Date of Award

Summer 7-27-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in American Studies (MAST)


Interdisciplinary Studies

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Katie Walkiewicz

Second Advisor

Dr. Heather Pincock


This study examines the temporal rhetoric and discourse in documents of the Indian Removal debate of the late 1820s and early 1830s. The national narratives of both the United States and Cherokee nation are found to be inherently temporal. This study analyzes four key documents of the Removal debate in the form of memorials, speeches before congress, addresses to the people of the United States, and court cases.Time is found not only to help build nations in the minds of its members, but in the case of the United States, it is also found to help maintain the colonial-nation-state and to imagine erasure by presenting indigenous communities as fading away or moving into a state of degradation. Demonstrating more variation in the use of time between sources, the Cherokee documents present a variety of temporal arguments to support their claims for recognition as an indigenous nation. The overall findings show variation in the use of time with each source producing a different temporal argument of a nation passing through this medium. As a result, the study offers an increased understanding of these specific print narrative conceptions of colonialism, nationhood, and temporality.