine-readable Transcription].” American Native Press Archives and Sequoyah Research Center. Accessed March 07, 2016. Stories from the Trail of Tears.htm.

This site hosts a collect of letters, interviews, and statements of those with family members who where part of the forced moment of the Cherokee in 1838.  It has accounts of what happened from the Cherokees perspectives and what they told their children about what happened.

The American Mosaic: The American Indian Experience, s.v. “Indian Removal Act (1830),” accessed March 6, 2016.

This is the Act that really started the governments activity in the Trail of Tears and the removal of the Cherokee.  I will use this source to tell how it is one of the main reasons the Indians were removed despite the fights and court cases that came after it.  It also is important as a source because before this it is just the individual states and people who are a problem for the Cherokee.  This changes the relationship between the Indians and the US government.

The American Mosaic: The American Indian Experience, s.v. “.Journal of Rev. Daniel S. Butrick on Cherokee Removal (May 19, 1838–April 1, 1839),” accessed March 6, 2016.

This Journal gives a first hand account of what happened to the Cherokee Indian’s as they were forced away from their homes.  I will use his source to have a personal view on how the Indians were forced out so that I do not use just government documents.

The American Mosaic: The American Indian Experience, s.v. “Treaty of New Echota (1835),” accessed March 6, 2016.

This treaty was a treaty between a few Indians and the US government about the removal of the Cherokees from their land.  I will use this source to get details about the removal and how the government was trying to get them to move peacefully. I will also use it to gain details about the lands and what was allowed and what was not; for example the government being able to create military forts in the Cherokee lands west of the Mississippi.

The Cherokee Nation v. The State of Georgia(1831).  30 US 1 – Supreme Court 1831. Google Scholar.

This court case was the first supreme court case that dealt with the Indian Removal Act, the Cherokee Indians, and the state of Georgia. It also is the one to declare the Indian nations as dependent nations, not states, or independent nations because of the Chief Justice; though their were a variety of opinions on the sovereignty of the Indians by the other supreme court justices. The court case was ultimately thrown out.  I will use it to help me say that the removal of the Indians form their lands was not strictly legal in the eyes of the supreme court at the time.

Worcester v. Georgia (1832). 31 US 515 – Supreme Court 1832. Goggle Scholar.

This court case was the second supreme court case that dealt with the Indian Removal Act, the Cherokee Indians, and the state of Georgia. I will use it to help me say that the removal of the Indians form their lands was not strictly legal in the eyes of the supreme court at the time.

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