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A Trail of Tears

By solemn treaty, the Cherokee Nation has been granted rights to a large region in Georgia, forever... that is until gold is found. Then... somehow... "forever" is redefined to mean, "Get the heck off this land and move to Oklahoma." (Oklahoma is designated as "Indian Territory.") A few Cherokee Indians escape to the Smokey Mountains, and others, who had bought private plots of land, are allowed to stay. 2,000 Indians volunteer to move to Oklahoma, and are transported by water, but as many as 16,000 are force-marched out of Georgia. They will lose approximately 4,000 to disease and exposure, mostly in Illinois. The Cherokee call it the Trail of Tears. Many tribes have followed similar trails and shed their own tears. Due to the Indian Removal Act of 1830, a couple of Supreme Court decisions and what can only be described as outright cheating, the Indians tribes have been pushed off to Oklahoma... the final, true land set aside for the Indians in perpetuity... that is, until oil is discovered there. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK... I've painted a bad picture of the US government, and in many ways it deserves it. I'd like to stop there, but in fairness, it looks like a dispute between state rights and federal rights. Georgia wanted the Indians out and the Feds didn't want to enforce their rights which might have sparked a civil war. (We got one anyway, but that is hindsight talking.) On the whole and generally speaking, the Indians got the worst of it when confronting settlers migrating west and most of the US official abuse looks like an I-don't-give-a-crap-anymore attitude. This was due in part to viewing the Indians as savages or because the government did not understand leaderless organizations. (Frankly, they do not understand them today.) The Indians had "chiefs" but making a deal with "the chief" wouldn't always stick if the "young bucks" wouldn't go along. I can hear the objection now... "But Alex! What about defending property rights?" Historically speaking, the Indians used two strategies for survival against settler encroachment. The most successful was to use the "scolding houses" as they called the courts. Maintaining one's property rights is a "scolding house" strategy. Buying plots of land and defending their right to property worked better than claiming a national right to lands in perpetuity. Nations can be conquered and then "the nation" belongs to the conqueror. It's not pretty, but it happens a lot. However, in those days even property rights wouldn't have protected the Indians completely. Laws only work when they are for everyone and in case no one has noticed, laws seems to be enforced selectively even today. (I'm looking at YOU, Hillary!) [3] [4]

The Missouri Mormon War

LDS Church members or "Mormons" as they are often called, have been moving west. Their leader, Joseph Smith, has prophesied a New Zion in Missouri. (Technically speaking, a prophesy is not a prediction. It is more like an authoritative message.) The recent financial panic across the nation has caused a sudden collapse of a stock company in Ohio organized by LDS members. They exit Ohio and head for Far West, Missouri... part of New Zion. Missouri is a slave state, but most LDS members are outspokenly anti-slavery and they vote accordingly. With their rapid growth, they are changing the balance of power and have become the targets of violence. In response, a secret guerrilla group called the Danites strike back. As tensions mount, Captain Bogart and the Missouri Militia are sent out. The Captain makes a dog's breakfast of disarming several Mormon residents. Rumors reach Far West of a wild mob about to massacre the Mormons. Armed men quickly organize to meet the trouble. Near Crooked Creek, a Mormon scout runs into a Militia sentry. Shots are fired and when when the dust settles, 1 Militiaman lays dead and another stabbed through the mouth with a sword. Word is sent to Governor Boggs that half of Bogart's company has been mutilated and massacred. Governor Boggs directs the Militia to exterminate or remove all Mormons from the state. The Militia choose "remove", but it is not pretty. After trials for treason, signing over their property, and paying the Militia for their trouble, Mormon families are turned out into the cold. They head for Commerce, Illinois and buy the town. They will rename it Nauvoo, meaning "beautiful". (In Hebrew, it is pronounced Navu or Novu in this context.) By 1844, the population will grow to the size of Chicago of the day. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is tempting to think that the persecution of the Latter Day Saints was due entirely to religious differences, and that was a large part of it, but with the sharp uptick in the population and a lot of bad money being passed around, people were suspicious of the stranger. Although it seems reasonable for a people to form their own protection group, when it was announced the Mormons would be doing this, non-LDS folks were extremely jumpy and believed almost every rumor. The anti-abolitionist groups were terrorists by another name and as I reported in the previous year, Elijah Lovejoy was murdered by anti-abolitionists FROM MISSOURI simply for expressing his opinion in his newspaper PRINTED IN ILLINOIS. There were lawyers willing to protect the rights of minorities, but they often faced armed mobs themselves. In one case, Attorney David Rice Atchison who was also a captain of a Militia company, escorted several Mormon leaders to Independence, Missouri so that a judge could hear their petition for redress, but it became too dangerous for them, even under guard. Atchison marched them out of the city to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy and that was that. He later became a Senator. [11]

Final note: This is a complex subject. If I missed something, don't get angry. Just send an email to AlexShruggedHistory at gmail dot com. I like you guys. I don't want to piss you off, but if you think I got something wrong and you don't let me know, it's on you.

The Pastry War

As you no doubt recall, Texas beat the tar out of General Santa Anna last year. He is in retirement now, but before he came to Texas, he was struggling with revolutions throughout Mexico. The fighting back and forth naturally produced a lot of rubble, and a little French pastry shop in Mexico City was damaged and looted. We know it was French because it was owned by a Frenchman named Remontel and he identified Mexican officers as the culprits in the looting. He demanded compensation, but he was rebuffed, so he wrote to the King of France and unburdened himself to the King. The King then wrote to President Bustamante of Mexico demanding compensation for his subject to the tune of 600,000 pesos. In modern terms this translates into "No-Way, José" or slightly less than "un-FREAKIN-believable". Bustamante naturally refuses, and all Hell breaks loose. The French start a blockade of Mexican ports so the Mexicans use Corpus Christi Bay to smuggle goods in and out. The Texans don't want a war with France, so they shut down the smugglers and patrol the coastline. Finally, General Santa Anna is called out of retirement, but all he gets for his trouble is his leg shot off by the French. It is buried with full military honors, and he will parlay his sacrifice back to the halls of power. Bustamante will pay the 600,000 pesos early next year. [12]

In Other News

  • Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom is crowned. Thus begins the Victorian Age, although some historians date its beginning from 1832 when reforms were enacted to reduce election abuses. [13] [14]
  • The Father of the National Weather Service is born. Cleveland Abbe will use the telegraph to collect weather reports and make reasonably accurate predictions using probability and statistics. [14] [15]
  • John Wilkes Booth is born in Maryland. He will assassinate President Abraham Lincoln at the Ford Theater on April 14th, 1865, 5 days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox. [14] [16]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1838, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Trail of Tears - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 28 July 2016. “The Cherokee removal in 1838 (the last forced removal east of the Mississippi) was brought on by the discovery of gold near Dahlonega, Georgia in 1828, resulting in the Georgia Gold Rush. Approximately 2,000-6,000 of the 16,543 relocated Cherokee perished along the way.”
  2. Brown, Dee Alexander. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Bantam Books. ISBN 9781453275139. “During the autumn of 1838, General Winfield Scott's soldiers rounded them up and concentrated them into camps. (A few hundred escaped to the Smoky Mountains and many years later were given a small reservation in North Carolina.) From the prison camps they were started westward to Indian Territory. On the long winter trek, one of every four Cherokees died from cold, hunger, or disease. They called the march their 'trail of tears.'” 
  3. LeMaster, Michelle (April 2006). "In the "Scolding Houses": Indians and the Law in Eastern North Carolina, 1684-1760". The North Carolina Historical Review (North Carolina Office of Archives and History) 83 (2): 193-232. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23523091. Retrieved 22 December 2015. 
  4. Statement by FBI Director James B. Comey on the Investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Use of a Personal E-Mail System. FBI (OFFICIAL SITE) (2016). Retrieved on 29 July 2016. “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now. As a result, although the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this, we are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case.”
  5. 1838 Mormon War - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 21 July 2016. “The Mormon War is a name sometimes given to the 1838 conflict which occurred between Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and their neighbors in the northwestern region of the US state of Missouri. This conflict is also sometimes referred to as the Missouri Mormon War to differentiate it from the Utah Mormon War (also known as the 'Utah War') and the lesser known Illinois Mormon War.”
  6. Beam, Alex. American Crucifixion: The Murder Of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church. PublicAffairs. “By 1838, the Saints found themselves unwelcome in Kirtland. The nationwide financial Panic of 1837 had wiped out their oddball financial institution, the 'Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company,' impoverishing Gentile and Mormon investors alike. The decidedly unsafe Safety Society had declared itself a non-bank because Ohio refused to charter a real Mormon bank. The society ran out of money within three weeks of its founding.” 
  7. Battle of Crooked River - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 29 July 2016. “Although the battle resulted in only four fatalities and the mutilation of Samuel Tarwater, the effect was a massive escalation of the Mormon War. Exaggerated reports of the Mormon incursion into Daviess County and the battle (some claiming that half of Bogart's men had been lost) made their way to Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs, who responded by calling out 2,500 state militiamen to put down what he perceived to be open rebellion by the Mormons. This so-called 'extermination order' commanded that the Mormons must be 'exterminated, or driven from the state,' and directed the militia to carry this into effect.”
  8. Hamer, John C. (Fall 2012). "Mapping Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint Movement: 2011 Presidential Address John Whitmer Historical Association". The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal (John Whitmer Historical Association (JWHA)) 32 (2): 1-35. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43201311. Retrieved 28 July 2016. "Meanwhile, opposition within Missouri necessitated two major migrations within that state« In 1833-34, non-Mormons drove the Saints out of Jackson County; The bulk took refuge in Clay County, but were subsequently asked to relocate to a proposed Mormon county north of Ray in 1834-35 (the only migration that included both carrot and stick). Finally, although Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon fled Ohio to escape debts and lawsuits resulting from their failed attempt to create a bank, the bulk of their loyalists followed them to Missouri voluntarily (i,e,, without being 'driven' from the state). By contrast, church members actually were driven from Missouri and later from Nauvoo, Illinois.". 
  9. Gentry, Leland H. (Summer 1974). "Danite Band of 1838, The". Brigham Young University Studies (Brigham Young University) 14 (4): 421-450. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43044933. Retrieved 28 July 2016. "Near the conclusion of the Mormon occupation of Missouri, late in 1838 to be exact, several leading men of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were arrested and charged with treason. The court hearing that followed produced abundant testimony regarding the existence in Mormon circles of a secret, oath-bound organization known as the "Danite Band." But most of the corroborative evidence concerning the existence of the group came from men opposed to Joseph Smith and his close associates in the leadership of the Church.". 
  10. Nauvoo, Illinois - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 29 July 2016. “In late 1839, arriving Mormons bought the small town of Commerce and in April 1840 it was renamed Nauvoo[1] by Joseph Smith, who led the Latter Day Saints to Nauvoo to escape conflict with the state government in Missouri. The name Nauvoo is derived from the traditional Hebrew language with an anglicized spelling. The word comes from Isaiah 52:7, 'How beautiful upon the mountains...' It is notable that 'by 1844 Nauvoo's population had swollen to 12,000, rivaling the size of Chicago' at the time.”
  11. Anderson, Richard Lloyd (Summer 1986). "Atchison's Letters and the Causes of Mormon Expulsion from Missouri". Brigham Young University Studies (Brigham Young University) 26 (3): 3-47. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43041123. Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  12. Pastry War - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 29 July 2016. “When president Anastasio Bustamante made no payment, the king of France ordered a fleet under Rear Admiral Charles Baudin to declare and carry out a blockade of all Mexican ports from Yucatán to the Rio Grande, to bombard the Mexican fortress of San Juan de Ulúa, and to seize the city of Veracruz, which was the most important port on the Gulf coast. French forces captured virtually the entire Mexican Navy at Veracruz by December 1838”
  13. Victorian era - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 29 July 2016. “Some scholars date the beginning of the period in terms of sensibilities and political concerns to the passage of the Reform Act 1832.”
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 404-405. 
  15. Cleveland Abbe - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 29 July 2016. “While director of the Cincinnati Observatory in Cincinnati, Ohio, he developed a system of telegraphic weather reports, daily weather maps, and weather forecasts. In 1870, Congress established the U.S. Weather Bureau and inaugurated the use of daily weather forecasts. In recognition of his work, Abbe, who was often referred to as 'Old Probability' for the reliability of his forecasts, was appointed the first head of the new service, and is considered the father of the National Weather Service.”
  16. Abraham Lincoln - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 29 July 2016. “Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, while attending a play at Ford's Theatre as the American Civil War was drawing to a close. The assassination occurred five days after the surrender of Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.”

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