Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Alabama Territory Emerges as a State

 


Hopefully, every school child in Alabama will know the meaning of 1492 when Columbus discovered the New World.

A few years later, in 1497, John Cabot claimed North America for England. By this time, it is important for us to realize that the English people had the Bible in their own language and could read God's Word for themselves. This is a dynamic event in the life of the English people who did embrace God's Word as Absolute and Eternal Truth.

This new freedom had a great effect on the people who came to America from England. Their confidence and their goals led them to envision the kind of government that they had never known before. A new concept of freedom was truly birthed in their spirits before it became a reality as "The United States of America, " a new nation without equal in all of History.

It was not accomplished overnight. However, the American Revolution was the most amazing event in our history. The colonists became united in purpose, though it took some time. One writer wrote that the resentment against the Mother Country's aggression toward her colonies, turned to Revolution. Now, the colonists had a common goal, of Independence and Self-Government.

As happy and excited as the colonists were to reach the New World, the Mother country continued to place taxes on them without their consent. King George continued to pass taxes without their consent, such as The Stamp Act, and taxes on paper, glass, tea, paints, etc.

Fifty men met in Philadelphia, at the First Continental Congress in September of 1774. They signed complaints against England. When their complaints were not taken seriously, they began to drill and train soldiers and to hide ammunition and gunpowder.

In Virginia, Patrick Henry gave a powerful speech that changed the minds of many people, to fight for Independence.

"Gentlemen may cry, peace, peace, but there is no peace. Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God, I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me Liberty or give me death."

Those who agreed with Patrick Henry, became our first Patriots.

The King of England ignored that message of the First Continental Congress. There was a Second one called in May of 1775. Two of the most important decisions made there was to organize the Continental Army and to place George Washington in charge. Only weeks later, the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought. At the Second Continental Congress, five men were chosen to write the Declaration of Independence: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration was signed by John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress.

True Liberty would be proclaimed throughout the land. Let us never forget that America is unique among all the nations of the world. May we return to the original intent of our Founders who paid the price for us to enjoy true Liberty.

George Washington commanded the forces in the Revolution and became our first president. Many in Alabama were involved in the war, but many were not. The frontier land housed many people loyal to Britain. Loyalists found safety in Pensacola and Mobile, and frontier land outside of what is now Alabama.

At the end of the Revolution, the British surrendered at Yorktown, in 1781. Spain still controlled much of Florida and lands beyond Alabama. The Federal Road allowed many more people to come to Alabama. With the Creek Indians, one can understand a clash of old ways with news ways of life. As farming increased in Alabama, competition was inevitable for securing the best land by both newcomers and the Creeks.

The problems among the Creek Indians increased and The Creek War of 1813-1814 grew out of complications involving politics and economics on both parts. The War of 1812 between England and America also involved politics and economics: trade matters and ports of entry.

The Creek War was really a civil war. General Andrew Jackson took the leadership, when the support of the Choctaws, Cherokees, Chickasaws, and the White Sticks, all wanted peace. They were successful in defeating the Red Sticks. General Jackson accepted the surrender by Red Eagle, at Fort Jackson on the Alabama River. He later became President of the United States, and was known as "Old Hickory." This name was given to note that he was "Tough." He was smart and a great leader.

General Jackson was born in South Carolina and moved to Tennessee. He and his wife, Rachael, lived near Nashville on a plantation named the Hermitage. They had one adopted son.

The surrender of the Indians in their battles brought many more settlers into Alabama. Many relatives of earlier settlers moved here to unite families. Alabama was attracting merchants, craftsmen, professional people, and of course, more farmers.

After the war was over, things settled down for a time. In the 1830s, many Alabama Indians were moved to Oklahoma to live on reservations. This was called the "Trail of Tears." This must have been a very sad time in our State, although it did not involve all of the Alabama Indians.

In 1817, Mississippi became a state, and Alabama began to prepare for Statehood as well. To become a State, the people must prepare a Constitution. Hopefully, we can look at our Alabama Constitution next month.

 

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