In the early-nineteenth-century Cherokee Nation, alcohol and politics inextricably intertwined. In defiance of the federal government's attempts to regulate alcohol in Indian country, some Cherokee headmen encouraged the liquor traffic within the Nation and personally profited from its operation. In 1819, the Cherokee National Council passed a law to control spirituous liquors, but this action inflamed the federal government which recognized tribal alcohol regulation as an expression of Cherokee nationalism. As a bone of contention between the Cherokee Nation and the United States, the regulation of alcohol in the 1820s reflected larger struggles over sovereignty.

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