His 100 Research Essay #2: Documents of Cherokee Society Due: in your discussion section, Friday, October 29

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His 100

Research Essay #2: Documents of Cherokee Society

Due: in your discussion section, Friday, October 29


1) Read Theda Perdue, “The Cherokees and U.S. Indian Policy,” pp. 1-23, available through Electronic Reserve (see directions for accessing E-Reserve documents on the reverse of this sheet). This article, written by a historian of the Cherokees, will provide you with the necessary background for understanding the primary source documents below. You should read this article before proceeding any further.
2) Then, choose one of the two research topics listed below and follow the corresponding directions.
3) Write a 2-3 page, double-spaced essay based on that topic that includes the following elements:
*a clear and coherent argument

*examples from the sources, including quotes

*proper footnote citations for those examples (see course website for citation assistance)

*clear organization and writing (spelling and grammar matter!)

Note: This is an exercise in reading primary sources. Your essay should focus on what these sources tell you about the Cherokees – you should not do any outside research.

Topic #1: Cherokee Society Before Removal

Choose one of the two primary sources listed below. What does this source reveal about Cherokee society prior to removal? Read the source carefully, and, as you read, interpret what you can about the everyday lives and concerns of Cherokee men and women.

  1. Selections from the Laws of the Cherokee Nation, 1829-1835 (pp. 131-179).

2) Cherokee Census of 1835 – [Note on this source-- The census was commissioned by the U.S. government in 1835, and the entries included here represent only a small fraction of the 16,642 Cherokees recorded. The men and women listed here lived in Hamilton County, TN. Note that the term “houses” probably meant barns, stables, smokehouses, and other such structures, in addition to homes. The term “mechanics” referred to blacksmiths or carpenters.]


Topic #2: Perspectives on the Cherokee Removal

How did the Cherokees respond to removal? Read all three of the documents below. Each document deals with the Treaty of New Echota of 1835, which ceded Cherokee territory to the U.S. and committed the Cherokees to removal to present-day Oklahoma. Read the treaty and then compare and contrast the viewpoints of the two writers below. Why might they have reached different conclusions?

1) “Treaty with the Cherokees,” 1835 – These excerpts from the Treaty of New Echota will help you understand the following two readings.

2) Chief John Ross, “Letter in Answer to Inquiries from a Friend,” July 2, 1836 – Although this sounds like a personal letter, Ross published this as a pamphlet, and it was later published in many newspapers. Ross was the principal chief of the Cherokees from 1828 until he died in 1866.
3) Elias Boudinot, “Letters and Other Papers Relating to Cherokee Affairs: Being a Reply to Sundry Publications by John Ross,” 1837 – This is a pamphlet published by Boudinot as a reply to John Ross. Boudinot was a Cherokee who, after being educated in New England, returned to the Cherokee nation and became the editor of the Cherokee Phoenix. He signed the Treaty of New Echota.

How to access these primary sources:

All of the sources listed above are available through electronic reserve (or E-Reserve). Go to https://ereserves.albany.edu/ or to the “Electronic Reserve” link on the main menu of the HIS 100 course webpage. (You can also find electronic reserve from the main University Library webpage.) Search for the History Department, and then look for the listing for this section of His 100. Type in “his100tay” when asked for a password, and a list of documents will appear. You may download any of the documents listed above from this page.

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