the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

Mississippi was inevitable how that removal was to

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Mississippi was inevitable, how that removal was to occur did matter, meaning that outright coercion needed to be replaced with some semblance of mutual consent. Philip Schuyler, a former general in the Continental Army who had extensive experience dealing with the Six Nations during the war (and who, it so happened, was Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law), came up with an alternative way of thinking about Native Americans other than as “a conquered people.” “As our settlements approach their country,” Schuyler explained, “they [Indians] must, from scarcity of game, retire further back, and dispose of their lands, until they dwindle comparatively to nothing, as all savages have done…when compelled to live in the vicinity of civilized people.” In effect, demography would do the work of armies. 20 What Schuyler attributed to a cultural collision that would cause Native American societies to disintegrate upon contact with white civilization was most probably as much biological as cultural. Settlers of European ancestry carried diseases, chiefly smallpox and measles, to which most Native Americans had never been exposed, making them vulnerable to epidemics that on occasion generated mortality rates of 90 percent or higher. The real weapons of mass destruction in the eighteenth century were viruses, and the major reason the Native American population would recede upon contact with the front edge of white settlements was that they were defenseless against such biological weapons. What Schuyler liked to think of as the march of civilization was in fact a policy of genocide in slow motion, in which the march of white migration was accompanied by an artillery barrage of microbes that cleared the way. 21 Both the cultural and biological versions of westward expansion led to the same inevitable conclusion: Indian removal east of the Mississippi—achieved in a way that avoided any explicit embrace of imperialistic assumptions that defied America’s republican principles. The less attractive features of the western story were thereby conveniently obscured, allowing the conversation to focus on the white beneficiaries rather than the Indian victims. The Ordinances of 1784 and 1785 defined the western domain as a sacred trust, requiring management by a federal government that was prepared to deliver the full promise of its boundless bounty into the coffers of the United States. The management of western expansion thus became a domestic version of foreign policy, demanding a unified response that spoke with one voice. Unfortunately, the Confederation Congress had never been designed to function in that fashion, and the end of the war had removed its primary motive for political cooperation. Whether management of the domain would replace the war as a collective responsibility was not at all clear.
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  • Fall '16
  • Chemistry, pH, American Revolution, Second Continental Congress, American Revolution, Continental Army

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