About a quarter of their population died along the

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: ation. The following review of the major stages of legislation illustrates the difficult relationship between the Natives and the United States government. Inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment that had given the revolution and the new government its moral and conceptual power, Washington policy makers were genuinely interested in pursuing a just and humane policy toward the Indians. One of the first full declarations of the U.S. Congress under the Constitution stated, “The utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians, their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful ways authorized by congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity shall from time to time be made, for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.”4 Early Legislation The Trade and Intercourse Acts (1790- 1847): Aimed to reduce fraud and other abuses and to establish that the new Congress would acquire land for white settlement by purchasing it based on treaty agreements arrived at through peaceful negotiations. Treaties (1778- 1871): About 370 treaties were signed, leading quickly to white expansion. The first wave of white settlers expanded into present- day Kentucky and Tennessee. In 1776, there were only about 400 settlers in this region but by 1790 there were 73,000. The second wave focused on Ohio. In 1790, there were about 3000 settlers there but by 1805, there were 230,000.5 In 1803, the purchase of Louisiana from the French further encouraged expansion. Other treaties, purchases, and annexations followed, forcing tribes to continue relocating farther north and west. Although many Washington policy makers had hoped that these land transfers would occur without violence and in a fair and just manner, in actuality Indians were typically victimized. Whites on the frontiers viewed the Indians as sub- human savages who should be exterminated, thus seeing the act of taking Native land almost as a spiritual duty because the Indians had not cultivated the land “properly” and were “wasting” God- given resources. Ridding the area of the “savages” would free up the land for “Americans” to cultivate it in much more productive and efficient 4Encyclopedia Britannica, “North American Peoples and Cultures.” Volume 13, p. 221. 5Hornbeck Tanner, p. 72. 5 Crossroads: Music of American Cultures (Barkley) Kendall Hunt Publishers, 2013 ways. Brutal treatment of Indians and raids on their land were not uncommon, and Indians were often tricked or coerced into signing treaties. Policy makers eventually concluded that removing the Indians to territories west of white settlement was the solution The Indian Removal Act (1830): Authorized the president to move Indians in the eastern part of the U.S. to “Indian Territory” (now essentially Oklahoma) west of the Mississippi in exchange for their lands. There they could live as they chose and assimilate into mainstream society at their own pace. Although removal was supposed to be voluntary, it became mandatory whenever Indians resisted. In the decade that followed, approximately 100,000 Indians were moved westward. One of the bitterest examples was the “Trail of Tears,” in which about 16,000 Cherokee were forced to walk barefoot and without blankets in stormy winter weather from their homelands in Georgia to “Indian” territory in present- day Oklahoma. About a quarter of their population died along the way. Soon it became apparent that whites were going to expand into “Indian Territory” as well. Mormons pursuing religious freedom (1846) and the discovery of gold in California (1848) intensified expansion that had already begun...
View Full Document

This document was uploaded on 02/16/2014.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online