The Removal of the Cherokee Nation: Manifest Destiny or National Dishonor?

By Louis Filler; Allen Guttmann | Go to book overview

Wilson Lumpkin:


SPEECH BEFORE CONGRESS (MAY 17,1830)

Wilson Lumpkin remarks on the first page of his autobiography that his childhood on the Georgia frontier had been menaced by "frequent depredations from hostile and savage Indian neighbors. . . ."1 Childhood memories were reinforced when, from 1818 to 1821, he worked, as a United States Commissioner, among the Creek and Cherokee Indians. Lumpkin became increasingly determined to see the final removal of the Indians from the State of Georgia. As a member of John Clarke's faction of the Democratic Party, the faction of the backwoodsmen opposed to George Troup's plantation-owner faction, Lumpkin was an early and an ardent supporter of Andrew Jackson. Re-elected to Congress in the year of Jackson's rise to power, Lumpkin knew that the opportune moment had arrived, and he determined to make the most of it. As noted above, he played a major role in pushing the removal bill through committee and in defending this controversial bill on the floor of the House of Representatives.

AMONGST my earliest recollections are the walls of an old fort, which gave protection to the women and children from the tomahawk and scalping knife of the Indians. And let me inform you, that, while the Indians have receded thousands of miles before the civilized population, in other sections of the Union, the frontier of Georgia has comparatively remained stationary. My present residence is not more than one day's travel from the place of the old fort to which I alluded. It is but part of a day's travel from my residence to the line of the Cherokee country.

In entering upon this branch of my subject, I find it necessary to summon up all the powers of philosophy, to restrain feelings of indignation and contempt for those who are at this time straining every nerve and using every effort to perpetuate on the people whom I represent the evils which they have borne for so many years; and whatever has, or may be said to the contrary, I do verily believe that no other State of this Union would have submitted, with equal patriotism, to the many ills and wrongs which we have received at the

____________________
From Gales & Seaton Register of Debates in Congress, VI, Part 2, 1020-1023.
1
Wilson Lumpikin, The Removal of the Cherokee Indians from Georgia ( New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1907), I, 1.

-31-

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