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Cherokee Constitution

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July 26, 1827 - New Echota, Calhoun

In the 1820s, the Cherokee nation was carving out a permanent, sovereign home within the United States.
Using Sequoyah’s Cherokee syllabary, the tribe could boast almost total literacy. Written laws led to the formation of a Cherokee Supreme Court. New Echota, near present day Calhoun, was established as the authorized capital of the Cherokee nation, and the home of the Cherokee National Council. In 1827, the Cherokee nation adopted a Constitution modeled on that of the United States, with executive, legislative, and judicial branches, adapted for Cherokee needs. It was designed to solidify the tribe’s sovereignty and resist white encroachment and removal -- and to counter white stereotyping of Indians as savages.
The constitution proved controversial with both other Cherokee, who saw it as a threat to tradition, and the state of Georgia, which thought it threatened its sovereignty over the tribe.
Georgia continued, and succeeded in, its relentless pursuit of Cherokee removal, despite the Constitution adopted on July 26, 1827, Today in Georgia History.

Fast Fact

The Cherokees had a higher literacy rate than white residents of Georgia in the 1820s.

Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.