Good Essay Question for AP: Hope brings liberalism; fear breeds conservatism.
By 1700, 75 per cent of tools, weapons, clothing, used by the Seneca and Mohawk Indians were of English origin – and this had occurred within a 50-year time span. It was not unusual, either. It had become the norm between Florida and Maine.
The change in lifestyle had several ramifications:
·Traditional skills were diminished, forgotten or abandoned.
·Indians became dependent upon alcohol.
·They became more dependent upon hunting for furs, etc. than farming and planting.
·Competition for furs made them reach more deeply into the territory of other tribes, resulting in warfare.
·They depleted the animal population which made them more dependent.
Alcohol was a particularly troubling factor. Indians would trade anything and everything to get it. They often traded away land when drunk, and didn’t realize what they were doing. They did not understand the physical effects of alcohol, only that it lowered their inhibitions; many became violent, and a number of Indians died from alcohol poisoning.
By 1700, the Northeast British residents determined that the Indians should all be converted to Christianity. This was particularly true after the Great Awakening. The Indians resisted this; but it had the effect of corrupting their traditional spiritual values.
Land demand also caused problems. The Indians began to withdraw in the face of white settlement. By 1700, the Eastern Woodlands Indians were in dire straits.
Resistance developed in the 1670’s. In 1671, Metacomet (some texts spell Metacom), the son of Massasoit, (Massasoit was the Indian chief who first met the Puritans.) became appalled and disgusted at the dependency of Indians on the whites, their use of alcohol, praying towns, and attempts to "take the Indian out of the Indian," as well as white efforts to take Indian land.
Metacomet was sickened that the Indians were giving up their traditional ways of life. He traveled as far as Maine to solicit support for a unified Indian response to the destructive nature of the Pilgrims on the Indian way of life.
He told the Indians that their survival depended upon resistance; otherwise they would one day cease to "be who we are." This was the first Pan-Indian Union. Traditional rivals banded together.
The Iroquois and Powhatan Indians were of similar bloodlines. Metacomet’s tribe and they were from separate tribes; old rivals. Idea was "my enemy’s enemy is my friend."
Between 1671 – 1673 there was scattered fighting in Maine. It was mostly against those whites who were venturing deep into Indian Territory.
As a result, the Puritans arrested Metacomet, held him for several months. They disbanded the Indians, and then released him, thinking that they had won the day.
Instead, Metacomet revitalized the alliance, and started a war in 1675. The Puritans referred to him by a traditional Christian name, Phillip, and thus called the ensuing war King Phillip’s War.
Metacomet raided all outlying settlements, and went deep into Puritan territory. He attacked Plymouth itself, and also Providence, Rhode Island. He attacked 40 major outposts, and destroyed 12 of them. Ten per cent of the Puritan population was killed.
This was full-scale war to preserve traditional Indian survival.
Indians were kicking-butt in 1675, and did well until the winter of 1675-76. Indians, of course, considered warfare seasonal, and resumed the war in the spring of 1676. However, they had grown little food the previous spring, as they had been fighting. By spring, the warriors were not properly nourished, and food supplies were dwindling. Metacomet hoped to hold off the Puritans long enough to give the tribes enough time to revitalize.
The Puritans knew the Indians were at a disadvantage, and the tie to strike was at hand. They attacked in Indian Territory in the spring and summer of 1676 and destroyed crops, slaughtered game, and either left it to rot or carried it off. They attacked settlements which forced the Indians deeper into their territory, and further away from the alliance.The Puritan philosophy appeared to be
·Attack food supply, and
·Divide and conquer.
By the summer of 1676, the alliance was broken. In August, by pure luck, the Puritans killed all the Indians in an attack, one of whom was Metacomet himself. The Puritans placed his head on a pole in a place where all the other Indians could see it, as a warning. This terrified the other Indians even more, and gave them even more incentive to break the alliance.
Eventually, the Indians gave up and the Puritans won the day. They then went to the Indian villages, took prisoners, and sold them into slavery. Metacomet’s wife and children were sold into slavery in the West Indies. Some Indians were sent to Praying Town reservations; others fled west, and linked up with other tribes.
This was the land major Indian initiative to end European domination.
Over the 1700’s, Indians arose several times with the same plan as Metacomet, to end European domination; but the Indians had increasingly become pawns of the Europeans.
Between 1690 and 1760, France and England fought four Major Wars. The Wars in Europe spilled over into North America. Both sides used Indians as military allies.
The French and Indian War (1754) was the fourth such war in Europe, where it was known as the Seven Years War. By 1756 it had spilled over into North America. The major issue was who would control the Ohio River valley. This was the area between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, below the Great Lakes.
The French army was moving in from the North from Canada; the British were moving in from the West. The French approached their Huron friends (with whom they had had a good relationship) for a Natural alliance. They promised the Hurons that winning the war would be a block to English expansion. The Hurons were aware of how the British had treated Indians. The French even suggested that this might drive the British from North America. Their argument was sort of, "who’s treated you better."
With the French and Hurons allied, the British were worried; ad approached the Iroquois, the traditional enemies of the Hurons. "My enemy’s enemy is my friend." The British also promised to rein in the colonists, establish a board of trade, recognize Indian culture, and stop the conversion of Indians. They also agreed to punish colonists who infringed on Indian rights. The idea was, "if you help us, we will make sure that the colonists treat you properly." So, the Iroquois agreed to help the British.
The war ended in 1763 when Great Britain won; but the Indians soon found out that the British had manipulated them. Under the terms of the treaty, the French had to leave North America.
Pontiac, allied with the French, saw the British were about to move into the Ohio valley and punish Indians allied wit the French. He also feared they would spread British influence and tradition.
In 1763 he started Pontiacs War, which lasted until 1765. It was a war for Indian survival, cultural identity, and tribal existence.
The War resulted in the utter destruction of Indian people and their enslavement. There were also repercussions in British policy. The Proclamation of 1763 was a result of Pontiac’s war. The British couldn’t protect (or couldn’t afford to protect) colonists beyond the crest of the Appalachian Mountains, so they forbade settlement in that area.
So, Pontiac had at least slowed the migration of Colonists. He had not been defeated by standard British forces, but by Colonial militia. The Proclamation stopped further expansion.
During the Revolutionary War, the Indians were pawns again. The British made an alliance with the Shawnee in Tennessee and Kentucky.
Daniel Boone had moved to Kentucky to avoid fighting with Great Britain. But then he had to fight the Shawnee. At one point, they captured him, but he escaped.
Both sides promised the Indians they would not interfere in Indian affairs any more, and the Indians believed them. The Cherokee actually switched sides; they fought first for the British, and later for the Americans.
Before the war, each colony had determined it’s own Indian policy. There was a Royal Commission, but it was weak, and was normally ignored.
After the War, America was an independent nation, and needed a national Indian Policy. In 1787, the Northwest Ordinance was passed which defined political subdivisions and provisions for statehood for the Northwest Territories. The Ordinance also said that the United States Government would promise and guarantee the rights of the Indians, would acquire title to Indian land fairly, and justly. It specified that Indian land would not be invaded except in case of "just war" as declared by the U.S. Government. In other words, they wouldn’t invade the Indians unless provoked, and in a justified war. War would have to be authorized by Congress.
This was an acknowledgement by Congress that the ill treatment of the Colonial period would not be repeated.
BUT, Congress had not defined "just war." There is some argument that this provision was purposely left vague.
The Indians like the Northwest Ordinance, said they could live with it. They saw settlement coming into areas but bypassing areas where Indians lived. Whites would have to move around them.
In 1788 the Constitution was ratified. Under its terms, the Indians were considered a separate nation; could only be dealt with by treaty, which treaty had to be ratified by the Senate. At this point, the Indians had a level of respect, freedom, and power they had not enjoyed before. Each State could NOT have its own separate Indian Affairs Commission or policy.
This was meant to reassure the tribes in the Western areas.
In 1790 Congress passed the Indian Affairs and Intercourse Act, which said that only traders licensed by the Government could trade with the Indians. It was a sincere effort to give the Indians a legal basis from which to operate.
In 1793, President Washington signed the Treaty of Canandaiga with the Iroquois. It was ratified in 1794, and recognized the Iroquois as a "nation within a nation."
The Iroquois had been considered a separate nation under earlier laws, but had not encountered white government; there had been no reason to designate their rights. But they had been in the Northeast, and had been in contact with whites for over 200 years.
The treaty of Canandaiga was based upon the acknowledgement that the United States could not militarily defeat the Iroquois.
The treaty acknowledged that the U.S. could not defeat the Iroquois or destroy their culture. The Indians had thus far withstood every attempt to do so, and so it was agreed to treat them with the sincere respect one would accord a foreign nation. This meant they would not be threatened by the Federal Government or the State of New York. It said territorial boundaries which actually included parts of Canada! (Interesting how that would be enforced.)
There were 400 treaties made after 1776; only one was maintained until 1940, which was the treaty of Canandaiga. In fact, during World War I, the Iroquois could not be drafted into the armed services, as they were not U.S. Citizens. They only served if they agreed to. The State of Federal Governments had no jurisdiction over them.
Most were willing to fight in the war, but they were not willing to acknowledge that the Government had the authority to compel them to fight.
The State of New York went to court many times to attempt to invalidate the Treaty of Canandaiga, but failed each time. In 1940, an act was passed which said any person born within the territorial limits of the United States was a U. S. Citizen, regardless of previous treaties. Even after this, many Iroquois held on to the old system, and refused to be drafted into World War II. This issue reached the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1942 which said that "regrettably" it must find in favor of the Government as the Congress had the right to revoke treaties.
The Iroquois actually issued their own separate declaration of war against Germany in 1917. In 1924, they attempted to join the League of Nations, but the League refused them membership. The United States was also not a member. In 1942, they again declared War on Germany as a separate nation.
There are several arguments about why a Treaty was used to deal with the Indians:
·It was a legal framework. It provided justification for action against the Indians later. One could always claim Indian aggression against whites as justification.
·Americans were not able to win a war against the Iroquois, so the Government veiled its position of weakness with morality and legality.
·It was simply a means of giving the Indians a false sense of security.
All the above are the bleeding heart, liberal, "politically correct" arguments. Did no one ever think that the Indians were, in fact, considered a separate nation, inasmuch as there were Indians inside and outside the territorial borders of the U.S.? Even the treaty acknowledged that some of their territory was in Canada. Amazing at time what some of these "intellectual" assholes can read into something that just isn’t there.
As president (1801-09), Thomas Jefferson supported legality, but the issue of "removal" of the Indians became important.
In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the U.S., all the way to the Rocky Mountains. Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark on a discovery mission to identify what resources might be found; see if the Mississippi River was indeed the long lost "northwest passage to the Orient," and also find out something about the Indians in that area. Who and what were they? What were they like? They were to find out all they could.
Jefferson fully expected White settlement in the Louisiana territory; so he wanted to know how to deal with the Indians; but at the same time, he had a scientific interest. He wanted to know as much about them as possible.
Jefferson was also a stanch proponent of assimilation; bring all the peoples within American borders into America; make them Americans. The old "melting pot" image.
He planned a gradual time frame; he even wanted to end slavery over time. The plan was to bring the Indians up to equality with whites over time.
Jefferson knew there were Indians East of the Mississippi with a brutal history. He was faced with the issue of what to do with these Eastern tribes.
Jefferson first came up with the idea of removing all Eastern Indians to the Louisiana territory. There they could live peaceably, and would adjust over time to white ways as whites moved into the area. Over several generations, he hoped that Indian – White interaction would create assimilation.
He never came up with a plan on how to move them. His best idea was that if they didn’t like the white settlements they (the Indians) could pack up and move west. He never considered forcible removal.
He did have an idea for assimilation of Indians in the East. Indian communities would be surrounded by white communities, would soon adopt white ways by example, would see the superiority of the white man’s way, and would adopt through observation, and gradually merge into white society.
This was not the prevailing concept of most Americans. They thought that the Indians should be forced to move beyond the Mississippi, or just destroy them.
Indians didn’t like the idea either. Their thinking was, "Why should we?" They had their own culture, their own spiritual values, and they could see how White culture would destroy theirs, so their answer wasn’t just no, it was HELL no.
The best example of this are the Shawnee. One Shawnee, Tenskwatawa, saw Indians caught up in the Revolutionary war. His Father was killed in the Revolutionary war. He had a younger brother, named Tecumseh (meaning "Shooting Star") or possibly Tecumtha (meaning "panther lying in wait") who had seen the father die. He had been only four years old at the time.
Tankswatawa had been ensnared in dependency upon whites. He had mastered no Indian skills, and had become dependent upon alcohol. In fact, he had become a raging drunk. Once while drunk, he had a vision that the Great Creator had selected him to preach cultural revitalization; to break the bonds of dependency, reject anything of white origin, and revive the old culture.
Tenskwatawa spread the gospel of cultural regeneration, and became known as "The Prophet." Hw swore off booze, and wouldn’t speak English or wear white men’s clothes. He traveled through Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan all the way to the Gulf Coast preaching the gospel of cultural rejuvenation.
Tenskwatawa’s brother, Tecumseh, went along with him. He was a warrior in his own right at this point, and called for a Pan Tribal Alliance. He said the whites could only be stopped by Tribal Unity.
Tecumseh had seen Daniel Boone captured by the Shawnee, and saw the chase when Boone escaped. He first saw combat against Boone’s village in Kentucky. He first won combat honors at age fourteen.
Tecumseh never accepted the treaty with the U.S. Government. H refused to recognize it, and moved to Indiana. He had met a White girl in Ohio while visiting his sister there, and wanted to marry her. She would only agree to marry him if he became a Christian, which he refused to do, so the arrangement broke off. However, she had taught him to read, and he read everything he could get his hands on: philosophy, science, even the Bible.
In 1806, William Henry Harrison, an old Indian fighter, took note of The Prophet and of Tecumseh. He sent word to the Prophet that if he had indeed received a vision and message from the Great Spirit, he should prove it by doing something no other human being could do. He suggested that as a challenge, he stop the sun in the sky.
Tecumseh’s reading came to the day here. He determined the date of the next Solar Eclipse (June, 1806), and told his brother to announce that he would stop the sun on that date. Word went out all over the Indian communities and among the whites. Harrison heard of it, and laughed his head off.
On the day appointed, hundreds of Indians gathered. The Prophet offered a prayer, and then the Eclipse happened. The Indians totally freaked out. They were dazzled by his power. He then beseeched the Great Creator to return the sun, and of course it did.
Harrison, of course, knows that he has been bested, and is royally P.O.ed.
This little stunt actually increased Indian unity from Michigan to Louisiana.
Tecumseh led warfare up and down the Mississippi. He attacked white settlers and settlements from 1806 – 1810. He won substantial Indian victories.
In 1811, W. H. Harrison defeated the Shawnee at the Battle of Tippecanoe Creek. He promised to wage a war of destruction, and moved against smaller Indian villages. As a result, the Indian front broke up.
Tankswatawa started drinking again, and lost the respect of the Indians. He was humiliated, but Tecumseh kept fighting.
In 1812, the U.S. went to war with Great Britain. Tecumseh talked with the British, and was promised British military aid.
Warfare intensified. At the Battle of Thames (1813), Tecumseh fights the American army, but is killed in battle. With his death, the Shawnee resistance ended. They were the last of the Pan-Indian alliance.
A settlement was reached with the Government; those who stayed in the East were ordered to a reservation. Leaders of the revolt were imprisoned. Those who wouldn’t go to the reservation were banished to the Northwest Territories.
So there were two different ideas at work: Jefferson, who wanted assimilation; Harrison, who wanted them gone.
By 1820, Americans had abandoned the idea of Assimilation
In 1819, Congress had voted $10,000.00 to build schools for Indians. The idea was to teach them English, American values, "how to be white."
The schools would have a religious base. There would be a heavy dose of Christianity. Between 1819 – 1824, 32 schools were built. They taught the Indian kids American values, but also White agricultural techniques, Christian values, etc. They were forbidden from speaking their native tongue, only English was spoken. These were boarding schools.
The idea was to remove the child from Indian influences, total immersion into white culture, and "take the Indian out of the Indian."
This was similar to present-day "English only" programs. The idea is that total immersion will result in assimilation. It will be the result, if not the goal.
Between 1819-29, only 1500 students were process. The funding was inadequate, even in that day. Many Americans still considered them Barbarians, and their idea was "hell with them."
By 1820, Missouri was the only place East of the Mississippi with a significant Indian presence. Removal had gained steam; assimilation was dropping fast.
In 1824, the Indians had ceded 200 million acres to the U.S. There was a pattern here. Removal was more dominant than assimilation.
In his State of the Union Address in 1824, James Monroe said that removal was the only real policy. Peaceful removal, of course, because forceful removal would be "revolting to humanity and utterly unjustifiable."
Individual states took a more direct initiative. In 1826, Georgia took action for forceful removal. They demanded the Creek Indians to relinquish all their land in Georgia. To assure removal, they requested Federal troops to compel compliance.
John Q. Adams was President, and he concurred. (Monroe had insisted on peaceful removal.) So, the Creeks were forcibly removed from Georgia to beyond the Mississippi river.
Georgia then went after the Cherokees, to have them forcibly removed. The Cherokees saw the handwriting on the wall, and decided that the best response was to become "American." They would do anything to keep their land.
So, the Cherokees began a process of assimilation. They adopted all the trappings of White society.
The Cherokee Nation was actually a collection of seven sub-nations; each had its own capital. They put this aside, and merged into a single group which they called a "State." They drafted a constitution, pledged allegiance to the U.S. Government, and were crafting themselves as potentially another State of the Union. They gave up their traditional clothing for white clothing, learned English, sent their kids to schools with the same curriculum as the white schools, gave up traditional housing for wooden houses, even established a community newspaper which they appropriately named the Phoenix. It was published in English and Cherokee. They adopted an alphabet, and taught their children to read in English and Cherokee.
They also sent lobbyists to Congress, and invited in Christians to build churches. (The Baptists jumped right in.) Some even owned black slaves. They would do anything to keep their land.
Georgia still wouldn’t let them keep their land, so the Cherokees went to Congress and asked for protection. Congress vacillated.
Then, gold was discovered in Cherokee territory. Georgia wanted control of the gold territory, which gave it even more incentive to move the Indians. Georgia filed suit against them, Georgia vs. Cherokee Indian Nation.
No decision was ever reached. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830 which said that all Indians would be removed to West of the Mississippi, by force if necessary.