Effects of Changes in American Policies Towards Indians

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America’s policies and ideas differed drastically from every single era and a very apparent example of the evolving differences can be seen through the treatment of Indians. America’s policies toward Indians beginning in the Washington administration starting in 1789 were much more lenient and tolerant of the Indians in comparison to the administrations later in the mid 1800s. The differences in policies and ideas regarding the Indians from Washington to Jackson’s administration reflects the change in American demands because the more Americans became consumed in their own needs, the less concern over the Indians. As the American nation became more powerful, the government demanded an expansion of white settlement which was to increase commerce as well as control. The beginning of Washington’s administration was filled with the idea of freedom and unalienable rights. But after the American nation began to prove their power, the demand began to shift to obtaining more property to become even more powerful. The policies regarding Indians shifted from Congress forbidding transfer of Indian land without approval to an Act that put pressure on Indian tribes to move West so then Americans would cede the fertile lands. So in Washington administration, Indian’s treatment was of concern because of fear of undermining nation’s honor, but then during the 1830’s Indian’s land was of concern because they were occupying fertile soil that Americans wanted for their own profit. Thus America’s changing demand from honoring national freedom to becoming more powerful caused the change in idea of Indians as uncivilized people to them being an obstacle of America’s growth.

Between Washington and Jackson’s administration, there was the conflicting beliefs of Indian assimilation into white society which produced opposing policies. Thomas Jefferson believed during Washington’s administration that Indians were uncivilized, but had potential to learn the ways of whites and therefore...
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