Ross and Watie: The Relationship and Influence of Cherokee Chiefs, from Removal to the Civil War


  • Erik Ferguson Wichita State University


Cherokee law, Treaty of Holston, Cherokee Constitution of 1827


John Ross and Stand Watie were chiefs and leaders of the Cherokee people through a large part of the nineteenth century. Politically they differed in thought and action. Even though they maintained different political understanding, they both believed in the unity of the Cherokee Nation. Through their lives, their differences shaped each other and their nation. Their actions had major influences on one another. What started as a political divide became a personal grudge over decades. The decisions they made for themselves and the Cherokee people had great effect on each other. Their political movements were not only based on the Cherokee people, but on how the other would react. This relationship began in the early 19th century and went through the Civil War. They were a part of treaties, assassinations, peace, and war. They influenced and changed their nation, and influenced and changed each other.