He became Chief Justice in It resulted in a victory for three Amish families in rural Wisconsin who were testing the guarantee of religious freedom.
Background[ edit ] Samuel Austin Worcester was a missionary to the Cherokeetranslator of the Bible, printer, and defender of the Cherokee's sovereignty.
During this period, the westward push of European-American settlers from coastal areas was continually encroaching on Cherokee territory, even after they had made some land cessions to the US government. With the help of Worcester and his sponsor, the American Boardthey made a plan to fight the encroachment by using the courts.
They wanted to take a case to the US Supreme Court to define the relationship between the federal and state governments, and establish the sovereignty of the Cherokee nation.
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Hiring William Wirta former U. Tassel the court granted a writ of error for a Cherokee convicted in a Georgia court for a murder occurring in Cherokee territory, though the state refused to accept the writ and Cherokee Nation v.
Georgia the court dismissed this on technical grounds for lack of jurisdiction. Once the law had taken effect, Governor George Rockingham Gilmer ordered the militia to arrest Worcester and the others who signed the document and refused to get a license.
Nine accepted pardons, but Worcester and Elizur Butler declined their pardons, so the Cherokee could take the case to the Supreme Court. William Wirt argued the case, but Georgia refused to have a legal counsel represent it, claiming that no Indian could drag it into court.
Ruling[ edit ] Chief Justice John Marshall laid out in this opinion that the relationship between the Indian Nations and the United States is that of nations. He reasoned that the United States, in the character of the federal government, inherited the rights of Great Britain as they were held by that nation.
Those rights, he stated, include the sole right to deal with the Indian nations in North America, to the exclusion of any other European power. This did not include the rights of possession to their land or political dominion over their laws.
He acknowledged that the exercise of conquest and purchase can give political dominion, but those are in the hands of the federal government, and individual states had no authority in American Indian affairs.
Georgia's statute was therefore invalid. Marshall's language in Worcester may have been motivated by his regret that his earlier opinions in Fletcher v. Peck and Johnson v.
M'Intosh had been used as a justification for Georgia's actions. Joseph Story considered it similarly, writing in a letter to his wife dated March 4, Inthe newly elected governor, Wilson Lumpkinoffered to pardon Worcester and Butler if they ceased their activities among the Cherokee.
The two complied and were freed under the authority of a January 14, general proclamation by Georgia Governor Wilson Lumpkin,  not a formal pardon. Worcester resumed his ministry, continued translating the Bible into Cherokee, and established the first printing press in that part of the United States, working with the Cherokee to publish their newspaper.
Later events[ edit ] Because Jackson proceeded with Cherokee removalWorcester did not aid indigenous rights at the time. Forced migration of Indians via the Trail of Tears was one result.
In popular culture[ edit ].© All Rights Reserved. Jun 27, · The Supreme Court Wednesday sided with Florida in its decades-long fight with Georgia over water rights, sending the case back to a special master.
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