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

By Louis Filler; Allen Guttmann | Go to book overview

George M. Troup:


THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE STATES

Born near the Tombigbee River in that part of Georgia which eventually became Alabama, and educated at Princeton College, George M. Troup was the political leader of the anti-Clarke and anti-Lumpkin men in Georgia. His strongest following came from the coastal counties, from the merchants and planters. During the crisis over the removal of the Cherokees, Troup was serving as United States Senator. Since Troup, like Lumpkin, supported Andrew Jackson in the war against the rechartering of the Second Bank of the United States (and was also known as a "States' Rights Democrat"), outsiders were puzzled by the complexities of Georgia politics. ("We know not," wrote Hezekiah Niles in his Register, "what they differ about, but they do violently differ.") One thing was clear. Both factions were determined to see the final removal of the Indian tribes. Both factions were determined to carry out this policy in the face of all opposition.

Washington, 5th March, 1832.

DEAR sirs:--The people of Georgia will receive with indignant feelings, as they ought, the recent decision of the supreme court, so flagrantly violative of their sovereign rights. I hope the people will treat it, however, as becomes them; with moderation--dignity, and firmness; and so treating it, Georgia will be unhurt by what will prove it to be a brutum fulmen. The judges know you will not yield obedience to mandates, and they may desire pretexts for the enforcement of them, which I trust you will not give.

The chief magistrate of the United States will perform all his constitutional duties; but he will not lend himself to party to perform more. He will, if I mistake not, defend the sovereignty of the states, as he would the sovereignty of the union; and if the blow be aimed equally at him and at us, it would be ungenerous, by an improvident act of ours, to make him the victim of the common enemy.

The jurisdiction claimed over one portion of our population may very soon be asserted over another; and in both cases they will be sustained by the fanatics of the north. Very soon, therefore, things must come to their worst; and if in the last resort we need defenders, we will find them every where among the honest men of the country; whom a just and wise conduct will rally to our banner--for the rest we care nothing. Dear sirs, very respectively yours, G. M. TROUP

____________________
George M. Troup, "The Sovereignty of the States: An Open Letter to the Georgia Journal" ( March 5, 1832), as printed in Niles's Register, XLII ( March 31, 1832), 78.

-79-

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