"The Indians may be led, but will not be drove": The Creek Nation's Struggle for Control of Its Destiny, 1783-1795
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History tends to portray the interactions between Euro-American settlers and native Indian Nations as one in which Euro-American settlers imposed dominance on the Indians. This work takes an in-depth look at the relationship between the Creek Nation and the Euro-American settlers of Georgia in the early years of the American republic and shows the Creeks in control of their own destiny, as well as the destiny of Georgia and the young republic. The core argument is that the nature of the Creek nation allowed them to maintain autonomy while affecting the physical development of the United States. From Massachusetts to Carolina various Native American nations had tried to fend off Euro-American expansion but were forced off their land in short order. The Creek Nation considered Georgia and its settlers to be usurpers without valid claim to Indian land, and put forth a near impenetrable defense of their claim for over a decade. The Creeks steadfastly maintained their claim to the land between the Ogeechee River and the Oconee River, and declared war to enforce the boundary on their terms. In their struggle, primarily with the state of Georgia, new leaders emerged and new polities replaced old traditions. This was a significant accomplishment when one considers the lack of any form of political unity around which to take a stand against the expansionist plans of Georgia. This study will show that the Creeks succeeded because a common determination united the nation in its opposition to Georgia’s attempts to take their land, while its political disunity prevented any group less than the whole from negotiating effectively concerning their land.