You are currently viewing “White Supremacy and Indian Removal”:Why the United States Dispossessed the Cherokees in the Age of Andrew Jackson

“White Supremacy and Indian Removal”:Why the United States Dispossessed the Cherokees in the Age of Andrew Jackson

Claudio Saunt is Richard B. Russell Professor in American History and Co-Director of the Center for Virtual History at the University of Georgia. He is the author of four books, including West of the Revolution (2014), Black, White, and Indian (2005), and A New Order of Things (1999). His most recent book, Unworthy Republic (2020), was awarded the Bancroft Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Praised by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Elizabeth Fenn as “a much-needed corrective to the American canon,” Unworthy Republic reveals how slave owners pushed to make the expulsion of indigenous Americans national policy in the 1830s and describes the chaotic and deadly results of the operation to deport 80,000 men, women, and children from their eastern homelands. Unworthy Republic “manages to do something truly rare,” writes Nick Romeo in the Washington Post: “destroy the illusion that history’s course is inevitable and recover the reality of the multiple possibilities that confronted contemporaries.” Dr. Saunt has also developed several online projects, including the Invasion of America and, with Elizabeth Fenn, Pox Americana. In 2018, he received an NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources grant to produce an online, interactive time-lapse map of the African, Native, and European populations in North America between 1500 and 1800.

Drawing on his award-winning book Unworthy Republic, Claudio Saunt will explore how and why the United States drove Native Americans from their eastern homelands in the 1830s. Dr. Saunt will discuss the political and economic forces behind the passage of the “Indian Removal Act” in 1830 and investigate why the United States and Georgia persisted in their efforts to expel Cherokees, even after white Americans had taken most of the South.

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