The politics of place : the role of regionalism in mid-eighteenth century Anglo-Cherokee diplomacy

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stephen Matthew Scheflow (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Andrew Denson

Abstract: “The Politics of Place” examines the role of regionalism in Anglo-Cherokee diplomacy between 1750 and 1764. Using South Carolina’s colonial records pertaining to Indian Affairs, this thesis examines the era thematically. The thesis first explores the rumor of Daniel Murphy’s murder in order to illustrate how Cherokee regionalism worked diplomatically in the early 1750s. At that point regionalism was the dominant political and diplomatic influence for individual Cherokees. The following two chapters focus on the Lower Cherokee town of Keowee and the Overhill town Chota between 1751 and 1764. South Carolina built forts at both Cherokee towns during this era and the forts’ development and construction are a major focus of both chapters. Keowee and the other Cherokee Lower Towns were the most devoutly loyal to the English in the mid-1750s; however, the imprisonment of hostages at neighboring Fort Prince George deteriorated their relationship with the English. The massacre at Fort Prince George created the opportunity for nativist Cherokees to become diplomatically dominant. The transition from regional to ideological political divisions within the Cherokee nation represents one of the earliest foundations for Cherokee nationalism in the early nineteenth century. Chapter three observes the same political transition in Chota. The chapter begins with a description of Chota’s unique experience because of its geographic location and the visitor that traveled to the town. It then follows the town, Overhill region, and Cherokee nation’s descent into war with the English and ends with Chota’s return to peacetime diplomacy. Throughout, the same political transition of ideological divisions supplanting regional divisions is apparent. Politically, regions divided the Cherokee nation in the early 1750s. By the Anglo-Cherokee War, in 1760, the Cherokee nation was beginning to conceptualize itself as a single entity, and made internal alliances across regions over the issue of war. This political change is a significant development towards a Cherokee national identity and pushes the historiography on Cherokee nationalism back twenty years from its traditional starting point of the end of the American Revolution.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Cherokee, Colonial South Carolina, French and Indian War, Scheflow, Seven Years' War, South Carolina
Cherokee Indians -- South Carolina -- History -- 18th century
Cherokee Indians -- Government relations
Indians of North America -- History -- Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
Indians of North America -- Wars -- 1750-1815
Indians of North America -- Southern States -- History -- 18th century
United States -- History -- 18th century

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