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Manifesting AmericaThe Imperial Construction of U.S. National Space$
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Mark Rifkin

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195387179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387179.001.0001

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Representing the Cherokee Nation

Representing the Cherokee Nation

Imperial Power and Elite Interests in the Remaking of Cherokee Governance

(p.37) 1 Representing the Cherokee Nation
Manifesting America

Mark Rifkin (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the texts of Cherokee national governance in the 1810s and 1820s (statutes, the Constitution, and memorials to the U.S.), illustrating how they both respond to U.S. pressures and help consolidate the authority of an elite. Under pressure to speak as a "nation" (a centralized political entity with police powers over its population) so that the U.S. could claim consent for land cessions in treaties, the Cherokees developed a constitutional government modelled on that of the U.S. While the institutions of nationalism resisted removal, they also altered the dynamics of Cherokee governance and political self-representation. Using the notion of passive revolution, the chapter explores how administrative discourses and practices of Cherokee nationalism became a vehicle for those Cherokees literate in English and familiar with U.S. law to support forms of market capitalism and patriarchal inheritance at the expense of traditional town and clan formations.

Keywords:   Cherokee nationalism, passive revolution, town and clan, elite, Cherokee memorials

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