As part of our Women's History Month Exhibit, there are panels on a protest submitted to the US Congress by the women of Steubenville in 1830. It concerned the government's efforts to move the Cherokee nation from their ancestral land in Georgia for the purposes of settlement - and to seize the gold that lay below it. In the legal battle, the Supreme Court ruled “the Indian nation was a “distinct community in which the laws of Georgia can have no force” and into which Georgians could not enter without the permission of the Cherokees themselves or inconformity with treaties. However, President Andrew Jackson refused to enforce the ruling, instead, using the Indian Removal Act of 1830 to forcibly remove the recalcitrant tribes. There were, however, small pockets of opposition to the removal of Cherokees in Georgia and occasionally groups of people, such as the Quakers and an occasional abolitionist championed their rights. The women from Steubenville, Ohio used their only political right, the right of petition, to protest the Cherokee removal and to argue in favor of Native American natural rights. Their petition was ignored, but has remained a testimony to their commitment to what is right and just.
"We solemnly and honestly appeal, to save this remnant of a much injured people from annihilation, to shield our country from the curses denounced on the cruel and ungrateful, and to shelter the American character from lasting dishonor."
Approximately 150,000 Irish served in the Army of the Potomac and 30,000 served in the Confederate States Army during America's Civil War. The soldiers who served in the 63rd NY, 69th NY, 88th NY, 28 MA, 29th MA, and 116th PA fought with ferocity, courage, and discipline. They were the Irish Brigade, the elite fighting machine of the Army of the Potomac. They were "... high souled, high toned young Irish patriots, who imbibed from his lips their passionate love of Ireland . . . . (a) group of festive fox hunters and a class of exquisites ... good for a fight or a card game." [Captain John Joyce] Their successes would improve their chances at reducing the anti-immigrant attitudes in America as well as laying the groundwork to win independence to Ireland. Learn more about these Irish soldiers on Saturday, March 17 at 10:30 a.m. when Roger Micker will deliver a program on the Irish Brigade's role in the Civil War. Micker, president of the Ohio Valley Civil War Roundtable, retired from teaching history at Steubenville High School. He is a member of Ohio's Civil War History Committee and Friends of Getttysburg and a contributing writer for the Ohio History Connection.
In this age of technology and science, the study of history is often neglected or skimmed over in our educational system. But a knowledge of history is vital not just to the individual but to the life of a community. Here are seven ways the study of history is essential according to the History Relevance Campaign:
1-Identity: the stories of the past enable people to discover their own place in the world, in their community and their families.
2-Critical skills: the practice of history teaches research, judgment of the accuracy and reliability of sources, awareness of multiple perspectives, written and oral communication and other skills critical to a successful life in the 21st century.
3-Strong Communities: No place can really become a community until it is wrapped in human memory through family stories, civic commemorations, and understanding how it developed.
4-Economic Development: History is a catalyst for economic growth. People are drawn to communities that have preserved a strong sense of cultural heritage, historical identity and character.
5-Engaged Citizens: At the heart of democracy is the practice of individuals coming together to express views and take action. By bringing history into discussions about contemporary issues, we can better understand the origins of and multiple perspectives on the challenges facing our communities and nation.
6-Leadership: History inspires local and global leaders. Stories of those who have met the challenges of their day can give leaders the courage and wisdom to confront the challenges of our time.
7-Legacy: History, saved and preserved, is the foundation for future generations, crucial to preserving democracy for the future by explaining our shared past. Through the preservation of meaningful places, documents, artifacts and stories, we leave a foundation upon which future Americans can built.