Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly6:4 (Fall 1986). Copyright © 1986 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


John Ross was the foremost leader of the Cherokee people during the nineteenth century if not the whole of tribal history. Born in 1790 of mixed-blood parentage and educated largely by private tutors, he served as chief from 1828 until his death in 1866. Because most of those last century events-removal, factionalism, civil war-that dramatically 3haped the destiny of the Cherokees, as well as other Indian peoples, occurred during Ross's tenure as chief, to understand him and his role in those events is to have a better insight into a large slice of American history. The Papers of Chief John Ross, edited by Gary E. Moulton, remarkably facilitates that understanding.