Spencer's Dispossessing the Wilderness: Response

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Muiruri 1
Kevin Muiruri
Prof. Montrie
American Social History II

Dispossessing the Wilderness - Response Paper

In week one we were asked the question “What is Social History? “. Social History is the study of laws, government actions, and events that affect the lives of society. The power that controls people always effects their happiness, moral interests, and general well-being. The people’s attitudes toward certain policies make the difference between an uprising and an approval. When thinking about the Social History involved in Dispossessing the Wilderness, the Civil war comes to mind up. Spencer writes that prior to the war the Americans and Indians tensions were okay. The Americans saw Indians and the wilderness as one. He mentions that it wasn’t until “after” the civil war started that the Americans and Indians tensions rose. This was due to many numerous frontier battles that occurred along the great western planes. It was after this time that the Americans started to view the Indians as “evil savages”. Here we are introduced to the concept of perception and how that alters social history. With new changed American perceptions came new changes to laws and government. There were a bunch of new beliefs arising. Now the idea was to get rid of the Indians, make the land uninhabited so the wilderness land could be preserved. Spencer goes on to say that getting rid of that wilderness preservation went hand in hand with getting rid of the Indians. It Muiruri 2

was around this time that the idea of “Manifest Destiny” was an established belief of the Europeans. They now felt destined to take all land from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This resulted in the Native Americans being separated from their home. To this day the social effect of this treatment has made the Native Americans very upset. They still try to preserve their treaty rights and want to resume their native and religious customs. In week two we...
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