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tv   American West in 1862  CSPAN  May 15, 2022 3:15am-4:39am EDT

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i'm alice baumgartner. i'm an assistant professor of history at the university of southern california. and this is my first in-person conference in since the pandemic and after two years where giving a conference paper was basically sitting alone in my apartment justiculating at my laptop. it's really wonderful to i guess be able to justiculate in person to you guys today. so just wanted to give a big
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thank you to the organization of american historians for putting together this conference and for accommodating all of the different varieties in which people chose to participate even though i know that came at some great logistical challenges. i also want to think raylan barnes who unfortunately can't be here today. but who is really the one responsible for bringing us all together today? she originally conceived of the round table as one that would be focused on the civil war in the west. but ultimately last year around february decided to focus it on 1862. this is the year when the republican party succeeded and some of passing some of its original campaign promises abolishing slavery in the district of columbia and the western territories as well as passing the homestead act. it achieved legislative victories that would help the union win the war like the direct tax act of 1862 establishing the first federal income tax.
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this was the year when the fighting and the civil war took a particularly bloody turn with the battles of shiloh and antietam among others. when it seemed increasingly likely that france or england might recognize the confederacy. and when the congress and later lincoln recognized what many african americans free and enslaved had known all along that. this was a war over slavery not just over union. and of course the war in the west is even more complicated and well, i'm sure be the subject of much of what will be discussing in today's roundtable. all of these decisions events have shaped the world that we live in today. and so it seems particularly apt 160 years later to think about this year together in this roundtable. as you might notice our ranks are somewhat diminished. unfortunately gwen wasserman had
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a family emergency and couldn't come to the conference at all. ari coleman unfortunately had his flight canceled and if you're wondering what airline it was it was united and wasn't be able to get here in time for this roundtable. they both asked me to say how disappointed they are to not be able to be with us today. so what we're going to do is ask our two the two members of our roundtable to share some thoughts. i'll introduce each of them before they speak and then we will open the floor up to a broader discussion and i really hope that we'll be able to do that as a conversation. so first up we have manukuruka who is an assistant professor of american studies and affiliated faculty with women's gender and sexuality studies at barnard college. where he has taught since 2014 his work centers a critique of imperialism with a particular focus on anti-racism and
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indigenous decolonization. he teaches courses on the political economy of racism us imperialism and radical internationalism indigenous critiques of politically economy and liberation. he's the author of empires tracks indigenous nations chinese workers and the transcontinental railroad, which was published in 2019. right i want to echo the thanks to the organizer of the conference, which i know is a huge amount of work, especially in these conditions and also to ray lane and i feel kind of sheepish because it feels like the from here the big 1862 doesn't feel so big. so i hope we can have a just a a discussion with everyone in the room. thanks so much for making the time to join us. so in my remarks today, i plan to focus on 1862 as a moment of
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escalation in the destructive power of the us in the world linking the wartime expansion of us military power with the development of us financial institutions, and i'm particularly interested in the relationships between the war or military and financial power in the west so-called and in the caribbean and the links between these two spaces. in its wars in occupations against the seminals which up until that point where the most expensive wars that the us fought until the civil war and wars at the us was militaryly defeated and also against mexico the us war economy had tied together the production of arms in new england with the stabilization of slavery in texas in the deep south. by the early 1860s the war economy marked a confrontation between northern merchant
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capital which required a protected national market for its further growth and southern agrarian capital which required international exports to ensure its future. merchant and insurance capital based in new york city and the connecticut river valley began, the war paralyzed and divided undertaking a transition from cotton to a diversified portfolio of investments across ranching agriculture mining and industry. as you expected rapid us victory over the confederacy was thwarted by a series of battlefield catastrophes the legal tender act passed on february 25th, 1862 authorized 150 million dollars in us treasury notes the so-called greenbacks, which eventually increased the 450 million with an additional half billion dollars in war bonds. raising funds to support military power over land and sea which would be necessary to defeat the confederacy. it provided a windfall for
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industrial and military contractors launching the careers of robber barons of the coming period in a further effort to raise war funds and in the face of bitter political polarization the revenue act which lincoln signed into law on july 1st, 1862 established both the first federal income tax and the first tax on inherited wealth and the agency, which would eventually become the irs. these laws in turn set the stage for the series of national bank acts past annually between 1863 and 1866 which formed a national banking system giving the us federal government the ability to issue war bonds and authorizing the federal government to regulate and tax the commercial banking system. on april 19th 1861 lincoln had issued a proclamation of blockade against southern ports. the naval blockade was necessary to stop the flow of capital weapons and consumer goods into the confederacy. it was a coercive policy to break the alliance of new york
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merchants with southern planters, which was running goods by a nassau, bermuda and havana. the us navy began the civil war with 42 ships in active service by the end of 1862. this would increase to 384 ships and by the end of the war the us had the world's largest navy. this navy provided the muscle for an expanded monroe doctrine in the decades following the war with active us interventions against caribbean and central american nationalist movements in the service of ensuring us returns on investment. in cuba over the coming decades the us would leverage political economic and eventually military pressure to support an alliance of agrarian and finance capital that was based in north america. at the close of the 19th century the cuban revolution would seek to overturn this pressure. two days after the passage of
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the legal tender act on february 27th, 1862 the us executed nathaniel gordon cyan of a respectable main family. gordon was captain of the slave ship erie, which had been apprehended the previous august at the mouth of the congo river carrying a cargo of 897 african captives. this is the first and only time the us executed someone for participating in the slave trade. six weeks later on april 7th 1862 the british and us concluded negotiations on the leone's sewer treaty, which effectively ended us sanction for participation in the slave trade to cuba and brazil in dubois's analysis. this ended us participation legal us participation in the atlantics and the atlantic slave trade. 1862 also saw a transitions in us assertions of power over land. on july 1st 1862 the same day as
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the revenue act lincoln signed the pacific railway act into law the act chartered the union pacific railroad and provided land grants to the union pacific and the central pacific railroad, which is chartered in the state of california. in these corporate land grants the us congress violated treaties at its signed with indigenous nations along the path of the railroad the railroad companies use these land grants to raise capital to fund the construction and maintenance of the roads. and these real infrastructure that they built. you know raise capital through this finance it moved resources out and it moved troops in. and these real develops took place in a on a global stage the end of the year would see the completion of the first the end of 1862 would see the completion of the first rail line in algeria built by the french and the spread of the rail network and restaurant western india built by the british.
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on july 2nd the day after he signed the pacific railway act lincoln signed the moral act. establishing the structure of the modern us public university through land grants. the moral act was another aspect of continental imperialism. by opening university education to small property owners the act deep in the class collaboration that has shaped settler colonialism. in the analysis of gerald horn by organizing higher education around modern disciplines producing graduates and engineering accounting administration and management. the university's produced by the act would train in educate the cadre of corporations and a rapidly modernizing and expanding state. the political economy of our own era of crisis continues to operate within the constraint set in place by land grants to corporations and universities over these two days in 1862. at the end of the year on december 26th the us executed 38 dakota prisoners in what remains
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the largest official mass execution in us history. in historical context of the railway act in the land-grant act the mass execution was another kind of assertion of land-based power. involve the transition in relating to north america as a space of war to a space of policing a transition which remains unfinished in our own day. read together. we see the prioritization of the rights of corporations over and against international treaty obligations. the expansion of land and sea-based military power was accomplished through the expansion of finance of finance capital. this in turn set the stage for subsequent developments such as territorialization vigilantism and the abrogation of treaty obligations that provided the context for the sand creek massacre on november 29th. 1864. in the subsequent period following the defeat of the confederacy and the demise of the southern plantocracy the war
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finance nexus fueled the condensation of us power between the, mississippi and california and in the caribbean. the definitive break in the alliance between northeastern merchant capital and southern slaveholding capital around shared investments in cotton led to the development of finance capital investing in industry. by the end of the 1880s us finance capital had in economic terms, nx cuba controlling the production of sugar and mining operations burning down old growth forests to establish massive sugar estates building rail and road networks to transport raw and finish materials and importing thousands of seasonal workers from haiti and jamaica. have spoken about two executions in 1862 as windows into the transitions in place during that year. i'm particularly interested in how the defeat of southern agrarian capital was accomplished not through a revolution in land relations, but instead through a new alliance between finance capital
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and agrarian capital particularly on the plains of north america and in the islands of the caribbean. i want to end by calling our attention to the saudi execution of 81 prisoners this past march 12th followed by the us shipment of a significant number of patriot missiles to saudi arabia on march 21st as reported in the wall street journal. while the saudis report that they are unable or unwilling to rapidly increase oil production to offset sanctioned russian oil for consumers in europe. this is taking place as we witness rapidly unfolding experiments between countries seeking to trade in currencies other than the us dollar. in these recent developments we can see we can also see assertions of power over c and land and attempts to stabilize the petrodollar to project a future for us power. the world remains caught in the grip of the war finance nexus
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thank you so much. our next panelist is jimmy sweet. who is an assistant professor of american studies at rutgers his current book project the mixed blood moment race law and mixed interest during dakota indians in the 19th century midwest analyzes the legal and racial complexities of american indians of mixed indian and european ancestry with the focus on kinship family history land dispossession and citizenship. is dedicated to indigenous language revitalization and preservation and as research is driven by a need to understand the full effects of american colonialism on indigenous americans and how those consequences influence native people today doing so with the hope of contributing to the continued fight for indigenous sovereignty and the healing of indigenous communities, jimmy.
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homidakeby chanteo said not the achieves up, you know, that was a formal dakota greeting. i said hello my relatives and thank you for coming to this my mic not working. that working out. all right. okay. i'll start again. we have the time obviously we've a short few people. i said how many doc efe chante which they are not page use up, you know, and that's a formal dakota greeting and it means hello my relatives and i shake your hands in a good-hearted manner, you know handshaking is a really a big deal and dakota culture and when i was invited to this panel, i intended to talk about the us dakota war of 1862, which is much closer to my area of expertise, but tuna two of the panelists. we're already going to talk about that which unfortunately they're neither of them are here today. but my thinking lately has been turning a bit more broadly from the from the us dakota war more broadly in scope and and in the
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time period to think more about native people in the west particularly during the civil war years. so 1862 and the civil war years is a particularly. horrible moments for native americans. i would i would say it's in this moment where the us government really goes all out and makes it you know the full policy to dispossess native people of their land and replace them with white settlers. this really wasn't something new the us and other colonial powers in north america have been carrying out genocide and and dispossession of native american people for hundreds of years. but the civil war acted as cover for american lawmakers to explicitly make native land dispossession of a policy of the
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federal government and so in 1862, we've heard about the the congressional acts of that period the homestead act the pacific railroad act the moral act even all of these were legislation that focused on a dispossession of native people and not you know, the dispossession of sovereign indigenous nations, not just individuals but sovereign indigenous nations, and these are sovereign nations at long predates the existence of the united states, but this was a policy intended to remove them from their homelands and replace them with white settlers. in the same years during the civil war. we also see the creation of a large number of territories, colorado, nevada and the dakota territorial governments were created in 1861, arizona and idaho in 1863 and then montana in 1864 a huge swath of the american west then was now, you
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know government presence and administration was now dramatically increased over this huge swath of native american territory in native american lands, which all these things coupled together this legislation the creation of these territories was really all about using the what was going on in the civil war has covered to dramatically overtake indigenous land. i mean that had always been kind of the practice unfortunately of you know, the american government and other settler colonial nations and their southern colonial powers before then, but it really kind of ramped up at this moment. and and we also see the the ramp up in violence in this particular moment in 1862. so some of the ones some of these are better known like i mentioned the us dakota war of 1862, you know was was a major war that depopulated the state of minnesota and resulted in you know hundreds of settlers dead
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hundreds of native people dead and thousands of native people displace from their homes and eventually removed from their homeland in minnesota and one of our commenters who wasn't able to make it today professor gwen. westerman is actually a descendant of one of the 38 men at least one of the 38 men executed on december 26th. 1862, and i wish she was here to really to give what i know was going to be kind of like a powerful talk about that. but that's one of the better known ones at least you know for historians are there's a decent historiography of that. another one is the sand creek massacre in 1864 in colorado. most people have heard of that, you know, and there's some some historical literature on that as well. but there are many many other moments of violence in this particular period in the civil war years particularly in california under what was what's known as the california genocide which was going on for a decade or two before the civil war and continued after but was a
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particularly bloody time during the civil war. so for example a lot of these are lesser known there, there was the the bear river massacre in idaho of where the us army massacred 280 shoshone men women and children. there was another massacre around the same period in california where settlers it wasn't even the military this time. it was local settlers rose up and murdered probably about 300 jana indians in california, and these are just a name a couple, you know of you know, the more extreme ones but so many of these massacres and these kind of violence was going on in the west during the civil war years and many of them are just completely unknown like particularly those in california just completely understudied you know, and there's people who are more expert on california than i but the native population of
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california was greatly reduced something something like 75 80% i believe not just in the 1860s but on a little bit broader broader timeline in the 19th century from i think something like 300,000 to like 30 to 50,000 or something like that and it's through largely through this settler violence that was going on. but anyway back to the us dakota war in the aftermath of that general john pope, who was the commander of the new department of the northwest. i was created as a result of the war. he wrote to one of his subordinates henry sibley in september of 1862 writing about his thoughts about the dakota people. and he used the word sue. quote he said quote it is my purpose utterly to exterminate the sioux. if the power to do so and even if it requires a campaign lasting the whole of next year, in fact, it took two years and so he goes on destroy everything belonging to them and forced
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them out onto the plains. there to be treated as maniacs or wild beasts and by no means as people. with whom treaties are compromises should be made made end quote. of course, not every army officer, you know had the same views but many of them did like, you know, probably most notably colonel john chippington who's, you know, masterminded the sand creek massacre two years later. but this gets to the the thoughts of the military officers of the time and and some of the people in the lincoln administration. another aspect of the civil war was that it completely devastated indian territory. what's now, oklahoma? and this is where the us government had forcibly removed, you know thousands of people just to generation earlier and now the civil war, you know devastated their new homeland and so there there were you know thousands of of native people that end up serving on both sides both for the confederacy
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and on the american side. and that gets us to president lincoln is someone who scholars and the public often view as one of the greatest american presidents. but the reality is he did little to nothing to curtail violence towards native people during his tenure. he did nothing to curtail the suffering of native people particularly in indian territory and places like that. lincoln saw native people as a threat to white settler expansion he perceived the future of the us as one in which indigenous people would be swept aside and white settlers would occupy their homelands and that's why farley white we have that legislation mentioned earlier the homestead act and so on. his political appointees in the indian service at that time called the office of an indian affairs now called the bureau of
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indian affairs. they were largely incompetent and they were corrupt that although that wasn't just something from his administration. this was quite common, you know and administrations before and after this is these were political appointees. these were people who worked as indian agents or worked directly, you know in dc washington dc with the office of indian affairs. they weren't appointed because of their skills or their abilities to work with native people, you know or things like that or even really to carry out the federal policies of the government as it in a relationships or or the treaty responsibilities of the federal government. they were appointed purely for political reasons and so often they had no experience with native people whatsoever and they were there to graft to make money that was a huge problem in the indian service of the period is. these indian agents and other
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workers regularly stole money and and still supplies. it was meant to go to native people as treaty guaranteed supplies or annuity of nudia payments were sent to the indian agencies to be distributed to native people very often these you know, lincoln appointees were you know skimming off the top or sometimes skimming from the top all the way through to the bottom in some cases? unfortunately, that's one of the causes of the us dakota war was you know, dakota people literally starving to death because a lot of the the local politicians and in the in the state of minnesota who were also often, you know worked for for the government as part of you know, the indian service like some of them had been fur traders like henry sibley who was later all the also an army officer. um, you know, they embezzled pretty much all the money for dakota people and left them starving again, one of the
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causes of the us dakota war. so this is what's going on the lincoln administration. so lincoln and is a pointy is where most interested in concentrating native people on reservation lands and taking their land then for settler expansion. and if authorities or or militia groups felt it was necessary to commit genocidal violence to achieve that they did so and we've seen that of course with you know, sand creek bear river in various other others of these massacres. so often scholars right of lincoln as just being too busy during his administration with the civil war to do anything to to help native people or really to, you know carry out policies, that would be you know protective of native people in their lands and those kinds of things. but rather lincoln was the
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architect of his administration. he was the architect of the policies of his administration. he was the architect of the actions that his appointees and people carried out. but anyway, so i want to wrap up my comments just as a kind of historiographical question here of just to thinking about this this historical literature about this this period of native americans during the civil war and i'm looking forward to a good conversation, but i think there's really a kind of two-fold issue with the historiography here one in it's a matter of scale like we need some small-scale work and we need more large-scale work is on the small scale. they're like i said, there's a decent literature on the us dakota war. there's some work on the sand creek massacre yet another one of our members who couldn't make it today ari kelman has a beautiful book. well beautiful and it's like
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horrifying and it's you know the trauma that's in there of the sand creek massacre and i wish he was here, but obviously they have other circumstances and just weren't able to make it unfortunately. now i lost my transplant. where was that? anyway, yeah, so there's some historical work on things like that like sand creek in the us dakota war but so many of these other moments of violence extreme violence. these massacres have gone understudied or in some cases completely not studied at all. it's like we might know the names of them and that's really about it. and so that's one issue is we really need a lot more work of people to dig into these to study these things these particular events that were going on in the civil war period but another issue is we also need more work that takes these events as a whole and give some broader interpretation and understanding of why and how these things happened and how
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they relate to the civil war and what was going on in that particular period and just before this talk i had lunch with a great scholar jeffrey ostler who's in the audience today. he just had his book a recent book come out surviving genocide which gives that broad overview but up until 1860 and we're awaiting his second volume which unfortunately says we might be waiting a little while which kind of brings that into to a later date, but that's just one example of the important work being done, but there needs to be a lot more work of not only the small scale stuff of like really figuring out what happened, but then like the broad scale to get more into the meanings of this of you know, how these episodes relate to creation of the united states and coming out of the civil war and issues of reconstruction or the lack of reconstruction in many cases when it comes to indigenous people in the west after the civil war. that's it, and i'm looking
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forward to our discussion. well, thank you both for such fascinating and talks that really is giving us a lot to think about. i am going to exercise chairs prerogative and ask the first question, but after that we will open up the floor to your audience questions. so just a quick reminder to go to the microphone in the middle of the room and you know, take the time now to kind of think about what questions you might want to ask. i know there's probably going to be a lot. so these just really fascinating talks. give us a very make really make the case for why studying the west and looking more broadly at the civil wars so important whether it's the caribbean or the north american west and i'm going to sort of follow up on
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jimmy's points or ending about choreography because i think what both of these talks are showing us is getting us to think more expansibly about the civil war and reconstruction. obviously, there's been a lot of debate among scholars about how exactly to do that at eliot west has proposed the framework of greater reconstruction to think about the west and the south together as a periods of as larger period of debates over federal control, cape miser and greg downs have suggested some limitations to that instead arguing for thinking about the united states as a whole during this time as a post-war. nation, and i'm just curious to hear if you guys have any comments about how we might. or to expand upon the comments that you already made about how we think about what's happening in the south and what's happening in the readers were the typical textbook?
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depiction of the civil war in relation to everything else and you already have talked about that a bit that jimmy you were talking about the civil war as call as cover and money you were talking about the financial and federal expansion that was prompted by the civil war in that larger effects, but i'm curious to hear you reflect more broadly about what how we might think about the united states as a whole during this period or whether we should at all. that's a great question and one i would need to think about a little bit more but just some comments is you know, obviously what's going on in the in the west is very different than what's going on in the eastern united states during the civil war period and obviously the you know, the civil war has you know, the civil war directly in say, you know, the eastern united states has has garnered the vast majority of historical attention during this period and there's some great work
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particularly recently in the past couple of decades about this civil war in the west like directly of kind of like battles between the confederacy in the united states like in new mexico in places like that and there's some separate work thinking about like again like bringing this up of some of these particular moments with native people. there's a growing historiography of the civil war as fought in the indian territory, which saw numerous battles like i think it's one of the most fought over pieces of ground actually in a civil war was actually the indian territory. just i maybe not to in terms of numbers of troops on the ground, but in terms of just number of firefights and things like that. and just and i the af42 mentioned lunch i had with jeffrey osler. i'm gonna feel steal a few of his thoughts that you know and our before this is you know, we were we were kind of musing that
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you know reconstruction really, maybe not be the right word for what at least what was going on in the west is nothing was really reconstructed other than being constructed or in many senses deconstructed, you know, the these native sovereign nations were being deconstructed and forced onto reservations and at the same time the united states is constructing and expanding their empire on top of these other nations. and then the one place that probably really needed reconstruction indian territory was not you know, lincoln had, you know, no real interest in and you know helping the people who are suffering there and we're talking about tens of thousands of people who were refugees in in indian country as result in indian territory as a result of the war fled into kansas and things like that that he didn't care much about and not much. was really done after that. and i think professor michael
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green who was on the second half of this panel who as much more of an expert on eye than kind of the lincoln and his administration might have some more pertinent thoughts there, but not only that that's some of the things i'm thinking about right now and in terms of what that looks like, i've been really interested in turning back to learn from debates in the 30s among radicals about the interpretations of the civil war as a revolutionary period and debates about the nature of that revolution what exactly what kind of revolution of course, you know, strikingly we all know about du bois's analysis of reconstruction is the most revolutionary, you know moment genuinely revolution revolutionary moment. that was a proletarian revolution, you know those force by the general strike of the enslaved and they were other analyzes at the time. this isn't a period in the 30s, of course in the depression where it's just systemic crisis
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social and political crisis all kinds of experiments in working class organization and out of these kinds of out of that moment people are reinterpreting reconstruction to not as a proletarian revolution, but as a bourgeois revolution, a revolution that opens up within a battle. let's say between different factions fractions of the of the american capitalist class. i think. maybe that sounds i don't know maybe that sounds over the abstract, but i think it it speaks to the political demands of our moment in some ways and really interesting ways with the anti eviction movements movements, you know experiments in mutual aid in food distribution and also with the lessons, we're learning more broadly hopefully in in indigenous histories and read understanding the history of this continent through indigenous histories, and i think one question for me really central question is the question
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of land and landed property if we go with the latter interpretation of the civil war as a bourgeois revolution, it was a revolution. let's say between what becomes industrial finance capital and southern agrarian capital, so it seems like there's a landed and agrarian component to it. they're familiar kind. they're they're similar kinds of revolutionary pressures in other parts of the world and developing. nations countries that are developing capitalism in cuba itself in the coming decades there would be periods of time where a nascent industrial capitalist class within cuba would try to assert its own interest and and transform policy. basically, you know more protection so that there could be more domestic production and was thwarted at a return by us economic and eventually political and military power. but of course in reconstruction across north america, we see a different, you know, there's
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there's a very different set of patterns at play where there's a kind of strengthening. there's there's never really a question of a gramian reform except in the pockets of the south that you know that we learn from dubois, but a great room reform across this expanded united states is not really on the table. it's it's hits the opposite the expansion of this. you know industrial capital the expansion of finance capital is achieved through the expansion of you know, private property claims on land the expropriation, you know illegal expropriation of of indigenous lands, so i'll leave it that well, thank you guys so much for for responding to that. i think the issue of land is really key for us to be thinking about and jimmy. i love that that idea of deconstruction. maybe we need to have a deconstruction a book about deconstruction to go alongside
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eric owners, you know masterpiece reconstruction. so we'll now open the floor to questions from the audience and if you have a question, please just go to the middle aisle and ask away. i'll be brave. thank you. after our sort of critique of lincoln and various heroes, it's it's, you know pushes a lot of buttons that need to be pushed. so thank you for for your comments. i'm wondering about the the comment or the observations. the civil war was a cover for this seems to me that that sort of implies a certain. oh now we can do it. no one's paying attention, and i just i just want more motivation. i want more evidence that as opposed to just coinciding with this little war and and also we see with no if there was no civil war kind of a calendar factual that there would still
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be some of these policies might still well be taken so i want so what the role of the civil war in these policies and then as a graduate of a land grant university you see berkeley, you know. i'm i'm part of this land confiscation and training of engineers and and and reorienting financial capital and that's all true important. observations but it seems to me that there are other things that that occurred with just the moral act. for example, just the land grant. so, how did we balance the critique and the and the of this holocaust for the native americans and and the other things that did arise from from this progress this this development. thank you. i think you're right that my comment that cover was probably a little too strong a word. i mean, i mean some of the evidence we do have though is
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for instance of making nevada a state in 1864 when it didn't even wasn't even near like the threshold that was usually necessary. like i think it was i forgot the number is like fifty thousand or sixty thousand or something residents and usually not counting native people in that but and i think they only had like 10,000 right and so they rushed through making it a state because they could because it was a civil war and i you know southerners or something. tell them like no you can't you can't vote for that. so maybe that's one piece of evidence. i would get to what you're saying. i think if we dug deep we could probably find more. that would say that but i think if you're probably right it's probably a little bit of a strong word there to get to your second point though, you know thinking about the moral act and and you know, what's the creation of land grant institutions and of course we in the united states we tend to look at that. this is really important point because it does create these public institutions that do a lot of good in terms of you
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education of the population, you know in a lot of people who had never have had, you know since then in the past 1500 years who never would have had the the ability to get that kind of education and every particularly interested like agricultural education and things like that. he's early years and so we can look at that and say well why you know, why would we say a negative to that but so often so many of the things we look at as as these common goods did have extreme consequences for other people. there was the the recent article by high country times that the right high country news. sorry that came out a couple years ago about the moral act and and these schools and the way that they dispossessed native people and so i teach at rutgers which is also the public university of new jersey.
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and so i'm kind of in the same boat there is there's that legacy that this university has it's a little bit indirect in that case as compared to say schools out west just because new jersey didn't have any public lands, so they basically used landscript that they sold so they didn't have like direct access to to federal lands, but that's that's just like the legacy of so many of things in the united states and so the next panel about 1776 and somehow i managed to get roped into that panel as well. you know, i'm gonna be making some comments there about like the declaration of independence and the constitution which again we look at it these really formative important documents, but neither of those had native people in in mind and resulted in unconceivables, you know inconceivable suffering for for indigenous people in the same thing with the moral act as is. yes, it's good, but we have to also recognize you know, what it
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did in terms of dispossession of native people and with dispossession then comes a host of other things quite often like starvation and and loss of ceremonial sites and sacred sites and things like that. so, i guess what i what i'm trying to say is you know kind of like your first comment of like we need to kind of critique a little bit some of these things that we uphold in american culture as being really important and it doesn't mean we should not see them as important anymore. but rather we have to understand that they impacted people in many different ways and married negative ways. and those are things that need to be explored and need to be addressed and possibly, you know redressed for people today and what that might mean in terms of land back for indigenous people. that's kind of things. i'll use that opportunity to give two plugs for first the high country news article that robert lee wrote a couple years ago. it's really really good about the moral act and the land-grain colleges and their effects on
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indigenous people and then i'll also make a plug if anyone wants to make their way to the center aisle for elena roberts recent book. i've been here all the what we've been here all the while that does a really good job of looking at the landry distribution that actually did happen in indian territory among and the ways in which that benefited? freed people in africa and americans and the sort of complicated story that happened in indian territories for those interested in that very complicated story. both of those are really great places to look if you haven't already if i could just jump in briefly on this idea of the civil wars cover, i think. for me, i understand not necessarily cover, but the civil war is context and in two like really concrete ways. you know, i talked about the expansion of the navy, but think about the expansion of the army just the number of divisions the number of officers soldiers not
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but you know officers they they didn't they wanted to keep these careers many of them and it wasn't going to disband. it was a huge wrecking tool that needed to find things to wreck so to speak and then they're the investments in the army, you know, all these small investors who had money they have a rational direct interest in getting a return on their investment and that's investing in war. it's investing in the growth of the military. and so i think the civil wars the context maybe not cover but it's the context. i don't know about a counterfactual we could imagine all kinds of scenarios, but the way that it actually unfolded happened in this way. it's also really interesting to read some of the accounts of the soldiers themselves who were sent into you know into foreign foreign country foreign territory the territory of other nations who were very bitter about being sent to these places to fight under very host, you
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know, very difficult scary for them conditions and they left records, you know, we signed up to fight the confederacy we signed up to defeat the confed. why are we being sent to attack? another nation? that's not that's not what we were what we were here for so there are contradictions also in the in the historical record and i think in terms of universities, there are also of course contradictions there. these are contradictory sites. i'm not a i'm not a historian of education, but i think it would be very interesting to look at. um german higher education in this period which is also modernizing and developing and it's of course another state which is rapidly developing an advanced capitalist economy, which looks very different than the us cap, you know, then what it looks like in the united states. i think there might be lessons for us in in understanding the development of disciplines and the development of the universities these institutions
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across these two countries. yeah, what a fascinating comparison. all right our next question. hi steve cantrell. it's thanks very much for these really really generative remarks here. i want to think about 1862 as the beginning of a decade in which the united states as a nation state radically transforms, its understanding and exertion of jurisdiction. both in the south and in the west and just think about that all the things that you've just talked about from 1862, right? but we take that all the way forward to the enforcement acts and the end of treaty making a decade later right similarly asserting. centralized federal authority over really critical matters that have been understood to be either nation to nation or state-based or local right? and in that context also remaking national citizenship making national citizenship
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really out of disparate elements citizenship as the aspirational form that we're accustomed. you know that coming out of african-american and other communities citizenship as tool of conquest as the treaty apparatus had treated in the 1850s, but the place where the divergence becomes really clear is as you say as in land right because by the end of this period it becomes clear. i think that that while from and there's maybe goes to your point about about forms of capital that while the aspirations of african americans in the south for their own acres have been thwarted and then and they mostly relegated overwhelmingly relegated into forms of contract wage labor including sharecropping. in the west they need to finance capital. we're simply to reduce the acreage that native acres could in that context a lot meant
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which is you know in a way the cognate of what black southerners are demanding is is the tool of conquest rather than the aspirational form. so there's a funny contradictory or at least attention in the conversation about land in this period and so i'd love to hear your thoughts about any of that and thanks for provoking those ideas. i i think those are really i would love to hear you talk more about that. i think those are really great connections. this may be random but hearing you just hearing you talk makes me it actually draws my mind to the blues and the question of culture. you know, this is the this is the era where you know historians. it's in the it's in the the defeat of recent the radical promise of reconstruction in the
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south and the development of sharecropping and convict labor that you know, we we often associate this with the with the beginnings of of the blues and you know with that set of that set of landed relationships that he the kind of eclipse. let's say of certain radical possibilities. i wonder in the west, you know the kind of patterns that you're tracking out what kind of you know cultural shifts are taking place that that we could that we could track and read alongside the blues. that's still you know, live with us and stay with us. i don't have an answer for that. i'm just like thinking with you. with those with those comments you made but i i really appreciate that that line of just the thread that you laid out for us. thinking about the contradictions. i guess we've been talking about in some of these ways that some things have a particular good to them. but then they also have a kind of devastation for other people to them.
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there's other of these kind of like contradictory moments to get to your mention of citizenship and so for my own research writing about citizenship in minnesota territory in early state of minnesota where it was so contradictory is where particularly it became kind of partisan, but where democrats were using native people. who acquired citizenship to to use them for political purposes? so for instance when when the organic act creating 1849 was created it created a new territorial legislature and one of the first things it did. is it in franchised native people of specifically of mixed white and native ancestry. so it left out those who were black and native ancestry, but it enfranchise them and in fact, there were a number of native
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men both dakota ojibwe odawa and one odawa man and several mete man served in the territorial legislature in the first couple years of the minnesota state legislature. so many there were so many of them and so many of the white legislatures who were married to native women, they were all democrats and so they were called there were so many of them. they were called the moccasin democrats because of their you know their connection to to native people, right and and it kind of sound it's there's fascinating debates by the way within the the constitutional convention in 1857, you know any eve of statehood about these things about these issues of who do and franchise and things like that. but anyway, it's very obvious that the democrats were really only interested in franchising these these mixed ancestry native folks because they knew they were on their side and they would vote for them and if they weren't going to vote for them. well, they weren't going to have
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any interest in in franchising these folks so you can see how something that works really good in some cases for these native folks was intended to only for for political purposes. and another 1862 connection is so from every every session of the territorial and state legislature between 1849 and 1862. had at least some native members as part of those legislatures the us dakota war happens and the local populace like very much turns against native people. and so there's not another native person that serves in the minnesota legislature until the 1930s so you can see that particular moment like shifts of thinking like no, we're not going to have native people. part of this and and we get to like ideas of citizenship. it's fascinating because there were these debates at the time like racially is like, okay. these are folks of mixed white and native ancestry. we should just consider them
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white for our purposes and things like that. and so is this really kind of weird moment of kind of racial creation, but it was very short-lived and it very obviously had a political purpose, but i i came to understand that. they were only interested in citizenship for those people they perceived as civilized right? and so that was actually in the legislation is you know, these native people have mixed ancestry could vote and hold suffrage and be american citizens, but only if they were civilized and of course by doing so they created civilized as a legal category as a legal term and you're we're like, well, what does that mean? but very obviously from the writings. it's been civilized was meant to mean assimilated into your american cult. here and a lot of these folks just played the part. they'd wear your american clothing cut their hair and things like that and like oh sure you guys can vote and i don't want it. well too much on this kind of like side story, but you can see and he's interesting cases where
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citizenship grows to mean different things to meet different people and how it could be used in different political circumstances to the benefit of native people get to the contradictory notions and sometimes these contradictory things work to the benefit of native people and other times it didn't so in fact going the other way with the reconstruction legislation that comes out of that like the 14th amendment for instance, you know, granting guaranteeing birthright citizenship the supreme court case alfie wilkins an 1884 made a decision. well, the 14th amendment does not apply to native americans. right, and so the citizenship of the american citizenship citizenship of native people is really in limbo and up in the air and in murky until the 1924 indian citizenship. like there were those who acquired citizenship in various ways up until then through a lot mentor through having a father who was a citizen who was you know, white or something like that or mixed or something?
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and so but the idea was it's like native people. it came out of the supreme court case not be wilkins was the idea was well. no, we're going to uphold the sovereignty of native people and say as members of sovereign nations. well, they can also be a member of the us sovereign nation so you can see very contradictory whereas before it's like in any kind of case where indigenous sovereignty was a detriment to united states expansion they would fight in and in this case if it worked in the us favor to say, you know tribal sovereignty, you know works in our favorite to keep native people from doing is like sure we'll uphold that but it gets to like the the contradictory nature of all these things that were ongoing in this particular period and you might get lucky if you're a native person and it worked in your favor and very often though. it worked in the other way and very much against you and in favor of settlers. thank you so much. just hud rate on up to the the center aisle. thank you.
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so thank you. i really really learned a lot and i enjoyed your presentations when we think about historiography. we're thinking about writing we're thinking about words and obviously we've seen in the last few years how words like freedom seekers or water protectors can really shift the way we think about things and i get stuck on the word massacre because on the one hand massacre implies hapless innocence being killed for no reason, but in fact indigenous women and children and men too old to bear arms. apparently pose some kind of terrible threat to the united states just by existing right and we don't really think of the question from that angle. so my question for you is well first if you have other ways to think about that word massacre, which i every time i write it. i'm not satisfied, but what other words are worth rethinking if we're as we're if we if we're going to rewrite the historiography or the narrative
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of this period and we want that narrative to travel to like k-12 and you know beyond the the oah, what are some of the words we might be rethinking and what other words we be using? thank you. well, i share that. i don't want to say a version necessarily but you know. massacre doesn't feel like the the right term, you know for the reasons you brought up. i think there's another way of looking at this is part of a concerted military strategy. this isn't a massacre. this is how the us fights wars, you know, and that's grineers thesis roxanne dunbar ortiz writes about this and there's ample evidence in the history of north america, but also in the history of us wars elsewhere the us attacks civilian homes, it
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attacks civilians and it attacks their food sources and water sources. and so maybe i don't know if strategy is is a good word just to replace, you know, cut and paste with massacre, but i think that perspective is that this was on this was purposeful even in the case of sand creek where there's a big investigation and you know, apparently, you know, a lot of handwringing this wasn't supposed to happen according to the federal government, but you know, this is part of a purposeful pattern that goes back for centuries. yeah, i think that's an important question and it gets to other conversations like the debate over is something genocide or ethnic cleansing or something and i'm not going to wait into that to hate but thinking of massacre i i mean i i understand like i could see how it's it's it does leave a foul taste in your mouth. like is this the right word and maybe it fits in some cases, but it doesn't always fit in other cases, but i think the reason in native american history why it's become so important is it was a
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counter to the term battle where you know, so many people would want to terms something. like sand creek a battle or wounded knee a battle and massacre like switches at around it's like no. this was not a battle between you know, you know two opposing military forces who met on the battlefield. this was a massacre in a sense that when when the us army as you bring up is like their policy, they weren't attacking armies of native americans. they're attacking villages. they're attacking people with majority non-combatants on purpose to either kill them drive them away. and then therefore just destroy your their food supplies as you're saying knowing full. well that that meant that was going to result in the starvation and death of non-combatants women and children elderly and things like that. so i i think that's why it's useful is is to as a way to combat the idea of like these things we're battles, but i mean, maybe i think that you're
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right they're probably is a better term. i don't have one yet, but i think as historians we always drive to to you know, use the best terminology or at least define the terminology. we are using and the correct way and i think that you're right. that is one that needs more examination. hi, thank you for those comments. they've been really thought-provoking. and actually i wanted to say there's a way to think about what happened in 1848 with the us mexico war and kind of the march from veracruz to mexico city as an example of this kind of i don't know if it's total war or what you want to call it, but it is a similar kind of like you know targeting of civilians in children and and homes and villages and so on. i was very interested in. the way that umanu were talking about capitalism and the kind of
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different forms of capitalism. and i feel like one of the themes of this conference has been really rethinking 1860s onward as this moment of the federalization of different kinds of powers, and i've heard about it in terms of plenary power and then the kind of like federalization of immigration policy and thinking about that in relation to settler colonialism, but i think that there's something about what you're talking about with capitalism and kind of imperial capitalism and these different capitalist actors that helps us understand settler colonialism federalization, but also us empire more broadly and thinking about what becomes this like broader project of of imperial exertions of power and so i wonder if i if maybe you could both just talk a little bit about this moment vis-a-vis what we then see come afterwards because i think there's something very particular about
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this moment and so at about like, how do we think about seller colonialism and the way in which it changes over time? so i just better. thank you. makes a really appreciate that question both both of the questions. and i think they're they're related. they're linked. of course. well i agree. there's if we look at the development of capitalism over time it can help us. it can help us understand the contradictions at play some of the motive forces some of the underlying struggles at play in the coming period i think this is really set in the civil war era this huge expansion of military power a company by a huge expansion of just not just financial power but finance capital investments in the institutions of finance capital
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a securities market all of these and you know, this requires new rationalities new ways of thinking people with money have to just make these decisions. it's the the phrase i hate financial literacy of that time. people had to develop that and i mean not not a you know, these are you know, the robber barons. these are like some of the most wealthy empowered people. they're developing this as they go along and this is tied to the universities it requires all these new techniques of keeping statistics of of keeping accounts of measuring probabilities measuring the future and so, you know, so this expansion of both finance investments and then the institutions of finance capital alongside the expansion of these military instruments, i think to me explains a lot about the coming period one of the things to me that's very interesting is, you know, i turn to lenin
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and dubois both of their analyzes of imperialism. they were writing during the first world war they argue that imperialism was they had a sense imperialism as a is a stage in the development of capitalism do boys in his article the african roots of war. he's explaining why the first world war broke out. he is a phrase the dividends of whiteness were much more familiar most of us with the wages of whiteness, which he writes about in black reconstruction, but in that earlier essay, he writes about the dividends of wideness dividends is a financial term, right so it to me suggests. there's a return on investment. there's a transformation. there's a historical transformation underway. what's really interesting to me is if we look at us history and the history of the united states imposing itself over north america and expanding into the caribbean in the last quarter of the 19th century. we see these patterns at play
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much earlier than do boys in lenin were assessing them at play in other parts of the world in some ways north america anticipates patterns that we're taking place elsewhere, for example, you know the rail network, which i've studied and written about the real network in america is built in the in the historical period prior to the scramble for africa and the scramble for africa materially took place to the construction of railroads. so one of the things that's really interesting to me in studying us history studying the history of north america is how many ways it anticipates what we think of as modern imperialism taking place elsewhere. so i think there's also a link there with the histories and historical changes in the structures of settler colonialism over time, you know, if we look to the settler colonies and app in on the continent of africa and algeria and south africa roads,
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explicitly look to the the railroad construction taking place across north america as the model for how the british empire could and is in his in his thinking should capture control over the african continent. and those ideas of roads, you know, they were still being worked out in the in the the rhodesian regime in the south african apartheid regime arguably. they're still being worked out with you know, the the people who who made made their wealth in those regimes and are now at the heart of silicon valley here in the united states anyway, so i think those are some of the ways i would i would think about those patterns, but and i mentioned this in the comments i gave it's this nexus of war and finance to me. that's that's really the core the core of how this manifests. thanks for the question.
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i would say too. this particular moment was about the commodification of native land. that's what was going on in 1862 right was through the homestead act through through these other acts was to make native land a commodity that something just a product that something that's bought and sold so many of the treaties between the federal government and various of these sovereign indigenous nations were land session treaties a majority of them were coerced or fraudulent in some way and it was you know forcing them to then accept. cash payments or other kinds of goods or services or something like that in exchange for giving up their land seating their lands to the federal government. and so that was really very much the part of the the american settler colonial project was to come out if i indigenous land and for the most part these people didn't come outify their lands in that way, like certainly they, you know, native people have always bought each
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other for resources and land just like human beings have always done all over the world. but you know for for at least in the region, i study like the the midwest and and the northern great plains. those tribal nations their economies were based on reciprocal kinship obligations. and so the most important thing you could do was make kin of somebody either through marriage or through ceremony and therefore they had obligations to you to help you out when you needed it and you had obligations to them and a very different kind of conceptions of those economic systems. that didn't necessarily we're not commodities when it was not capitalism and those kinds of things but that's that's what this relationship was between the united states and indian tribes was trying to come modify native lands and turn it into a product that the us could then make money off of or expand on to those kinds of things. so we have a little bit more
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than 10 minutes left. so what i've asked to do is to have those who have remaining questions to come up and just share their questions all at once and then we'll have the last 10 minutes or so to be able to let the panelists reflect on those questions. hi. super interesting panel. i'm curious one of the things that i would think of. it makes 1862 big the announcement of the emancipation proclamation, which i don't think we've heard yet. so i just love to hear some thought about the ways in which you know lincoln announcement emancipation proclamation is the second configuration act the sort of tying of the union army and the northern to defense of black civil rights of these of the slave owners. what what role that sort of familiar narrative plays in the story. we're here in about the west have you how do we link these stories in ways that that explains both? any other questions? oh, we got a lot. okay, we'll get through them all
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if there's time. in the current environment that we see in addressing complex and controversial history on the national and statewide level particularly for someone like myself who's professional background is in secondary education if anyone would care to comment on how to address these kinds of complexities within that context. great. thank you anyone else. okay, we'll go her her and then yeah. so mine just just briefly maybe to raise up that the conversation. we were having earlier on complexities was i thought incredibly fascinating and i would love professor sweet to, you know be able to expand at some point about indigenous men fighting on both sides in that army in those armies. i think that would be a great piece to hear about dr. sweet
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brought up a lincoln and viewing indigenous people as a threat to white settlers, of course, but i was wondering what we might also think about indigenous people as a threat to the union war effort, especially if we add up everything that you described dr. sweet confederate treaties in indian territory, right extensive warfare and that space plus dakota war that's 7,000 union troops diverted even though it's you know brief but still requires quite a lot of material in men and then sort of a broader question related to that is to what extent do you think there needs to be a distinction between the us is fight against indigenous sovereignties in this 1860s period and the fight against the alternative american sovereignty that the confederacy represents itself as dr. suite i'm just wondering so did these events that are going on in the west that we still have so much to learn about have any direct impact on things that we're going on in the east and the way they played out.
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last call all right. lots of really interesting questions for our last 10 minutes or so. okay, there's a lot. sorry to lay down. good you addressing you so i can i can quickly just jump in on the emancipation proclamation a very quickly say i think it's very interesting to track corporate personhood which is still you know, the corporations are people and corporations are people in the way that you and i like, you know, obviously they have they have more rights as people than than most of us do and that person is directly traced to you know, the 14th amendment. so there's something i think and it comes back to land in a way. it's a refusal to actually or the the lack of addressing the question of land remember that
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slavery itself was in in terms in in terms of property was a form of real estate. so, you know, you're you're abolishing or you're making slavery illegal, but you're keeping real estate and you keep estate relations. and i think that plays out the case of southern pacific versus santa clara it was about a taxation of the railroad company over its fences over its land. so it's a question of what kind of taxes is the corporation liable for to this county for fences running along the land that have been granted to it. so there's a land question. there's an underlying land question that of course then you know is related to the the abridgement of again the radical promise of reconstruction in the south the experiments of black people freed people. i think the question of how to address this in public education is really profound and in a really beautiful one. i don't.
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there's someone who doesn't have experience teaching in second, you know in public education. i only have experienced teaching in universities in that setting. you know, i can only guess but i think they're it comes back to the question about the language you use about you know, for example massacre like what language are we using? what's the purpose of these of studying these histories? i once had a a senior colleague who teaches who taught european medieval history. observe my teaching in the us survey and very critically right that the purpose of the us surveys to create a shared identity a shared common identity which in a way i think i was doing just not the shared common identity that my colleague at the time would have preferred me to be teaching. so i think there are questions for us. these are actually questions of language and theory and perspective. and i'll stop there.
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so there's a lot of questions to answer and i'll try to just be brief i guess. so une emancipation question. of course, that's an important question. i mean we need to understand how these things affect native, but i think more broadly is of course, we still need a lot more work on the intersections of african american and native american history and things like that and like elena roberts, you know, great book here. it's doing that and kind of indian territory or kyle mazes recent book, you know kind of an afro indigenous history, you know, so that's just as like a general comment. there's a lot of work yet to be done. i think kind of making those connections between these communities and i think we would learn a lot in so many important ways if we have more of that study the k through 12 got you know the secondary education in k3 12 question is one that i've heard quite a bit of you know
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last year. worked with the new jersey historical commission i teach at rutgers in new jersey for a conference on indigenous histories of new jersey and we got an enormous number of questions from a lot of educators who showed up and you know, it was a virtual conference but showed up and had so many questions of like, how do we teach this and i think that at least for me anyway, i can't speak for anybody else, but you know, you mentioned like you were not really trained with that. i'm not trained in that either and i felt horrible because i didn't know how to answer that question and i feel that something that as academics we should probably be, you know, at least adding to that conversation and how to do that and i i unfortunately don't have those skills. and and i think that's the case for too many academics as we don't have those skills of how to you know make the things we're talking about accessible to a younger audience, you know this k through 12 audience and something. i think we all need to work on a question about native men
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fighting on both sides. there were yes, there were lots of native men that joined the army that served in the regular army that served as indian scouts that served as militia groups and particularly like in indian territory, you know thousands of men who joined the confederacy and fought on that side like most famously stan wadi the the last, you know, general confederate general to surrender, right? he's a cherokee. that's an issue and it happens in other places too, like during the us dakota war. there were mixed ancestry men who fought on the side of the us army who joined minnesota volunteer regiments to fight against their own people some of them fight fought are joined to fight against a confederacy, but we're once the you know, the the war started they were diverted to fight against their own people and those kinds of things happened and i think there's a lot more work to be done there in terms of native service in the war and things like that. but also as you know in essence
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kind of native civil war in some respects you might say that in indian territory. it was very much a kind of native civil war there where they're fighting each other. and the question about native people being a threat to the union army, of course, you know the the us dakota war diverted thousands of troops they in a response. they had to create a new military department the department of northwest to then to send leadership and troops and things like that and the lincoln then exempted the governor of minnesota from sending his quota of you know people for the war effort, you know in the east i mean, i think that's a great question and and one we need to think more about i don't know exactly how to answer that but i think yeah, you know native people were a threat obviously. i mean, that's why they're fighting them, but they're also they didn't need to be a threat like the us didn't have to expand on their territory. i mean, it's but it but no i mean, i mean, i don't mean to belittle the question at all.
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i mean think i think it is an important question but in the overall fit of the civil war this is what was going on as troops. we're having to be sent all over the place maybe in some cases at sand creek probably shouldn't have been sense at all because they were under a white flag of truth. but anyway that that's a whole other thing, but no, that's that's an important question and wanted me to thought about more. and then the last question to think about things that were going on in the west and how they impacted the east and i think that's actually another really important question, but i don't really have an answer to that. the native connection certainly there were native people in the east who served in a civil war there were you know. the galvanized yankee is a confederates. of course, they were captured and and agreed to become union soldiers and were sent to the great plains at least at first and later. they fought the confederacy but some kind of interesting kind of like east-west connections and that sense. but yeah, i mean, that's another good question. i don't quite have an answer to but certainly something to think
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about. well, thank you both so much for such fascinating comments and especially to everyone in our audience for participating in this really fascinating discussion. i'd i don't think we've answered all the questions, but i think we've made a lot of progress here and if you'd like to stay with us to talk about this even more just stay around for the next part of this round table. thanks so much. welcome to the second part of the big 1862 round table. my name is manisha sinha, and i'm the draper chair in american history at the university of connecticut, and i will be sharing and moderating this round table. also inform you of course again that the


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