Georgia History 101
Georgia's western border reached the Chattahoochee
in 1819. That same year Alabama joined
the United States, essentially surrounding the Cherokee
and Creek Nations. Georgia
was looking to expand into the area they controlled; in fact, it
was a major campaign platform from 1823
on. To protect itself the Cherokee began a movement towards nationalism
that saw the creation of a republic with a bicameral legislature
similar to the United States. Further to the south the Creek Nation
was coming under similar pressure.
In 1825 Governor George
Troup negotiated the Treaty of Indian Springs with William McIntosh,
a mixed blood Creek who stood to gain a plantation on the Chattahoochee
River. Although the federal government attempted to get involved,
The Treaty of Indian Springs would mean the end of the
Upper Creek in Georgia.
In 1828 gold was discovered
near Dukes Creek in White
County, Georgia, on a belt that ran southwest into the Cherokee
Nation. As word of the discovery reached Georgia's coast, men and
machinery poured into the area. America's first gold
rush began. Georgia increased pressure on these Americans to
cede their land and move West.
One of the reasons Georgia felt confident in moving
against the Cherokee was the election of Andrew Jackson as President
of the United States in 1828. Jackson pushed the Indian Removal
Act through a divided Congress in 1830.
The act meant the Lower Creek still living in Georgia had to move
west to present-day Oklahoma. It meant the same thing to the Cherokee.
The Cherokee fought Jackson in the court; a Supreme
Court ruling gave the Cherokee status as a nation. Only the federal
government, under the Treaty Clause of the constitution, could deal
with a sovereign nation. In 1835 the Jackson
Administration got what it wanted -- the Treaty of New Echota. Some
500 Cherokee out of an estimated 16,000 signed the treaty which
was ratified by the Senate. In 1838 the
federal roundup of the Cherokee began. This was the start of the
Trail of Tears
Jackson had been popular in Georgia because of his
anti-Indian stance but a number of crisis during his administration
created bitter resentment in the state. John C. Calhoun, a native
son of South Carolina and a popular figure in north Georgia, supported
the concept of nullification, the right of any state to "nullify"
a federal law. When the South was burdened with an unpopular tariff
in 1833 South Carolina attempted to nullify the law and Jackson
moved troops to Charleston. A constitutional crisis was averted
when the tariff was repealed.
One effect of this crisis was to divide Georgia
along pro-Union and States Rights lines (almost everybody was anti-tariff).
While Georgians in the north were pro-Union (hence the name Union
County), coastal and southern Georgians felt that Georgia had
the right to secede from the nation if they were unhappy. The seeds
of Civil War had been sown. It would be 28 years before they would
Georgia's expansion to the west and north could
not be accomplished with traditional transportation. Rivers and
roads took time to move raw goods to market and finished goods to
consumers. Senator Wilson Lumpkin realized that a new invention,
the railroad, could be the answer to transportation problems created
by moving inland. First as governor, then as President of the Western
and Atlantic Railroad, Lumpkin helped overcome the dependence on
these modes of transportation.
Introduction of the railroad changed the face of
Georgia. From its beginning as a rowdy town of rail-hands and prostitutes
of Atlanta), located at a crossroads of rail systems
in the Southeast, grew quickly to a major producer of many of manufactured
goods. Other towns along the railroads began to grow as well, including
Macon and Rome (history
From 1837 until 1845
Georgia suffered through one of the worst depressions in our nation's
history. When the dark economic clouds lifted the state began a
steady growth until the Civil War. During this time national problems
began to surpass the problems of the state in the minds of many
residents. The future of slavery was one of these issues.
Throughout the 1850's a policy of appeasement and
compromise permeated the United States of America. Slowly the state's
population shifted westward. In the center of Georgia a new city,
Atlanta, was taking shape. New not only in life span but in concept:
Atlanta would become the first great inland city in the world, not
built as a port but as a terminal.
and the Civil War
Our Georgia History: History 101 index
Georgia's Indian Heritage
The Age of Exploration in Georgia
The America Revolution in Georgia
Georgia and the Civil War
Georgia's Gilded Age
A State Divided
Depression and War
Return to Index