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After the Trail of Tears: The Cherokees' Struggle for Sovereignty, 1839-1880 Paperback – January 1, 1994


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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

An expert chronicle of the final triumphs and troubles of the Cherokee Nation before its integrity was destroyed by the US Congress in the 1880's--and the crowning achievement in the distinguished career of the late McLoughlin (History and Religion/Brown). Forced in the 1830's to abandon ancestral lands in the Deep South, the Cherokees suffered terribly on the Trail of Tears but arrived in their new home west of the Mississippi with their national identity largely intact. Led by the mixed-blood John Ross, they encountered hostility from Cherokees already established in the area, and a bloody factional struggle ensued that was settled only by treaty in 1846. Rebuilding what they had lost during their removal, the unified Cherokee Nation established schools, farms, and towns, becoming stable without much help from Washington. But resentment of prospering, English-speaking mixed-bloods by more traditional (and poorer) full-bloods--who saw their heritage imperiled by the former's assimilationist tendencies--was fanned by the sectarian slave crisis in the US. Further bitter infighting erupted as Cherokees took sides during the Civil War and, after Ross's death in 1866, no leader of his stature emerged to safeguard sovereignty as successfully as he had. Under increasing pressure by railroad and other interests, the Cherokees saw their internal division continue to fester, ultimately leaving them unable to resist demands that their new homeland be turned into a territory for settlement. Tightly focused and painstakingly detailed, as well as deeply sympathetic: the definitive history of the Cherokees in their desperate last stand against white encroachment. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

McLoughlin's analysis of Cherokee politics is nuanced, critical, and acute.Mary Young, University of Rochester
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (January 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807844330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807844335
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,314,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
The continuing story of the Cherokees after their arrival in present day Oklahoma. A story of the conflicts both within and outside of the Cherokee Nation. The story of how the Cherokees battled to maintain their sovereignty and ultimately failed. Meticulously researched by McLoughlin through primary sources, an excellent history for anyone interested in Native American or Cherokee history. An typical example of what happened to all tribes in America.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Seth J. Frantzman HALL OF FAME on September 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book, as far as I know, is the only one that explores the fascinating history of the Cherokees after they reached Oklohoma. We all know of the 'trail of tears' where the cherokees were removed from Georgia and forced to march to Oklohoma. This book tells the great story of their attempts ot civilize the land. How they built homes how they bought slaves and how they fought with neighbooring indians(who looked like savages to the new americanized Cherokee). The Cherokees fought in the civil war and even fought civil wars among themselves. This book details the hatred of the pure blood cherokees for their brethen who seemed more white and scottish then the others. The cherokee nation then was oborbed into the state of oklohoma when the Indian territory was aboloshed. This is an extraordinary tail of a hitherto unknown american story about one of americas most talked about, but seldom understood and studied, indian tribes, the noble civilized cultured Cherokee(who so many people claim to be descended from that a modern Indian joke goes "what do you get when you have 40 Cherokees in one room? One full blooded Indian").
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read this book after reading another. John Ross is portrayed in quite a different light in each book. He is portrayed positively in this one. After reading both books I am under the impression that John Ross meant well but did several things wrong and was not respected by the U.S. government but instead exploited by them. He seemed to always do what was best for himself and say it was what was best for his people.
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Format: Paperback
What an amazing book! Histories of the Cherokee people tend to go up to the Removal and no further, as if Cherokee history ends at that point. Of course, that's not true. The Removal can possibly be said to be the most important single event in Cherokee history, although the event with the most damaging legacy is the passage of the Dawes and Curtis Acts collectively, as they illegally abrogated over two hundred years' worth of treaties between sovereign nations and ended the United States' recognition of the Cherokee tribe (as well as all others) as sovereign nations. Unfortunately, there are many, many fewer books about the Cherokee after the Removal than there are about the Cherokee before it.

This book goes a long way towards filling in the gap between the Removal and current times. As the title states, it specifically covers the years from 1839 to 1880 (the end date seemed rather arbitrary, but it was as good a place to stop as any). 1839 is the year that the Removal began, and although the author does cover it, it's really the starting point for McLoughlin's story of the Cherokee in their new homeland in Indian Territory.

For those who haven't read any Cherokee history whatsoever, this book may not be the best starting point. It doesn't absolutely require foreknowledge of major actors like The Ridge, his son John Ridge, John Ross, Elias Boudinot, Stand Watie and others of note, but it certainly is useful to have some of that knowledge even if it's only because it's easier to keep track of who's on which side. McLoughlin doesn't take a lot of time to build the back story, so it's probably not obvious why The Ridge was such a formidable leader and had so much influence even though he was never Principal Chief.
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After the Trail of Tears: The Cherokees' Struggle for Sovereignty, 1839-1880
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