The Moral High Ground
When tribal alcohol regulations challenged the U. S. government and generated interference in Cherokee internal affairs, the Cherokees strengthened their legal claims by asserting moral authority over drinking through their temperance activities. Evangelical missionaries, particularly those of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, assisted them. Although the pietistic Moravians had been in the Nation since the beginning of the nineteenth century, and evangelicals sporadically had attempted to convert the Cherokees, the missions established after the War of 1812 by the American Board (a Presbyterian/Congregationalist organization), Methodists, and Baptists introduced social reform as well as religious conversion. Cherokee laws regulating alcohol impressed them with Native morality. Failing to comprehend the fundamentally political nature of regulation, missionaries nevertheless came to embrace Cherokee nationalism in large part because of their perception of the Cherokee government's commitment to “civilization,” including temperance.
The emergence of the temperance movement in the Cherokee Nation coincided with the election of Andrew Jackson, who invigorated federal commitment to rid the East of Indians. In 1829, a reader who took the pen name of “Philanthro