DBQ QUESTION
   Between the years of 1775-1825, government policy toward Native Americans changed and was, at times, contradictory to its rhetoric.

Use the documents and your knowledge of the period from 1775-1825 to assess the validity of this statement.



Document A
     The utmost of good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians; their land and their property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and their property, rights and liberty shall never be invaded by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.

Northwest Ordinance, 1787



Document B
     And it is now discovered that nothing can be done without corrupting their Chiefs. This is so inconsistent with the principles of our government that it is high time the legislature should exercisea function and pass all laws for the regulation of the Indians. If they have too much land circumscribe them. Furnish them with the meat of agriculture, and you will thereby lay the foundation of their civilization by making them husbandmen. Treat them humanely and liberally, but put an end to treating with them and obtaining their country by corrupting their Chiefs, which is the only way by which a treaty can be obtained.

Andrew Jackson, in a letter to John C. Calhoun,
August 25, 1820



Document C
     In order peaceably to counteract [their] policy [of refusing absolutely all further sale of their land], and to provide an extension of territory which the rapid increase of our numbers will call for, two measures are deemed expedient. First: to encourage them to abandon hunting, to apply to the raising stock, to agriculture and domestic manufactures, and thereby prove to themselves that less land and labor will maintain them in this, better than in their former mode of living. The extensive forest necessary in the hunting life will then become useless, and they will see advantage in exchanging them for the means of improving their farms and of increasing their domestic comforts. Secondly; to multiply trading-houses among them, and place within their reach those things which will contribute more to their domestic comfort than the possession of extensive but uncultivated wilds. Experience and reflection will develop to them the wisdom of exchanging what they can spare and we want, for what we can spare and they want. In leading them thus to agriculture, to manufactures, and civilization; in bringing together their and our settlements, and in preparing them ultimately to participate in the benefits of our government, I trust and believe we are acting for their greatest good

Thomas Jefferson: Confidential Message on Western Exploration, 1803




Document D
     ...The being within, communing with past ages, tells me, that once, nor until lately, there was no white man on this continent. That it then all belonged to red man, children of the same parents, placed on it by the Great Spirit that made them, to keep it, to traverse it, to enjoy its productions, and to fill it with the same race. One happy race. Since made miserable by the whit people, who are never contented, but always encroaching. ...The white people have no right to take the land form the Indians, because they had it first; it is theirs. ...It belongs to the first who sits down on his blanket or skins, which he has thrown upon the ground, and till he leaves it no other has a right.

Speech to Governor William Henry Harrison at
Vincennes, August 12, 1810 given by Tecumseh (Shawnee)




Document E
     ...If we should sell our lands and move off into a distant country towards the setting sun, we should be looked upon in the country to which we go, as foreigners and strangers. We should be despised by the red, as well as the white men, and we should soon be surrounded by the white people, who will also kill our game, and come upon our lands and try to get them from us.
     ...Brother!- At the treaties held for the purchase of our lands, the white men, with sweet voices and smiling faces, told us they loved us, and that they would not cheat us, but the kings's children on the other side of the lake would cheat us. When we go on the other side of the lake, the king's children tell us your people will cheat us. These things puzzle our heads, and we believe that the Indians must take care of themselves, and not trust either in your people, or in the king's children.

Refusal of a Land-Purchase Offer, in a speech made
by Red Jacket (Seneca), at Buffalo Creek New York, in May, 1811





Document F
     …That inducement, if it exists at all, must be found in the influence which it gives the Government over the Indian tribes within our limits, by administering to their wants, increasing their comforts, and promoting their happiness. The most obvious effect of that influence is the preservation of peacewith them and among themselves. The exclusion of all intercourse between them and the whites, except those who have the permission of the Government, and over whose conduct a direct control is exercised, has incensibly contributed to this desirable object………The utter extinction of the Indian race must be abhorrent to the feelings of an enlightened and benevolent nation. The idea is directly opposed ot every act of the Government, from the Declaration of Independence to the present day………It will redound more to the national honor to incorporate, by a humane and benevolent policy, the natives of our forests in the great American family of freemen, than to receive with open arms the fugitives of the old world, whether their fight has been the effect of their crimes or their virtues…

Secretary of War Crawford on Trade and Intercourse, March 13, 1816




Document G
     ...When your army entered the country of the Six Nations, we called you the town destroyer; to this day, when your name is heard, our women look behind them and turn pale, and our children cling close to the necks of their mothers. ...We asked each other, What have we done to deserve such severe chastisement? ...We were deceived; but your people teaching us to confide in that king, had helped to deceive us; and we now appeal to your breast. Is all the blame ours?

Letter to President Washington, 1790, from Big Tree,
Cornplanter, and Half-Town (Seneca)



Document H
     Peace…is all we desire of them, it having been a leading object of our present Govenrment to guarantee them in their present posessions, and to protect their persons with the same fidelity which is extended to its own citizens. We ask nothing of them but that they will accept our peace friendship, and services.

Thomas Jefferson to C.W.F. Dumas, 1791

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