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Week 9 (redirected from Week 10)

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American and American Indian Expansion


October 29: The Old Southwest and Indian Removal



US expansion was to a large extent effected through the policy of Indian Removal. Ever since the Louisiana Purchase, US policy makers had begun to imagine the possibility of removing Indian people to locations farther west, in order to take Indian lands that were desirable to an ever-increasing US population. In this module we will consider the ideological and legal contexts to US territorial expansion, especially as they were expressed in the case of Cherokee removal in Georgia. We will read the writings of Lewis Cass, governor of the Michigan Territory (and later Secretary of State under Andrew Jackson); the decisions by US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall; and the 1830 State of the Union by President Jackson. Like many other politicians, Cass and Jackson vigorously promoted removal as a policy for dealing with Indian affairs. In Georgia, the tensions between white settlers and the Cherokee Nation came to a head in a series of conflicts that led to John Marshall's "trilogy" of Supreme Court cases that dealt with the political status of Indian nations in the United States. These court cases remain a bedrock for American Indian law to this very day, but they were forged in a historical moment of intense upheaval that ultimately led to Cherokee removal in the second half of the 1830s.








Study Questions 


  1. What does Lewis Cass (governor of the Michigan Territory from 1813 to 1831) argue about the history of Indian warfare? What conclusions does he draw about American Indian's way of life and their rights to the land?  
  2. In "Removal of the Indians," how does Cass argue that the "Indian character" has made removal a necessity? What religious, philosophical, and historical reasoning does he give?
  3. In what way, according to Lewis Cass, is the issue of labor a key difference between American Indians and Europeans? 
  4. Why does Cass argue that "the conquest of the half-civilized empires of Mexico and Peru was . . . an act of atrocious injustice,"  but the French and English colonization in North America was "entirely lawful"?
  5. What was the legal question at the center of Cherokee Nation v. Georgia? How does it settle this question, or does it?
  6. Worcester v. Georgia came out of a legal dispute in which the missionary Samuel Worcester was arrested for violating Georgia state laws that prohibited non-Indians from being on Indian lands. What is the ruling about this matter in this Supreme Court case? And what does this verdict suggest about tribal sovereignty? 
  7. In what ways are Andrew Jackson's sentiments in his State of the Union address similar to Lewis Cass's? 
  8. Thinking across these texts, how did these early 1830s policy documents shape the general outlines of US-Indian relations? 




October 31: American and American Indian Expansion on the Great Plains



In this module we will consider how major historical developments (such as expansion, warfare, and epidemics) were taking place in the trans-Mississippi West throughout the nineteenth century. Using both Native American and US historical records, we will reconstruct some of the historical and social changes that occurred among Native American people in the American West during this time. Among other texts, we will study a famous winter count: hide paintings that recorded major events on a yearly basis. The Lone Dog Winter Count was kept by the Yanktonai Sioux, and registers major events from 1800 to 1870. For a European perspective, the record of the military officer Victor's Collot's expedition down the Mississippi River offers valuable information about the Missouri social world. Looking closely at these texts, we will try to think about the social organization of the Native World and the environmental and social changes that were occurring there.










Study Questions 


  1. What stages of westward expansion does Richard White trace in the history of the Western Sioux? What was the social and political importance of the Sioux during the nineteenth century? 
  2. How do the Lone Dog and Battiste Good winter counts work? How do they tell the history of the Sioux in the nineteenth century? What kinds of events do they focus on most?
  3. What do these winter counts tell you about the history of the Sioux in the nineteenth century, and their interactions with other Indian nations and Europeans?
  4. How does Victor Collot describe the Missouri River social world? What can you gather from this document about the history of the Sioux as Richard White tells it?
  5. The text by the elderly Omaha Warrior Pathin-Nanpaji ("He Who Fears Not a Pawnee When He Sees Him") was narrated to the ethnographer James Owen Dorsey in 1880. It describes a conflict between Omaha Indians and Mormons in 1853. What does this text reveal about both parties' conflicting ideas about the legal status of the land under dispute? And what does it suggest about how these kinds of conflicts were settled (or not)?
  6. Thinking across these texts, what important social and environmental changes were happening in Indian country during this time period? 



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