The Legal Ideology of Removal; The Southern Judiciary and the Sovereignty of Native American Nations.By Tim Alan Garrison.(Athens, Ga. University of Georgia Press, 2002).
In the 1830’s the myth of the west being a land of endless opportunity and freedom had
thousands of people migrating westward.This huge migration caused a demand for land.
Southerners thought that they would increase their wealth by relocating the Indians that lived in
the Southern States.Once the Indians were out of the picture the vast amounts of land they had
lived on could be bought and sold by Southerners.Most of the scholarship that you will find
relating to western migration and the removal of the Native Americans focus mainly on the
decisions of the US Supreme Court.In Tim Alan Garrison’s study, The Legal Ideology of
Removal:The Southern Judiciary and Sovereignty of Native American Nations, he uncovers the
role the southern state courts played in the Removal Crisis.He also points out how much the
southern judiciary influenced the origins of American Indian law.
Garrison does not use a chronological approach; instead, he uses a topical approach.This technique helps to clarify material that could have been very difficult to understand.With this
technique he was able to first give a brief history of this period and its problems, then later
describe each important event that helped to shape southern laws that eventually lead to the
removal of the Native Americans from the Southern States.Garrison’s use of hundreds of sources, including court cases, records from the National
Archives, records from numerous state archives, and books on tribal history, has helped him to
write a very accurate representation of this time in US history.His book is meant “to
demonstrate that ‘the law’ is not necessarily the product of the adversarial process
of competing rational arguments, but rather the consequence of social, cultural, economic, and
political forces” (p.12).Garrison even used quotes from people that were present and witnessed
the treatment of Indians during their removal.
Even though Garrison admits to having a deep sense of personal guilt because his ancestors acquired Cherokee land during one.