The City Where Andrew Jackson Looms Largest

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It is, of course, New Orleans, which Jackson defended in the War of 1812. Slightly east of the city in 1815, he wrecked a professional British army with his improvised force of amateurs. It was considered an act of divine Providence in its time.  Today it is possible to ascribe the victory to more prosaic […]

“Chiefin'”: 1960’s Tourism in Cherokee Country

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From Randy Ford, Cherokee, North Carolina: “During our vacation visits to the Smoky Mountains in the summer, my grandfather loved to talk about his Cherokee ancestor. He always made sure we had a picture made with one of the Cherokees at a souvenir stand. I later learned that they refer to this as ‘Chiefin.’ It […]

The Wooden Indian in a Former Indian Settlement

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  This is a scene from the city of Rome, in north Georgia.  In the 19th century this was Cherokee country, a mostly aagricultural area. The nearest settlement was called Ridge’s Ferry. Major Ridge, a prominent Cherokee planter, owned the ferry as well as a store and his plantation house, surrounded by fields where his enslaved laborers […]

The Defensive Wall That Became a Trap

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  This illustration shows the wall Creek Indians built for defense before the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814. It was drawn for “Archaeological Investigations at Horseshoe Bend, National Military Park, Alabama” by Roy S. Dickens, a book that examined the surviving evidence at the scene of one of General Andrew Jackson’s great military triumphs. Creek […]

The Record of Opposition

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This is a petition by Cherokees to be allowed to keep their land in the 1830’s. It is preserved among many other petitions in a metal box at the National Archives in Washington; and this amazing document helps to decode much of the battle over Indian land in the Southeast. The first clue is in the […]

A Cherokee 4th of July

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Annual 4th of July Powwow, photographed by nan wyatt, Cherokee, North Carolina: “John Ross embraced real democracy and the Cherokee do today as they celebrate this country. i was struck on the 4th of July last year by what seems to be such an incredible paradox. i am constantly in awe of the dignity and grace, […]

Jackson on the Rearing Horse

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  This is the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Park in front of the White House in Washington, DC. Completed by Clark Mills in the 1850’s, it has been part of every President’s view ever since. (The bird is not actually part of the statue.) This is one of several Jackson statues in similar poses. Another […]

John Ross’s Home, Near a Crossing Point Between Worlds

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From Teddy Harris, Rossville, Georgia: “I am the Mayor of Rossville and I took this photo this past February.” This gorgeous photo offers some sense of what it might have looked like to approach John Ross’s house in the early 1800’s. (Taken from another angle, a photo might show a coin laundry or even the […]

Elizabeth Jackson’s Words of Wisdom to Her Son

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From Belyna Bentlage of Indiana, a photo taken while visiting Charleston, South Carolina: “This stone marker, found on the campus of the College of Charleston, shows advice Elizabeth Jackson gave her son ‘Andy,’ the future 7th president of the United States: “Andy, never tell a lie, nor take what is not your own, nor sue […]

The Shifting Racial Identity of John Ross

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This is John Ross, who in 1828 was elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Ross was a man of mixed race. He lived for years near the border between the Cherokee Nation and the “whiteside,” as he sometimes called the territory of white settlers. And in an era when Cherokees commonly wore white styles […]