Was U.S. Policy Toward Native Americans During the Periods of Expansion, Colonization, and Early U.S. an act of Genocide ?
“To conquer a nation, one must first disarm its citizens.” - Adolf Hitler, 1933
Independent Research Project
4 June 2014
In August of 1492 Columbus set sail from Spain hoping to soon arrive in Asia, but a few months later he arrived in the Bahamas and claimed it as new land. He thought he had discovered a new land, but little did he know— or care—that this land was already inhabited by a group of Indigenous peoples called Native Americans. Columbus proceeded to take over this land, exploit it for its riches, and abuse its peoples. A couple centuries after Columbus's exploration, a group of pilgrims, people who travel for religious reasons, arrived in New England. The first pilgrims that came to America were Christians fleeing England for religious freedom, and they landed in Plymouth in 1614. When landing in the New World, the first thing they saw was Plymouth Rock, which is currently in Provincetown, Massachusetts. While in Plymouth they met an English speaking Native American named Squanto. This man helped the settlers, and made it possible for the Pilgrims to survive the harsh New England weather. According to Trabich, an effect of the discovery of the new world was the extermination of 95 percent of the Native American population. Many people consider what Columbus and the settlers of the New World did an act of genocide, but some do not. In this situation genocide is defined as the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.That ethnic group is the Native Americans, which is defined as the members of any of the indigenous groups of the Americas. The question here is whether or not the U.S. policy toward these Native Americans during the periods of expansion, colonization, and early America were acts of genocide. The U.S. policy toward Native Americans during this time should be considered an act of genocide because the policies were created intending to destroy the Native American way of life. What happened to the Native Americans is atrocious, and they should have the right to call it a genocide because that is what it is. I will prove that the U.S. policy during the period of expansion should be considered an act of genocide because it resulted in the the classification of Native Americans as inferior. Then I will continue to prove that U.S. policy during the period of colonization, the period in which the white man colonized the americas, resulted in the isolation and savage treatment of the Native American’s. Finally in the end I will prove that the establishment of the early United States completely destroyed the Native American way of life, by exterminating a massive amount of Native American’s.
Overall, by having read the entirety of my essay I would like the reader to understand that the Native American way of life was almost completely obliterated by the arrival of european settlers. And because an entire group of peoples were deliberate killed by europeans, based solely on the facts that they were not europeans and perceived as savages, the actions of the europeans settlers should be considered acts of genocide.
The Period of Expansion
After settling on the land, the settlers began to explore and expand their reach, they realized there was an abundant amount of luscious land there, and more and more people arrived on what they saw as a new and empty vast amount of land. When settlers came to the new land they would see the Native Americans and because the Natives were not westernized in traditions or appearance, settlers thought of them as an extremely savage group of people. As a result they began labeling the Native Americans as savages and as the “them” in “them v. us.” The Classification of Native Americans...
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