AP American History
September 18, 2014
History Journal Entry #1: Native Americans
Before Europeans landed on the shores of America the Native Americans had developed dynamic and unique cultures. But as more and more Europeans came to America, more and more Indian culture was virtually destroyed. This tragedy is the direct result of treaties, written and broken by foreign governments, of warfare and of forced assimilation. After the Europeans created lasting colonies they established the first Native American reservations which, stated in President James Monroe’s inaugural address in 1812, “flattered their pride, retarded their improvement, and in many instances paved the way to their destruction.” An integral part of the culture of many American Indians was their connection to nature and thus to their land. So being stripped of this land was not only life changing but also devastating for the culture of American Indians. Even though James Monroe, and later Andrew Jackson, both advocated for the Indians’ rights and needs they both approved of their relocation. In 1838 the Removal Act, a bill that forced Native Americans to leave the United States and settle in the Indian territory west of the Mississippi, was put into action. Thousands of federal soldiers and Georgia volunteers entered Indian Territory and forcibly relocated the Cherokees. Americans hunted, imprisoned, raped and murdered Native Americans. Any Indians who survived this slaughter were forced to march on a 1,000-mile march, now known as the “Trail of Tears”, where nearly 4,000 Cherokees died. Many Americans believed that the Indians were just people that could be pushed aside for the development of the Americans. Additionally, some books of the era even claimed that a “law of divine Providence” caused some races to submit to those of “superior physical and intellectual vigor.” Some people used this as a justification for the cruel acts committed against the...
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