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Toolbox Library, primary resources thematically organized with notes and discussion questionsOnline Seminars, professional development seminars for history and literature teachersLiving the Revolution: America, 1789-1820
Living the Revolution: America, 1789-1820
Topic: Predicaments of Early Republican LifeTopic: ReligionTopic: PoliticsTopic: ExpansionTopic: Equality
Topic: Expansion
Overview of Living the Revolution
Resource Menu: Expansion
Text 1. The Northwest Ordinance
Text 2. Noble/Lincecum
Text 3. Thomas Jefferson
Text 4. Hugh Henry Brackenridge
Text 5. Cornplanter/Washington
Text 6. Indians/U.S. Agents
» Reading Guide
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Text 7. Elias Boudinot
Text 8. Lewis Cass
Text 9. Background

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Reading Guide
6.  Messages between the Western Indian Confederacy and U.S. Commissioners on the issue of the Ohio River as the boundary of Indian lands, August 1793
  Ohio River

Mamachtaga may have been clueless, but clearly the western chiefs are not. In their message they directly challenge the notion that in defeating the British, the Americans acquired the right to claim or buy Indian lands. They make a sophisticated argument, even propose an imaginative solution to the problem of settlers encroaching upon their land. They know how to use the contrast of cultures to their advantage. Yet their letter ends with an expression of sorrow and desperation, as if they fully anticipate the commissioners' response. 4 pages.

Discussion questions
  ·  Why do the chiefs address the commissioners as brothers?
  ·  What is the effect of the repetition of the word "brothers"?
  ·  What is the chiefs' rhetorical strategy?
  ·  What different perceptions of the land and its ownership underlie these messages?
  ·  How do the chiefs turn the language of natural rights against the commissioners?
  ·  Would the payments recommended by the chiefs have deterred Harriet Noble's husband and Gideon Lincecum from moving west?
  ·  How would you characterize the commissioners' response? How does it compare with Washington's response to Cornplanter?
  ·  What do these two messages suggest about cross-cultural communication during this period?

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Topic Framing Questions
  •  What implications did westward migration hold for national unity?
  •  How did the citizens of the early republic think about Native Americans and their place in the developing nation?
  •  How did Native Americans respond to the westward press of the United States?
  •  How did the United States respond to the presence of Native Americans on the western frontier?

Toolbox: Living the Revolution: America, 1789-1820
Predicaments | Religion | Politics | Expansion | Equality

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