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Survival Strategies
Digital History ID 653

Author:   William Weatherford

Annotation: In the following extract, the Creek leader, William Weatherford (1780-1824), surrenders to Andrew Jackson. The Creek defeat at the battle of Horseshoe Bend not only stripped the Creeks of half their land, it also dramatically weakened their capacity to resist white encroachments into what would become the Old South's richest cotton growing regions.

Document: I am in your power; do with me what you please. I am a soldier. I have done the white people all the harm I could. I have fought them, and fought them bravely. If I had an army, I would yet fight, and contend to the last. But I have done--my people are all gone--I can do no more than weep over the misfortunes of my nation. Once I could animate my warriors to battle: but I cannot animate the dead... Whilst there were chances of success, I never left my post, nor supplicated peace. But my people are gone, and now I ask it for my nation, and for myself.

On the miseries and misfortunes brought upon my country, I look back with the deepest sorrow, and wish to avert still greater calamities....But your people have destroyed my nation. You are a brave man. I rely upon your generosity. You will exact no terms of a conquered people, but such as they should accede to. Whatever they may be, it would now be madness and folly to oppose them. If they are opposed, you will find me among the sternest enforces of obedience.

Source: W.H.G. Kingston, Adventures Among the Indians (Chicago, 1884), 17-18.

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