Native Americans in the same tribe often disagreed about how to deal with land-hungry Americans moving onto their lands.
Among the Creek, a large southern tribe, one group, called the Upper Creek, wanted to fight the Americans. Another group, called the Lower Creek, believed they could not possibly win a war with the United States. They thought the best course of action was to sell their southeastern territory to the United States and move to a new homeland in the West.
The disagreement came to a head in 1825 with the Treaty of Indian Springs. In it, the Lower Creek agreed to give the United States a large area of Creek land in Georgia and Alabama. They were led by William McIntosh, who several times before had tried to keep the peace by turning over Creek territory to the U.S. government.
By signing the treaty, McIntosh not only infuriated the Upper Creek. He also broke a new Creek law that sentenced to death any person who sold or gave away Creek land. After the treaty signing, a force of 170 Creek warriors was sent to capture McIntosh.
A traitor to some, a hero to others, he was hanged on the morning of May 12, 1825.