This chapter follows the development of the new Cherokee national government in the 1820s. It is a major turning point in Cherokee history that not only articulated Cherokee sovereignty in a language that U.S. officials could recognize, but also legalized Cherokee slaveholding and formalized black exclusion from Cherokee citizenship. With the construction of the centrally governed Cherokee republic, the fluid structure of Cherokee and black interactions would undergo a fundamental shift. A paradoxical relationship between slavery and freedom, as well as between state formation and racial formation, was also developing in the Cherokee republic of the 1820s. Cherokee lawmakers solidified the identity of their republic through the definition and regulation of racial categories. But ultimately, the primary aim of the new Cherokee republic and its constitution was to proclaim and maintain Cherokee sovereignty.
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