Indians Age of Jackson

Indians Age of Jackson - _________m: The Metaphysics of...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–13. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 2
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 4
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 6
Background image of page 7

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 8
Background image of page 9

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 10
Background image of page 11

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 12
Background image of page 13
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: _________m: The Metaphysics of Civilization: Indians and the Age of lackson RONAéD TAKAKi AN AGE OF CONFIDENCE Confidence. as Herman Melville observed in his novel The Confidence—Matt. was one 'of the buoyant forces in American society during the era of the Market RevoltrliOn—n‘The utdrspcns; able basis of all sorts of business transactions without which “commerce between man and man" would. like “a watch." run down and stop. Confidence in business and also in SOCIG'E)’ generally involved both the need for moral self“ assurance and the use of disguises. Liltc Mich vilic‘s characters on board the steamboat Fiddle. white Americans had to have moralfaith tn themselves—to be assured they were innocent of brutality and sin even it they had to. tell themselves they were so. And like Melville s confidencc'man with his myriad'of roles arid masks. they employed disguises in their sacral and political relationships. Rota-playing and the use of masks. David Brion Bat-Is has noted-Euros widespread in Sacksonian society.}vhere ‘indi- vidual success depended on effective presentan lion of soil and on convincing definitions of new situations." Nowhere ditl whites demonstrate the importance of confidence as moral self- assurance and deception. especially self- dcception. more than in their conduct toward [ndians. In the removal and extermination of Sndians. they were able to admire the Indian- killer and elevate hatred for the Indian mto a morality—an awesome flCi1lcVBmcl'il2Vthh Mel- ville analyzed in his chapters on tile metaphys- ics of lndian~hating.“ ‘ V In this story. Melville descrihcd how dis- guises couitl he used to uncover rather than shroud reality. His confidencoman poses as a cosmopolitan gentleman in order to expose the contradictions oi Indiandtatmg. 0n the declt of the Fiddle. a symbol of the Market Revolution. he meets a wonder who offers to tell a story about Colonel John Morcdock. art Indian- hatcr. Though the cosmopolitan gentleman appears to he merely an tnterested listener. he is actually preparing to demolish the ‘westv ernar's credibility in a brilliant cxcrcise m epistemology. Even the westerners teeth do not escape his critical SCtUlmy. "And though his teeth were singularly good.“ the confidence» man alias cosmopolitan gentleman remarks to himself. “those same ungraeious ones might have hinted that they were too good to he true: or rather. were not so good as they might be; since the best falso teeth are those made with at least two or three blemishes. the more to looit liltc life." The examination of the \vcsterncr s teeth leads the cosmopolitan gentleman to ask implicitly: What is reality? Meanwhile he listens intently as the westerncr tells him about Colo“ ricl Motcdock. . " Indian-hating. the westerncr says. “IS no monopoly" of Colonel Morctloek but a pas" sion. in one form or other. and lo a degree, greater or less. largely shared among the class to which he belonged." A backwocodsman. Morctloclt is "self-willed.“ “self-reliant. and "lonely." not merely content to he alone~ but “anxious” to be by himself. He has a "private passion“ stemming from an unforgettable out“ rage: his mothcr had been slam by Endians. The tragedy has turned h‘rm_ii_tto an avenger and his rage is raised to a religious zeal. Hf lattes a "vow.“ settles his “temporal affairs. and has the "solemniry" of a "monk." 'E‘l-ic armed party he leads to punish the Indians are pledged to serve him for “forty days." Moredock. in short. is a pious ascetic. seeking violent rcvengc. fully aware that Indiamhaling requires "the renunctas ticn of ambition. with its Objcclsw-the pomps ' ' ‘ I T. Taitakl. From Ron—lid T Takni-li. rm» Crises: Race and {‘m‘iurt- iii JDriM‘enmry America. Copyright lib 1079 by Round Reprinted by pctmissicn ol' Allrcd A.Knop1. Inc. Footnotes have been dclctcd. 5‘2 l E l | | i l l l i i. l | | THE METM‘HVSICS OF CIVILIZATION and glories of the world. . . 3‘ Thus. irrdiariw hating. the wcsierner explains. is “not wholly without the efficacy of a devout sentiment.“ Moredock‘s “private passion" demands that he hate and kill Indians. not only the ones responsible for his mother‘s death but all Indians. the wcstcrner continues. His entire bodylself is organized to destroy: his nerves are "electric wireswscnsitive, but steel." his "fin- ger like a trigger.“ Hc seldom stirs without his title. almost as it the weapon were a part of his body. A superb athlete and marksman, he is a master of woodland cunning. skilled in the art of tracking Indians. “ever on the noiseless lrar’l; cool. collected. patient; less soon than felt; scuffing. smelling—a Leather-stocking Nemesis." A killer. Moredoclt is. nonetheless. an example of "something apparently self- contradicting.“ the westerner adds. Ho and "nearly all indiari-haters have at bottom loving hearts." Morcdoclt himself is "not without humane feclings"-—"no cold husband or colder father. he.“ indeed. with nobody. "Indians excepted." does lie conduct himself other than in a courteous manner. Moredock is also greatly respected in white society: “famous” in his time. he is even pressed to become a candidate for governor of illinois. '{ltc high regard Moredock enjoys is well deserved, for he has opened the West for settlement and American white progress, serving selflessly as Ihc “captain in the vanguard of conquering civilization" and as the “Pathfinder. provider of security to those who comc after him." Afler the wcslcrmr completes his story. the cosmopolitan gentleman. wondering how a monomaniac killer could be a good father and an esteemed citizen and how hatred for Indi- ans could be a metaphysics for civilization. asks skeptically: "If the man of hate. how could John Morcdock he also the man at love?" What Melville was observing here. through the confidence-mart. was the metaphysics of indiamhating. His westerncr is not merely telling an interesting story about Colonel John Morcdoclt: He is also offering a metaphysical justification for the destruction of Indians. While Mclville provided a much-needed crili» cism of Indian-hating. he missed an Opportunity to reveal an even more complex dimension to this phenomenon. Separating the woslerrier from Colonel Moredock. Melville failed to note a perverse possibilitywtltc combination of both the mezaphysician and the Indian-hater in the same person. Such an integration occurred in 53 reality and could he found in the life of Lewis Cass. A colonei under General William Henry Harrison during the War of 1812. governor of Michigan Territory from l823 to 1831. and secretary of war under President Andrew Jacks son. Cass led troops in battles against indiaos, concluded treaties with them. and helped to remove them beyond the Mississippi River. He also articulated a metaphysics for his actions. While he was governor. Cass wrote an essay on “Policy and Practice of the United States and Great Britain in their Treatment of Indians." published in the North American Review in 1827;2trid shortly before he became secretary of war. lie wrote another essay. succinctly titled “Removal of the Indians." The presence of indict-is in nineteenth- century America. for Cass. was a “moral phenomenon." They had been in contact with whites and civilization for two centuries. and yet they had not advanced in their “moral qualities.“ Cass found this condition puzzling. "A principle of progressive improvement seems almost illhercnt in human nature." he wrote. “Communities of men. as well as individuals. are stimulated by a desire to meliorate their condition.“ "Melioratc" had a republican and Jacksont’an meaning for Cass: to strive "in the career of life to acquire riches. or honor. or power. or some other object. . . But there was little of all this in the constitution of our savages. Like the hour. and deer. and buffan of his own forests. an Endiun Elves as his fatlterlivcd. and dicsas his father died. He ncvcrattcmpts to imitate tire itrts of his civilized neighbors. His life passes nway in a succession of Iisticss indolcnce. and of vigorous exertion to provide for his animal wants. or to gratify his balcful passions. . . . Efforlst ' - have not bceawnntingtotcach and rcclairn himaut hcis perltttpsdcsfmcdtodisappcarwithlltc forests. . . . The forests, Cass continued. could not be abandoned to “bopcicss sterility." but must give way to the “march of cultivation and improvement." Thus. as it lurncd out. Cassma onc~tirnc Colonel Moredock or Intiian—figbzcrmhad be— come a Westerner or metaphysician of Indian- hating. What happened to Cass suggests the complex processes at work in indian-white relations during the age of the Market Revolu- lion. And like Melville's confidence-mart. we realize the need to examine more closely anti critically the metaphysics of [radian-hating. But. as we turn to a scrutiny of Robert Montgomery Bird and Andrew Jackson. we S4 quickly discover how difficult is our task and how puzzling is reality. The problem is an epistemo- logical one. Bird and Jackson were disguise artists; they used the techniques of confidence to cover up rather than to expose the crimes and moral absurdities of the market society. As the author of the popular Indianvhating novei. Nick ofrhc Wood's. or the fibbetmt‘nosrty. published in 1831'. Bird presented a moral justification for the extermination of Indians. As the conqueror of the Creeks in the war of 1813-14 and as the president of the United States responsible for Indian removal . Jackson developed a philosoph- ical explanation which transformed Indian deaths into moral inevitability. In their exercise of confidence—the use of disguises in the quest for moral scll—assurance——both men had formu- lath a metaphysics of Indiana-rating that sprang from as well as sustained the material base ofthe Market Revolution. EIBEENAINOSAY: iNDIAN-HATING lN FANTASY As a metaphysician of Indianwhating. Bird was more ingenious than Melville‘s westerner. In Nick of the Wood's, published during the era of Indian removal and reprinted more than twenty— one times. he justified as well as condemned the violence and hate whites were directing, against lndians. How this contradiction developed in Bird is revealed in an examination of his private letters. childhood writings, later unpublished fictional works, and the novel itself. In reality. Bird was hardly the simple antidodian writer he appeared to have been and even thought he was. Indeed. in his effort to degrade lndians, Bird used such a multitude of masks and dcccpl‘rons that he became involved in an exercise in confidence more suhtle and bizarre than he himself may have fully realized. Actually Bird did not grow up on the frontier, and his contact with the wilderness and Indians was extremely limited. He was born in New Castle. Delaware. in 1805. into a famiiy which had lived on the eastern seaboard and in settled society for generations. A Whig. Bird identified with the gentillty and order of an established social hierarchy. and felt uncomfort- able in the society of the Market Revolution. where the pursuit of money and social mobility seemed to have possessed Americans. Finan- cially unsuccessful as a doctor in Philadelphia and uncertain about medicine as a career, he gave his practice up after one year and decided CULTURE to become a novelist and playwright—41 deci- sion which would lead him to reflect on the meaning of the Market Revolution and its impact on white as well as Indian society. Writing. for Bird. was a way out of the “distasteful” world of business which prevailed in the new market society. He did not have. his wife later reported. "the American propensity and talent fer making money.“ His “soul full of poetry" and his “brain stored with book— learning." he was "ignorant as a child or a woman of all business matters.“ Still. as a writer. Bird discovered he had not freed himself from the market. and found himself unhapp‘tly dependent on profit-oriented publishers. He was told it was necessary for an author to "sacrifice" his first book and give it to the publisher for “nothing.” And he complained: "This seems to be a pretty state at things indeed. that an author should give a bookseller one book for the privilege of selling, him a second. . . .“ Regretting his “misfortune of being unknown," Bird viewed the market as a pernicious influence on literature and American letters in general. As a novelist in a society of enterprise. Bird believed the American writer had to overcome certain literary problems or “great disadvam tagcs": Americans were a people without “ro- marten." "traditions." and “antique associa- tions,“ and their history was "short. meager & monotonous." They lacked the feudal ambicnce of the Old World where a writer could find “the truest its most fruitful gardens ofrornancc" and the inspiration of “lofty feelings and chivalrous sentiments.“ In the heroes of European literzo lure, he remarked cnviously. “the human pas~ sions had their fullest sway . . . more romanti» caliy than will ever a pcoptc engaged in the levelling d: unenthusiastic husrle of gain. Where shall the American novelist loch for Isis hero?" Bird wanted America to have her own literature and her own heroes. But. in his view. Anteri~ cans were in a "slate of mental vussalage to foreigners. . . . Our opinions, our sentiments. our tastes, all come to us from abroad. Who. then. is to remind us of the interests and duties of Americans?" Like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Bird had delineated one of the vexing predicaments of the American writer. He did not tltinlt America provided the materials he needed as a novelist. for he did not want to write about American enterprisemthe unheroic and turns making of money. Yet he was determined to throw off America’s vassal— age to Europe and help create a truly national literature. tits METAPHYSICS or CIVtiIIA‘rzau _In his search for a way out of this dilemma, Btrdynoted the significance of the Indian in the making of an American nationaiily and a no» tronal literature. if Americans were to be origiw nal and assert their cultural independence from Europe, he insisted. they must depend on America rather than Europe for the sources of their cultural identity. This independence should be expressed oven in lite names Americans gave to than villages and towns. “The hankering after the vanities of the old world." Bird wrote. “is in no _way so ridiculously manifested. as in the christening of our new villages. What despicable folly it is to steal the names of the remarkable crttcs of ancient 3:; modern Europe. 8:. apply them to the several clusters of taverns. smithies, Kt variety stores which compose our infant hamlets." Americans should not “steal” names from Europc;ralhorli1ey should take them from :‘Iho peculiar & sonotous titles which the aborigu mos were wont to apply to some spot. in the neighborhood." Indeed. Bird added, many of the Indian names were “infinitely more beautiful than the sweetest" that could be found in any European gazetteer. The Indian. for Bird. of- fered white Americans a means to realize their own national identity. Yet. almost like a plot out of a Hawthorne novel. this creation ofa white American natiom ality had its origins in greed anti sin: lite very use of indtan names for white villages and towns involved the destruction of indians and seizure of their lands. Bird himsuli recognized this reality and felt a sense of guilt. Traveling through the South and Southwest in 1833, he wttticssetl the injustices whites had commilteti against Indians. On April 23. he wrote in his diary after visiting Macon. Georgia: “Poor Cherokees your Destiny is knowanut Gear“ gra. though she strike ye from the face of the Earth. yet has she permitted your harm: to rest on a humble flower. But while that tit)ch keeps for your memory the pity dc admiration of poslcrtly, who: a stench of shame shall be Sent up by lite foul rank weeds that have overgrown the fields of your oppressor." Bird was referring to the flower named the “Cherokee Rose.” 'i‘wo weeks later. after an cncounter with a Creek. Bard wrote to his fiancee. Mary Mayer: Even the descrls here blossom like the rose; and the startle woodlands. which the hand of oppres- sron Is this moment wresting from the poor Creeks. are all full ofbeauly. . . .Talking oICrccits. Isaw one follow. one day. stalking near some wigwams. wlto_was really as noble in figure and carriage, and as picturesque in costume, as 1 have imagined a Wild man to be. . . . As this creature approached 55 mo with the strut nti port of a god. his head elevated. his eyes neither seeking nor shunning me. but shining now to the right and now to the loll. as If he felt himself lhe guardian spirit of his tribe . . . cndhad nothing to do with looking after white mew—ll struck me there was something In his carnage very like such a swagger of self- esteem. . . . E had saluted the gentlemen. and tccetyed no other return than a most magnificcnl and tmpartlat grunt. . . . t was so Iicltlccl at his vainglnry that i burst into a laugh. This insult. for which 5 was instantly sorry—for his pride was the only pastossron of which my countrymen had not robbed hint—stung him. He halted. \vhoeled half around. falling into an attitude really majestic and Apollo-like. and gave me a look of such fierce and tiery Intensity that I began to wish i had my pistols about me. Several days later. in a letter to a friend, Bird again lamented: “Then thought I, in the solitude of the ptnc barrens of Georgia. Ishall feel very pouttcat; and among the Muscogee Groves, I shall see wandering red men, and verify old vlstons of romance. . . . I saw proud warriors; but they always came to sell green strawberries. and beg tobacco." The very materials Bird needed as a writer and as a maker of a national culture were derived from what he regarded as robbery and murder. Actuain the Indian had existed in Bird’s consciousness long before he developed an interest to creating a national literature and before he had met Indians in the South. As a boy, ltc‘had fantasized about them in a short story written in his school composition book. In “The White-Washed Cottage of the Susque- hanna. an Indian Story," a young white boy named Charley Merton and his family are living to peace and harmony in a cottage on the bank of the Susquehanna River. Cine day they are forced to flee to the blockhousc in town in order to avord an Indian attack; but they are am— bushed. and all the whites. except Charley and his mother. are killed. Their captor is a. "fright— ful savage" chief who. to their surprise, speaks liter-tub. Charley's mother speaks to Wingcnund in French and learns that his father was a Frenchman and his mother an Indian. “011 sir.“ she asks. "why did you murder my husband then?“ And the chief replies: "Oh you forget that I am no Frenchman. I am an indian. Though my father was a Frenchman. my mother was an Indian. and I am bound to revenge the injuries done upon her countrymen and lame." Charley and his mother are taken to the Indian village, where Wingcnund treats them kindly. But they find out from him that a rival chief will soon be returning with his 56 warriors. and that their lives will be in danger. Taking a canoe. Charley and his mother so- crctly peddle away, Their escape causes great commotion in the village: but Wingenund. discovering his canoe is missing. says nothing. allowing them to escape. ’l‘hey return to their cottage and find Charley's father alive; the blows he had received during the ambush had not been fatal. Thus the family is joyously reunited. Years later. Charley is sitting on his porch. and an Indian approaches him. “Volre nom. n‘cst ca pas Charley M?" the Indian asks. Charley and his parents excitedly welcome Wingenund. begging him to "live with them and he a white man.“ The chief declines their offer. gives Charley a handsome bow and quiver. and departs. loaded with presents they had given him. In this amazing story. written during Bird‘s childhood. the Indians are viewed as sources ot great terror: they are disruptcrs {)5 peace and harmony. "frightful savages.“ and killers of whites. Yet they are also described sympatheti— cally: Wingenund is a kind and considerate person. and the anger he feels springs from the injuries whites had inflicted upon indians. The final episode of the fantasy indicates the possi~ his choices the young Bird thought the Indian possessed: he could live with whites and be- come "a white man." or he could remain in the wilderness. Thus Charley and his parents ap- pear to have survived the traumatic experience of lndian violence emotionally unscarred: hate for the Indian and an impulsive rage for revenge do not seem to possess or deform them. Many years after he had written the story about Charley. Bird returned to the theme of indian violence and its psychological effect on whites. In “Awessagarne.” an unpublished story probably drafted after his visit to the South in the l8305. Bird located Indian-while conflict in New England during colonial times and explicitly acknowledged the wrongs whites had committed against Indians. “Our forefa- thers of New England were strange people." Bird wrote at the beginning of his narrative. “They came. as homeless and landless exiles. among a rude but not inhospitable people race. whom after a few years they did not scrapie to dispossess of their lands homes 8: possessions." Iiere. in his description of the initial encounter between whites and indians in New England. was the. language Bird had used to chastise whites in Georgia for their crimes against Indians. In "Awossagame." Bird focused on John Gilbert. a harsh magistrate and fanatical cquuas Indian-hater. A one-time papist. he had boon converted to “the true faith" and was now “foremost in the persecution of papists. quak- ers, and anabaptists." Like Charley’s family. Gilbert had been the victim of Indian violence: his wife and two daughters had been slain during an attack on their village. The “misfor- lune" had frozen the “gentler feelings of his heart. . . . He had no family—he was alone in the world." Interpreting the slaying as God's vengeance against him for his sinful idolatry. Gilbert lurncd away from Catholicism and developed a fierce hatred for indians. The fury of his hate is directed against an Indian girl. Awossagante. who is on trial for witchcraft. Magistrate Gilbert pours his venom on her. calling her “a lewd & devilish pagan." a member of an "accurscd race." and a "loose savage." Her defender. Elliot Sherwyn. insisrs she is innocent. and Gilbert replies sharply. “Is she not an Indian?“ He then breaks into an uncontrollable “expression of rancorous and malignant hate." During the trial. the girl is ordered to bare her arm in order to reveal an imprint of the “devil's mark." Suddenly Gilbert recognizes the popish symbol he himself had placed upon one of his daughters many years ago and rushes to her. crying aloud. “My child! My child! my Elizabeth? my lost Elizabeth!" Happily reunited with his daughter. Gilbert casts off the gloom and “misanthropy” which had sustained him in his hatred for the Indian. Bird probably wrote “Awossagarne” during the period he was Working on Nick of the Wood's. for both stories have somewhat similar plots involving Indianhhaters. But Bird treated indians and their haters very differently in each story. In "Awossagamc." he not only portrayed Indians sympathetically. placing their violence within the context of white possession of Indian “lands homes“ and contrasting the malevolent Gilbert with the poor innocent Awossagarnc, but also pointed out the absurdity of racial stereotyping and the tragic consequences of racial ltatc. In Nick of the Woods. on the other hand. Bird denounced Indians almost as if he were Gilbert of "Awossagarne." One of the purposes of the novel. he explained, was to destroy the popular image of noble Indians created by Emma Fenimorc Cooper. and to depict “real Indians." “The North American savage." Bird de— clared in his preface. "has never appeared to us the gallant and heroic personage he seems to others. . . . [Wle Ioolc into the woods for the mighty warrior . . . and behold him retiring, laden with the scalps of miserable squaws and THE MEYA?HYSICS OF CIVILIZATION their babes. Heroical?" Bird insisted he was describing lndians as they actually were in their "natural barbaric state"—“ignorant. violent. tic-based. brutal"—and as they appeared in war or the scalp hunt. when “all the worst deformi- ties of the savage temperament“ received their “strongest and fiercest development.“ in the novel itself. Bird spoke through a renegade. Brantley. to emphasize Indian brutality. espe~ cially in the form of Indian violence to while women. The fair Edith. one of the principal characters. is captured by Indians and taken to their village. There Braxley tells her that her cries for help are in vain: "From whom do you expect it? From wild, murderous. bcsotlcd Indians. who. if roused from their drunken slumbers. would be more like to assail you with their hatcltets than to weep for your sorrows? Know. fair Edith. . . . that there is not one of them who would not rather see those golden tresses hung blackening in the smoke from the rafters of his wigwarn, than floating over the brows they adorn. . . I-Ierc. unmistakably. was the same hate Gilbert had expressed. Yet. in Nick of the Woods, Bird probed the contradictions of Indian-hating more deeply than he had in “Awossagarnc” and critically opposed the deformities and agony hate and violence produced. Unlike Gilbert. the Indian- hatcr of the novel is an unusually complex person. He is a gentle and peaceful man. known as Nathan Quaker. who wanders alone in the woods with his dog; yet he is also Nathan Slaughter. a man of great hate and violencc,who roves the forests with his bear. ltilh’ng Indians and carving huge crosses on the chests of his victims. Among the indians. he is known as the irbbonainosay, or the spirit that walks. or the devil. Significantly. Bird‘s Indian—hateris unable fo_scparato successfully these parts of his person- ahty. Thus. he kills Indians but feels enormous gutlt for each bloody deed he commits. As he shoots them he must assure himself again and again that he is a "man of peace.“ Overwhelmed by the deep remorse his own violence has generated. Nathan QuakcrISIaughter insists he Is only protecting fair Edith and her companions against “bloodthirsty savages." And he cries out to his friend Roland: “And then does not think then . . . thee is not of the opinion . . . thee docs not altogether hold it to be as a blood- gutitiness. and a wickedness . . . thatI did take to me the weapon of war, and shoot that: wicked oppressors. to the saving ofthcclife? . . .Truly. friend, then sees it couldn‘t be helped; and. truly. i don't think thee conscience can condemn "my 57 Nathan‘s torment and guilt distinguish hint froth Melville's Indian-hater. Yet he is in one sense very mueh like Colonel Morcdcck. fer Nathan. too. is a man with a tragic past. To Roland. he tells how his wife and children were slam by Indians. As Roland lislens to the horrible details of the attack. he notices that Nathan is behaving strangely, resembling “a raging maniac." his mouth foaming and his body convulsing. Suddenly Nathan's cap falls off. revealing a hideous scar. Hiding beneath hIS cap the grotesque reminder of a scalping. Nathan nurtures a hate and a passion for revenge which shonlts Roland. The depth of Nathan's “insanity” is exposed when Nathan QuakerISlaughtcr encourages Roland to take the scalps of the dcaci Indians lying around fhcm- “Truly, friend." he assures him. "ifthee as of that mind, truly. I weri‘t oppose thee.“ The suggestion appalls Roland; regarding himself as civilized. he draws hack in revulsion. "Their scalps? .l' scalp them!" Roland cxclairns. “I am no butcher. [ leave them to the bears and wolves. which the villains in their natures so strongly resembled. I will lcill indians wherever {cam but no scalping. Nathan, no scalping for me!" After they leave the scene of carnage. Roland notices blood dripping from Nathan‘s knife sheath: scarred. Nathan himself has he come a scalper. Aware of his dclormity. Nathan seems to have no choice but to isolate himsell‘ from ctvtilzation and satisfy his thirst for blood. Thus. he is doomed to a life of loneliness. unable to have human relationships. :1 wanderer in the wilderness. He is “houseless Nathan." Yet he was very tnqu needed in the society of the Market Revolution, for he was a pathfinder. clearing the way for a civilization of enterprise. busy axes. plowed fields, farmhouses. and towns and cities. i-Ie was the advance guard of settle» merit. when: the fair Edilhs ofAmerica would be safe from "murderous" and "drunken" Indians. Moreover. Nathan was also needed by the Rolands of America. for as long as he existed and embodied insanity and perverse violence. rncrt like Roland could claim they were not “butchers.” not madman. I Still. the novel contains a curious coniradic« lion and a profound irony: the effort to degrade the Indian sitach into a condemnation of Indian-hating. the depiction of the barbarin of "real lndians" turns out to be the vivid description of the psycllolie cruelty of the Indian-hater. and the literary search for an Anterlcan hero leads to the creation of an annhct'o. Unlike “The Whitanashed Cot- 58 rage” and “Awossagame,” Nick of the Woods disguises the sympathy Bird had for indians and the guilt he felt tor what whites had done to them_the stealing of "lands homes“ from “the poor Creeks” and the “striking” of Chero~ kees from the “face of the Earth.” Only four years before the publication of the novel, Bird had called his countrymen “oppressors” and “robbers” in their conduct'toward the Indian. Bird’s agony—whis twisting and turning—— reflected the ambivalent emotions of a sensi~ tive and informed man trying to create a national literature and American identity, and to make some moral Sense out of the material developments of his time—the expansion of the market and the destruction of the Indian. Nick of the Woods was Bird’s way of trying to work out this distressing dilemma. As the shrillness of the novel‘s attack on the image of the noble Indian would suggest, Bird himself did not believe in his portrait of the “real Indian.” But he needed to believe in it. Thus he simplified white-Indian conflict into a fanta— sized struggle between good and evilw—between innocent whites like Nathan and his family, settling in the West in search of a peaceful agrarian life, and wild Indians seeking to butcher and scalp white women and children. This kind of mythwmaking enabled Bird as well as readers who shared his complicated feelings to relieve their guilt and at the same time justify violence against Indians. Yet, in the novel, the dichotomy between good and evil quickly disin— tegrates into awesome ambiguity. Nathan Quam ker’s encounter with Indians deforms him: he is filled with hate, killing and scalping indians while pathetically reaffirming his innocence. Regardless of what had happened to him in the past, Nathan, in his brutality, is forced to stand condemned, particularly in his own eyes. His bloodthirstiness and the mutilated Indian corpses betray him as a psychotic killer. Thus, Nathan Quaker/Slaughter in effect turns against his own creator, Bird himself, exposing the anti- lndian violence and hate Bird witnessed in his own time and tried to justify in his novel. In this strange way, Bird resembled the Americans aboard Melville’s Fidélc but was even more complex: he was his own confidence man. lACKSON: METAPHYSICIAN OF lNDlAN—HATINC. In his “Eulogy” on the death of Andrew Jackson, Washington McCartney asked, “What CULTURE was Andrew Jackson, and what did he do, that he should receive such honors while living, and, when dead, should gather a nation round his tomb?” One answer must have been painfully obvious to Cherokee leader John Ross. Aware that the president had been what McCartney descrith as the “imbodiment” [sic] of the nation’s “true spirit" and “ruling passion,” the “head of the great movement of the age,” Ross had offered a bitter insight into the meaning of this symbol for, an age. “I knew,” he had declared, “that the perpetrator of a wrong- never forgives his victims.” Indeed, during the age of Indian removal, American society needed confidence. Enterpris» ing whites had to find a way to expand the market, “lop off” Indian lands, and destroy Indians without inflicting guilt and moral agony upon themselves. Or else, as they could see in Bird's Nathan Quaker/Slaughter, they were in danger of disintegrating into foaming madness. They already knew what Jackson had declared in his first annual message to Congress: their “conduct tOWard these people” was “deeply interesting” to the “national character.” Aware that the identity of white Americans as a moral people was at stake, they hoped the president would be able to resolve their dilemma. Jackson succeeded: he broke Creek resistance at the battle of Horse Shoe Bend in 3814 and helped to make the Southwest safe for white settlement. He also developed and expressed a metaphysics which provided the disguises whites needed in order to be both Quaker and Slaughter, and to do what Nathan could nod—both love and destroy indians. For this “achievement” as well as for the Bank War, the Maysviiie Road Veto, and the preservation of the Union during the nullification crisis, Jackson gathered a “nation round his tomb.” Born in 1767, Andrew Jackson was only nine years old when Americans like Rush and Jefferson declared their independence from the king. Yet he came to represent the republican conduct and consciousness for which the Revo- lution had been fought. Throughout his life, he did not allow himself to forget the “bravery and blood” of his “fore fathers” and the “indepen- dent rights“ they had secured for him and other Americans; he insisted that Americans be worthy of the name of “freeman.” As president, Jackson invoked what historian Marvin Meyers has described as a “persuasion,” in order to restore republican faith of the fathers among sons pursuing worldly goods in the society of the Market Revolution. -: ;: ~ 1 r5 .|'- 1 THE METAPHYSICS OF CIVILIZATION In life and in legend, Jackson was, in many ways, the archetype of the self-made republican man. “He seems to have been an orphan from the plow to the Presidency,” a eulogist ex- claimed many years after Jackson’s death. “He must, therefore, be regarded as the architect of his own fortunes." Actually, Jackson had been an orphan: his father died two months before he was born in the Carolina frontier, and his mother died when he was fourteen years old. But before she left him forever, she gave him some republican advice: “Never tell a lie, nor take what is not your own, nor sue anybody for slander or assault and battery. Always settle them cases yourself!” Self-reliant and self- governing, Jackson virtually had no childhood, or at least no adolescence. To his admirers and to Jackson himself, this assumption of responsi- bility at an early age prepared him to “rise rapidly with a rapidly rising people.” Looking back at his own childhood, Jackson attributed his success to the challenges and difficulties he had to overcome early in his life. “I have been Tossed upon the waves of fortune from youthood,” he wrote. “I have experienced prosperity and adversity. It was this that gave me knowledge of human nature, it was this that forced into action, all the energies of my mind, and ultimately caused me to progress through life as I have done. . . .” Even as he referred to the “blood” of the “fore fathers,” Jackson knew he could claim responsibility for securing his rights: he had been captured by the British in 1781 and was slashed with a sword by a British officer for refusing to blacken the man’s boots. Thus, as it turned out, the “blood” shed had included his own. The fortune Jackson made was also his own. He squandered his inheritance in gambling houses and brothels; as a young lawyer, he was a “roaring, rollicking, garne~cocking, horse- racing, card—playing, mischievous fellow. . . .” His life at this time was hardly one of republican virtue; yet, in a way, this profiigacy reinforced Jackson’s republican origins. His inheritance, his last remaining family tie destroyed, as Michael Rogin has noted, Jackson would begin “a new life totally alone.” Completely responsi- ble for himself and determined to be self-made, he would have no king, no parents even, and certainly no inheritance. in 1787, Jackson moved to Nashville to make his fortune on the frontier. There he practiced law, speculated in land, and opened stores to sell goods from i’hiladelphia. He also married into one of the leading families of the Cumberland and became a wealthy Tennessee planter with more than a 59 hundred slaves. The key to his success was his involvement in land speculationmland acquired from Indians. in 1796, tor example, JackSOn paid a speculator $100 for a half-interest in 5,000 acres at the Chickasaw bluffs on the Mississippi, and immediately sold half of his share for $312. He held on to the remaining share until 1818, when he negotiated the Chickasaw treaty and opened the area to white settlement; then he sold it for $5,000. No shining republican himself, Jackson never- theless offered republican advice to his nephew and son. He sent Andrew J. Donelson instruc- tions on the need to guard against temptations. Many snares, the uncle warned, would be laid for the “inexperienced youth" to lead him into “dissipatiop, vice, and folly.” While the young man should not deprive himself of “proper relaxation" or “innocent amusement,” he should seek out only “virtuous” company and exercise care in his relationships with women: “Among the virtuous females, you ought to cultivate an acquaintance, and shun the inter— course of the others as you would the society of the viper . . . it is intercourse with the latter discription {sic} that engenders corruption, and contaminates the morals, and fits the young mind for any act of unguarded baseness. . . ." On another occasion, Jackson warned his son against accumulating debt: “Be always certain, if you wish to be independent, to keep your wants within your means, always when you have money, paying for them when bought.” In his own conduct as a ribald young lawyer and a land speculator, Jackson could not claim authority to teach republican lessons even to his nephew and son, much less to society in general. The source of this authority had to be located elsewheremin the fierce self-discipline and control Jackson had imposed on himself as a soldier and Indianmfighter. For Jackson, republican virtue was achieved in war. The War of 1812 and the Creek War of 1813—14 gave him the opportunity to overcome what he called the “indolence” which threat- ened to destroy him, and to seek republican purification and regeneration through violence. A “free born son” of America, Jackson went to war against the British to defend the “only republick now existing in the world," the “fabric cemented by the blood of our fathers.” A “brave son of Tennessee,” Jackson led troops against Creeks in Mississippi to conquer “the cream of the Creek country” for the expansiOn of the “republick” and to avenge the deaths of more than 200 people killed by hostile Creeks at Fort Minds. A soldier, separated from his GI) frivolous and bourgeois past, he could now view himself as a worthy republican son. From the battlefield, he wrote to his wife: “I can only say your good understanding, and reflection will reconcile you to our separation, the situation of our country require it for who could brook a British tyranny, who would not prefer dying free, struggling for our liberty and religion, than live a British slave.” Jackson believed Ameri- cans had to have republican discipline and excrcise it in war in order to protect their freedom. They must “never prefer an inglorious sloth, a supine inactivity to the honorable toll of carrying the republican standard to the heights of Abraham,” Commander Jackson told his troops. As a soldier, Jackson could lay claim to the republican virtue of respectable work, which he could not do as a land speculator. As Jackson marched against the Indians, he also waged a private battle against his own body. His “fore fathers” had had to discipline the physical self in order to deny pleasure; Jackson had to discipline his body in order to defy pain. l-Iis had been a life of illness and physical agony. He had contracted smallpox as a teenager, and suffered from recurrent ma- laria, fevers, and rheumatism. Chronically con- stipated, he was often in extreme discomfort in the field, especially during “a severe attacke of the Bowell complaint.” He suffered from at- tacks of dysentery, which caused painful cramps and diarrhea. His body reflected his sickly condition: over six feet tall, he weighed only 145 pounds. Jackson felt an almost constant pain in his chest, where a bullet received in a duel with Charles Dickinson in 1806 was still lodged close to his heart. Shortly before he departed for the Creek campaign, he had exchanged gunfire with Thomas Hart Benton, and a bullet had fractured his left shoulder. His body broken and feverish, Jackson marched into the field against the Creeks. Called “Old Hickory" by his troops, he was admired for his power to withstand hardship and pain. His victory over the British at New Orleans was interpreted as a personal triumph over his ailing body. There, as one observer described the battle, Jackson barely had the strength to stand erect without Support. “His body was sustained alone by the spirit within,” and “the disease contracted in the swamps of Alabama still clung to him." Jackson prevailed over both the British and the body: “Reduced to a mere skeleton, unable to digest his food, and unrefreshed by sleep, his life seemed to be preserved by some miraculous agency." His body disciplined, Jackson used violence CULTURE to bring Indians under control. His struggle to dominate both his body and the Indians was integrated: military campaigns in the Creek War enabled him to subordinate his physical self and to destroy Indians. indians, for Jack- son, personified the body. He believed they were impulsive and lacked “discipline.” He also viewed Indian men as sexual threats to white women; few incidents aroused his wrath as much as the Indian capture of white women. Jackson made the case of Mrs. Crawly his “own.” Angrily protesting her capture and confinement to “a mortar, naked, lascerated,” he demanded that the “brave. sons of Tonnes see” wipe away this “blushing shame.” During the campaign against the Creeks in 1813—14, Jackson denounced his Indian ene- mies as “savage bloodhounds” and “blood thirsty barbarians,” and urged his troops to exterminate them. “I know," he told his men, “you will teach the cannibals who reveled in the carnage of our unoffending Citizens at Fort Meems that the thunder of our arms is more terrible than the Earth quakes of their Prophw ets, and that Heaven Dooms to inevitable destruction the wretch who Smiles at the torture he inflicts and who neither spares female innocence, declining age not helpless infancy.” Shortly before the battle of Horse .Shoe Bend in March 1814, Jackson was in a state of rage. “I must distroy isle] those deluded victims doomed to distraction isle] by their own restless and savage conduct,” he wrote to Maior General Thomas Pinckney. The next day, he sent Pinckney another letter, and again he snarled at his enemies. Calling them “savage dogs,” he wrote: “It is by the charge I distroy [sic] from eight to ten of them, for one they kill of my men, by charging them I have on ali occasions preserved the scalps of my killed.” At the battle of Horse Shoe Bend, Jackson and his troops surrounded some 800 Creeks at a bend in the river and killed almost all of them, including women and children. After the battle, he sent cloth worn by the slain warriors to the ladies of Tennessee. His soldiers cut long strips of skin from the bodies of the dead Indians and used them for bridle reins; they also cut the tip of each dead Indian’s nose to count the number of enemy bodies. - In the Creek War of 1813—14, Jackson had accomplished more than the conquest of Indian lands, or what he described, in a letter written to Thomas Pinckney atter his victory at Horse Shoe Bend, as the “valuable country” west of the Cosee and north of the “allabama.” He had also done more than punish Indians for exercis— THE MHAPHYSICS OF CIVILIZATION ing “lawless tyranny” over “helpless and unpro- tected" white women, for murdering white mothers and their “little prattling infants,” and for capturing white women. Most importantly, in the war, Jackson had purified the republican self. He was no EOnger a high—living lawyer and shady land speculator. In the wilderness, he had disciplined and chastened himself, and tri- umphed over “indolence,” “sloth,” pain, and Indians. Jackson was ready to be the leader of a democracy in quest of the restoration of republi— can virtue; he was also ready to lead the nation in the removal of Indians. Fourteen years later, Jackson, still remembered as a heroic Indian fighter, was elected to the presidency. During the age of Jackson, some 70,000 Indians were removed from their. homes in the South and driven west of the Mississippi River. Due to violence, disease, starvation, dangerous travel conditions, and harsh winter weather, almost one-third of the Southern Indians died. By 1844, the South was, as far as Indians were concerned, a “white man's coun« try." Jackson had extended Jefferson’s empire of liberty by removing Indians toward the “Stony mountains.” As president, Jackson played a complex and decisive role in Indian removal. Shortly after his election, he supported the efforts of three Southern states-mGeorgia, Alabama, and Mississippi—to abolish Indian tribal units and laws and to extend state authority over Indians. Georgia subjected them to militia duty, state taxes, and suits for debts, while it denied them suffrage as well as the right to bring suits and to testify in court. All three states opened Indian territory to white settlement; they also encour- aged intruders and allowed whites to take Indian lands, including “improved” or culti— vated tracts. As the states imperialistically extended their authority Over Indian territory, Jackson told Congress: “If the states chose to extend their laws over them it would not be in the power of the federal government to prevent it.” Actually, as Michael Rogin has pointed out, Jackson’s assertions of federal impotence in this case made him “the passive spectator of a policy he had actively advocated." Jackson knew what his responsibility in this matter was as the chief executive of the United States. Treaties and federal laws had given Congress, not the states, authority over the Indians. The Indian Trade and Intercourse Act of 1802 had provided that no land cessions could be made except by treaty with a tribe, and that federal law, not state law, would operate in Indian 61 territory. in 1832 the United States Supreme Court ruled against the extension of state law into Indian territory, but Jackson refused to enforce the Court‘s decision. While claiming federal pewerlessness, Jack— son collaborated and conspired with state offi~ cials to usurp tribal lands and remove Indians. In a letter to Jackson dated February 3, 1830, General John Coffee outlined the strategy for this collaboration: Deprive the chiefs of the power they now possess, take from their own code of laws, and reduce them to plain citizenship . . . and they will soon deter- mine to move, and then there will be no difficulty in getting the poor Indians to give their consent. Ali this will be done by the State of Georgia if the United States do not interfere with her iaw-. . . . This will of course silence dress in our country who constantly seek for causes to complainwlt may indeed turn them loose upon Georgia, but that matters not, it is Georgia who clamors for the Indian lands, and she alone is entitled to the blame if any there be. In this strategy to break up tribes, “reduce” indians to citizenship, and force them to give up their lands and move away, all Jackson had to do, as president, was make certain the federal government did not interfere with the law of the state of Georgia. But Jackson did not limit himself to noninteo ference. He also root with Indians to inform them that he had no power to help in their resistance against the states and to advise them to migrate to the West. Jackson even employed “confidential agents" to manipulate the chiefs and persuade them to accept removal. The secret mission of these “confidential agents,” as stated in a letter from Secretary of War John Eaton to General William Carroll, was to use bribery to influence “the Chiefs and influential men.” “It is believed,” wrote Eaton, “that the I more careful you are to secure from even the Chiefs the official character you carry with you, the better—Since no circumstance is too slight to excite their suspicion or awaken their jeal— ousy; Presents in your discretion to the amount of not more than $2000 might be made with effect, but attaching to you the poorer Indians, as you pass through their Country, given as their friend; and the same to the Children of the Chiefs, and the Chiefs themselves, in clothes, or otherwise.” Jackson did not have to depend heavily on deception and briber to remove Indians, however. He had available two “legal” methods: indirect removal through the land allotment program and direct removal through treaty. 62 Used to deprive Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws of their territories, the land allot- ment program provided for granting land in fee simple title to individual Indians. As a landowner, an Indian could be “reduced” to citizenship, or he could sell and move west of the Mississippi River. In the Treaty of Danc- ing Rabbit Creek, for example, Choctaw fami- lies and individuals were instructed to register with an Indian agent within six months after the ratification of the treaty if they wished to remain in the state of Mississippi and receive a grant of land. Seemingly, the program gave Indians a- choice as well as a fair chance to succeed in white society. Under this program, however, thousands of individual Indians were “given,” sometimes forced to accept, land grants only to have iand speculators take their fee simple titles. Everywhere federal certifying agents cooperated with speculators to defraud Indians or their lands. The Columbus Land Company, for instance, took a group of Creeks from one agent to another to sign contracts for grants. Speculators bribed certify» ing agents to approve fraudulent contracts; often the agents were the speculators them- selves. After they had secured lands for individual Indians, speculators set up stores which extended credit to them in exchange for land tities as collaterai, and then took over the deeds as they failed to pay off their debts. Under the program, Mary Young has calcu» iated, speculators acquired 80 to 90 percent of the iands granted to scutheastern Indians, or some 25 miiiion acres of land. The iand aliotment program enabied white speculators, farmers, and planters to take In- dian lands “legally” and to absolve themselves from reponsibility for the Indians’ poverty, removal, and destruction. Indians had been “given” land and responsibility for their own welfare; whites could not be blamed if they got into debt, iost their lands, and had‘to remove beyond the Mississippi. As Secretary of War Lewis Cass explained, “[O]ur citizens were disposed to buy and the Indians to sell. . . .The subsequent disposition which shall be made of. these payments seems to be utterly beyond the reach of the Government. . . .Theirnprovident habits of the Indians can not be controlled by regulations. . . . If they waste it, as waste it they too often will, it is deeply to be regretted yet still it is only exercising a right conferred upon them by the treaty.” a Lockean contrac- tuai framework had been imposed upon the Indian: he was no longer defined as a member of a community or tribe but as an individual. CUlTURE Entitled to own and sell private property, he was thrust into the market system. "thus, a victim of manipulation and fraud, the Indian was blamed for his own ruin. In a letter to General John Coffee on April '7, 1832, Jackson bluntly stated the real purpose of the land allotment program: “The object of the government now is, to have all their reserva— tions surveyed and laid off as early as we‘can.” Once Indians had been granted individual land allotments, they would “sell and move to the West.” And then Jackson added: “When the reserves are surveyed it will require but a short time to compleat the batiance and have it into markett. . . .” What Jackson wanted in the market was the Indian's land, not the Indian himself as a Lockean farmer. Where Jackson was not able to buy out and remove Indians individually, he turned to the treaty method to remove the entire tribe directly. This was the strategy used against the Cherokees. In 1834, Jackson failed to secure a treaty for the cession of Cherokee lands and removai of the tribe to the West. The next year he sent the Reverend J. F. Schermerhorn to negotiate a treaty with the pro—removal faction of the Cherokees. The treaty provided that the Cherokees would cede their entire eastern territory and relocate beyond the Mississippi in exchange for $4.5 rniilion from the federal government. Signed in Washington on March 14, the treaty had to be ratified by the tribe in full council to be effective. The council rejected the treaty, however, and Schermerhorn made arrangements for another meeting in Decent» her, to be held in New Echota, Georgia, to negotiate a new treaty. To Secretary Cass, he wrote: “We shall make a treaty with those who attend, and rely upon it." Meanwhile, the Georgia militia jailed the anti-removal leader, John Ross, and suppressed the Cherokee newsw paper. With the opposition silenced, Schermer— horn proceeded to make a treaty with those in attendance, even though they constituted only a tiny fraction of the entire Cherokee tribe and though none of the principal officers of the tribe was present. The Treaty of New Echota was signed and sent to Washington for ratification by Congress. Jackson “reiied upon it,” and successfully urged Congress to ratify the treaty. But the federal government’s dishonesty could not be covered up. Appointed to enroll the Cherokees for removai, Major W. M. Davis found out what had actually happened at New Echota and wrote a letter to Secretary Cass to expose Scherrnerhon’s shamefui chicanery: THE MEIM’HYSICS OF CIVILIZATION Sir, that paper . . . called a treaty, is not treaty at all, because not sanctioned by the great body of the Cherokee and made without their participation or assent. I solemnly declare to you that upon its reference to the Cherokee people it would be instantly rejected by nine—tenths of them. . . .The most cunning and artful means were resorted to to coneeai the paucity of numbers present at the treaty. . . . Mr. Schermerhorn’s apparent design was to conceal the real number present and to impose on the public and the government on this point. The delegation taken to Washington by Mr. Schermerhom had no more authority to make a treaty than any other dozen Cherokee accidentaily picked up for the purpose. The Treaty of New Echota was a known fraud; still, the president responded to it as if it were the voice of the Cherokee people. Ratification triggered the movement of rheu- sands of white intruders into Cherokee terri— tory. They seized Cherokee farms and culti- vated lands, forcing out and often murdering the inhabitants. Still the Cherokees refused to recognize the treaty and ieave their territory; finally, in 1838, the federal government ordered the array to round up 15,000 of them. Placed in detention camps and then marched west beyond the Mississippi in the dead of winter, more than 4,000 Cherokees died on the “Trail of Tears.” As the president responsible for Indian re- moval, Jackson was a philosopher as well as a poiicy maker. While he negotiated fraudulent treaties and schemed with state leaders to acquire Indian lands, he offered solemn reflec- tions on the destinies of whites and Indians. A leader of his peopie, he recognized the need to explain the nation’s conduct toward Indians, to give it more! meaning. In his writings, messages to Congress, and personal letters, Jackson presented a philosphical justification for the extermination of Native Americans. Jackson’s metaphysics began with a confes— sion: white efforts to civilize the Indian had failed. Whites had purchased lands from Indi- ans and thrust them farther into the wilderness, forcing them to remain in a “wandering state.” Some Indians in the South had become civilized and learned the art of farming, Jackson noted; but they had set up an “independent govern- ment” within the state of Georgia. Such a “foreign government" could not be tolerated. - Thus, civilized Indians had to submit to the state. But, unlike Jefferson, Jackson did not believe the Indian could remain within the state, surrounded by whites in civilized society, and survive. “The fate of the Mohigan, the Narragansett, and the Delaware is fast overtak— ing the Choctaw, the Cherokee, and the Creek. 63 That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the State does not admit of a doubt.” Like the tribes before there, they would disappear. “Humanity and national honor de" mand that every effort be made to avert so great a calamity." Driven by “feeiings of justice,” Jackson asked whether something could be done “to preserve this much-irritated race.” And he offered an answer. He proposed that a district west of the Mississippi be set aside—“to be guaranteed to the Indian tribes as long as they shall occupy it.” There they would be free to live in peace and to have their own govern-, ment “as long as the grass grows, or water runs.” Urging Indians to seek new homes beyond the Mississippi, Jackson encouraged them to €0110w the example of whites, become a people in motion, restless and expansive. “Doubtless it wiil be painqu [for Indians] to leave the graves of their fathers,” Jackson told Congress. “But what do they more than our ancestors did or than our children are now doing? To better their conditiOn in an unknown land our forefa- thers left alt that was dear in earthiy objects. Our chiidren by thousands yeariy leave the land of their birth to seek new homes in distant regions.” Movement, geographical and social, represented progress and a Jacksonian way of life. It enabled white Americans to develop “power and faculties of man in their highest perfection.” Time and again, Jackson insisted he wanted to be “just” and “humane” toward the Indians. He wanted to protect them from the “merce— nary influence of white men," and to exercise a “parental” control over them and perpetuate their race. He explained that he wanted them to be happy and that their happiness depended on removal. Jackson regarded himself as a “fa- ther,” concerned about the welfare of his Indian “children.” He instructed Major David Haiey to transmit to the chiefs of the Choctaws his advice as their “father.” “That the chiefs and warriors may fully understand this talk,” wrote Jackson, “you will please go amongst, dc read it to, and fully explain to them. Tell them it is from my own mouth you have rec’d it and that I never speak with a forked tongue.” His advice to the Indians was to move beyond the Missis- sippi; and, if they refused to accept this advice, Jackson warned, they must then be responsible for whatever happened to them. “I feel con— scious of having done my duty to my red children,” he said, “and if any failure of my good intentions arises, it wili be attributable to their want of duty to themselves, not to me.” fl vitimatcly, as Jackson revealed in his rc- rnoval of the Seminoles. white paternalism drew its power from the barrel of a gun. In his letter to the Seminoles in 1835. the president offered paternal advice as he threatened paternal power. Addressing them as "My Children." be said he was sorry to learn that they had been listening to “bad counsel." "You know me he assured them. “and you know that I would not deceive. not advise you l0 do anything that was unjust or injurious.“ As a “friend? Jackson claimed he offcrcd them “the words of truth.“ White peoplc \verc settling around them. and the game had disappeared from their country. “Your people are poor and hungry.“ he ob- served. “Even if you had a right to stay. how could you live when: you now are?“ Then he warned them about the market system as if it were an impersonal force and he were not a part of it. “You have sold all your country. . . .The tract you have coded will soon be surveyed and sold. and immediately afterwards will be occu' pied by a white population.“ Thus. Seminoles should migrntc to the West where game was yet abundant and where they would be far away from the market and whites. If they remained. they would starve and he forced to steal from whites. “You will be resisted. punished. per- haps killed." the white father predicted. Again. he urged them l0 leave. and then added: “But lest some of your rash young men should forcibly oppose your arrangements for removal. I have ordered a large military force to be sent among you.“ Seminoles. under the leadership of Gsccola. refused to accept Jackson's fatherly advice and took up armed resistance. Enraged. Jackson sent enough troops to Florida "as might cat Powell [Osceola] and his low.“ But the Seminoles were not so easily crushed. After Jackson left office in 1837. he continued to focus his fury on the insubordihate tribe. in a memorandum on the Florida campaign. he recommended a strategy to bring Scrninole defiance to a quick end. American commanders should conduct scarch-nnd-dcstroy missions. and order their troops to find Seminole villages and capture or destroy the women. Unless they knew "where the Indian women were.“ iackson wrote. United States soldiers would never be effective. Their effort would he “like a com- bined operation to encompass a wolf in the hamocks without knowing first when: her den and whelps were.“ Here was the propensity for violence which Jefferson had fearfuliy described as the “most boisterous passions." and which inckson had CULTUILE disguised. giVing it moral legitimacy. Many years before Indian removal. commander Jack- son had declared to his troops after the bloody victory at Horse Shoe Bend: The hands of the Tallapoasn will no longer murder our women and children. or disturb the quict of our borders. Tltcir midnight fiarnbcaux will no more iiiumine their Council house or shine upon the vicl‘trn of their internal orgies. They have disappeared from the face of the Earth. in their places a new generation will arise who will know their duties better. The weapons of warfare will be exchanged for thc utensils of husbandry; and the wilderness which now withers in sterility and seems to mourn the desolation which ovcrsprcnds ii. will blossom as the rose. and become Iltc nursery of the arts. . . . How lamentable it is that Ihe path to peace should lead through blood. and river the curcnscs of the slainll But it is in the dispensation oi that providence. which lilfiicls partial evil to produca general good. Tncrc. on the darlt and bloody ground at the WcSt. General Jackson had developed a justifi- cation for violence against Indians and 3 meta- physics for genocide. White violence was a necessary partial evil for the realisation oi" a general good~the cxtcnsion of white civiliza- tion and thc transformation of the wilderness into an agrarian society and a nursery of the arts. As president. Jackson took this rationale and incorporated it into the national conscious- ness. In his second annual message to Congress. he declared: Humanity has often wept over the late of the aborigines of this country. and Philanthropy has hcen long busily employed in devising means to avert it. but its progress has ncvcr for a moment been arrested. and one by one have many powerful tribcs disappcared from the earth, To follow to the tomb the last of his tacc and tread on the graves of extinct nations excite melancholy reflections. But lruc philanthropy reconciles the mind to theso vicissitudes as it does to the extinction of one generation to make room {or another. In all this. the president reassured the nation. as the general had earlier reassured his troops. that nothing was to be “regrcued.” "Philan- thropy could not wish to see this continent restored to the condition in which it was found by our forefathers." And the metaphysician than asked: "What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive Repub- lic. studded with cities. towns. and prosperous farms . . . filled with all the blessings of liberty. civilization. and religion?" As the president medilaled on the disappearance of Indians and THE MHM‘HYSICS 0F ClVlLiZATlDN the “melancholy reflections" it excited. he claimed for white Americans their moral inno- cence. What had happencd to the lndians was inevitable. even moral. The metaphysics of Indian-hating. for jack- son. had begun in the Creek War of 181344 and was completed in the Bank War of 1532-— 36. [n his war against Indians. Jackson had used them to define savagcry. Thus. he described them as “cannibals.” "savage dogs." “blood- hounds.“ and “blood thirsty" Slayers of inno‘ cent white women and children. His attack on lndians. however. did not enable him to formu- late a clear and precise definition of civilization. especially a republican one. His references to the "free born sorts“ of the “republiclt” and the republican “fabric” of the revolutionary fore-foe thcrs were vague and inadequate. Victorious over “savages.” Jackson still needed to identify the possessors of republican virtue_the “real people.“ This he did in his war against the Bank of the United States. In Jackson‘s mind. the Bank War was similar to his military campaign against the Creeks: it was a struggle to preserve the virtues of the Old chubiic. The privately controlled Secomj Bank of the Uhitcd States. chartered in liilé and the depository for federal funds. was “a system at war" with “the genius“ of the institu— tions the republican fathers had established. Scheduled for a renewal of its charter during jackson‘s presidency. the bank encountered his republican wrath. “Our Fathers." he declared, had “pcrilled their lives“ to arrest the "natural instinct to rcach after new acquisitions." The “Revolutionary struggle" should not be weak- encd in "lavish public disbursements“; corpora- tions with “exclusive privileges" should not be allowed to undermine the “original” checks and balances of the Constitution. The bank represented. to Jackson. an even greater and more insidious thrcal to republicans than the Creeks. The red encrnics were "stupid mortals." relying on “subterfugcs” such as their “grim visagcs" and “hideous yells“ rather than on their bravery. By contrast. the bank consti— tuted a consolidation of power: Through its "silent" and "secret" operation and throngl-t shrewd manipulation. a few corrupt men were able to acquire control over the "labor and earnings of the great body of the people." In his famous bank veto message. which resulted in the destruction of the bank. Jackson declared: ll is to he regretted that the rich and powcrful too often bend the acts or government In their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every iusi government. Equality of talents. GS of education. or of wcnlllt can not bi! produced by human institution. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits or superior industry. cconorny. and virtue. every man is cqnally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these gust advantages artificial distincn lions. In grant lilies. gratuities. and exclusive privileges. to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful. the humble members of society— thc farmers. mechanics. and laborers—who have neither the time nor the means of securing likn favors to themsclvcs—havc a right to complain of the injustice oi thclr Government. The bank and its system of paper money engendered a "spirit of spcculatinn injurious to the habits and character of the people." an “eager desire to amass wealth without labor,“ a “craving desire for luxurious enjoyment." and a “sickly appetitc for effcminttte indulgence." The republican lathch had located the source of corruption in the king; Jackson located it in the banit. "the new "hydra of corruption" drained from the people their power to resist cupidity. idleness. temptation. and extravagance. Regardless of whether he was struggling against the "moneyed power“ or the Indians. Jackson excluded from groups from the "real people"~the farmers. mechanics. and labor- ers. “The bone and sincw oi the country.“ they depended on their own "honest industry" and economy for success. Self-governing and inde- pendent, they cultivated the soil. earned the. fruits of their own labor. and possessed the “habits of economy and simplicity“ so congenial to the "character of republicans." But the corrupt men of wealth and the Endians were antagonistic to honest labcr. While the former exploited the privileges granted to them by the government in order to enrich themselves. tho latter lacked the “intelligence. industry. the moral habits." "the desire of improvement." and the capacity for self-government. “Glaservau ticm proves that the great body of the southern tribes of Indians.“ Jackson claimed. "are erratic in their habits. and wanting in those endow— ments which are suited to a people who would direct themselves. . . .“ “Children of the for— ests.“ they did not cultivate the land. How could they. asked Jackson. make claims on tracts on which they had neither dwelt not made "improvements." merely because they had "seen them from the mountain or passed them in the chase?“ in Jackson's judgment. neither mcn of“artiftcial distinctions“ nor lntiinns had a place in a republican society. The parallel between Jackson‘s military cam- paign against lndians and his war against the as bani: was distressineg evident to Nicholas Biddle. “The worthy President." observed Bank {)ircctor Biddle. “thinks because he has scnlpcd Indians . . . ho is to have his way with the Bank." Biddle‘s was a most perspicacious remark. indeed. in Jackson's fantasy. Indians were “those monsters," while the bank was “the monster." Indians threatened to kill Jackson and other whites in the West and lay waste "the shodes of industry.“ The bank. too. "waged war upon the people" of the “repuhl‘ick” and appeared to threaten Jackson personally. "The bank. Mr. Van Bur—en, is trying to kiti me. burl will kill it." the president exclaimed in fury. “l‘ve got my foot upon it and I‘ll crush it.“ A slayer of "monsters," Jackson destroyed the Creeks at Horse Shoe Bend and the Bank of the United States and swept both of them ironi “the face of the Earth." Confidence. as Melville suggested in his novel. was a political style which depended on roic~ playing, and which was widely used in Jackso» nian society. Unlike Melville’s confidence-man. sacks-nu employed confidence as a technique to rake himself and his society away from rather than toward exposure. critical awareness. and redemption. In Jackson‘s sci-vice. disguises en» ahied him to give events his own definitions, and to judge his and the nation's actions in a variety of ways and in accordance with their economic interests and psychological needs. His was a “persuasion” which not only allowed him to destroy the bank as he nurtured a nostalgia for an old agrarian republic but also madeit possible for him to advance the market as he articulated compassion and regret for the Indians. in the removat and killing of lndians. the expansion of the market. and the formulation oi a metaphysics of Indiamhating. iackscn was in effect the nation's confidence-man. Undeniv ably. as Jackson himseif acknowiedged. how whites conducted themselves in relations with Indians was “deeply interesting" to their "new tionat character." They must not he guilty of capitalist corruption. moral absurdity. or mass murders. As president, Jackson lold them they were not. and skillfully exercised confidence in his own conduct toward lndians. He excluded them from the "real peopie“ and claimed they were hunters and wanderch as he encouraged intruders to seize cultivated and improved Indian lands. He called himself "father" and indians “chiidten” as he employed “confldcrtv CULTURE lie] agents" to deceive and bribe Indians in order to remove them from their lands; he insisted that the government he kept pure and separated from the corruption of land specula- tors as lie permitted the government to be used in their service. He assured the Indians that his advice to thorn was based on “feelings of justice" as he moved their lands into the “markett.” indeed. through the use of a muiti‘ rude or disguises. Jackson protected the moral character of the American people as he served the class interests of the speculators. farmers. and piantcrs seeking to appmpriatc lndian lands. But what Jackson was and what he did involved more than the appropriation of rnii— iiotts of acres of Indian lands. As general and as president. jackson. had built a "pyramid of skulls." lndians lost their lives as well as their iartris. A Jibbcnainosay in teaiity, he accomv plis'ned what Bird fantasizcdmlndian deaths. He helped to bring about that “calamity” which he said he was seeking to avoid. and succeeded precisely where Nathan QuakerfSlaughzer had failed. He was shit: to dissociate his acts oi violence against Indians from his claims of compassion, and to integrate both into a meta- physics of civilization which allowed whites to destroy the Indian and assure themselves that the indian‘s extinction was not to be "regret— ted." This was an integration Nathan Quaker.l Slaughter couid not achieve. Unable to engage in selfideccption. despite alt of his disguises. Nathan knew he was a killerw—knew murder was murder and evil was evil. He possessed a singular sanity Jackson did not have. Both Quaker and Slaughter. Jackson was seemingly able to be what Melviite's confidenceman thought was impossible {or Colonel John Moredock—a man of lovc and aiso of hate. it good father and also an Indian‘killcr. Soon after the battle of Horse Shoe Bend. Jackson wrote to his wife: “The carnage was dread- ful. . . . I hope shortly to put an end to the war and return to your arms. kiss my little andrew for me. tell him I have a warriors how and quiver for him." “No cold husband or colder iathcr," Jackson was at the same time like the Jihbenainosay. a "Leather-stocking Nemesis." “And Natty. what sort of a white man is he?" asked D. H. Lawrence. "Why, he is a man with a gun. He is a killer. a slayer. Patient and gentie as he is. he is a slayer. Self-cffacing . . . stiil he is a kiiier.“ 108 PART 5: EUROPEAN SETTLER COLONEALISM refreshed, pipes and tobacco are brought; and then, but not before, convorsation begins, with inquiries who they are, whither hound, what neWs, &c.; and it usualiy ends with offers of service, if the strangers have occasion of guides, or any necessaries for continuing their journey; and nothing is exacted for the entertainment. The same hospitality, esteemed among them as a principal virtue, is prac» deed by private persons; of which Conrad Weiser, our interpreter, gave me the following instances. He had been naturalized among the Six Nations, and spoke well the Mohawk language In going through the Indian country, to carry a message from our Governor to the Council at Onondaga, he called at the habitation of Canassatego, an old acquaintance, who embraced him, spread furs for him to sit on, placed before him some boiled beans and venison, and mixed some rum and water for his drink. When he was well refreshed, and had lit his pipe, Canassatego hogan to converse with him; asked how he had fared the many years since they had seen each other; whence he then came; what occasioned the journey, &c. Conrad answered all his questions; and when the discourse began to flag, the indian, to continue it, said, “Conrad, you have lived long among the white people, and know something of their customs; I have been sometimes at Albany, and have observed, that once in seven days they shut up their shops, and assemble all in the great house; tell me what it is for? What do they do there?” “They meet there,” says Conrad, “to hear and learn good things.” “I do not doubt,” says the Indian, “that they teil you so; they havetoid me the same; but} doubt the truth of what they say, and I will tell you my reasons. I went lately to Albany to sell my skins and buy blankets, knives, powder, rum, &c. You know I used generally to deal with Hans Han— son; but I was a little inclined this time to try some other merchant. However, I called first upon Hans, and asked him what he would give for beaver. He said he could not give any more than four shillings a pound; ‘but,’ says he, ‘I cannot talk on business now; this is the day when we meet together to learn good things, and I am going to the meeting.’ So I thought to myself, ‘Since we cannot do any business today, I may as well go to the meeting too,’ and I went with him. There stood up a man in biacit, and began to talk to the people very angrily. I did not understand what he said; but, perceiving that he looked much at me and at Hanson, I imagined he was angry at seeing me there; so I went out, sat down‘ncar the house, struck fire, and lit my pipe, waiting till the meeting should break up. I thought too, that the man had mentioned something of beaver, and i suspected it might be the subject of their meeting. So, when they came out, I accosted my merchant. ‘Well, Hans,‘ says NATIONAL sxsnrisr :09 song, —three and Sixpence, -three and Sixpence. This made it clear to me that my suspicion was right; and, that whatever they pretended of meeting to learn good things, the real purpose was to consult how to cheat Indians 'in the rice of beaver. Consider but a little, Conrad, and you must be of my opiniolii If they met so often to learn good things, they would certainly have learned some before this time. But they are still ignorant. You know our practice. If a white man, in traveling through our country, enters one of our cabins we‘ all treat him as’I treat you; we dry him if he is ,wet, we Warm him if he is cold we give him meat and drink, that he may allay his thirst and hunger; and we spread soft furs for him to rest and sleep'on; we demand nothing in return. But, if I go into a white man’s house at Alban ‘ I y, and ask for victuals and drink, they say, Where IS your money?’ and if I have none, they say, ‘Get out, you Indian dog.’ You. see they have not yet teamed those little good things,-that we need no meetings to be instructed in, because our mothers taught them to us when we were children; and therefore it is impossible their meetings should be, as they say, for any such purpose, or have an . v y Such effect; the are cal to COIIIIIVB the cheating of Indians in the prise of beaver.” ‘ y y National Expansion from the Indian Perspective R. David Edmunds Thisarttcle by a modem historian afiers an interpretation of the idea of manifest destiny or the pe opting of America at odds with the traditional settler-centered view. How does Edmunds counter the traditional view of US. expansion? Why does he argue that the Indians were not a barrier to American expansion? - In what ways were the North American frontiersmen like the bandeirantes of Brazil (see Hemming’s Red Gold, in Part 4)? Were theNorth American frontiersmen more interested in land than labor? If so, why? What afiect WWW Edmunds, David. “National Expansion from the Indian Perspective" in Indians in bmerzcan history, ed. Frederick E. Hoxie. © 1938 by Harlan Davidson, Inc. Reprinted y perrrusston of Harian Davidson, Inc. All Rights Reserved. pp. 159—165. I, ‘I hope you have agreed to give more than four shillings a pound.’ ‘No,’ says he, ‘I cannot give so much; i cannot give more than three shillings and sixpencef I then spoke to several other deaiers, but they all sung the same 110 PART 5: EUROPEAN SETTLER COLONIALISM did that dt'fierence have? Did the British government play a protecZEeaIrjl: for the Indians? Were the British analogous tothe Portuguese to lead or to the Catholic church in Brazil? Did these titfi’erent sprcumstancejmflar to clt'ficerent forms of Indian resistance to white settlement. Isltheyre a s history of so-called mixed bloods in North and South Amerthcah man it This selection is not only about a dt'fierent culture than t e' raz law also concerns a later period. Compare it not only to the selectto: fFron:1 Mm Gold but also to the selections from Bradford, Rovylandson, on re re 0’; Did the settlers become more tolerant, or less? Did thfy become the less racist from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. Most Americans have readily accepted the conventional view that expansion of the American frontier marked asunder advanc: 01:11:11? héut the over “savagely.” Imbued with an ethnocentric bias, textboo r; d.o geo 13 as late nineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries described n Zn 1; rpWest part of a wilderness habitat to be altered, erttlildrcficngg mitewmeu} in all editions published prior to e a e , ‘ 2(5):; college textbook focusing upon the history of the Amcrgapfyveeiugi movement discussed Indian—white relations in a chapter comic d '1 mow“ Barrier,” while popular accounts of the American west as portraye mm and television emphasized the Indians’ armed, if futile, res1stancc to e m ' n “ ro ress.” ' $31232? intirpzitation is markchy simplistic and reflects an iggiorirge Go: the interaction of Indian and non-Indian peoples on the American rain 1. .terh course Indians sometimes resisted white expansion, but more often 1 e: (11:60“ acted peacefuin with white frontiersmen, shaping the region 5 some [pate bmh nomic institutions and modifying their own society to better accommo valuable to a changing environment. Moreover, this interaction provrdes sonfmeficans, insights into the attitudes and assumptions of hmencan societyori Cups opinions about Indians not only reflect their behcfs regarding min t1tlycgarmlry but also illustrate their appraisal of themselves. For many iiinctepn r “saw Americans, 3. preconceived and often erroneous conception cc): In E:anzom fess age” life provided a welcome contrast to what they envisione as t e p g ' civiiization.” ‘ ' 0f 31:33:31: first quarter of the nineteenth century, attitudes probably differed between American frontiersmen and poliplcaa 1' Eminent Washington. Most of the Founding Fathers were the products 0 .n 1g the 5m} philosophy; and although they viewed Ind1an people as lesser bemgs,c ” 31!“ are had been influenced by Roussean’s conceptions of the nopie savag fled into ethnocentric than racist, they believed that Indians could be convet Since small yeomen farmers and eventually assimilated into American sociefiyzans in most Indians already had been forced from the eastern seaboard, po 1 NATIONAL EXPANSION FROM THE INDIAN PERSPECTIVE 111 Washington, DC. did not View them as a threat. Th encouraged the proprietors of government- ing posts) to lure the tribes- their surplus lands, Indians with agents omas Jefferson may have sponsored Indian factories (or trad— people into debt so they would be forced to cede but he also supported a systematic program to provide the and farm implements so they could foam to be farmers. American frontiersmen were less willing to assimilate the Indians. Although American historians continue to argue over the reasons frontiersmen moved west, most scholars agree that economic opportunity was of primary impon lance. Many frontiersmen were economic opportunists, eager to better their lot, and they had no qualms about seizing every advantage that furthered their aspirations. If some of those advantages came at the expense of the Indian people, it caused little concern to frontier entrepreneurs willing to ride rough- shod over any group denying them access to riches. To many frontiersmen, the lands and the resources controlled by Indians were “plums ripe for the plucking.” At worst, Indians were a threat Conflicts over Indian local, state, ; at best, they were a nuisance. policy spurred considerable disagreement between and federal governments. Many of these disputes reflect a theme familiar to most American historians: the federal government’s inability to maintain effective control over its western citizens. Between 1795 and i809, federal officials signed seventeen treaties with the tribes of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan, but the agreements were honored more in their violation than in their adherence. Imbued with a sense of their own self— American frontiersmen ignored the treaty reguiations and regularly crossed over onto National Indian lands to hunt, trap, or establish homesteads. Al— though federai officials in Ohio and Indiana made desuitory attempts to protect Indian interests, they could not stop the tide of American aggrandizement. White trespass upon Indian lands reached such proportions that in 1808 Wil— liam Henry Harrison, the governor of Indiana Territory, complained: righteousness, The people of Kentucky. . .makc a constant practice of crossing over onto Indian lands . . . to kili deer, bear, and buffaloe [sicl . . . One hunter will destroy more game than five of the common Indians. , Harrison added, “A great many of the Inhabitants of the Fronteers [std consider the murdering of the Indians in the highest degree meritorious.” Federai lawmakers in Washington might be willing to differentiate between Indian and white iands, but for many from tiersmen the western territories we re a vast cornucopia to be exploited. They disregarded Indian claims to the land and its resources. American aggression canscd considerable problems for the Indian people of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Not only Were their homelands overrun by fron- 112 PART 5: EUROPEAN SETTLER COLONIALISM tiersmen, but the invaders severely depleted the game animais. Moreover, Indian attempts to seek justice brought little recourse since white juries sys~ tematically freed most Americans accused of crimes against the tribesmen. Not surprisingly, resentment swelled and the tribes struck hack at the Americans. Unwiliing to admit that they were the authors of their own misfortune, Amen ican frontiersmen in the first decade of the nineteenth century blamed the British, whom they charged with inciting the indians against the settlements. Although the British did exercise considerable influence among the tribes, a close examination of these events indicates Indian resistance to American ex— pansion was a natural, indigenous act. The British did attempt to manipulate Indian resentment of the Americans for their own purposes; however, in most instances the tribesmen were more militant than the Crown, and British Indian agents often attempted to restrain the warriors rather than precipitate a general conflict with the United States. In these instances, the Indians welcomed the technical and logistical support of the Crown, but their decision to resist the Americans was their own. Traditionally, historians have championed Tecumseh, the Shawnee war chief, as the architect of the Indian resistance that coalesced prior to the War of 1812, Both British and American authors have been eager to point out that from 1809 through 1811, the Shawnee statesman traveied among the western tribes attempting to enlist the warriors into a pan~lndian political and military organization designed to defend the remaining Indian land base east of the Mississippi. in contrast, Tecumseh’s brother, Tenskwatawa, known as the E'rophet, usuaily has been portrayed as a religious charlatan who rode Tecum- seh‘s coattaiis to a position of minor prominence. Yet throughout American history, during periods of significant stress, Indian people traditionally have turned to religious ieaders or revitatization movements for their deliverance. Spiritual spokesmen such as Neotin, the Delaware prophet who emerged prior to Pontiac’s rebellion; Handsome Lake of the Senecas, a contemporary of Tenskwatawa; and the Faiute Wovoka and his Ghost Dance are good examples of holy men who arose to meet their people’s needs. _ It appears from recent scholarship that Tenskwatawa was more instrumental than Tecumseh in forging the Indian coalition in the years preceding the War of 1812. Upon examination of ail the primary materials focusing on these events, it is clear that for four years, from 1805 until 1809, the religious teach— ings of the Prophet were the magnet that attracted thousands of Indians, first to Greenvilie, in Ohio, then to Prophetstown. Aithough there are extensive references to the Prophet and his movements in documents from this period, there is no mention of Tecumseh prior to April 1808, when British officials in Canada mention that “the Prophet’s brother” visited Amherstburg. William Henry Harrison, churnseh‘s primary antagonist, does not mention the Shaw- names: M.uanns§riu_di Southern Africa in the nineteenth century. (Kevin Reilly) r5. :2 i? D‘. :,< '3 Beth free and I Popular sovereignty: The United States during the Civil War. ( Kevin Reilly) NATIONAL EXPANSION FROM THE iNDIAN FERSPECTWE 113 , and then Harrison aiso refers to him oniy as “the Prophet’s brother,” since he evidently/had not yet iearned Tecumseh’s name. Indeed, Tecumseh did not challenge his brother for leadership until after the Treaty of Fort Wayne (1809}, which transferred extensive Indian landholdings in Indiana to the United States. The Shawnee war chief then used his brother’s religious movement as the base for his ill-fated, poiiticahmilitary confederacy. White historians have probably championed Tecumseh as the author of the Indian resistance movement since his concepts of poiitical and miiitary unity seemed more iogical {by white standards) than the Prophet’s religious revital— ization. In retrospect, white historians had little understanding of Indian reii- gious doctrines, but they believed that if they had been Indians, they also would have attempted to forge the tribes into a multitribal confederacy. Yet the Prophet’s doctrines had more appeal to the Indians. Americans have idolized Tecumseh because they believe that he fits their concept of the “noble savage”; since his death both folklorists and historians have enshrouded the Shawnee chief with extensive apocrypha. Recent inquiry has also illustrated that different socioeconomic groups on the frontier reacted to the Indians in differ ent ways. Historians have indicated, for cxampie, that much of the violence between Indians and whites that oc~ curred in the Far West during the middle decades of the nineteenth century was triggered by miners and other more transient workers, not farmers. Many white farmers who saw themselves as p ermanent residents of a region were interested in promoting peace and stabiii ty between the white and Indian pop- ulations. In contrast, miners were eager for the maximum exploitation of min— eral resources and had iittle interest in the longwterm development of a region. Preferring to make their “stake” and then retire to more comfortable surround— ings, miners and other transients viewed Indians as impediments to their suc— cess and were quite willing to eliminate them. In addition, since many miners and other transient Eaborers often were unemployed, they sometimes welcomed the opportunity to draw rations and wages for service in militia or paramilitary units that Were formed to suppress “Indian uprisings.” Such earnings hardiy matched the riches of a bonanza strike in the gold fields but, for destitute laborers, payment for military services offered ready cash. The notion that frontier transients formed the backbone of frontier militias suggests an explanation for other Indian‘white confrontations. In i774 Lord Dunrnore’s War was precipitated when frontier riffraff murdered innocent Shawnees and Deiawares along the Ohio. Almost sixty years later, on May 14, 1832, the Black Hawk War probably would have terminated without blood~ shed if the drunken militia partially composed of miners from Wisconsin‘s Fever River District and commanded by Major Isaiah Stiilman had no tattaciced Black Hawk’s envoys as the old Sank war chief prepared to surrender. The 114 PART 5: EUROPEAN SETTLER COLONIALISM resulting Battle of Stillman’s Run ended any chance for the hapless Sanks and Foxes to withdraw peacefully to Iowa. On November 28, l864, illtrained and drunken militia were also responsible for the slaughter of more than 150 Chey— ennes and Arapahos at Sand Creek in Colorado. Many of the volunteers malt— ing up this force were unemployed miners lured west by the Colorado gold rush of the late, 1850s. Illegal trespass hy miners onto Indian lands in the Black Hills also triggered the last of the Sioux wars, culminating in Custer’s defeat at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Other miners organized the 1110‘!) who murdered 144 Apaches at Camp Grant, near Tucson, Arizona, in April 1871. In retrospect, if Indian lands held valuable resources, those treasures were exploited. Although the federal government might promise to protect the in- violability of Indian real estate, such promises often were broken. The con- sequences of this repeating cycle should have a profound message for tribal communities holding valuable mineral or water resources in the twentieth century. ‘ . . Disputes between Indians and whites over lndian lands in the Southeast also offer some interesting insights into the conflict between frontiersmen and fed— eral officials while illustrating therentrepreneurial values of the Jacksonians. By the l8203, many Americans were dissatisfied with the established organic economic system that emphasized careful centralized planning (a national bank, tariffs, federal support for internal improvements, etc.), and new entre— preneurs emerged who argued that “the powdered wig set” (the federal gov- ernment) controlled the nation’s resources for their own benefit. After the adoptionlof the cotton gin spread cotton production across the Gulf plains, Indian lands in the. region became the focus of local land speculators. Their complaint was not that the federal government had failed to purchase Indian land holdings (indeed, by the 18205 much of the former tribal holdings already were in the public domain) but that the government did not immediately buy all Indian lands remaining within their respective states and send the tribes packing across the Mississippi. ‘ . In contrast, manyofficialsrin .Washington, as exemplified by President John Quincy Adams, still gave at least lip. service to. thecivilization programs that had been in force since the beginning of the century..ln theory, the Indians were to adopt white values and be assimilated into American society. In ac- tuality, Adams also may have favored some type of removal program, but he championed carefully planned and legalistic procedures through which the , changing status of the Indians and their tenure of tribal lands could be delin— eated. Any delays necessitated by long—term planning were unacceptable to local expansionists. In Georgia a group of these expansionists, led by Governor George M. Troop, negotiated the Treaty of Indian Springs with a faction rep- paper, and pious Protestant co less of how “civilized” them as “Indians” and, ‘ Constitution extended to ...
View Full Document

Page1 / 13

Indians Age of Jackson - _________m: The Metaphysics of...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 13. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online