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Comparison Of Treatments Of Native Americans In The East And West

1622 words - 6 pages

East of the Mississippi
Early European colonists that came to North America found a sparsely inhabited coastline which gave them opportunities to settle and succeed where others had previously failed. Since many of the pilgrims were in search of religious freedom they saw a land their god had prepared for them by wiping out the natives through pestilence and disease. The fact is that the plague of disease that wiped out more than 90% of the original inhabitants of the northern east coast was brought by European fisherman around 1617, who were fond of the cod in the Massachusetts Bay area. These fishermen would come ashore for firewood, freshwater and to kidnap the occasional native to sell into slavery, and unknowingly leave behind diseases from the Old World. The immune systems of the natives were in no way prepared to deal with diseases such as viral hepatitis, smallpox, chicken pox, measles and influenza in the way the Europeans were. These diseases originate in areas of dense populations with close contact to domesticated animals, both foreign affairs to the natives of North America but not for the Europeans who brought the disease. When the pilgrims of Plymouth Rock arrived in 1620 few natives remained along the northern coast and those that did greeted the new comers hospitably, unlike the welcome of previous endeavors in 1606 and 1607 which ended with the natives driving the attempted settlements away. The Europeans were not the only ones attributing the disease to divine intervention, the natives began to believe their gods had abandoned them which facilitated their conversion to Christianity. The results of this unplanned germ warfare attack on the natives was that for nearly 50 years the early European settlers faced no real challenge from the Indians which enabled them to get a firm footing in the New World.

The Revolutionary War around 1776 was largely between the British forces and the American Settlers, but the natives were not without consequence. Both sides competed for the alliance of the Natives. Most Native Americans who joined the struggle joined on th side of the British in an attempt to halt the settlers expansion westward, but many native communities remained divided on which side to support. After the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783 the British turned large swaths of native land over to the Americans and they in turn tried to treat the Natives as a conquered people which proved difficult. These difficulties coupled with the desire to continue to expand westward caused the newly formed American Government to try to buy the land from the Natives through various treaties and negotiations, this too proved difficult.

Throughout the 1800 many Native Tribes were taken from their lands east of the Mississippi and marched to new lands in the west under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. One such march of the Cherokee Nation from Georgia to Oklahoma and was called by them “the trail where they cried” or...

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