Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Native Americans in our Nation's Early Years

I have finished my review of the conflict with aboriginal Americans during the first 50 years of our nation’s history. This history is lost and buried; it has been obscured by contemporary multi-cultural sensibilities. Nevertheless, I have endeavored to extract this history from a combination of contemporary and classic secondary histories of the period because I’ve found no one source that does justice to the facts. This is a rough pass at such a reconstruction with a very limited focus on the vast cultural differences and their implications.

Since I’m blogging as I study the subject, the blog entries were in reverse order. I have reordered them so that they can be read in a proper order and referenced by a single link.

The story starts with Washington’s decision to regard the aboriginal tribes as independent sovereign states, potentially future states of the union. The Creek Nation, recognized by Washington in the Treaty of New York, was a failed state that allowed terrorist attacks culminating in the worst terrorist attack in America’s history prior to September 11th.

Andrew Jackson reversed Washington’s policy. As a General he defeated the Red Stick Creeks and those that armed and supported the Indian terrorists, the British. As President he rejected Washington’s policy as unconstitutional; he demanded that the Indians assimilate and obey state law or leave the confines of the states of the Union.

The early states of the Union narrowly averted conflict by establishing civilized means of settling differences; they created a new national government defined by the Constitution. The Indian tribes could not fit into this fellowship, having political and cultural structures completely at odds with the principles of our founding.

The federal union remained heavily dependent on local rule. This left the frontier states in conflict with the tribes within their jurisdictions. The establishment of law and order slowly civilized the frontier while continued savage attacks encouraged harsh reprisals unpalatable to civilized sensibilities. Jackson led the fight to bring law and order to the southern frontier. Writers noted that the aboriginal aversion to a settled civilized liberal order hindered assimilation in most cases.

This sets the stage for an analysis, which I’ve delayed in order to describe the context.