tv Lectures in History Western Lands Before After American Revolution CSPAN August 30, 2021 8:55am-10:14am EDT
captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 they were collecting rents in a way that they couldn't in an earlier period. so, this idea of land being tied to privilege, the privilege of a small number of powerful men, just foundational not only to english society but to the way the colonies were organized.
and for jefferson, this was one of the most important things that needed to be overturned. we talked about his attack on trying to break up the great estates of the powerful family. this is a parallel idea. one of jefferson's cornerstone principles was the idea that the best social foundation for a republican government was to have a large number of yeoman farmers that owned relatively small, relatively similar amounts of land in fee simple, meaning they did not pay rent to great landlords. they held the land on their own terms. and so this idea of yeoman society, a republic of yeoman farmers, was one of the foundational principles that many people, including especially jefferson, wanted to
work pretty hard to implement after the american revolution. the problem is, of course, that making abundant amounts of land widely available on cheap terms means you have to control that land in the first place. this was not that simple because of course the lands that the united states aspired to control and redistribute were lands that were occupied by native american populations with their own claims, with their own sense of legitimacy. and in the process of trying to enact this theoretical revolution and the availability of land, what we'll see is that the united states took a very exploitive approach with its relationships with the native peoples throughout eastern north america. and that is a process that began in the revolution itself.
and in order to kind of focus our discussion of this issue, i want to focus on the ohio country and the ohio indians. there were indian populations all up and down the eastern seaboard in the kind of transappalachian west. and there are a lot of different stories associated with these groups. for our purposes, just to kind of focus on one of these groups, i want to focus on the ohio country, which we've already talked about, because the ohio valley was the focus of lord dunn dunmoore's war. we've talked about dunmoore's effort to claim what is now kentucky from the shawnees through his victory in the war. the ohio country population is kind of an interesting and
complicated population because in the early 18th century, the ohio valley was largely depopulated for complicated historical reasons. so, in the decades before the american revolution, it was being repopulated by a pretty large and diverse group of indians that were coming both from the east, from pennsylvania and new jersey and new york, and also coming from the north and the west. so, from the east, groups that were basically being displaced by the growth of pennsylvania, new jersey and new york were three populations in particular, the delawares and shawnees who were migrating west out of pennsylvania and new jersey, and the western iroquois. so, a group of iroquois, so-called mingos. that's the name they were given in the ohio country. and these groups were forming, in many cases, shared
communities. the most important communities in the ohio valley were often multiethnic communities, and they were moving into the ohio valley both to move away from the immediate pressures of the growth of colonial settlement and also because the ohio valley was a really good place to hunt and trade. pennsylvania traders started traveling into the ohio valley. so, as they moved into the ohio -- as these groups moved into the ohio valley, pennsylvania traders followed them, and they had a pretty robust set of economic opportunities in the 1740s and '50s and '60s. so, you have these groups moving in from the east. and at the same time, again in response to the economic opportunity created by traders from pennsylvania, a pretty wide array of groups from the north and west that were moving out of the french sphere and into the
british sphere in the 1740s and '50s, including wyandottes, chippewas, potawatomis, and others.es, chippewas, potawatomis, and s, chippewas, potawatomis, and others. relatively diverse population of native groups. when we talk about the ohio indians, we are talking about a diverse array of peoples that had not functioned together -- they were not a coherent political unit. they had not operated together for a very long time at the time of the revolution. and the revolution forced them to make new kinds of collective choices in response to the pressures of that war. they had relied on a pattern of trade with pennsylvania, an alliance both with pennsylvania and really with each other for a number of years without really having further coalesced as any kind of a political unit. and then this was the group, of
course, that was directly attacked by virginia militia in dunmoore's war in 1774, particularly the shawnees who he thought was the more hostile of these groups and the shawnees were engaged in the one battle at point pleasant in 1774. remember that dunn moore's war, that kentucky was open to settlement. so, one of the oddities of the american revolution is that in the spring and summer of 1775, this is the same time that the shot heard round the world was fired at concord, the battle of lexington and concord, the
battle of bunker hill. at the same time all that stuff was going on in new england in central kentucky, parties of virginians were moving into this newly claimed land in the summer of 1775 and without permission from the crown, without any legitimate authority from above, but having participated in dunmore's war in 1774, dozens -- hundreds of people began to occupy central kentucky in the spring and summer of 1775. this is a map that just -- i just want to take a minute to look at so i'm sure that you have a vision of what we're talking about. i'm talking about the ohio country. and this is actually a map that depicts battles in the -- during and after the american revolution. but when you talk about the ohio country, i'm basically talking about this area mostly north of ohio river. here's where the three rivers come together at fort pitt to find the headquarters of ohio. this is the ohio country.
and then kentucky, the territory that people were beginning to occupy in 1775 and 1776 is down here. and you can see some of these early stations. boonesboro is one. reynolds and mertens stations. this became kind of the leading edge of anglo-american settlement even before there was an american revolutionary war. so, this is a process moving forward independent of the revolution, yet it intersects with the revolution, and the revolution fundamentally changes the fortunes of these people who are moving west because under
the auspices of the crown, they were criminals, right? they were beyond the proclamation line of 1763. what they were doing was illegal. but under the -- you know, in the context of the american revolution, as the second continental congress was sitting, as revolutionary legislatures were taking over in the states, it was possible for them to make new claims to legitimacy. that's exactly what these kentucky settlers did. in the course of the of american revolution, these kentucky settlers made common cause with the united states and with the revolutionary governments that managed them. and they made very specific pleas about the legitimacy of their occupation and settlement. they specifically talked about the fact that the king had limited, had restricted access, to these western lands, but that they had fought and bled for these lands at the battle of point pleasant.
they had a legitimate and meaningful claim to these lands. and moreover, just as the united states was interested in liberty, they were also interested in liberty. they really thought what the united states was talking about was pretty great and they wanted to be part of it. and they said the united states would be foolish to miss the opportunity to incorporate such skilled riflemen into their ranks. they petitioned congress and said, you know, if you support us out here, we will fight for you and we will keep the native peoples off of your backs. so, they basically made the case that in addition to the fact that they adhered to the same principles of liberty that the united states did, they also made a strategic argument that they could be very useful allies. and that was an argument that got traction. it got traction with the new revolutionary state of virginia, which began arming and supporting their little forts.
the communities that were settled in central kentucky all took a form something like this where cabins were built in a circle with palisades so that the community became a kind of makeshift fort because these guys recognized from the beginning that they were operating in territory where they would be regarded as hostile invaders. and it was incumbent upon them to defend themselves against both native americans that might not want them there and also as the war progressed against the pressures of british arms as well. one of the key people involved in this process -- let me ask you this. so, when you think of daniel boone, do you think of the american revolution? do you think of him as a figure of the american revolution? he's familiar, right? daniel boone is familiar. everybody knows who daniel boone was.
he's a great american frontiersman. think of him in the era of davie crockett. but it's weird because daniel boone and davy crockett. davie crockett was at the battle of the alamo. when was that? 1840s? we're talking about 1775. this is when daniel boone's single most famous act of pioneering took place. he led a party of settlers in the wake of dunmore's war through the cumberland gap and into central kentucky. and one of the first towns founded in central kentucky was boons boonesboro. his most famous act occurred before the united states existed.
it's fascinating that we don't -- in the popular imagination, we don't place him in time here. we don't think of the american revolution as a pioneering era. but the american revolution is the first pioneering era and the first intrepid western explorers/occupiers swung into action in the revolution and in kentucky. i want say a little bit more about daniel boone in just a minute, but hold that thought. just to kind of talk quickly about the war experience in central kentucky. the various communities of central kentucky petitioned both the virginia legislature and the continental congress for support. and they received that support. they -- the virginia house of
delegates first of all extended its jurisdiction across all of what is now kentucky. it created a great big new western county so that those new communities in central kentucky would have, you know, a kind of framework for government. and it started sending regular supplies of powder and lead so that these settlements could defend themselves. and the continental congress also responded favorably to these petitions. and beginning in july of 1776, the continental congress manned and supplied three new forts on the ohio river that were designed basically to protect and support these new kentucky settlements. during the fall and winter of 1776, it sent two tons of powder, four tons of lead, boats to carry 1,500 men and food to support 2,000 people for six months. i mean, that's a fair amount of war material that the
continental congress was providing to kentucky at a very early stage. then when conditions deteriorated in the following spring, congress sent a thousand rifles and another ton of lead. so, you know, from the beginning of the war effort, these small embattled kentucky communities were fortunate to receive the support of revolutionary governments both at the state level and at the national level. the ohio indians, meanwhile, were in a difficult position. they were somewhat divided in terms of their sense of loyalties. the article that i asked you to read for today talks a little bit about the ohio indians and their decisions, their loyalties. the ohio indians had had a fairly long connection by 1776 to the british empire, but they had also had a fairly long connection to the pennsylvania
traders. so, they had pre-existing relationships with both the british and the americans that could have led them in either direction. initially, both governments hoped that they would remain neutral. and u.s. leaders pleaded with them to just stay out of the revolution, told them it was just an internal spat between the colonies and the english and they didn't have to have anything to do with it. but it became clear quickly that in fact the united states was putting a lot of new pressure on their territory. so, gradually, by about 1777, a large coalition of ohio indians had decided that their interests lay with the british empire, with the efforts of the british to defeat the americans, and they began fighting against the kentucky settlements with british support.
so, from 1777 on, most of the ohio indians found themselves aligned with the british, even though you know from that article we read earlier in the semester about white eyes and the delawares, there was an earlier period where there was white eyes and a large faction of delawares thought maybe their best bet was to align themselves with the united states. the kentucky settlements helped change that dynamic for them. the war ended in 1783. the fighting ended in 1781, but the war was formally concluded in 1783 with the treaty of paris. one of the well-known facts about the treaty is that in this document that defined the peace between great britain and the united states, no mention was made of britain's native american allies. just simply, the native american population is not a subject of the treaty of paris of 1783.
and this meant that the united states could interpret the significance of this treaty for native peoples any way that it wanted to. and it chose, the united states chose to interpret the treaty of paris, where britain basically says we lost the war, the united states interpreted this treaty to extend to britain's native allies and, in fact, to all the natives peoples in the near east whether they were alive with great britain, whether they were neutral or allied with the united states. in the case of oneida indians, it didn't help them at all in the post-war period that they had been an ally of the u.s. during the war. so the logic of victory in the revolution for the united states meant that not only great britain been defeated, but all of the native peoples of the
near eastern region, the transappalachian west had been defeated. the ohio indians did not accept this premise. in fact the ohio indians had never been defeated themselves in the course of the american revolution. they were in a strong position in 1783. kentucky was still starting to grow a lot faster, but it was still embattled. and they simply did not accept the logic that the u.s. applied to the treaty of paris. so, at the end of the war, everything was unclear in term of relations between the u.s. and the ohio indians. in this sense it was a similar situation, the u.s. relation with indian groups throughout the transappalachian west. i want the just pause at this point and talk a little bit about daniel boone because the -- you know, his -- placing
him in kentucky in 1775 is a little bit surprising. you know, if you don't know a lot about him, if you haven't thought very much about daniel i want to talk for a minute about how daniel boone first became famous because he became a famous figure right after the revolutionary war. he became famous as a result of the publication of this text. john filson's "discovery and settlement of kentucky." john fill son was a land speculator and was interested in encouraging the rapid occupation of kentucky. son was a land speculator and was interested in encouraging the rapid occupation of kentucky.son was a land speculator and was interested in encouraging the rapid occupation of kentucky. he published this book on the
discovery and settlement of kentucky which is kind of interesting. it narrates the story of the occupation of kentucky and its experiences in the revolution. and it includes an appendix, entitled "the adventures of colonel daniel boone containing a narrative of the wars of kentucky," and it included this appendix. the appendix included the illustration that shows daniel boone with his rifle and his hunting dog, the earliest depiction of boone. and the purpose of this -- well, the purpose of the pamphlet was to promote settlement in kentucky. and the purpose of the appendix that talked about daniel boone was both to describe his heroism and the harrowing experiences of the war, and also to stress that those harrowing experiences were now over. so, boone became the first american pioneer hero. and his fame took off rather quickly. he became famous even in his own lifetime. this is the first -- this is the
first portrait painted of boone. this was painted late in his life by a man named chester harding. it's a well-known image of boone later in life. there's another early unattributed painting depicting him. it's interesting to look at the clothing in these three portraits. what strikes you about this one? what do you see? what is he wearing? yeah, ian? >> he's wearing a lot of furs, implying he has spent time in the west sort of in the fur-trading areas. rather than just being settled in the east. he's wearing a lot of leather. he's carrying a rifle.
he looks like he's armed to out and take on the frontier rather than in the portrait where he's much more of a gentleman, scholar-type individual. >> yeah, you can see the fur trim in this suit of clothes. you can see the leather leggings and the coat. the coat is stitched together. this is obviously not factory-made clothing. you can also see his trademark coonskin cap apparently in his hand. he's got a powder horn around his shoulder and a rifle. this portrait does seem, as ian just said, to depict him as more of an urbane gentleman. of course this is a later period. this is not fancy clothing. but he does seem to be wearing, you know, an ordinary suit of clothes with a white collared shirt.
this depiction begins to, i think, take on some of the familiar trappings of daniel boone as a kind of mythic figure in american culture where the collared shirt and wool jacket that we saw in the previous portrait has been replaced by a fringed buckskin jacket. and it's unclear what kind of shirt he's wearing, but it's not a fancy one. the most famous depiction of daniel boone of the 19th century is this painting that was done by george caleb bingham in the 1850s. bingham is one of the great genre painters of the 19th century. really if you're not familiar with his work, i recommend checking it out. he did a lot of really
interesting stuff. this is a -- one of his most famous paintings. daniel boone escorting settlers through the cumberland gap. so in 1851, 1852, he's depicting something that occurred four generations earlier. this is a much later painting. what strikes you about this depiction of daniel boone? and of the party that he was leading? what do you see here? >> i think it's interesting he's choosing to portray the party as coming out of the shadows and into the light, and the light is entering new lands. but the end it was still more of the new unexplored things themselves, very much depicted as the beginning of an era, i suppose, if you want to put it that way. >> that's really well said. you definitely have the sense of coming out of darkness into light. and to think of that as
historical as well as geographical i think is really useful. this is a dangerous wilderness that these people are traversing, right? you can see by the blasted tree, by the threatening weather, by the craggy rocks and by how dark everything is. you see the swordsman in the background. i think that's a sword, presumably fending off enemies, hostiles, probably hostile native people. in fact boone's party was attacked by native warriors. what else? >> the woman on the horse is kind of reminiscent of the virgin mary, it seems, maybe, which would suggest maybe divine providence is smiling down on this act. >> yeah, exactly. her -- this female figure is clearly echoing, you know,
traditional artistic depictions of mary, the virgin mary, so there is -- yes, the idea of divine providence at work in this emigration, i think, for sure. >> i have a very different interpretation of the guy in the back, it was like elevated status, it strikes me he has a crop. striking an ox -- >> he could be driving livestock forward. that's true. i'm not sure which it is. yeah. >> to tie the comments together there's the great song -- i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i fear no evil, and they're coming through the shadows, they're walking with confidence out of the valley. >> yeah, it does make you think of the 23rd psalm.
what about boone? sorry, emma. >> i was going to say it's interesting to see how you can clearly see the perspective of the artist in this and how it seems like this party is like a saving grace, they're going to come and save kentucky and make it so much better. they don't seem to be struggling even those all the wood around them and like you pointed out, how wilderness it was. i think it seems like oh, we're going to come and do this, no problem, we're just that good. >> yeah. that's a good point. they're surrounded by dangers, but they seem to be apart from the dangers. yeah. and bringing a new kind of he civilized existence into the wilderness. what about daniel boone himself? what would you say about the way he is depicted?
>> he seems depicted as a plain and ordinary man. >> plain and ordinary? yeah, okay. >> my interpretation of that is he's trying to lead regular, normal american people into the west, and that it's a place for the people of the united states, to go west and to, you know, head into this brave new world, and any man can do it. it's not just some military officer, some wealthy person who is paying for this expedition. it's normal men, taking them, exploring into the new world. >> yeah, that's interesting. i like that emphasis on ordinary, the ordinariness of this party. he seems to be wearing kind of the leather suit that it's
appropriate to picture him in, yet bingham has transformed it into a very respectable looking kind of -- he looks like almost a middle class gentleman. particularly i think, by giving him a different kind of hat, there's a way that he's kind of being dressed up from those earlier depictions. anyway, this is a very -- i think an interesting and important painting and one that really captures the sensibilities in mid 19th century america about the whole westering enterprise, the whole idea that american westward expansion is about bringing civilization to a howling wilderness. this is another painting that i can't find -- i couldn't find an as prescription for. i think this is an interesting variation on the bingham depiction.
i think it's characteristic of mid to late 20th century values of the process. what strikes you in contrast, how it painting difference from bingham's painting in depicting the enterprise of westward expansion? >> in the first picture, the light was just shining on boone. here, the light is on everybody. you can see it all the way across, not just the guy in front. >> yeah. the light is on everybody, so it's a more democratic depiction of the group itself. what about the natural setting? >> it's a lot softer.
it looks like the way is being lit for them, light through the trees. it looks easier for them that is in the first painting. >> it's a cathedral of nature. that captures a lot between 19th century sensibilities about the westward enterprise and 20th century sensibilities about the benign glories of nature. there were no benign glories in the bingham painting. it's interesting to think about why boone is misplaced in our imaginations, why we tend to confuse him with the sort of davie crockett era. i do have one theory, and this might not relate at all to your generation, but it relates to mine. when i was a kid, i think i confused daniel boone and davy crockett, because fess parker played them both in walt disney tv shows and wore, if i'm not mistaken, almost exactly the same costume for both roles. that's what i blame my confusion on.
but i do think more fundamentally we don't think of the era of the revolution as being an era of westward expansion, but it really is. in fact, in the experience of those early kentucky settlements, the american revolution legitimizes an unbridled form of rest ward expansion for the first time in american history. this is a map that was printed in that john filson -- that 1784 book about the discovery and settlement of kentucky. what strikes you about this image? if you were, i don't know, renting land in ] and continue plating the possibility of moving to kentucky, what would this image tell you about what you could expect in kentucky? >> it's empty. there's nobody there.
there's no divisions of native american lines. it's open land. >> it looks like open land. if you look carefully, you'll see some of the early settlements, but there's a lot of open space. yeah, what else? >> it seems to me like there's a lot of detail on the river networks, but not a lot of details on a whole lot else, which to me would tell me they don't really know what's out there. the government owns the land, controls the land, but they don't know what's out there any more than anybody else does, so i have no idea what i'm getting into if i actually buy land out there. >> yeah, it's true. there's not a lot of -- there are not a lot of political demarcations, but the point you started with is what i would emphasize most which is, if you are a farmer, what you want is
well-watered fertile land. this is a picture of what appears to be extraordinarily well watered fertile land. filson is basically in this pam plett and especially in this map throwing the doors of people's imagination open to the possibility of settling in kentucky. it's an interesting question. a, did it work? and b, if you chose to follow filson's advice and move there, what would your experience be? and the answer is, man, it was complicated. people who took up land in early kentucky stumbled into a kind of nightmarish set of problems associated with land distribution. and the problems are really
embodied in the virginia land ordinance of 1779. remember i said that virginia extended jurisdiction over all of kentucky, it created a new western county. so in 1779, the virginia house of delegates passed a law that set out the terms by which people could claim land in this new western county. and it was really complicated. the first thing about the virginia land ordinance of 1779 is it gave priority to settlers rather than speculators. so in this, you could see kind of a revolutionary impulse to make sure that, you know, some rich guy who never goes out there doesn't get control of all of the land. it gave priority to people who had actually settled the land.
but it created a bewildering and expensive process that they had to follow in order to actually gain title. and so the process was multi-stage. the first thing you had to do, first of all, had you to go to kentucky in order to have legitimate claim, because it gave priority to settlers. but then, once you had gone to kentucky, the next thing you had to do is go back to richmond in order to pay the fees that would allow you to claim the lands that you had already visited. so you could go to the treasurer's office in richmond to pay a patent fee and get a treasure's receipt and then to the auditor's office and then get the treasurer receipt and
then go to the land office where the receipt and certificate entitled you to a land warrant. and then with a land warrant in hand, you could return to kentucky and in kentucky, register with the county surveyor and have the land surveyed. so you go first of all to kentucky to find out where you want to be in the first place. then you go back, you go through this elaborate series of steps in richmond to get all of the legal paper you need to go back to kentucky and then you have to hire a surveyor to do a survey. and this is a lot of people are doing this at the same time. and there is no system in place in kentucky to make sure that any of this occurs in a kind of an -- kind of an orderly way. then the surveyor issues a plat and certificate along with an
endorsed warrant, and then you go back to richmond to receive a land title. this is impossible. nobody can do this right. so what happened in the course of the revolution -- especially after the revolution, very quickly, lots of people went to kentucky and chaos ensued. the population of kentucky rose very slowly as long as there was active fighting going on, and it kind of ebb and flowed during the war years. but in 1783, the date of the treaty of paris, after that point it rose really fast, by 1790 there were 100,000 people in kentucky. by 1800, 220,000 people, 40,000 of them enslaved. and so this is obviously a very rapid pattern of population growth.
if you look at what resulted from all of these people going to a place that had a bad land distribution system, the early history of kentucky as a state features legal documents with a lot of pictures like this. this is a plat that was made by hancock taylor of mildred lightfoot's claim and i'm not sure where, near the falls of the ohio river, near kentucky that shows all of the claims that overlapped and competed with hers. the early history of kentucky is a history of nonstop litigation over survey problems like this. but it is this kind of problem that is woven into the structure of that, of that land distribution -- that land ordinance of 1779, right. which the kentucky legislature -- i mean the virginia legislature thought
they were creating a system that would be fair and democratic, because you have to do all this stuff in the right order and do it the right way, but nobody can actually do what the statute describes effectively, or many people can't, and so what you get is chaos on the ground. so it is with this in mind that people like thomas jefferson in the 1780s were rethinking in fundamental ways the problem of land distribution. and this is a process, a process a reconceptualization process that call culminated in the ordinance of 1787. for today i asked you to read not about the northwest ordinance of 1787 but the land ordinance of 1784 in the jefferson papers, the editors have a good essay on the kind of evolution of thinking about
western lands that i asked you to take a look at. so, there are a lot of details in the land ordinance of 1784, and then that got modified for the land ordinance of 1787. but what in your reading of that essay in the jefferson papers, what particularly struck you as the kind of main takeaway points that the editors emphasize in describing this process of developing a land system? do you remember any key points, particularly focusing on jefferson and on his evolving thought about the transappalachian west. that part of the u.s. territory beyond the bounds of the existing states.
>> i think the editors might have diluted what jefferson was getting across. i think he was radical in thinking that they should close off the lands and settle them and get it over with and the editors wanted to look at land as an extra resource that the colonies had and to not just put it off and say that we can't keep expanding. >> that is interesting. so you think that that essay dilutes the radicalism of jefferson's intention. yeah. and you can see jefferson's thought itself evolving. i mean, initially they talk about the fact that he's considering one or a couple of western states and eventually this evolves into -- this is a map -- there is no map in jefferson's hands of his
intention, but there is a surviving map, the so-called jefferson-hartley map that the essay talks about from 1784. and one of the things that jefferson had in mind and thomas payne wrote a pamphlet about the importance of this, is that all of the colonies that had claims to western lands that extended far into the interior, because the colonies have sea to sea charters. so virginia was advantaged in new york, certain colonies were advantaged in this and the first thing that jefferson and others believed was important to do was to have all of the individual states cede their western land claims to the united states so the united states could collectively deal with all of them together. and so you could see that jefferson has imagined western boundaries including a pretty aggressive western boundary for the state of pennsylvania to
open up these lands to new settlements. and then you can see by 1784, jefferson is imagining the possibility of 14 different new western states, right. and both the land ordinance of 1784 and the northwest ordinance of 1787, they're very conscious of the kind of problems that the land ordinance of 1789 created, and they want to have a system that will allow for rapid westward expansion in a more orderly way. so uniform surveys and public sales are principles that are woven into these early ordinances. and then the thing that is most famous, most noteworthy and also kind of i think most easily
overlooked by americans, by us, because we take it for granted, the territorial system. what do i mean by the phrase the territorial system? what is the territorial system? >> isn't it like areas with less than a certain population cannot yet be incorporated as states until they reach a certain number, like technically there are states in the u.s. today that wouldn't have reached them. i think kentucky is one of them. >> no, kentucky is big enough to be a state. but that is right, you can't become a state until you reach a certain population. so it creates a territorial status, which is to say that it is an area that is governed by the federal government but doesn't yet have state status. but in the northwest ordinance, when 60,000 people reside in the territory, then they can, you know, gather together and apply
for statehood status. this is so unusual. and it's really contrary to, for example, the british model of colonization, because great britain created the colony of -- name your colony, virginia, but it is never going to be a part of great britain. this is permanently a colony. this is a nation made up of states to envision this kind of elastic western boundary, elastic number of states. jefferson here has drawn a map in which new, not yet existing states, outnumber the original 13 states of the united states. what nation would do this to itself? it is a very strange idea, right. it is a very strange idea to have woven into the fabric of the constitution a system that
allows for the indefinite expansion of the nation through space and through the accretion of additional political units. that have the power over time to overwhelm the original, the thao overwhelm the original, the political units, the states that originally made up the country. >> i just have a question about the expansion part. what did, like, france or spain or great britain think of this map? because this is very clearly incorporates territories that they supposedly claim and had claim to in the northwest or in the southwest, down there. >> well, that is right. and it became -- the united states had to worry a lot about the hostility of foreign powers in the early decades of its existence. and even in the territories by
that had been seeded by the treaty of paris in 1783, britain never gave up western posts in the great lakes region and continued to harass or encourage native allies to harass settlement, the war of 1812 is a kind of a -- a british assault on american sovereignty on multiple fronts at once. and similarly in the southeast, spain in particular, challenges american sovereignty over the american southeast and erin burr and various other people . and aaron burr and various other people considered conspiring. various people in kentucky and tennessee spent some time, people like john severe in kentucky, spent some time thinking about whether spanish -- an alliance with spain would serve them better than an alliance with the united states. the united states were at a real problem.
this map is envisioning a system that will encourage the rapid occupation and settlement of a gigantic new area of land. as people take up the challenge or the promise of that possibility, there is very good possibility that the united states would not be the kind of super intending power that would best serve their interests. and there's a period in the early -- in the early republic when a lot of people in the southwest were more interested in or as interested in spain as a possible ally as they were in the united states. >> wasn't the oregon territory -- i may be overstepping the bounds of this class, but wasn't the oregon territory split between britain and the united states for a good, long time? >> the oregon country was split, and there was -- you know, it's not resolved until the -- it's
not clear until the 1840s that that boundary would be resolved with -- without a fight. but, originally, the dividing line between u.s. and british claims in oregon was fuzzy, just because the -- you know, the treaty of paris didn't really draw the line that far, that far out. well, this territorial system, i want to just stress, you know, this is a very -- a very radical system. this is a radical thing. there is no real clear precedent for a nation inventing a system for, you know, occupying new territory in this way. and the idea that new states would be admitted on equal
footing as old states, i think is particularly striking. ultimately, what you see in these provisions is the creation of an elastic nation. here is a map, you know, that shows the northwest territory as ultimately created in 1787. you know, this is a map that stands. in 1787, 1787, this was an act of the second continental congress. this is before the constitution had even been drafted, so this is at a point where the united states is still, you know, kind of an infant, ill-defined nation. yet, this map stands as an open invitation to people interested in westward expansion, to moving into new lands on easy terms. this is kind of an open
invitation, that the united states is somehow going to oversee and guarantee that process. the idea of a kind of uniform public system of land distribution was partly -- was partly undermined by the -- a more complicated set of arrangements in the revolutionary period. in an ideal sense, jefferson thought it would be great to have this sort of blank slate, where you could ensure some kind of open public access. but, in fact, there were -- congress had all kinds of reasons to favor and support other kinds of purchases. particularly because congress needed money and was always willing to take shortcuts with western lands. and so at the same time that it was, you know, inventing the territorial system, it was also
proceeding with other kinds of private sales. for example, in 1787, it sold 5 million acres of land to the ohio company of new england. this was a company that was made up of former officers of the continental army. this 5 million acres became the original core, the core settlements of the new state of ohio. that group subcontracted a sale of about 1 million acres to a second company, the siota company. congress sold 300,000 acres to john cleves symmes in 1788. and at the same time, connecticut was claiming lands that resulted in a so-called western reserve of 3.36 million
acres. so the point of this is to say that even at the same time that congress was trying to map out this uniform system, it was also sowing confusion in various ways by allowing other groups to purchase or claim lands on their own terms. and then there was the problem of officers warrants from the revolution, which also gave continental army officers a claim to western lands. and state officers, as well. so that results in the creation of the virginia military district, a 4.2 million acres, and the u.s. military district of 2.5 million acres. so it's interesting. we think of the northwest ordinance as being a clear and clean set of provisions about how western lands are going to be occupied. but at the very same time that congress is formulating that
policy, it is also hastily disposing of gigantic parcels on different terms in the west. and so in the fall of 1787, congress also auctioned off 73,000 acres in the first federal range under the terms of the northwest ordinance. and so all of this stuff is going forward together at the same time. resulting in a map of, you know -- ohio did not yet exist at this point, but this is a map of the modern state of ohio that shows all of these things laid out in relation to each other. the ohio company purchase. the u.s. and virginia military districts. the symmes purchase. the connecticut western reserve. and the seven ranges that were being surveyed under the terms of the northwest ordinance. this is a kind of really complicated and chaotic system,
and, by the way, every inch of that ground was claimed by some combination of native peoples who still had legitimate claim to control that land. so what this meant, because the united states was so enthusiastic about western lands, it was proceeding on all of these fronts at once because it desperately needed the money that western land could produce. this meant it had to deal hastily and expeditiously with a very large and complex native population that occupied the ohio country. as i said, believe they had won whatever battles were fought in the course of the revolution. the united states implemented what can be described as sham treaties. we often say, you know, indians were cheated in the treaty making process. the truth is, different treaties
have different stories. some of them were very, you know, legitimate enterprises, but this was a series of sham treaties. in most cases, the united states did not have legitimate representatives of the indian nations that they were trying to deal with. there was liquor involved. there was coercion involved. the first of those treaties was the treaty of fort stanwick. representatives of the continue -- continental congress, trying to get there before the other representatives. the treaty is one of the treaties in which the native representatives present explicitly said that they did not have the authority to sign any binding document. but the united states presented
them with the doctrine that they had been defeated as a result of the british defeat, and insisted that they seed all of their claims to hands in the ohio country. and they got a document that was signed, though it was tested from the beginning. the delaware and the treaty of fort finney in 1786, dealing with the shawnees. ultimately, congress came to recognize that these treaties were all so problematic, they tried to organize a single treaty meeting in 1789 that would bring together representatives of all the ohio indians in one mass gathering. there was one signed document. from the native americans who attended, they said it was chaotic and undeterminative.
again, they contested the outcome. so in that context with those failed treaties in the background, from 1787 until 1784, the united states was back at war with the ohio indians. this was a war that really was the first military undertaking of the new united states army. the first function of the u.s. army was to try to defeat this coalition of ohio indians, which the united states had failed to bargain with in the form of treaties, and which the united states really needed to get out of the way if it was going to proceed with its western land enterprise. arthur st. claire was the first commander of american forces in the ohio country. he did not do very well.
in 1789 and 1791, he suffered major defeats. he was succeeded in his command by anthony wayne, so-called mad anthony wayne, who had more success. and finally defeated in a fairly decisive fashion the ohio coalition at the battle of fallen timbers in 1794. after that battle, the ohio indians signed the treaty of greenville to bring an end to the conflict. agreed to sign away some of their lands. so the treaty of greenville is the first treaty in the ohio country that was the product not of negotiation but of warfare. and the ohio coalition agreed to sign away a big chunk of -- a big chunk of the modern state of
ohio and also part of indiana. so you can see that the result of this warfare was to basically give -- allow the united states to claim control of most of the territories that we just talked about, that they had, in effect, already arranged for the sale and settlement of. this pattern of, you know, really rapid westward expansion, without regard for native territorial claims and in a process that really accelerated violence between the united states and native americans and the kind of rapid dispossession of native lands, this, you know, series of experiences in the 1780s and 1790s really, in many ways, sets the pattern that the united states follows for a really long period of time to come, right?
because the u.s. very soon comes to believe not only that it would be really great to settle everything east of the mississippi but, in fact, that this was a nation with a continental destiny, right? a manifest destiny to overspread the continent. that was a doctrine, the doctrine of manifest destiny, that worked very hard on the interest of native peoples throughout north america. >> did the u.s. look at this as an effective way of dealing with the native americans? they continued to do it until the industrial revolution, right? >> yeah. i mean, it's a good question. did the u.s. think this was an effective way to deal with the native americans? i think they thought it was the only way to deal with native americans. because of the fact that it was -- the u.s. was invested in such a rapid form of territorial expansion that it could not really take native claims to territory seriously. and the flip side of this story
is the story of, you know, not only warfare against indians and sham treaties, but also the fact that the united states chose to perpetuate doctrines, that native americans didn't really own the land. that european claims superseded native american claims, right? that's the famous discovery doctrine, right? so european crowns from the 16th century forward would say, for example, you could divide up north america between france, britain, and spain, based on who discovered what. the presence of native americans was only incidental. it would have been possible for the united states in the era of all men are created equal, to say, you know what, that discovery doctrine is pretty
problematic. and we really ought to think about putting people already on the ground on different footing and treat them more fairly, more respectfully. but that's not the doctrine that evolved in the united states. instead, the doctrine that evolved in the united states, the marshall court in the 1820s and '30s explicitly says in a couple treaty documents, explicitly says that european doctrine of discovery remains in force. it's funny because marshall in, you know, sometimes almost sounds bemused by this doctrine. he says, this is the way it's always been done and this is the way we're still doing it. the famous cases still cited all the time in this context are
johnson v mcintosh, decided in 1823. here, for the first time, chief justice john marshall explicitly says the discovery doctrine that european crowns used in earlier centuies is still the doctrine that holds today. and he described the people as being an inferior race of people without the privileges of citizens and under the perpetual protection of the government. in order to justify the perpetuation of this discovery doctrine, he also needs to characterize them as racially distinct and inferior in american law. and the same kind of ideas further articulated in the cherokee nation v georgia case, where marshall coined the
phrase, "domestic dependent nations" to describe the legal status of indians. which is a weird phrase. domestic dependence. unclear how you can be a nation but also dependent. nation implies sovereignty, but domestic and dependent imply no sovereignty. in fact, the contradiction inherent in that phrase is really at the heart of the legal status of the modern reservation system that continues to govern the relationship between indian tribes and the united states. so, yeah. it's an interesting -- so when we step back from this and think about, you know, return to the question of, what did the american revolution mean for native americans, was the
american revolution revolutionary for native americans? no, not really. i mean, in terms of doctrine, it was the opposite. it explicitly perpetuated a doctrine that regarded them as, you know, less than legitimate claimants to territory. it was revolutionary only in the sense that it put into place a set of mechanisms for national expansion that dramatically accelerated the, you know, means by which they could be dispossessed, through violence, through treaty making, through a kind of expansion that ignored the legitimacy of native claims. any other questions, thoughts before we finish for today? >> domestic dependent nations.
we talked about this a lot in one of my classes in high school. about how colonists would arm the natives with weaponry. they would, like, learn to hunt with rifles and through this use, they would depend on the colinists for gun powder. i think it describes the dependent nations very well. >> that idea of dependency, that native communities relied on manufacturers is a concept that anthropologists and historians have developed. i think, though, in this case, what marshall meant by dependent was not dependent on european manufacturers. i think he means dependent on american law. that is to say, they're not independent. they can't run their own affairs. they're dependent in the sense that, ultimately, what the united states says goes, right? so if you think about the reservation system, it's still
true, right? they have certain, limited autonomy within the system, but they are dependent on the united states. they cannot act independently as nations. that idea of, you know, domestic dependent nations is, you know -- it's still the way, you know, native american tribes -- that's the official federal term -- it's still the way that native american tribes operate in relation to the united states. all right. i think that's everything for today. i will see you on wednesday. we will talk about virtue, depen gender, and citizenship. ♪♪
♪♪ middle and high school students, your opinion matters. so let your voices be heard. c-span's student cam video competition. be part of the national conversation by creating a documentary that answers the question, "how does the federal government impact your life?" your five to six-minute video will explore a federal policy or program that affects you or your community. c-span's student cam competition has $100,000 in total cash prizes, and you have a shot of a grand prize of $5,000. entries for the competition will
begin to be received wednesday, september 8th. for competition rules, tips, and more information on how to get started, visit our website, studentcam.org. now on american history tv, clemson university professor c. bradley thompson teaches a class about the preamble of the declaration of independence. he reviews each line and explores what the founding fathers may have intended by their word choices. >> good afternoon, everybody. so for the last six weeks in this class, we've been examining the political fog of the imperial crisis. that is, we've been looking at the debates between british imperial officials and american wig patriots. that debate has really, in many ways, come down to