Georgia, 1829: Laws of Conquest
Again, what is too costly to win by armed conflict is taken through laws written by and for the white man without any representation from the people who will suffer. Georgia passes a law that:
- Confiscates all Cherokee land to be distributed to white owners.
- Abolishes all authority of the Cherokee government and nullifies all Cherokee laws.
- Prohibits any gathering of Cherokee people, even for religious purposes.
- Makes it a crime, punishable by imprisonment, for any Cherokee to advise another not to emigrate.
- Declares void any contract between Indians and whites unless witnessed by two white men.
- Refuses the right of any Cherokee to testify in court against any white man.
- Specifically prohibits any Cherokee to dig gold in the Cherokee gold fields.
Chronicles of American Indian Protest, 113-114
Georgia, 1835: Preamble to Robbery
Artist depiction of the Trail of Tears
On December 2, the Georgia legislature passes a law withdrawing the right of occupancy on the land by the Cherokee and requiring their removal to the West. They carefully tell in the preamble the real reasons for their actions so that no one would think it is for greed for the land or hatred of the red skin.
…their primary object in the measures intended to be pursued, are founded on real humanity to these Indians, and with a view, in a distant region, to perpetuate them with their old identity of character, under the paternal care of the government of the United States; at the same time disavowing any selfish or sinister motives towards them in their present legislation.
Chronicles of American Indian Protest, 120