100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

Elias C. Boudinot

Elias C. Boudinot

Cherokee Tobacco Enterprises

“The Most Intelligent Indian in North America”

Cherokee Tobacco Case

78 U.S. 616 (1871)

Elias Cornelius Boudinot (1835–1890), lawyer, entrepreneur, and lecturer was an influential Cherokee Nation citizen who played a major role in one of the most important U.S. Supreme Court decisions affecting treaty rights.

The Cherokee people, perhaps more than any other indigenous nation, have long occupied a prominent place in interethnic politics and in the development of federal Indian policy and law. Unlike many other tribes, the Cherokee tried to meld western culture with their own. To do so, they adopted some institutions of the white man, such as a written language, a written constitution, and commerce.

And like the Cherokee Nation, Elias Boudinot (1804–1839) and his son Elias were at ...

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