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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
Text 8. Lewis Cass
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Text 9. Background

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Reading Guide
8.  Lewis Cass, excerpts from "Removal of the Indians," North American Review, January, 1830
   Lewis Cass

Native Americans pleaded for justice, proposed compromises, and finally tried to assimilate, but in the end they failed to keep their land in the eastern United States. Lewis Cass's article shows why. As governor of the Michigan territory from 1813 to 1831, he fielded the complaints of constituents like Harriet Noble, who mentions him in her memoir. Think of Cass's article as a response to Boudinot's speech and compare it to Washington's response to Cornplanter. The differences between these two exchanges reveal much about the evolution of the new nation and its sense of itself as it moved westward and grew more powerful and secure. 8 pages.

Discussion questions
  ·  What images of the Indian does Cass present?
  ·  What rhetorical strategies does Cass use to win the sympathy of his audience?
  ·  To Cass, what is an American?
  ·  On what grounds does Cass exclude Native Americans from the United States?
  ·  Both Cass and Boudinot are members of the post-Revolution generation. How do their arguments reflect the hopes and fears of the founding generation?
  ·  What do the differences between Cass's response to Boudinot and Washington's response to Cornplanter suggest about America's evolving definition of itself?
  ·  What might Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, and Hamilton think of Cass's argument?

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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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