old had been discovered in Georgia in 1828, resulting in a Democrat-controlled Congress rushing through
the Indian Removal Act
, which passed by a single vote in 1830.
It was signed by Democrat President Andrew Jackson and carried out by
Democrat President Martin Van Buren.
Though unauthorized by the Tribe, prominent
Cherokees John Ridge
and Elias Boudinot felt Indian removal was inevitable and negotiated with Washington politicians to sign the
Treaty of New Echota of 1835
publisher of the
- the first newspaper published by an American Indian tribe - wrote in editorials that the removal was unavoidable.
Indian removal was opposed by the
Scot-Cherokee Chief John Ross
, founder of Ross' Landing in Tennessee, which was later renamed
Over 12,000 Cherokees
signed a petition in protest of
the Indian Removal Act.
Condemning the Federal Government's mandate were members of the
National Republican Party
Rep. Abraham Lincoln
Senator Henry Clay
Senator Daniel Webster
Senator Theodore Frelinghuysen
Tennessee Congressmen Davy Crockett
gave an impassioned speech in defense of the Indians.
were largely Christian and even had their own language and alphabet, created in 1821 by Cherokee silversmith
, such as
, led resistance to the Federal Government's removal of the Indians, with many missionaries being arrested by the State of Georgia and sentenced to years of hard labor.
Christian missionaries Samuel Worcester and Elizur Butler
were arrested for their opposition to Indian removal and their case went to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chief Justice John Marshall
ruled in favor of the
Worcester v. Georgia
(1832), writing that the Cherokee Nation was a "distinct community" with self-government "in which the laws of Georgia can have no force."
Justice Joseph Story
wrote March 4, 1832:
"Thanks be to God, the Court can wash their hands clean of the iniquity of oppressing the Indians and disregarding their rights."
Noting that the Supreme Court had no power to enforce its edicts, but had to rely on the President to actually implement them,
Democrat President Jackson
was attributed with saying:
"John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!"
American Minute - Notable Events of American Significance Remembered on the Date They Occurred
Indian leader George W. Harkins wrote a Farewell to the American People, 1831:
"Having determined to emigrate west of the Mississippi river this fall, I have thought proper in bidding you farewell...
rather chose to suffer and be free, than live under the degrading influence of laws, which our voice could not be heard in their formation."
Alexis de Tocqueville
, the French philosopher, witnessed the
removals while in
in 1831, writing:
"In the whole scene there was an air of ruin and destruction, something which betrayed a final and irrevocable adieu; one couldn't watch without feeling one's heart wrung.
The Indians were tranquil, but sombre and taciturn. There was one who could speak English and of whom I asked why the
were leaving their country. 'To be free,' he answered."
General John E. Wool had sympathy for the Indians and hesitated carrying out the inhumane removal, resulting in Democrat President Martin Van Buren replacing him with General Winfield Scott.
46,000 Indians were removed by 1837.
Then came the freezing weather of 1838-1839.
The last 17,000 Cherokee Indians were forcibly removed by the Federal Government
from Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina to the Oklahoma territory.
Samuel Carter wrote in
Cherokee Sunset: A Nation Betrayed: A Narrative of Travail and Triumph, Persecution and Exile
, First Edition (Doubleday, 1976):
"Then...there came the reign of terror.
From the jagged-walled stockades the troops fanned out across the Nation, invading every hamlet, every cabin, rooting out the inhabitants at bayonet point.
The Cherokees hardly had time to realize what was happening as they were prodded like so many sheep toward the concentration camps, threatened with knives and pistols, beaten with rifle butts if they resisted."
Christians ministered to the Indians along the trail, bringing them food and blankets.
Not able give their dead a full burial, they simply sang
, resulting in that song being considered as a
"Cherokee National Anthem."
President Ronald Reagan commemorated the estimated 5,000 who died from the Federal Government's policy by designating the
"Trail of Tears"
a National Historic Trail in 1987.
, which is the Choctaw word for "red people," became home to the
Five Civilized Tribes: Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, Cherokee
; and other tribes who had been forcibly moved there.
The remaining territory opened for settlement with a gunshot at high noon on
APRIL 22, 1889
, beginning the famous
Oklahoma Land Rush
Within 9 hours some two million acres became the private property of settlers who staked their claims for
160 acres to homestead
Riding as fast as they could, many found desirable plots already taken by
who began intruding ten years earlier, and
individuals who entered the territory just days or hours sooner than was permitted.
, a brother of Cherokee Chief John Ross, was drilling for saltwater-brine to use as a food preservative and found a pocket of oil that produced ten barrels of oil a day for nearly a year.
In 1890, near the town
Chelsea, Rogers County, Oklahoma
, Edward Byrd drilled and found oil at a depth of only 36 feet, but was hampered by severe government regulations.
In 1897, the well "Nellie Johnstone No. 1" was drilled in
, and struck oil at 1,320 feet, beginning the
Oklahoma Oil Boom
Oil production rose quickly and impetus grew for
to become the
Within 10 years, Oklahoma became the largest oil-producing entity in the world.
The oil industry saved the whale from extinction
, as prior to petroleum fossil fuel, the major source of oil was from
killed whales for their blubber
from which oil was extracted.
remained the leading oil producing State into the 1920's, hitting its peak in 1930.
In 1938, Standard Oil of California struck oil in Saudi Arabia.
This began a shift in world politics as Saudi Arabia used it new wealth to become the main sponsor of extremist Wahhabi Islam worldwide.
Due to technological innovations in extracting oil,
Oklahoma rebounded again as a major producers till Saudi Arab began to flood the market with inexpensive oil.
The Preamble of the Oklahoma State Constitution states:
Invoking the guidance of Almighty God
, in order to secure and
perpetuate the blessing of liberty
; to secure just and rightful government; to promote our mutual welfare and happiness, we, the people of the State of Oklahoma, do ordain and establish this Constitution."
America's God and Country
Oklahoma State Constitutional Convention
of Rogers County.
William Penn Adair 'Will' Rogers
became a popular 1920's radio and movie star.
was offered the nomination to be
, but he declined.
"I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts."
"If you ever injected truth into politics you'd have no politics."
"The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has."
"If we ever pass out as a great nation we ought to put on our tombstone 'America died from a delusion that she had moral leadership.'"
With his cowboy philosopher wit,
"The Lord constituted everybody that no matter what color you are, you require the same amount of nourishment."
"Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip."
"Lord, let me live until I die,"
"The trouble with our praying is, we just do it as a means of last resort."