RCC Honors History Project

John Marshall decision on Worcestor v. Georgia

Posted by steel13 on November 2, 2009

From the commencement of our government, congress has passed acts to regulate trade

and intercourse with the Indians; which treat them as nations, respect their rights, and

manifest a firm purpose to afford that protection which treaties stipulate. All these acts,

and especially that of 1802, which is still in force, manifestly consider the several Indian

nations as distinct political communities, having territorial boundaries, within which their

authority is exclusive, and having a right to all the lands within those boundaries, which

is not only acknowledged, but guarantied by the United States

. . . .

The Cherokee nation, then, is a distinct community, occupying its own territory, with

boundaries accurately described, in which the laws of Georgia can have no force, and

which the citizens of Georgia have no right to enter, but with the assent of the Cherokees

themselves, or in conformity with treaties, and with the acts of congress. The whole

intercourse between the United States and this nation, is, by our constitution and laws,

vested in the government of the United States.

Source: “Worcester v. The State of Georgia,” Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Supreme

Court of the United States. January Term 1832. Vol. VI. Richard Peters, ed. (Philadelphia: T. Desilver,

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