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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
Text 7. Elias Boudinot
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Text 8. Lewis Cass
Text 9. Background

RESOURCE MENU » Reading Guide Link

Reading Guide
7.  Elias Boudinot, "An Address to the
Whites," Philadelphia, May 26, 1826
    Elias Boudinot

This reading and the following fall beyond this toolbox's cut-off date of 1820. They are included to provide textual illustration for the cycle described in the note to Jefferson's remarks on Native Americans (reading number 3 in this section).

Elias Boudinot, born Gallegina Watie in the Cherokee nation in 1802, was educated in mission schools, including the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions school in Cornwall, Connecticut. He adopted the name of one of that school's benefactors. In 1826, as an emissary for the General Council of the Cherokee Nation, he delivered his "Address to the Whites" throughout the country in an effort to raise money for a school and for printing equipment. His success won for him the editorship of the Cherokee Phoenix, the first newspaper published by American Indians. As editor, he published Cornplanter's speech in 1828. With Boudinot Native Americans are no longer arguing for justice or negotiating for territory; they are asking for money to help them become Americans, and they hope to undertake that task in perfect Franklinesque style—with a printing press and a school. 7 pages.

Discussion questions
  ·  What images of the Indian does Boudinot present?
  ·  What rhetorical strategies does Boudinot use to win the sympathy of his audience? (An "Address to the Whites" can be profitably compared with Frederick Douglass's "What to a Slave is the Fourth of July," available in "The Triumph of National/The House Dividing," another toolbox from the National Humanities Center.)
  ·  To Boudinot, what is an American?
  ·  What might Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, and Hamilton think of Boudinot's address?

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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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