DBQ Westward Expansion:
U.S. Indian Policy in 1800s
What was the rationale behind displacing Native Americans in the 1800s?
What effects did it have?
During the 1800s, most Native Americans were forced to move onto reservations. It was one of the greatest population displacements in modern history. What was the rationale behind this policy? What effects did it have?
Use your knowledge of American history and Documents A, B, C, and D to answer questions 1 through 4 and the essential Questions below.
“. . . [I]t would be [foolish] to expect that the wild Indians will become industrious and frugal except through a severe course of industrial instruction and exercise, under restraint. The reservation system affords the place for thus dealing with tribes and bands. . . . [I]t is essential that the right of the Government to keep Indians upon the reservations assigned to
them, and to arrest and return them whenever they wander away, should be placed beyond dispute. Without this, whenever these people become restive under compulsion to labor, they will break away in their old roving spirit, and stray off in small bands to neighboring communities, upon which
they will prey in a petty fashion, by begging and stealing. . . .”
—Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1872
Land Holdings in the U.S., 1871
“All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. You might as well expect all rivers to run backward as that any man who was born a free man should be contented penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases. If you tie a horse to a stake, do you expect he will grow fat? If you pen an Indian up on a small spot of earth and compel him to stay there, he will not be contented nor will he grow and prosper. I have asked some of the Great White Chiefs where they get their authority to say to the Indian that he shall stay in one place, while he sees white men going where they please. They cannot tell me.”
—Chief Joseph, Nez Percé
1. Document B reflects data from the year 1871. How would it be different if it reflected data from a century earlier?
2. In Document D, Chief Joseph likens a reservation to a…?
3. Which term would a historian most likely use in reference to Document C? A assimilation, B coexistence, C displacement, D repatriation? Explain
4. Writing Task In Document A, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs advocates “a severe course of industrial instruction and exercise.” To what was he referring? Use your knowledge of American history and the sources above to develop your answer.