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Describe the evolution of American policies and the actions taken toward Native Americans between 1816 and 1830. Could the trans-Appalachian interior have been settled in any other fashion by American settlers Why or Why not - Essay Example

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Despite colonization and oppression, they have remained true to their traditional customs and traditions. At present, the US federal government recognizes the sovereignty and capacity for self-determination and…
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Describe the evolution of American policies and the actions taken toward Native Americans between 1816 and 1830. Could the trans-Appalachian interior have been settled in any other fashion by American settlers Why or Why not
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Evolution of American Policies on Native Americans (1816-1830) The Native Americans is a very most resilient nation. Despite colonization and oppression, they have remained true to their traditional customs and traditions. At present, the US federal government recognizes the sovereignty and capacity for self-determination and self-governance by the Native Americans.1 However, this was not always the case. The relationship between the American government and the Native Americans has not always been cordial. This paper shall look into the evolution of American policies as well as the actions taken towards the Native Americans in the early nineteenth century, between 1816 and 1830.
The period from the year 1816 to 1930 started with an act of aggression from the US government. The prevailing US policy at the time was to place both the Indians and their resource-rich lands under the control of the American government. Pursuant to this policy, the US legislature passed laws like the Indian Country Crimes Act in 1817 while the American armed forces attacked the Seminoles and defeated them in the First Seminole War.2
With the American victory, the US government had cemented its supremacy over the Indians who were enslaved by the white men. It is believed that in the year 1820, an estimated twenty thousand (20,000) Indians were made slaves by the white men which slavery was apparently sanctioned by the US government.3 This superiority over the Indians was further strengthened by the promulgation of the decision of the Supreme Court in the Johnson v. McIntosh case where it was held that the lands in the possession of the Indians are legally and rightfully owned by the federal government by virtue of the “doctrine of discovery”.4 The court declared that it is the US government that “discovers” these lands and not the Indians who have been occupying and tilling the region since time immemorial.
The following decade from 1821 to 1830 saw massive land grabbing by white men which was sanctioned by the American government. The Native Indians were forced to give up their lands to the white men. As a matter of fact, in 1830, no less than the US President spearheaded the Indian Removal Act which institutionalized the forcible removal of Indians from the eastern side of the Mississippi river to the west; the Choctaws alone where forced to sign off eight million acres of their ancestral lands to the government of white men before the end of the year.
Admittedly, there are times in our history that we are not proud of. But they have already happened and the damage has been done. However, in retrospect we can always ask, could the trans-Appalachian interior have been settled in any other fashion by American settlers? I believe the answer is a resounding yes. The white men’s need for land for agricultural and industrial purposes could be satisfied without uprooting the Indians. The white men should have occupied the uncharted and vacant lands and did the clearing themselves. It was greed and arrogance in its darkest form to simply grab the already tilled lands of the Indians and force them to start from scratch at the other side of the river. And they claimed to be the civilized lot.
Bibliography:
Legends of America. (2003) Native American Timeline. http://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-timeline2.html
Office of the Attorney-General. Department of Justice Policy on Indian Sovereignty and Government-to-Government Relations with Indian Tribes. Accessed on July 27, 2011. Available at http://www.justice.gov/ag/readingroom/sovereignty.htm Read More
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