Rhetorichal Analysis Essay on Jefferson and American Indians
Thousands of Native Americans were pressured down a treacherous journey to their forced relocation where they faced illness, brutal weather conditions, and death. This dark event and many others fall behind the curtains of an American Dream gone wrong. To see the situation first-hand; it ultimately began in the year 1801. President Thomas Jefferson had taken an interest in the Louisiana Territory owned by France at the time. The desire to purchase the land grew immensely, and when the perfect time arose, Jefferson was sure to grasp the opportunity. France was in great need of financial assistance to fund their war with Great Britain. With that; the US and France settled for fifteen million dollars in exchange for the Louisiana Territory. This purchase would nearly double the size of the United States then. At the time, the newly purchased land was yet to be explored; not a single soul should have even considered looking out for the strings attached. The American Nightmare; a dream went wrong. The calls for justice and equality through the 60 years of the struggle for land, violence, and a trail of tears. The pleas and shouts for rights were drowned out in justification and vindication. Thousands cried out in hopes for a dream too far away from their reality. It was the epitome of an American Nightmare.
The main ingredient in a recipe for disaster; the many wicked acts of American settlers who refused acceptance towards differences and equality, and sought out the land settled by the Native Americans. In the early stages, the American settlers kept peace with the natives in which they lived coinciding with each other; but with a twist of fate, this mutual bond would be destroyed as the natives were forced down a path of wretchedness on the American’s twisted ode to glory. As the nation continued to grow in population, the demand for land increased rapidly. During this period of time, the Native Americans had established their lands in the east, where they maintained peace with Americans. However, there were various American people who desired the Natives’ lands and wanted the federal government to force the eatern natives to relocate into lands west of the Mississippi River. Their greed for land resulted in acts of coercion, in which the Americans neglected the natives’ rights and compelled them towards signing off their lands. For instance, United States president Andrew Jackosn was elected in the year 1829, in which he had stated that he wished to move all Native Americans to the Great Plains. Thus, the Indian Removal act was pushed through Congress in the following year, which permitted the federal government to pay the natives to move out and relocate in the west. It is said that most native groups felt coerced into selling their land and moving west. One native group called the Cherokee refused to relocate, in which they were persistently pressured by the Americans. ("The Jackson''). This goes to show that the American people no longer respected the natives’ rights, and strained them to sell off the land. These actions were rooting from the inclination to convenience their own people, regardless of the other party’s consent; which represents the utmost disgrace towards the conventions of morality and equality. Furthermore, the tension between the two groups intensified as the Americans consistently pressured the natives into signing the treaties they imposed. As more natives were separated from their homelands and relocated, their immense resentment began to fuel against the Americans. In the year of 1832, Chief Black Hawk of the Seminoles led approximately 1,000 Sauk and Fox Indians back to Illinois in order to reclaim their stolen land. The Seminole had refused their removal, and had chosen to fight for their land. The battle ensued; resulting in hundreds of casualties in which the natives were outnumbered tremendously. From the years 1835-1842, many battles were fought where a total of 3,000 Seminole warriors resisted against 30,000 American troops. The clashes cost the states damages exceeding 20 million dollars ("American-Indian Wars"). These conflicts mirror the horrendous measures taken to resolve affairs. The call to violence in those situations shows the grim repercussions of the Americans’s actions. The country was engulfed with brutality and constant conflict; this atrocity could not have been considered an ideal depiction of equality and opportunity. To further demonstrate, the Indian-Removal process continued to drive out the natives. In 1836, the federal government had driven the Creeks out of their land for the last time. They embarked on a 5,043 mile journey to the unknown land awaiting them in Oklahoma. 3,500 of the 15,000 did not survive the trip. It was by 1838 where around 2,000 Cherokee people were forced to leave their Georgia hometown heading towards the Indian Territory. The devastating conditions included harsh weather, tough terrain, and illness. Diseases spread like wildfire; typhus, whooping cough, dysentery, and cholera was nothing unfamiliar to the natives during the journey. By 1840, tens of thousands of Native Americans had been driven out of their land. They involuntarily gave up their homes and left behind their ancestors; this event is known as the Trail of Tears, deriving from the hardships and suffering the natives had faced ("Trail of Tears"). The Trail of Tears is a reminder of the outrageous measures Americans had turned to when faced with refusal. A journey where people were forced into doing the unspeakable. The ground and soil across the 5,043 miles were stained bloody with the tears of the Native Americans’s sorrow. The Americans’s sickening greed for land had influenced a string of detestable events which cannot be justified. Such cruel and evil acts were farthest from the aspirations of an American Dream.
It is often argued that the Americans were seeking to extend their frontiers in order to spread morality and rich culture. However, this claim shall be dispelled once the events behind the scenes are unveiled. “Boarding schools in the Muscogee community of Nuyaka, separated Indian children from their families, and tried to erase the Muscogee language and culture,” ("The Removal"). This represents the horrendous attempts of Americans assimilating and forcing “white” culture onto the Muscogee Indian people after their forced relocation. The propaganda used was intended to influence people to believe that what they were supporting would benefit everyone and that the expansion of their land was inevitable. The proposal was to influence ideas and culture, but it was not known that there were ulterior motives to the justification of those acts. This may also be shown in the an 1830 speech by former United States president Andrew Jackson, “What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and occupied by a few thousand savages to our great Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms, decorated with art and industry, occupied by more than 12,000,000 happy people, and filled with all the blessings of liberty, civilization, and religion?”("Andrew Jackson"). The quotation provided shows the social stigma and stereotypes formed around the natives. Jackson implied that American people were more cultivated and that they would be able to use the natives’s land more effectively. This speech ostracized the Native Americans and even referred to them as “savages” which reflects that Jackson clearly did not respect the natives.
To conclude, the immoral and wrongful acts of Americans who turned a blind eye to the injustice they had spawned are a true reflection of an American Nightmare. Through the 60 years of seeking land, devastation, and a trail of tears. The American Dream was crushed by Americans blinded by the benefit of their own people. A world where diversity and culture are respected, and where people coincide peacefully with each other. It was all a distant dream that slipped out of grasp. Through the constantly shifting frontiers, break-through inventions, and economic booms; the ruthless and grim events were inevitably swept under the rug. A deceitful execution with underlying intentions; a promise to manifest destiny, to spread morality and culture, not to erase others’ cultures and impel them into boarding schools where they forced their cultures onto another. The heinous acts committed by Americans reflected a great regression in the progression towards achieving the long aspired American Dream. No matter how many break-through inventions, ideas, discoveries, or economic booms; nothing could have hidden the true nightmare behind a curtain of their twisted American Dream.