Document1 - American History is full of many stories that...

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American History is full of many stories that come in the form of various myths. A myth is a story which is meant to give meaning to a certain event, or explain why something happened. The myths themselves usually only tell part of a story, and sometimes they are entirely inaccurate in what they say. You can see this when talking about The American Frontier, The Spanish American War, and World War 1. Each story presents various myths, but when analyzed it shows that the reality was very different from the truth. When people talk of the American frontier they picture a wide range of unoccupied land. Where someone can just go and start all over again. “The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward, explain American development” (Turner 67). The reality of the situation however was that the land was not “free land”, it was occupied land in which natives lived. “From the early days of the Republic, Americans had advocated a policy of Indian Removal” (Roark 657). Indians began to lose their lands in order to make them free. As the frontier kept growing so did the need for more “free land”. As a result Native Americans kept getting pushed back until their was no where left to go, and then they were given reservations. General William T. Sherman manages to summarize the policy of the U.S Government by saying “Remove all to a safe place and then reduce them to a helpless condition” (Roark 658). The reality of the situation is the whole concept of free land is a myth; the reality was the land was far from free. By far the worst myth about the American west is one which was mad in pop culture. ”In the movies, the American west is often portrayed in mythic terms…The good guys are always white, even their hats. Often the bad guys are Indians…” (Roark 654). The truth of situation was the Native Americans who are usually portrayed as the bad
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guys were the victims. ”Not only had the Indian population been decimated, but Indian lands had shrunk so that by 1890 Euro-Americans controlled 97.5 percent of the territory formerly occupied by Native Americans”(Roark 635). “In 1864, Colonel John M. Chivington and his local Colorado militia slaughtered an entire village of Cheyenne mostly women and children peacefully camped along the Sand Creek” (Roark 658). After continually breaking treaties with the Indians, and forcing them onto reservations, the Americans then took the last thing they could from the Indians which was their culture. “In 1887 Congress passed the Dawes Allotment Act to abolish reservations and allot lands to individual Indians as private property” (Roark 661). Since Native Americans owned land communally in tribes, it was apart of their culture and lifestyle. The actions of the United States towards the native population completely disregarded the notion of a Native American culture, and instead decided to forcefully assimilate the natives into a
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Document1 - American History is full of many stories that...

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