Defining Terms: Sovereignty

Sovereignty is a nation’s right to self governance. In the Supreme Court’s opinion on Worcester vs. Georgia (written by Justice Marshall), the Cherokee were recognized as a sovereign entity. The ruling cited previous treaties that were entered into, saying “[the] treaties the United States of America acknowledge…[the] Cherokee Nation by which that Nation was acknowledged to be a sovereign nation, authorized to govern themselves.” It specifically references the “the treaties of Hopewell and Holston” as being of particular force. President Jackson, however, refused to enforce this decision and he went ahead with Indian Removal.


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