Over-confident after the final victory over Napoleon, the British attempted to wage The War of 1812 against their upstart colony, the United States. Fully aware of the tenuous international situation, Tecumseh attempts to instigate both the Cherokee Nation and Creek Nation. Major Ridge tells the Shawnee warriors to leave the Cherokee. A faction of the Creek known as the Red Sticks, responding to an attack against Indian women and children by settlers, massacre 250 men, women and children at Fort Mims, Alabama.
Andrew Jackson headed south from Nashville with a group of some 5,000 irregulars, mostly farmers, in search of a good time and a good fight. The Cherokee formed a brigade, headed by John Lowrey, a White countryman. Ridge is the highest-ranking Cherokee and takes his rank, Major, as his first name. Many of the other participants play key roles in the future of the Cherokee Nation. John Ross, Sequoyah, and John Walker are among the members who would become historically important in the development of the Cherokee Nation as we know it today.
The Cherokee made significant contributions to the United States effort during the Creek War including saving Andrew Jackson's life on at least one occasion. Ross served directly under the future president. When the Creek lost the war, Jackson demanded cession of the lower third of Georgia and other lands. Additionally, Jackson demands nearly 2.2 million acres of Cherokee land to which the Creek have only a marginal claim. The Cherokee were shocked.
In the cold winter of 1816 a delegation headed to Washington to dispute the Creek claims to the rich bottomland of the Lower Towns. Running from the southern end of Tennessee into northwestern Alabama, Jackson had many reasons for wanting this land. He was a notorious land speculator, to reward troops from Tennessee, to rid the frontier state of its "Indian problem." However, Secretary of War William Crawford, himself a Georgian, and President James Madison were impressed by the Cherokee claims. On March_22, 1816, they side with the Cherokee and deal Andrew Jackson a serious personal defeat.
Success for the Cherokee was short-lived. In September of 1816 a group of 15 chiefs attended a Chickasaw treaty negotiation. Among the 15 were Sequoyah and John Lowrey. They signed a pact with Jackson essentially ceding the same lands that Madison and Crawford returned to the Cherokee.
Over the next two years Cherokee resolve solidifies. Heading to Washington in 1819, with the belief that the federal government would demand the Cherokee move west, John Ross expects the worst. His skillful negotiations disarmed the government and only a small amount of land is ceded. When Ross returns with word of the agreement, The Council passes a law that forbids any person to sign a treaty ceding land from the Cherokee Nation. This established a final battle lines.
Or so they thought. While most Cherokee supported the idea of a strong central council, some, especially in the Lower Towns(Chickamauga) did not. They felt they should control their rich bottomland, and not the Cherokee council that was gaining power in New Echota. In the "Creek Path conspiracy" a group of Chickamauga chiefs, probably including Sequoyah, tried to sell Cherokee land to Jackson. No record of punishment for the crime exists, but it did underscore the increasing differences and factionalization of the tribe.