Native Americans and Free Blacks
History of the United States – HIS 211
March 20, 2014
There are many groups of individuals that have been very influential in American History. This essay will compare two very important groups. These two groups are the Native Americans and the Free Blacks. This essay will discuss how these two groups were treated in America. This essay will also discuss the opportunities, if any, and their limitations. This essay will show how each of these groups were treated in society and discuss any successes.
American history is generally about powerful individuals who helped shape this country. However, there have been many different groups of individuals who were just as important but their influence was not recognized. The Native Americans and the Free Blacks are just two from these groups that will be discussed in this essay. There are a few comparisons in how each group was treated by the societies of America and many variances when each group is compared to the other. Native Americans
The United States neither owned, valued or even new very much about the Great Plains at the beginning of the nineteenth century. However, by the end of the century, the United States had taken it over entirely. As the new Americans journeyed across the frontier to the west, the Americans established their culture at the expense of that of the indigenous pioneers known to them as ‘Indians’. New conflicts and systems of race relations were created due to the Americans traveling to the western frontier. Native Americans desire to retain their traditional cultural and tribal ties, potential citizenship, and policies of “race uplift” were many things they had to negotiate among themselves (Henretta, 2012, p. 380).
Before the coming of the new Americans the native groups were often in conflict with neighboring natives for properties such as land and horses. This resulted in some movement in their patterns of settlement. The new Americans split the Plains environment and those who depended on it into two. By the 1840s, the overland trails to Oregon and California had been created and was cemented by the completion of the transcontinental and Kansas Pacific Railroads twenty years later. A series of treaties were signed which confined the Native Americans to smaller and smaller areas. Prospectors, hunters, and settlers supported by soldiers took every opportunity for incursion into these areas. In the late 1840s, the traffic down the Oregon Trail was keeping the buffalo from their normal habitat, which was a concern for the Native Americans. As the number of incidents between the settlers and the Native Americans increased, the government used treaties to control them. These treaties were of little value to the Native Americans (Smallbone, 2006, pp. 42-44).
The notion of keeping the Native Americans in restricted areas in the country, even though they were comfortable to following the buffalo herds, was impractical as it was racist. The Native Americans were being constrained to reservations by the earliest treaties and later moved into Indian Territory under the direction of President Andrew Jackson. The government was making an attempt to civilize the Native Americans. As long as the land the Native Americans occupied seemed useless, the new Americans were satisfied. However, if anything of value was ever discovered, the Native Americans were forced to even smaller areas. The final result was that all Native Americans eventually became restricted to reservations. Many Native American’s children were taken from them, so that they could be educated in residential schools, resulting in their culture being undermined. The children would be beaten if they spoke their native tongue (Smallbone, 2006, pp. 45-49).
The Native American’s culture was linked to sacred traditions, traditional homelands, and a...
References: ESLINGER, E. (2013). Free Black Residency in Two Antebellum Virginia Counties: How the Laws Functioned. Journal of Southern History, 79(2), 261-298.
Henretta, James A., et. al. America: A Concise History. 5th Edition Bedford/St. Martins: Boston, 2012. (pp. 380)
Howey, M. L. (2010). "The question which has puzzled, and still puzzles": How American Indian Authors Challenged Dominant Discourse about Native American Origins in the Nineteenth Century. American Indian Quarterly, 34(4), 435-474.
Rohrs, R. C. (2012). The Free Black Experience in Antebellum Wilmington, North Carolina: Refining Generalization about Race Relations. Journal of Southern History, 78(3), 615-638.
Smallbone, C. (2006). HOW THE WEST WAS LOST. History Today, 56(4), 42-49
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