Thomas Jefferson's Impact On Indian Policy

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In 1801, Thomas Jefferson took his presidency with the hopes of continental expansion and a reformed government, creating a new vision for America. He made many advancements that make America what it is today such as the Louisiana Purchase that doubled the U.S’s size and reducing the government’s responsibilities. Unfortunately, in the midst of these he did not change the place of Native Americans and Africans within the society for the better. His views of their treatment helped shape Indian policy throughout the 1800s. First, the Africans’ place in the Jefferson’s envisioned America did not change much, but only grew in severity. He thought of Africans as being inferior. Even when a brainy and freed African named Benjamin Banneker wrote an…show more content…
Jefferson focused on farmers’ rights and slavery was essential to many of their livelihoods. As a result, the salve population grew as well. His disinterest in changing Africans’ positions can be further seen when he tries helping French Napoleon Bonaparte retain control during the slave revolution led by Toussaint Louverture in Haiti. When Bonaparte decides to leave the western world behind to focus on the east, Jefferson makes the Louisiana Purchase. He never went back to address slavery because he believes Africans are already in their rightful place as…show more content…
He saw them as equal, but at the same time “culturally retarded”. This basically means that they could grow to be like white men if they were taken out of their savage, uncivilized state. They just needed to understand how to work within the American culture. It is here that the difference between acculturation and assimilation can be seen. In this case, acculturation happens when individual cultures can exist among the American culture. A man can be a proud American while also being proud of his ethnicity and original culture. It is like one culture adapting in a way that lets it survive beside American ideals by incorporating some of them. This what John Ross fights for when going up against President Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830 later in court. Ross, himself, is a wonderful example of how acculturation looks. Being Cherokee chief and a lawyer, he is combination of Native American and British culture. However, what Jefferson if really pushing for is assimilation that influences view of Indians hereafter. This is where a culture is replaced, completely turning into the American culture. To see how this works just look at the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASP). This is also how the describing term “melting pot” really works. It is as if all the ethnicities go into the pot and the one produced is American. An idea like this can be paired with that of “killing

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