Subaltern Voices in the Trail of Tears: Cognition and Resistance of the Cherokee Nation to Removal in Building American Empire
21 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2012
Date Written: September 17, 2012
Empire, since publication of the book by the same name, by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri has generated almost an obsession for revisionist social theorists. In this literature, the idea and history of empire is structurally dialectical - the ongoing interaction between imperialist colonizers and subordinated indigenous or subaltern populations and cultures connected with the colonized space. Included in this literature are two recent works that present a curious view of American Empire, and its relatively early and key history of removal of Eastern Native nations to west of the Mississippi. The curiosity in the book by Sean Wilentz, and an article more focused on law by Paul Frymer, is that the exceptional histories of removal they report includes the voice of none of the removed populations, the subalterns by which the imperialists are in part constructed. In this review the record is simply being documented as necessary to recover the subalterns assumed by the histories because they were there, and had to be there, in the history of subordination. Contrasting the stunted reasoning of the federal government with Cherokee resistance and subsequent dénouement links removal's significant contribution to the legitimation campaign supporting slavery and Dred Scott, and in material terms, contributed to the inevitability of the secession and the Civil War.
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