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Week One: The First American West (redirected from Week Two: A New Nation Moves West)

Page history last edited by mwitgen@... 9 years, 9 months ago



September 2: Introduction to the Course


September 4: The Ohio Territory and Indian Country


Audio file, context for Thursday's readings:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsqxRpp1Gxw&feature=youtu.be




          “The Savage Tomahawk,” November 24, 1812 (reprinted in The Columbian) *

          “The Savage Allies of England,” August 3, 1812 (reprinted in The Independent Chronicle) * 

          “The War,” September 19, 1812 (reprinted in The American Mercury) *

  • David Thompson, History of the Late War Between Great Britain and the United States (1832)
  • Click on the images below for links to "The Death of Jane McCrea" (1804) by John Vanderlyn and the Jefferson-Hartley Map of the Territory east of the Mississippi River (ca. 1784). Click here for a more detailed image of the map, on page 34 of Peter Kastor's William Clark's World.


* Note: to scroll to the bottom of the newspaper articles, click and scroll at the same time.




 Study Questions 


  1. Describe the concept of civilization as it relates to the way Americans and Europeans understand Native peoples as evidenced in Locke's writing and the Declaration of Independence.  Do you see any connection between these two texts? If so describe it, if not how are they different? What, for example, did John Locke mean when he wrote in Section 49 that in the beginning all the world was America?  How does Locke understand the creation of private property? How did this concept influence the Indian Policy of the American republic? Pay particular attention to Jefferson's letter to Harrison, to the treaty of Greenville, and to the Northwest Ordinance when answering this question.
  2. How did Americans in the early 19th century understand their relationship to Native peoples?  Was there a place in the republic for Indian peoples?  Base your answers on public policy and popular discourse in the early republic by citing specific passages form assigned readings for the week.
  3. Explain the concept of taming the wilderness explicated by Locke.  How did this idea relate to America's western expansion? Again, cite specific textual references, and elaborate.
  4. What were the implications of American ideas about the wilderness and civilization for Indian peoples? To answer this question compare and contrast Jefferson's letter to Governor Harrison and the Northwest Ordinance. What is the significance of article 2 in the ordinance?  How do you understand the 1785 ordinance in light of the Treaty of Greenville? How is the creation of new states in the Northwest Territory different or similar to the creation of British colonies in North America?
  5. Why did American officials believe it to be important that the Native peoples of the Northwest Territory recognize and accept U.S. sovereignty?  Based on the assigned texts how do you think Indian peoples understood the concept of sovereignty during the treaty negotiations at Greenville? What is the significance of this treaty in relation to the Northwest Ordinance?  What is the significance of articles 5 and 6 of the treaty? What do you make of the Native signers of this document?
  6. How can the two images above, the painting and the map, be used to analyze the relationship between American Indians and the United States? Explain the significance of Indian violence or "savagery" (real or imagined) in American politics and popular culture?


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