Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory

Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory

by Claudio Saunt


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An excellently researched and significant account of how white-supremacist ideology and the economic interests of slaveholding states shaped the political and legislative actions of 1830s America that resulted in the expulsion of Native Americans from their lands east of the Mississippi River. Saunt brings new and devastating perspective on the historical impacts of power, caste, race and corruption. In the end, implied or intended, it is hard not to see the tentacles of genocide that play out to the present. An important and resonant work compellingly told.

Winner of the 2021 Bancroft Prize

Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Nonfiction

Named a Top Ten Best Book of 2020 by the Washington Post and Publishers Weekly and a New York Times Critics' Top Book of 2020

A masterful and unsettling history of “Indian Removal,” the forced migration of Native Americans across the Mississippi River in the 1830s and the state-sponsored theft of their lands.

In May 1830, the United States launched an unprecedented campaign to expel 80,000 Native Americans from their eastern homelands to territories west of the Mississippi River. In a firestorm of fraud and violence, thousands of Native Americans lost their lives, and thousands more lost their farms and possessions. The operation soon devolved into an unofficial policy of extermination, enabled by US officials, southern planters, and northern speculators. Hailed for its searing insight, Unworthy Republic transforms our understanding of this pivotal period in American history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393541564
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/23/2021
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 11,531
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Claudio Saunt is the Richard B. Russell Professor in American History at the University of Georgia. He is the author of award-winning books, including A New Order of Things; Black, White, and Indian; and West of the Revolution. He lives in Athens, Georgia.

Table of Contents

Introduction: "Words Are Delusive" xi

Section 1 White Supremacy and Indian Territory

Chapter 1 Aboriginia 3

Chapter 2 The White People of Georgia 27

Section 2 The View From Washington City

Chapter 3 The Debate 53

Chapter 4 "Forked Tongue and Shallow Hart" 84

Section 3 The Best Laid Plans

Chapter 5 The Plan of Operations 115

Chapter 6 The Cholera Times 143

Section 4 Financing Dispossession

Chapter 7 The Financiers 173

Chapter 8 "A Combination of Designing Speculators" 201

Section 5 From Expulsion to Extermination

Chapter 9 1836: The Southern World at War 231

Chapter 10 At the Point of a Bayonet 258

Chapter 11 'Tis No Sin 282

Afterword: The Price of Expulsion 303

Acknowledgments 323

Abbreviations 325

Notes 327

Illustration and Map Credits 381

Index 385

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