A Better Kind of Hatchet: Law, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Cherokee Nation During the Early Years of European Contact by John Phillip Reid 0000-00-00 00:00:00

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by John Phillip Reid
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A Better Kind of Hatchet: Law, Trade, and Diplomacy in the Cherokee Nation During the Early Years of European Contact by John Phillip Reid
Author
John Phillip Reid
Publisher
Penn State University Press
Date of release
Pages
256
ISBN
9780271011974
Binding
Hardcover
Illustrations
Format
PDF, EPUB, MOBI, TXT, DOC
Rating
5
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Book review

The first thorough examination of the impact of European culture on an American Indian nation, this book builds on the author's pioneering work, A Law of Blood: The Primitive Law of the Cherokee Nation. The emphasis of the present book is on trade and the laws of trade, but it also shows how trade affected diplomacy--especially during the Yamasee War (1715-16), when Cherokee intervention on the side of the English settlers was vital to the survival of South Carolina.The Cherokees (and the southern Indians in general) had laws and customs governing trade, barter, sales, contracts, and debts; thus they did not have to learn from the Europeans about these activities and the legal principles governing them. Indeed, contrary to general belief, Cherokee legal institutions were resistant to change and, where British and Cherokee law came into conflict, it was the former that usually had to yield. In the Yamasee War there was no formal alliance between the Cherokees and the English against the Creeks; most Cherokees simply joined the side with which their trade relations seemed more valuable than Indian solidarity. The geopolitical, commercial, historical, and anthropological importance of the Cherokees is made clear by Professor Reid. They held the mountains on the marchland of three empires: British, Spanish, French. Indian trade, moreover, was the first successful commercial enterprise of the Carolina settlers. Yet by 1725 all recognized that South Carolina could survive without Cherokee deerskins, whereas the Cherokees could not survive without Carolina-supplied ammunition and hardware. Although the Cherokees did not need to be taught the laws of trade, they were forced to learn about the profound changes in their institutions inexorably caused by European technology.

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