The Expulsion of Native Americans

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The Expulsion of Native Americans
Since the beginning of the United States, this nation has been faced with the question of what place do the Native Americans have in the American society. At different points of time, Natives have been treated as individual nations, granted sovereignty by the U.S, as U.S citizens, and as dependants of the federal government or a mixture of all of these. Ever since the first steps of Columbus, Native Americans have been placed in an awkward position. Europeans hungered for land since the beginning and nothing else seemed to fill them up. This ideology transgressed into U.S policy during the 19th century. When the United States won its independence from Great Britain in 1783, it not only inherited land from the Appalachian Mountains, but also conflicts over Indian policy and disputed land claims. U.S policy toward Natives has been changing do to certain circumstances. For Example Andrew Jackson was a brutal leader and was mainly responsible for the removal of Native Americans to the west of the Mississippi. Natives have been treated as uncivilized savages forced to move from their homes and were repeatedly taken advantage by having to sign false treaties. U.S policy towards Native Americans during the 19th century consisted of seizing land rightfully belonging to the Natives by any means, whether by force or fraudulent treaties, U.S expansion was unstoppable. By the 1830's U.S policy had started to take shape and a set of principles were set in place. There were six different focus areas that the federal government targeted in order to maintain or try to maintain peace with the Natives: (1) Protect Indian Rights to their land by setting distinct boundaries, restricting incoming white settlers from the area except under certain controls. (2) Preventing private individuals or local governments to acquire land from the Indians by purchase or any other means. (3) Regulation of Indian trade by setting conditions under which individuals may engage in trade. (4) Control the liquor traffic by regulating the flow of intoxicated liquor that goes into Indian Country and ultimately prohibiting it all together. (5) In order to lessen the chances of hostility between members of two different races, provision will be made for the punishment of crimes committed involving an American and a Native American. (6) Promotion of civilization and education among the Indians, in the hope that they may be absorbed into American society. These six points summed up the initial plans for dealing with the Native Americans. As conflicts over land arouse little was done to preserve the will of the Native American. Every single one of these points was disrupted because of high tension over Indian land claims and the expanding U.S. In 1794 Former Secretary of State, John Knox wrote that Indian-white conflict was not caused by warlike Indians, but rather resulted from the "desire of too many frontier white people, to seize, by force or fraud, upon the neighboring Indian lands."(Dudley, 17) Even though Knox and future leaders were aware of what they were doing they were not ready or willing to give up their tactics in order ensure peace with the Indians. Policy towards Indians changed, as the Natives grew weaker and weaker in the 19th century. For example, the policy established by George Washington and Knox was based on the belief that obtaining tribal land from the Indians by treaty and purchases was a more sound way of acquiring land from the Natives. (Ibid, 17) However, as the Natives grew weaker do to declining population caused by war and diseases, U.S policy changed towards Indian rights to freedom and individualism as a Native body. The U.S did not take the Natives seriously. They did not know what to do with the Natives regarding granting them sovereignty as a nation, an issue that the U.S switched back and forth upon. Natives were aware of the encroachment of the white man but were collectively passive in their...
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