Worcester v. Georgia

Facts of the Case

The Cherokee nation entered into treaties with the United States that guaranteed Indian lands for Indians. A congressional act to promote the civilization of Indian tribes authorized the President to appoint persons, with the assent of the tribes, to minister and educate Indians. However, a law of defendant State of Georgia prohibited white persons from living on Cherokee land without a license, and another Georgia law redrew the boundaries of Cherokee territory. The President appointed plaintiff prisoner, among others, to educate and minister to the Cherokee Indians. Georgia authorities arrested plaintiff, and the trial court convicted him. Plaintiff sought review in the court by writ of error, which the Court granted.


Does the state of Georgia have the authority to regulate the intercourse between citizens of its state and members of the Cherokee Nation?


No. In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice John Marshall, the Court held that the Georgia act, under which Worcester was prosecuted, violated the Constitution, treaties, and laws of the United States. Noting that the treaties and laws of the United States contemplate the Indian territory as completely separated from that of the states