The author of "Washita," James Horsley, has been gracious enough to allow his "work-in-progress " to be posted at the First Nations site so as to generate comments from those who visit here. Washita has a very definite premise - that Custer's massacre (my term) was an act founded in "genocidal calculation " (my phrase).
Readers are encourgaged to comment on what follows. Your input and reaction will prove invaluable to this work
On this page you will find the Introduction and Chapter One.
So...I present to you Washita, Genocide on the Great Plains.
On the morning of November 28, 1864, troops commanded by Colonel John M. Chivington attacked a band of Plains Indians of the Cheyenne tribe under Chief Black Kettle while the Indian village was camped on Sand Creek in Colorado Territory. The camp was just outside a reservation established in 1861 by the treaty of Fort Wise. Two months earlier on September 28, 1864, Black Kettle and White Antelope had met with Colorado Governor John Evans and Colonel Chivington at Camp Weld near Denver to discuss peace. While no formal peace arrangement had been made, the Indians had turned in their arms at Fort Lyon, camping along Sand Creek.
When Black Kettle saw the soldiers charging his camp that morning, he raised an American flag plus a white flag in front of his tent to demonstrate his peaceful intent. The United States flag had been given to the Cheyenne by the government during treaty negotiations. White Antelope yelled in English, "Stop! Stop!" then, seeing that they did not stop their charge, stood with his arms folded as the troops galloped toward him, refusing to fight.
The soldiers killed about 150 Indian men, women and children, including White Antelope. It had been an orgy of killing. Many of the victims had been physically mutilated by the soldiers. According to Congressional testimony, White Antelope's scrotum had been cut off, later to be used as a tobacco pouch. Soldiers had cut out the vaginal area from slain Indian women. Clusters of women had been shot trying to surrender. Children had been shot and clubbed to death. Their village was burned and several hundred horses captured. (Hoig, 1981, p. 66) (United States Congress, 1865, p. 96)
On January 10, 1865, the House of Representatives directed the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War to investigate the attack, generating a report that charged Chivington of deliberately planning and executing "a foul and dastardly massacre." (Prucha, 1976, p. 12) The attack on Black Kettle's band was officially recognized by the United States government as "gross and wanton outrages" against the Indians. In the treaty with the Cheyenne and Arapaho of 1865 a number of chiefs, including Black Kettle, were individually granted parcels of land in an attempt to repudiate Chivington's actions. Article VI of the treaty read:
The United States being desirous to express its condemnation of, and, as far as may be, repudiate the gross and wanton outrages perpetrated against certain bands of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians by Colonel J.M. Chivington, in command of United States troops, on the twenty-night of November, A.D. 1864, at Sand Creek, in Colorado Territory, while the said Indians were at peace with the United States, and under its flag, whose protection they had by lawful authority been promised and induced to seek, and the government being desirous to make some suitable reparation for the injuries then done, will grant three hundred and twenty acres of land by patent to each of the following named chiefs of said bands, viz: Moke-ta-ve-to, or Black Kettle... (Fay, 1971, p. 19)
Almost four years later to the day on November 27, 1868, the 7th Regiment of United State Cavalry, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, attacked Black Kettle's band again, but this time while the village was camped on the Washita River in Indian Territory, now the state of Oklahoma. The village was about 100 miles from Fort Cobb. Black Kettle and Little Robe had just returned from that fort the day before following a meeting with Colonel W.B. Hazen in an attempt to surrender. However, Hazen refused to accept their surrender and the chiefs were told to discuss peace directly with General Philip Sheridan, who, he informed the chiefs, was in the field at that time.
Immediately following the chiefs' return to their band, Sheridan's troops, under the command of Custer, charged the Cheyenne village at dawn, killing more than a hundred men, women and children of the tribe, including Chiefs Black Kettle and Little Rock. The village was burned and 800 of the Indian horses shot. (Hoig, 1976)
[Quote by Evan S. Connell, inserted by JS Dill:
"The fight in the village lasted only a few minutes, although several hours were required to finish off isolated warriors who hid in gullies and underbrush. Custer's tally listed 103 fighting men killed. In truth, only 11 could be so classified... The other 92 were squaws, children, old men. A New York Tribune story by an unidentified witness compared the devastated camp to a slaughter pen littered with the bodies of animal and Indians smeared with mud, lying one on top of another in holes and ditches. It sounds as though Black Kettle's [Washita] camp lay in the path of Ghengis Khan.
"Custer [then] turned to the herd of mules and ponies. Officers and scouts were allowed to keep any they wanted, after which fifty-three captive women and children were instructed through interpreter Romero - known inevitably as Romeo - to choose mounts so they would not have to walk sixty or seventy miles to the base camp. Custer next detailed Lt. Godfrey with four companies to kill the remaining animals because he did not want the Cheyennes to recover them and it would have been difficult or impossible to drive such a herd. Godfrey's executioners at first tried to cut their throats, but this turned out to be increasingly difficult because they [the horses] could not abide the odor of white men and struggled desperately whenever a soldier approached. After a while, says Godfrey, his men were getting tired, so he sent for reinforcements and the creatures were shot. Even with extra men it took some time because there were about eight hundred ponies and mules, and when the job was done the snowy Oklahoma field bloomed with dark flowers."
Son of the Morning Star, Evan S. Connell]Traditionally, the attack on Sand Creek has been referred to as the Sand Creek Massacre, while the attack on the Washita River has been known as the Battle of the Washita. At face value, both engagements appear to be unusually similar, yet one is known as a massacre and one as a battle. What caused this difference in terminology? Because a Congressional investigation termed the attack on Sand Creek a massacre, this appellation will not be challenged. In fact, most - if not all - historians accept the Sand Creek incident as a massacre. However, the military strike on the Washita River has been a subject of controversy. Some historians, such as Stan Hoig, say it was, indeed, a massacre, while others, such as Paul Hutton, claim it was not. The task of this investigation will be to attempt to determine whether the attack was a battle, as traditionally portrayed, or a massacre. If it were a battle, the preponderance of evidence must show that the attack was a "hostile encounter between opposing military forces," the definition of a battle according to the Random House Webster's College Dictionary (1991). On the other hand, if the attack was a massacre, evidence must demonstrate that the attack was "the wanton killing of a large number of unresisting human beings."
In order to answer whether the attack was a battle or a massacre, I will not only investigate what has been said about it in primary and secondary sources, such as critical and historical texts, government documents, autobiographies, and newspapers and magazine articles, but also will delineate the context of the attack ideologically, historically and geographically. Since part of the reason for the attack on the Washita grew out of conflicts occurring in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado, these areas will be specifically examined. Particular attention will be paid to the Sand Creek attack, as it will serve as a basis against which to compare the attack on the Washita. In addition, to establish a pattern or a modus operandi, the backgrounds leading up to the attacks at the Washita and Sand Creek will be studied. This means other attacks, plus treaties, meetings, governmental reports and news reports will be cited to provide a context for a correct perspective of the Washita campaign. Further, the historical setting, especially the status of land ownership, will be reviewed. And, to provide a philosophical or world-view setting, so as to attempt to understand the actions which will be subsequently revealed, a brief overview of the thinking then prevalent will be given.
To produce a historically illuminating story of just what did happen, the various sources of investigation will be arranged chronologically so that one can follow a kind of time line. Much of the documentation is confusing because it is presented out of sequence. Published government documents have correspondence and reports arranged out of order, with such years as 1868 coming before 1867.
When reading various news reports, one looks at each item chronologically, but not as they relate to other newspapers. Books on the subject often span time segments up to the Civil War or after it, but not both before and after together. By placing such primary sources as newspaper accounts, government documents, autobiographies, eye-witness accounts, and private letters together with such secondary sources such as biographies and critical studies, one can achieve a better idea of what happened. One is able to see what followed what, tieing various events to each other, helping one event to explain the other. With respect to the newspaper and magazine research, many of the articles will be given in full, as they often represent documents that have never been published in a secondary work and because they provide valuable historical information whose meaning is easily altered by taking it out of context.
The problems on the plains may be traced back to the settlement of this nation, which created pressures for land occupancy, such pressures first beginning in the East. As the East filled up, Indians moved West. As portions of the Midwest were settled by whites, further conflict resulted between settlers and the original inhabitants. To provide some place for the Indians to go and some place for the settlers to settle, the reservation system was developed.
In the beginning, reservations were reserves for Indians, places where they might go to be safe from the whites, land that only Indians could occupy. According to White (1947, p. 91), they were considered by some to be alternatives to extermination. The regions surrounding the reservations were set aside for the Indians as hunting grounds, but were not their exclusive domains. This land could be shared with the Indians by the whites. However, these "shared" regions, because they were not off-limits to whites, were settled by the whites. This created conflict over that land. The Indians wanted it for hunting. The whites wanted it for farming. To solve this dilemma, reservations began to be considered the only place Indians should be.
Gradually, the United States government and the military considered the Indians who were on reservations and who stayed on reservations as "friendly" or "peaceful" while those off reservations were termed "hostile." (Prucha, 1976, p. 193-197) The area under study is the region that came within the boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase, territory that France had ceded to the United States in 1803. Little was known about this immense area. To find out just what the United States had obtained, the Lewis and Clarke expedition was initiated. Its purpose was not only to explore the region but to extend commercial relations among the Indian tribes inhabiting the area.
The Louisiana Purchase covered 880,000 square miles and contained 565 million acres. By the late 1800's, it embraced the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, all of Indian Territory, and parts of Minnesota, Kansas, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Louisiana, Oklahoma Territory. It covered an area larger than Great Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal and Italy combined. (Hermann, 1898, p.38-40) The purchase made the inhabitants part of the United States. Article III of the Cession of Louisiana stipulated that "the inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the Union of the United States, and admitted as soon as possible, according to the principles of the Federal Constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages and immunities of the citizens of the United States; and in the mean time they shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property, and the religion which they profess." (Commanger, 1948, pp. 190-1)
The new territory had a profound effect on the United States. It opened up a vast area for settlement. The region west of the Mississippi became known as the frontier. At first it was thought to be almost impenetrable to the prospective immigrant. The region was often referred to as the Great American Desert. Some thought it would be the permanent domain of the Indian. But in a relatively few years it had become settled. Books were published to cover all subjects related to immigration, such as Our Western Empire or the New West beyond the Mississippi by L.P. Brockett.. Chapters were devoted to such topics as "how to obtain land," "in what states and territories...are there arable government lands?" "law extending the homestead privilege,"and "fees for homestead entries." There were also chapters on the prospects for settling various states. One chapter covered the status of the Indian was discussed:
"It may, we think, be taken as a settled fact that by the commencement of the twentieth century, the Indian, especially in his nomadic condition, will have ceased to be a disturbing factor in the West. The tribes are diminishing in a very rapid ratio. In 1860, there were somewhat more than 500,000 of them within the limits of the United States. In 1870, the number had dwindled to 383,000. In 1878, there were but 275,000, and the supervisors of the census, in 1880, will hardly report more than 250,000. At this ratio they would be extinct by A.D. 1900. This is hardly probable, but they will be so few as to be of very little importance. There are natural laws which would bring about this result in time, but it must be said that for nearly the whole of the present century the policy of our government has been to hasten it. " (p. 232)
The frontier has been long considered to have been one of the major factors behind the development of the ideological character of the United States. At the turn-of-the-century, Frederick Jackson Turner delivered a paper that became a landmark in mapping the intellectual history of America. According to Turner (Merton 1955), the process of winning the wilderness transformed the American people. "Behind institutions, behind constitutional forms and modifications, lie the vital forces that call these organs into life and shape them to meet changing conditions," Turner reasoned. "The peculiarity of American institutions is the fact that they have been compelled to adapt themselves to the changes of an expanding people - to the changes involved in crossing a continent, in winning a wilderness, and in developing at each area of this progress out of the primitive economic and political conditions of the frontier into the complexity of city life." (p. 30) Turner postulated that the most important effect of the frontier was the promotion of democracy. Frontier individualism cast off the restraints of the Old World, found a "safety valve" for its energy by occupying public lands and expressed its need for individual liberty by extending suffrage, enabling individuals together to control their government. (p. 41) This thesis has one flaw, however. For one group of people the frontier was not a place to throw off the restrictions of traditions, but was the very essence of tradition itself.
The American Indians who occupied the region within the boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase may have considered the land "public land," but from the opposite perspective - they were the public and it was their land. The "frontier" as the formative force behind western expansion lacks explanatory power when viewed in totality, that is, when both Euro-Americans and Native Americans are considered. To understand the rationale of western expansion, one must look beyond the Turner thesis for an adequate model.
In the mid 1800s, Christianity, at least traditional Christianity, was beginning to lose its sway as a driving ethical force. It was thought by many to be ineffectual in dealing with the problems of the day. One of the reasons for this was the question of slavery. Both the North and the South claimed to be governed by Christian ethics, yet the North sought support for the freedom of the blacks, while the South sought the continuation of slavery. William Lloyd Garrison, a leading abolitionist, derided the use of Christianity by some leaders as an ethical veil. J. J. Chapman in William Lloyd Garrison described an anti-slavery meeting at the Broadway Tabernacle in New York on May 7, 1850..."Garrison spoke during a debate on the merits of slavery, pointing out that with regard to the slave question "belief in Jesus is no evidence of goodness...His praises are sung in Louisiana, Alabama, and the other Southern States just as well as in Massachusetts." His opponent, a Captain Rynders, broke in with a question: "Are you aware that the slaves in the South have their prayer-meetings in honor of Christ?" Garrison replied, "Not a slave holding or a slave-breeding Jesus. The slaves believe in a Jesus that strikes off chains. In this country, Jesus has become obsolete. A profession in him is no longer a test...Jesus is the most respectable person in the United States. Jesus sits in the President's chair of the United States. Zachary Taylor sits there, which is the same thing, for he believes in Jesus. He believes in war, and the Jesus that gave the Mexicans hell.'" His remarks almost started a riot. Prior to the meeting, the New York Herald denounced Garrison, saying that "Garrison bodily urges the utter overthrow of the churches, the Sabbath, and the Bible. Nothing has been sacred with him but the ideal intellect of the Negro race...and a cessation of all order, legal or divine, which does not square with his narrow views of what constitutes human liberty." The article urged the prospective audience to engage in a "strong expression of hisses...counter statements and expositions" to "send out the true opinion of the public." (p. 200-3)
Some believed that the proper interpretation of Christianity was to view Jesus as a reformer. Whitman at one time was the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Times. In an article titled "A Preacheress - Hicksite Quakers" Whitman wrote on May 27, 1858, "The latter are now holding their annual convention in New York, at the meeting house in Hester street, near Elizabeth. Yesterday a preacheress, Rachel Baker, delivered a sermon, taking strong ground against slavery. She said of Jesus Christ, that he was not a Savior in the sense in which the evangelical theologians regarded him, but a great reformer." (Holloway and Schwartz, 1932) The concept of Christianity as essentially reformatory was an idea that was compatible with the idea of expansion as the destiny of America. Reform meant actively correcting the errant course of others. The colonization of the area encompassed by the United States has often been explained in terms of a "manifest destiny" to do so. Just what is manifest destiny? According to Frederick Merk (1966) in Manifest destiny and mission in American history, part of the concept of manifest destiny was the sense that the growth of the United States was a right and a mission. It was the United State's mission to expand. And it was the right of the people to expand the United States by providing for the admission of neighboring territories into the American Union as states. (p. 24) The percepts of manifest destiny were laid down succinctly by John L. O'Sullivan, editor of the New York Morning News. In response to British criticism of the acquisition of Texas by the United States, he wrote in the October 13, 1845 that:
" Our way lies, not over trampled nations, but through desert wastes, to be brought by our industry and energy within the domain of art and civilization. We are contiguous to a vast portion of the globe, untrodden save by the savage and the beast, and we are conscious of our power to render it tributary to man. This is a position which must give existence to a public law... The acquisition of Texas, commencing with the earliest settlements under Austin down to the last conclusive act, may be admitted at once to be aggressive. But what then? It has been laid down and acted upon that the solitudes of America are the property of the immigrant children of Europe and their offspring. Not only has this been said and reiterated, but it is actually...the basis of public law in America. Public sentiment with us repudiates possession without use, and this sentiment is gradually acquiring the force of established public law... It will come to pass that the confederated democracies of the Anglo American race will give this great continent as an inheritance to man. Rapacity and spoliation cannot be the features of this magnificent enterprise, not perhaps, because we are above and beyond the influence of such views, but because circumstances do not admit of their operation. We take from no man; the reverse rather - we give to man. This national policy, necessity or destiny, we know to be just and beneficent, and we, therefore, afford to scorn the invective and imputations of rival nations. With the valleys of the Rocky Mountains covered into pastures and sheep-folds, we may with propriety turn to the world and ask, whom have we injured?" (p. 25)
The evolving ideology of American expansion was a "motley body of justificatory doctrines," according to A.K. Weinberg in Manifest destiny: a study of nationalist expansionism in American history It was comprised of "metaphysical dogmas of a providential mission and quasi-scientific laws' of national development, conceptions of national right and ideals of social duty, legal rationalizations and appeals to the higher law,' aims of extending freedom and designs of extending benevolent absolutism." (p. 2) For instance, Weinberg pointed out, a writer in the United States Democratic Review of 1859 argued for the acquisition of Cuba, saying that, "We are governed by the laws under which the universe was created; and therefore, in obedience to those laws, we must of necessity move forward in the paths of destiny shaped for us by the great Ruler of the Universe. Activity and progress is the law of heaven and of earth; and in the violation of this law is danger." Weinberg noted that The New York Herald spelled out in more detail what that danger might be. "National glory - national greatness - the spread of political liberty on this continent, must be the thought and action by day, and the throbbing dream by night, of the whole American people, or they will sink into oblivion..." This kind of thinking was summed up by Frank Soule, a biographer, who wrote in 1855 that the law of a republic was progress. "Its nature is aggressive. It is founded on the conflagration of ancient and polluted things, and it must have play and action on surrounding nations, or, like Saturn, devour its own offspring. (p. 207)
People began to believe that the nation's future was destined to manifest itself. In a 1838 Democratic Review article titled "The Great Nation of Futurity," the author discussed the future of America. "The far-reaching, the boundless future will be the era of American greatness. In its magnificent domain of space and time, the nation of many nations is destined to manifest to mankind the excellence of divine principles; to establish on earth the noblest temple ever dedicated to the worship of the Most High - the Sacred and the True...governed by God's natural and moral law of equality, the law of brotherhood - of peace and good will amongst men.'" (p. 107) This destiny extended to the Louisiana Purchase. The New York Evening Post wrote in 1803 that "It belongs of right to the United States to regulate the future destiny of North America. The country is ours; ours is the right to its rivers and to all the sources of future opulence, power and happiness, which lay scattered at our feet." (p. 31) Thus was born the concept and phrase of "manifest destiny." The slogan expressed a "dogma of supreme self-assurance and ambition - that America's incorporation of all adjacent lands was the virtually inevitable fulfilment of a moral mission delegated by the nation by Providence itself. (p. 1) When this "inevitable fulfillment" impinged on the Native American, justification was looked for in manifest destiny. Lewis Cass, in an article on Indian removal in the North American Review of 1830, noted that: "There can be no doubt...that the Creator intended the earth should be reclaimed from a state of nature and cultivated." The Indians were not tillers of the soil, but hunters, and thus because they did not make the best use of the land they were not entitled to it. (However, this line of reasoning could cut the other way, too. When the dispossession of the Indians of their land became an issue in Georgia - where the Indians had established farms - the governor reasoned that the treaty specified the use of the land for hunting, and since the Cherokees had changed their mode of life to cultivation, they had violated the terms of the treaty and thus their right to stay on the land.) (p. 87)
Following the publication of Charles Darwin's study of evolution, his thesis suggested to many that the "survival of the fittest" seemed to be "the law of nations as well as the law of nature." (p. 212) Self-defense became a rationale for aggression, with self-preservation being termed "the first law of nature." (391) America, with its inhabitants subject to the formative forces of nature, was becoming the land of the new man, the modern democratic man. While the Indian wars on the plains were raging, Whitman wrote in 1867 in celebration of the coming of this new man: "Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power, /Cheerful, for free action formed under the laws divine, /The Modern Man I sing." In 1855 he had written the "Song of Myself," reflecting the exultation of the natural self. "I celebrate myself, and sing myself, /And what I assume you shall assume, /For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you...Divine am I inside and out..." (Whitman, 1967, pp. 3, 26, 50)
In a poem written three years before the Battle of the Washita, Whitman was praising the "square deific," equating the divine "One" with a four-sided entity consisting of Jehovah, Brahma, Saturnius and Time. Speaking in the persona of this deity, he said he was unforgiving, "relentless I forgive no man - whoever sins dies," and without mercy - "have the seasons, gravitation, the appointed days, mercy? No more have I." However, this force was also described as "the Lord Christ...all sorrow, labor, suffering...rejected, taunted," as "the cheer-bringing God," as "defiant, I, Satan," as "Savior and Satan" and finally as the "essence of forms...life of the great round world, the sun and stars, and of man, I, the general soul..." It was this general soul, Whitman claimed, that was the creative power that flowed out as his poetry. (pp. 400-2)
For Emerson this general soul was a natural goodness that welled up in mankind. "The time is coming when all men will see that the gift of God to the soul is not a vaunting, overpowering, excluding sanctity," he wrote, "but a sweet, natural goodness, a goodness like thine and mine, and that so invites thine and mine to be and to grow." (Emerson, 1855, p. 131) He said he looked for the day when "the Ought, that Duty, is one thing with Science, with Beauty, and with Joy." (p. 148) And to what does one refer for what one ought to do? To where does one go for guidance? "Within this erring passionate mortal self sits a supreme calm immortal mind," Emerson said in his sermon "Religion and Society," "whose powers I do not know, but it is stronger than I am, it is wiser than I am, it never approved me in any wrong. I seek counsel of it in my doubts; I repair to it in my dangers; I pray to it in my undertakings..." (Emerson, 1968, p. 200)
In a lecture delivered in 1844 titled "The Young American," Emerson said America's missions was "to inspire and express the most expansive and humane spirit; new-born, free, healthful, strong, the land of the laborer, of the democrat, of the philanthropist, of the believer, of the saint, she should speak for the human race. It is the country of the Future. From Washington...through all its cities, states, and territories, it is a country of beginnings, of projects, of designs, of expectations. Gentlemen, there is a sublime and friendly Destiny by which the human race is guided...Men are narrow and selfish, but the Genius or Destiny is not narrow, but beneficent. It is not discovered in their calculated and voluntary activity, but in what befalls, with or without their design. Only what is inevitable interests us, and it turns out that love and good are inevitable, and in the course of things. That Genius has infused itself into nature. It indicates itself by a small excess of good, a small balance in brute facts always favorable to the side of reason." (p. 351) What are some of these "brute facts" that will arise out of a process of a philosophical version of natural selection? One is that "the land is the appointed remedy for whatever is false and fantastic in our culture. The continent we inhabit is to be physic and food for our mind, as well as our body. The land, with its tranquilizing, sanative influences, is to repair the errors of a scholastic and traditional education, and bring us into just relations with men and things." (p. 345-6) And how do we gain access to this land? By science and reason, as manifested, in part by technological advances such as the railroad. "An unlooked for consequence of the railroad is the increased acquaintance it has given the American people with the boundless resources of their own soil...Railroad iron is a magician's rod, in its power to evoke the sleeping energies of land and water." (p. 344)
Henry D. Thoreau in Walden and selected essays stated his belief that the individual was the ultimate decider of ethical choices. "Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? - in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable?" he asked. "Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do do at any time what I think right." (p. 395)
What was gradually forming were the ideals of America: self-reliance, trusting in one's self, the power and basic goodness of science. Where did these ideas come from? Whitman gives us at least a partial answer. In his essay "Carlyle from American points of view" written following the death of Thomas Carlyle, Whitman cited such philosophers as G.F. Hegel, Immanuel Kant, Fichte and Schelling, jokingly suggesting that they should be bound into a single book with the title: "Speculations for the use of North America, and Democracy there with the relations of the same to Metaphysics, including Lessons and Warnings (encouragements too, and of the vastest,) from the Old World to the New." He said that these philosophers' world view was best summed up by Shelling, who postulated that "the same general and particular intelligence, passion, even the standards of right and wrong, which exist in a conscious and formulated state in man, exist in an unconscious state or in perceptible analogies, through the entire universe of external Nature...thus making the impalpable human mind, and concrete nature...in centrality and essence one." (Whitman, 1967, pp. 781-8)
In general, this philosophical orientation became known as "transcendentalism." It roots were largely from Germany. According to Stanley M. Vogel in German literary influences on the American transcendentalists, such writers as Emerson derived from such sources as Kant a belief in the primacy of the subjective experience. "From Kant, through writers like Coleridge and Goethe, they seemed to draw the idea that the good, the true, the beautiful - all things of which they instinctively approved - were somehow connected together and were really one thing; that our appreciation of them was in its essence the recognition of a law; that this law and the very idea of law was a subjective experience." (p. xvi) Vogel listed in his appendix the books found in Emerson's library, which included such authors as Johann G. Fichte, J.W. Goethe, George W. Hegel, Friedrich von Schelling and Immanuel Kant. Numerous periodicals (Gohdes, 1970) spread the concept of transcendentalism across the nation, including The Western Messenger, The Boston Quarterly Review, The Dial, The Present, The Harbinger, The Spirit of the Age, Aesthetic Papers, The Massachusetts Quarterly Review, The Radical and The Index. These various publications came and went during the period of 1835 and 1886. Part of the philosophy of this movement was expressed in The Harbinger, published in New York:
"We believe that Evil has no absolute cause in the Nature of Man, who is the Son of God, and whose native faculties and tendencies, in their essential character, are fixed and immutable; on the contrary, we believe that the Cause of Evil resides in the imperfection of Social Institutions, which are essentially variable, and hence, capable of being meliorated, perfected, or totally changed by Human Intelligence and Will. " (p. 113).
Editors of the magazine included George Rippley, and C.A. Dana, both who were employees of Horace Greeley's Tribune. Greeley, himself, was a contributor to the magazine. One of the most influential of these philosophers on the American mind of the 19th Century was Hegel. His influence was by a process of diffusion. Authors, editors and reporters would either read his works directly, or read German authors who had been influence by Hegel. The imprint of his thinking would thus be passed on to the American public through various publications. For instance, the introduction to The Philosophy of Hegel noted that Walt Whitman, after reading Hegel, wrote that while "Roaming in thought over the Universe, I saw the little that is Good steadily hastening towards immortality /And the vast all that is called Evil I saw hastening to merge itself and become lost and dead." In his essay "Democratic Vistas," Whitman stated that "In the future of these States there must arise poets immenser far (than those past) ...but consistent with the Hegelian formula, and consistent with modern science." (Hegel, 1954, p. lxiii, lxiv)
To paraphrase Hegel's philosophy as related in "The Phenomenology of the Spirit," the world is composed of a hierarchy of fragmented manifestations of the spirit, which is God, and is seen unfolding through nature, individual people, and finally the state or nation, at its highest form. According to Hegel, "As an actual substance, that spirit is a nation; as a concrete consciousness, it is the citizens of a nation." (p. 416) And "reason is spirit." (p. 410) In his "Philosophy of History," Hegel posited that the history of the world was the working out of this "world spirit" to achieve freedom. Since the state is the spirit's highest form of being, "The state is divine will, if that will is seen as preset spirit which unfolds itself into an actual configuration and into the organization of a world." (p. 289) For this reason, according to Hegel, "One should therefore revere the state as something divine upon earth." (p. 293) The state is epitomized in one individual, the monarch, and his will personifies the state. "All action and working reality has its beginning and completion in the decisional unity of a leader. (p. 299) Such a leader, such a "great man" was to pursue the truth for the good of society, even when it meant disregarding public opinion to achieve that truth. "In public opinion all falsehood and all truth is contained, but to find the truth is the task of the great man," Hegel wrote. He who says and accomplishes what his time wants and desires is the great man of that time. He does what is the inner essence of his time, he realizes it, and yet he who does not know how to despise public opinion as one hears it here and there will never accomplish anything great." (p. 318) How is such a state formed, say for the German people? Hegel spelled it out. "The common multitude of the German people together with their local estates must be gathered into one mass by the force of a conqueror, they must be forced to consider themselves as belonging to Germany." Once united, Hegel stated that the people should be treated with consideration and share in the benefits of that society. (p. 539) And according to Hegel, colonization was a natural projection outward of a thriving civil society. (p. 279) Hegel had particular relevance to the frontier, for a cluster of "American Hegelians" began to form at the gateway to the West: St. Louis. Henry A. Pochman in his New England transcendentalism and St. Louis Hegelianism: places in the history of American idealism noted that there were a number of causes that helped create the Hegelian movement in St. Louis, which would become known as the "St Louis Movement." He said that, "One was the influx of New England Transcendentalism, whose proponents the several St. Louisians never wearied of apostrophizing as their masters, even while they sought to transcend them and their program. There was, in the next place, a strong contingent of Germans in St. Louis - many of them exiled intellectual idealists of 1848, trained in the German universities." At the outbreak of the Civil War, two personalities who would later figure predominately in both the Civil War and the Indian wars were in St. Louis: Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman. A month later both joined the Union Army as colonels. (15) Congregating at that time in St. Louis were such Hegelians as Henry Conrad Brokmeyer and William Torrey Harris. Pochman observed that, "Together they conspired to spiritualize a frontier society by Hegelizing it. It was decided that the future salvation of the nation lay in translating Hegel's Logic, for only Hegel could save the nation from itself." Brokmeyer became a colonel in the Union Army. At the end of the war he returned to St. Louis, set up a law practice, was elected to the State Senate and wrote the state's constitution. (p. 12)
After the war the St. Louis Philosophical Society came into existence in 1866. One of the requirements for admission was to translate portions of Hegel's Philosophy of Nature. Within these members of the society "burned the pure light of the Absolute." (17) Emerson visited the group in March 6, 1867, and encouraged the society's new magazine, "The Journal of Speculative Philosophy," which was edited by Harris. (63) William H. Goetzmann in The American Hegelians: an intellectual episode in the history of Western America noted that the journal attracted articles and attention from most of the major American philosophers of the day such as George Sylvester Morris, Charles S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. It also introduced its readers to numerous translations of the works of Kant, Schelling, Hegel, and Fichte..."
Members of the Philosophical Society included persons prominent in such fields as education, law, philosophy and journalism, and the military, including Emerson, Henry James, Sr., J.H. Fichte of Germany, Joseph Pulitzer, editor of the St. Louis Democrat, and General Ethan Allen Hitchcock. (p. 9) According to Goetzmann, Hegelianism as it took root and developed in St. Louis and other parts of the West provided a clue to the character of the "Western Mind." The American dream was a cosmopolitan dream shared by Europeans, immigrants, and the native-born alike in its larger features. They all believed in some variety of Hegel's faith that America was inevitably a country of the future.'" The author noted that interpretations of the American frontier have emphasized the significance of "English thought, customs, and institutions." "
Actually, in nineteenth-century America, German culture was so pervasive as to be virtually dominant. The Romantic Movement, including transcendentalism and the major literary achievements of the American Renaissance, was fundamentally German in origin." (pp. ix, x) St. Louis was the heart of this influence. "By 1864, the city council read like the roll of the Reichtag." The Germans were in possession of the city's control, "material and spiritual." The Teutonic influence spread. "The constitutional convention of 1864-1865 chose a German for its president, and that of 1875 was completely dominated by Brokmeyer and his German supporters, including Joseph Pulitzer, who had risen to prominence by Brokmeyer's assistance, and who was by now editor and owner of the Post-Dispatch." One of the leaders of the St. Louis Movement was Denton J. Snider. "This up burst of domination of Germanism," Snider observed, "I followed not from the outside but from the inside; I not only studied it as an object, but felt it and appropriated it till it became part of myself. And there were many natives here like me - many who experienced it as the uplift of a new strange spirit...as the revelation of the peculiar racial consciousness of old Teutonia welling forth just now on the banks of the Mississippi." "St. Louis was Teutonizing, and the Hegelian sense of Teutonic destiny ran subtly but powerfully through the entire population." (Pochman, 1948, p. 16)
Goetzmann summed up the nature of this influence on America thought. For Hegel, he explained, the self, as pure self, had no meaning. The self took on meaning only in association with others, becoming more and more defined as a being as the association climbed up the hierarchies of community: family, town and state. This self-definition was the gradual unfolding of the spirit of God, with each stage being seen as a concrete manifestation of this universal spirit, called by Hegel the "concrete universal." This self-realization produced freedom of the Spirit and consequently freedom for the individual, a manifestation of the Spirit. Self-realization and freedom were only attainable through relationship with the community, with the larger the community begetting a greater realization and freedom to its member. "Thus the problem of the one and the many, the individual and the community, was easily solved for them - or at least clear. Whenever possible, the individual should join the community." Problems were solved by incorporation. Goetzmann observed that:
" Such a thought process came naturally to Americans, who, from the time of the formulation of the Constitution onward, had habitually resorted to compromise by combination - the incorporation of as many divergent views as possible in a broad consensus - as the solution to most problems. By making a problem bigger, enlarging its scop or parameters, it could usually be resolved. This way of thinking was a kind of Manifest Destiny of the mind, aiming always towards the formation of the greater community. " (pp. 14-6)
The primacy of community - and unity - was summed up by Lincoln in his reply to Horace Greeley during the Civil War, who wanted the president to enforce the Confiscation Act, giving slaves of rebels their freedom on reaching the North. He wrote:
" My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy Slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about Slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save this union. " (Commanger, 1948, p. 418)
Following the Louisiana Purchase - the single largest act of incorporation ever to be undertaken by the United States - the government began to grapple with the question of just what effect the purchase had on the American Indian who presently occupied this land. Insight into the thinking of President Thomas Jefferson is provided by a rough draft written by him for a proposed amendment to the Constitution - an amendment which failed to become law. According to A. H. Abel in The history of events resulting in the Indian consolidation west of the Mississippi, the document stated that:
" The province of Louisiana is incorporated with the U.S. and made part thereof. The right of occupancy in the soil, and of self-government, are confirmed to the Indian inhabitants, as they now exist. Pre-emption only of the portions rightfully occupied by them and...sovereignty in whatever is not or shall cease to be so rightfully occupied by them shall belong to the U.S. The legislature of the Union shall have authority to exchange the right of occupancy in portions where the U.S. have full rights for lands possessed by Indians within the U.S. on the East side of the Mississippi: to exchange lands on the East side of the river for those of the white inhabitants on the West side thereof and above the latitude of 31 degrees. " (Abel, 1972, p. 241)
This passage is important for three reasons: 1. it shows that the government tended to view the region as belonging to the Indians, 2. that ceded land must first be ceded to the U.S. government and that 3. the region could possibly serve as an area in which to concentrate eastern tribes. Abel stated that Jefferson was contemplating the organization of what would have become an Indian Territory, perhaps an Indian State. (p. 244) This draft was submitted to Robert Smith, Secretary of the Navy, who commented that "the rights of occupancy in the soil ought to be secured to the Indians and the Government ought, in my opinion, to endeavor to obtain for them the exclusive occupation of the Northern portion of Louisiana excepting such posts as may be necessary to our trade and intercourse with them. But ought not this to be a subject of legislative provision? If the Indian rights of occupancy be a part of the Constitution might not the Government be hereafter thereby much entangled? Under such a Constitutional guarantee the Indians might harass our military posts or our settlements in the Southern portion or elsewhere in the most wanton manner and we could not disturb their rights of occupancy without a formal alteration of the Constitution." (p. 247)
The Louisiana territorial act of 1804 (2 United States Statutes at Large, p. 283-289), empowered the President to effect Indian emigration there, and divided the province into two districts, separated from each other by the thirty-third parallel. According to Abel, the upper half was apparently to be colonized by Indians. (p. 249) This newly acquired territory was eyed in particular as a possibly ideal location for the resettlement of the members of the Five Civilized Tribes, the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, Cherokees and Seminoles. They constituted a significant portion of the southern population and promised to be a formidable power. The presence of these tribes were considered by many southern whites to block settlement of the South, especially below the Mason Dixon line. They had gained a power base, having advanced agriculturally, demonstrating superior intelligence and political organization, giving them the ability to resistance encroachment by the whites. (p. 254) To pave the way for the relocation of these tribes, the Removal Act of 1830 authorized the President to offer an exchange of lands in Louisiana territory to any of the tribes "now residing within the limits of the states or territories." (p. 381)
The Cherokees lived in the northern sector of Georgia and in the southern sectors of Tennessee and the Carolinas. The Chickasaws lived in northern Mississippi, south of the Cherokees. The Choctaws inhabited southern Mississippi. The Creeks lived in Alabama and Georgia, below the Cherokees. Most members of these tribes earned their living by farming, raising cotton and tobacco. The Seminoles lived in the center of Florida. One by one the various members of these five tribes were removed by treaties from the southern belt, many ending up on reservations in the territories of Kansas and Oklahoma. Tribes such as the Quapaws, Osages and Otos, once inhabiting the river areas of the Mississippi and Missouri drainage, moved westward, settling along the rivers of eastern Oklahoma. North were the Kaws (Kansas), Poncas, and Omahas. The Wichitas lived in the southwestern part of Oklahoma along the Washita River. They also were farmers. The Caddoes had come from the west side of the Mississippi, in Louisiana and Texas, settling in Oklahoma.
In the Plains of western Oklahoma, eastern New Mexico and northwestern Texas ranged the Kiowas and Comanches. Inhabiting the Plains area further north were the Sioux, Cheyennes, Arapahos. (McReynold, Marriott and Faulconer, 1967, pp. 58-84) Indian Territory began to become known for its legacy of suffering. Four of the "five civilized tribes" had developed European methods of supporting themselves in an effort to survive among the white inhabitants of the south. Going to Indian Territory was leaving behind their livelihood, their tradition, their civilization. According to G. Foreman in Indian removal: the emigration of the five civilized tribes of Indians:
" At least four of the tribes...had so far advanced in learning and culture as to establish themselves permanently on the soil, build homes and farms, cultivate the land, raise herds and varied crops, including cotton which they carded, spun, and wove into cloth which they clothed themselves. They laid out roads, built mills, engaged in commerce, and sent their children to schools conducted by the missionaries. And finally; they established representative governments modeled on those of the states. Naturally, a people of such achievements, aware of their rights under prior possession and treaty guarantees with the national government, stubbornly resisted the aggressions of the whites. The forcible uprooting and expulsion of sixty thousand such people over a period of more than a decade, developed a story without parallel in the history of this country... " (from the preface)
Another reason for Indian Territory's legacy of suffering was the number who died going there. Emigrating companies, such as the Alabama Emigrating Company, were in charge of their relocation. A Creek who took part in the march to Indian Territory recalled how he "heard the cries of our women and children...Our road has been a long one..and on it we have laid the bones of our men, women and children...We wanted to gather our crops, and we wanted to go in peace and friendship. Did we? No! We were drove off like wolves...lost our crops. And our people' feet were bleeding with long marches." (p. 176) It is estimated that one-fourth of the Cherokee Nation died on the way form Georgia to the Indian Territory. (p. 91) Those who refused to go were often hunted down and killed. Hundreds of Seminole Indians who had fled into the Florida swamps were tracked down and killed, their villages destroyed, along with their personal property, cattle, horses and stock. (p. 363) A leading Seminole chief named Coacoochee was imprisoned and ordered by the military to gather his people together and go to Indian Territory. He delayed for a month. He and his party were put in irons by William T. Sherman (prior to the Civil War) and transported to Indian Territory. (p. 379)
Those tribes that had settled from the East on reserves in Kansas met a similar fate as those who had been relocated from southern reserves. As Kansas began to be settled, efforts were made to force these tribes south to Indian Territory. As Abel pointed out, "the titles given in the West proved less substantial than those in the East, for they had no foundation in antiquity. The Government gave them and, when it so pleased, defined them. As a consequence, before the primary removals had all taken place, the secondary had begun, and the land that was to belong to the Indian in perpetuity was in the white man's market." (p. 412) Part of the problem was that following the relocation of these tribes, Kansas was discovered to contain rich farm land. And on top of this, the railroad made easy access possible. But it only went through a portion of Kansas. Pressure was mounted to bring it through all of Kansas to Denver and to the Pacific. The Republican party platform in 1860 stated "that a railroad to the Pacific Ocean is imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole country; that the Federal Government ought to render immediate and efficient aid in its construction; and that, as a preliminary thereto, a daily; Overland Mail should be promptly established..." (Commanger, 1948, p. 364) Its construction "from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean" was also part of the Democratic platform of that same year. (p. 366) Further pressure on the available land in Kansas - as well as on all public land, including such land in the states and territories that grew out of the Louisiana Purchase - was created by the Homestead Act, passed on May 20, 1862. It allowed settlers to secure homesteads on the public domain, specifically entitling them to enter one quarter-section of "unappropriated public lands," at the register of the land office and to file a pre-emption claim not to exceed 160 acres. After five years of residing on or cultivating the land the settler would be granted a patent of ownership. (p. 410) These lands in the public domain, according to B.H. Hibbard in " A History of the Public Land Policies,"included all lands that were at any time owned by the United States and subject to sale or other transfer of ownership under the laws of the Federal Government... This definition of the public domain excludes all lands rightfully claimed by individuals or other private interests on the basis of occupancy or grants by other governments prior to the accession of the territory by the United States." (p. 7)
How to deal with these lands, in particular the prairies, had been debated at length. Prior to the Homestead Act, a Mr. Ficklin, speaking before Congress in 1846, observed that:
" Unless the government shall grant head rights, settlement rights, or donations of some kind, these prairies, with their gorgeous growth of flowers, their green carpeting, their lovely lawns and gentle slopes, will for centuries continue to be the home of the "wild deer and wolf"; their stillness will be undisturbed by the jocund song of the farmer, and their deep and fertile soil unbroken by his ploughshare. Something must be done to remedy this evil. It is idle and senseless to continue at the present price such a wide expanse of unmitigated prairie. (p. 355)
But it was not for the government to keep this land for itself or to allow it to fall into the hands of the wealthy, but to give it to the common man. The view that man had an inherent right to the soil was voiced by Galusha A. Grow, who was one of the greatest champions of the homestead measure:
" Is it not time you swept from your statue-books its still lingering relics of feudalism..? For if a man has a right on earth, he has a right to land enough to rear a habitation on... The struggle between capital and labor is an unequal one at best... And in that struggle, is it for this Government to stretch forth its arm to aid the strong against the weak? " (p. 371)
Speaking before Congress prior to the passage of the Homestead Act, Grow noted that following the passage of the act, some day one could look back on the "soldiers of peace - that grand army of the sons of toil" who had "spanned the continent with great empires of free states, built on the ruins of savage life." (p. 385) On July 1, 1862, the Pacific Railway Act was passed, which provided for the construction of a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. It created the Union Pacif Railroad Company, giving it the right of way through the public lands. The right of way amounted to a strip of land 200 feet on both side of the track. As a means to finance the construction, the company was issued government treasury bonds. In addition, the government allowed the company to acquire another strip of land 10 miles in width from both side of the road. This strip was to alternate from side to side five times per mile, creating alternate sections of company owned land. Where the railroad went over Indian land the act provide that "the United States shall extinguish as rapidly as may be the Indian titles to all lands falling under the operation of this act." (Commanger, 1948, p. 411) Other railroads were authorized to do the same thing under the same terms, such as the Leavenworth, Pawnee and Western Railroad Company of Kansas (L P & W), later to be known as the Railroad. Hibbard noted that "the policy of using the public domain in the promotion of settlement, the very basis of national strength and security, of civilization itself, was accepted and furthered in the disposition of the western lands... Every new Territory and State wanted people to take up and use the vacant lands. Immigration agents were employed by the state. Advertising campaigns were adroitly conducted by the railroads. The private land agent became an institution, offering to conduct land seekers to the best locations. All forces combined to get the land into the hands of settlers. The government helped the campaign along. With the transportation lines established, the ownership of land assumed a new aspect; values were expected to increase. (p.139) The gradual effect of the availability of public lands, the railroad and the resulting influx of settlers, coupled with the practice of speculation, was the further dispossession of the Indian from the land. According to P.W Gates in Landlords and Tenants on the Prairie Frontier: Studies in American Land Policy:
" Indian lands were fair game for speculators who used both legal and illegal means to secure them. Traders and speculators devised a method by which treaties of cession would include 640-acre allotments of the choicer lands to chiefs and half-breeds. They could easily be induced to sign away their allotments for an extra portion of whisky... In Kansas speculator influence carried this method of land acquisition even further. Here Indian tribes such as the Potawatomi (whose members had already been victimized by the Wabash traders), the Kickapoo, the Delawares, the Cherokees, and the Osage were induced to cede over 9,000,000 acres of land in trust, to be sold for their benefit. Such lands were not subject to the general land laws. Until Congress woke up to what was gong on these tracts were being rapidly conveyed to groups and individuals close to the Indian Office for distinctly less than their actual market value at the time. " (p. 68)
The land, and its original character, as well as its original inhabitants, were being rapidly transformed. A. D. Richardson, a newspaper correspondent, traveled through this area, writing a book published in 1867 titled Beyond the Mississippi: from the great river to the great ocean; life and adventure on the prairies, mountains, and Pacific coast. The book recounted his travels beginning in 1857. In the "prefatory" Richardson observed that:
" Twenty years ago, our continent was an unknown land, and the Rocky Mountains were our Pillars of Hercules. Five years hence, the Orient will be our next-door neighbor. We shall hold the world's granary, the world's treasury, the world's highway. But we shall have no Far West, no border, no Civilization, in line of battle, pressing back hostile savages, and conquering hostile Nature. Its mines, forests and prairies await the capitalist. Its society welcomes the immigrant, offering high interest upon his investment of money, brains or skill... The Pacific Railroad hastens toward completion. We seem on the threshold of a destiny higher and better than any nation has yet fulfilled. "
His first hand observations help one gain a more graphic understanding of the area under study. Richardson began his journey in St. Louis, traveling on the Pacific Railroad, which at that date had extended only to Jefferson, Missouri, 125 miles west of the Mississippi. From here he took a steamer up the Missouri. On board he met numerous passengers seeking a better life...
" Here are young men and young married couples from eastern and middle States, seeking fairer opportunities and broader fields of effort in the ample, generous West. Here is the...merchant with his summer stock of goods, the well-to-do planter...the irrepressible agent of a new Kansas town proving incontestably by statistics and diagrams that his will become the largest city west of New York, the eager-eyed speculator bound for the land sales, the wonderful stories of his uncle who became a millionaire from Chicago investments, or his wife's cousin who made forty thousand dollars in six months upon Michigan pine-lands." (p. 25)
Richardson told how he arrived in the town of Wyandotte, just west of Kansas City on the Kansas River. Wyandotte was named after the Wyandottes, a tribe of Indians who originally had inhabited the shores of Lake Erie. These Indians lived in log-houses, tilled farms, had churches, spoke English, and intermarried with the whites. (p. 31) He described how towns were formed by the pioneer population. For instance:
" In founding a city, a few speculators become corporated, by special act of the legislature, as a town company. Then, if the land is already open for preemption, they survey and stake out three hundred and twenty acres - the quantity which Government allows set apart for a town-site - at one dollar and a quarter per acre. But the large ideas of the West will never be satisfied with such a pent-up Utica. So they engage settlers each to preempt one of the adjacent quarter sections, (one hundred and sixty acres.) When his title is perfected, he deeds his land to the corporation, and receives his money as per agreement. Thus the company secures from five hundred to a thousand acres, cutting it into building lots usually; twenty-five by one hundred and twenty-five feet...If the town succeeds, the original proprietors grow rich. And it fails, having risked little, they lose little. The site I now visited was purchased directly from the Wyandottes. " (p. 30)
On his way to Lawrence, he went through the reservation of the Delawares, described as dense hilly forests with occasional Indian farms. He then hit the prairie...
" Upon our beaten road are immigrants with their house-wagons, teams hauling freight from the river, speculators working their way upon refractory mules, half-breed girls with heavy eye-lashes and copper-brown cheeks, jogging steadily along on horseback. " (p. 34)
Eventually, he arrived at Leavenworth, the largest town in Kansas then, only two years old, with a population of 4,000...
" Building lots, twenty-five feet by one hundred and twenty-five, upon the river landing, were valued at ten thousand dollars. Three or four blocks back, they sold for two thousand, and on the hills half a mile away, for twelve hundred. Prices were fast rising, money plentiful, and everybody speculating... Suburban lands three miles from the river, bought during the previous winter for one hundred dollars per acre, were now divided into building lots which commanded from one hundred to two hundred dollars each. Hotels were crowded with strangers, eager to invest. Almost any one could borrow gold without security or even a written promise to pay; and the faith was universal that tomorrow should be as this day and yet more abundant. " (p. 53)
Richardson described how he left Leavenworth on foot to go into the back country..."Ten miles out, I supped with a family of intelligent Missourians, who had lived here for eighteen months. Half of their quarter-section was fenced and in corn. The claim was not yet preempted; they must pay the Government one dollar twenty-five cents per acre before receiving a perfect title, yet they had refused four thousand dollars for it."
Here vigilante justice prevailed. He described numerous occasions where prisoners were forced out of their jails and hung. He described that he often encountered the "original owners of the soil, jogging along on horseback, sometimes sober and reticent, but often whisky-inspired and uproarious. The women usually rode in couples, with papooses strapped on their backs, and other children astride before and behind them. Nearly all the Kansas Indians lived in log-cabins, and made some pretenses to civilization; so they were less migratory than their race in general." Richardson told how he spent a night with a Delaware Indian family, sleeping in their log cabin. He mentioned that they sat at a table and that the Indians were dressed in "coats and pantaloons." (pp. 74, 91) In August of 1857, Richardson became a "squatter" himself, staking out 160 acres outside of Quindaro, Kansas, building a cabin on his property as a means of improvement. (p. 80) According to Richardson, in the early spring of 1859, there was a "grand stampede" for the Rocky Mountains, where gold was rumored to have been discovered.
The hitherto solitary plains suddenly became densely peopled. A line of daily coaches was put out from Leavenworth to Denver, via the new Republican route... Every great thoroughfare was white with wagons, and by night the smoke of ten thousand camp-fires curled to the astonished clouds. Thousands took an unexplored route, up the Smoky Hill river, where grass and water proved woefully scare and fearful suffering prevailed. The road was lined with cooking-stoves, clothing and mining tools, thrown away to lighten the loads. (p. 157)
In Manhattan, Kansas, Richardson was joined by Horace Greeley, who was making a similar trip. (p. 161) As they traveled up the Republican River Valley by stage coach, Richardson observed many Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians. He told how one Cheyenne pointed toward the west and dug in the ground with his fingers, saying "Money! Money!" to indicate his knowledge of the gold discoveries. (p. 174) On reaching Denver, the two newspapermen went into the mountains to verify the discovery of gold. He concluded that "digging gold is about the hardest way on earth to obtain it." At the gold mining camp, Greeley spoke to a gathering of 1,500 men, advocating the formation of a new state and to hasten the Pacific railroad. Denver contained about 1,000 people, with three hundred buildings, all made of pine logs. One third were unfinished and roofless, having been erected the previous winter for "speculative purposes." (p. 186) Denver was little more than a camp town. Richardson noted that, "There were very few glass windows or doors and but two or three board floors. Chairs were few. Boxes served as bureaus and cupboards. Indians lived in lodges between some of the houses. Hundreds of immigrants passes through daily." (p. 187)
On another trip almost ten years later, much had changed. In the same book he wrote that he left Chicago aboard a new line of sleeping cars "richly furnished, and running like a pair of skates upon even ice. The ample beds are as inviting as those of our best hotels...Morning found us on a vast ocean of prairie, with great islands of corn rising from its depth, and white fleets of villages, neat clippers of country churches and snow schooners of farm-houses resting upon its bosom." He took a steamer down the Missouri, landing at Leavenworth. "It boasts three railway connections, three daily newspapers, printed in English, and two in German. It is lighted with gas; well built of brick; and has the air of a metropolis." (p. 548)
From Leavenworth he took the railway to Topeka, noting the pressure by the settlers on the Indian population. "It leads through the old Delaware reservation, not long open to settlement; but great cornfields and herds of cattle already appear. The remaining members of this and other Kansas tribes will soon be removed to the Indian Territory, or some other remote region. The whites want their lands - and have the power." (p. 550) He also noted the presence of the Kansas Pacific railroad. "Thirty-three miles out we reach the bank of the Kaw river, opposite Lawrence. Here we find the Kansas fork of the Union Pacific railway, pushing due west toward Denver." (p. 551) He observed the area was being populated by settlers. "We passed into Nemeha and Marshall, with many farms along the timbered creeks, but few on the high prairies. Here, seventy miles from the railway, though with the locomotive approaching by two lines, unimproved lands were had at two to five dollars per acre, and farms at eight to twenty-five dollars. Settlers have grown rich supplying emigrants and freighters to Colorado and Utah." Kansas was described by him as being almost a paradise. "All vines and flowers grow luxuriantly. The sun never shone upon lovelier expanses. Nowhere else is Nature so kind. To build a road the settler has nothing to do but drive over the prairie wherever he wants to go. To raise a grove, one need only plow the field, and trees spring up spontaneously. To open a farm, he simply breaks the soil and plants his corn upon the unturned sward." (p. 560)
On May 15, 1859, Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Daily Tribune, had left New York by Erie Railroad, bound for Kansas. His itinerary was similar to Richardson's and his mission was, in part, to bring about the transcontinental railroad. Near Leavenworth, he noted in his book The Overland Journey that "as we neared the California trail, the white coverings of the many emigrant and transport wagons dotted the landscape, giving the trail the appearance of a river running through great meadows, with many ships sailed on its bosom." (Greeley, 1966, p. 23) Greeley said that he liked Kansas better than he had expected. "The soil is richer and deeper; the timber is more generally diffused, the country more rolling, than I had supposed them. There are of course heavy drawbacks in remoteness from the seaboard, heavy charges for bulky goods, low prices for produces, Indian reserves, and the high price of good lumber." (p. 61)
Greeley camped one night on a branch of the Solomon River. "Our hostess for the night has two small tents, as at No. 8, and gave us a capital supper, butter included... They have a log-cabin going up, I am happy to say...I believe I have now descended the ladder of artificial life nearly to its lowest round. If the Cheyennes - thirty of whom stopped the last express down on the route we must traverse, and tried to beg or steal from it - shall see fit to capture and strip us, we shall probably have further experience in the same line..." (p. 79) He mentioned coming into contact with Indians continually. "Eastern Kansas is checkered with their reservations - Delaware, Kaw, Ottawa, Osage, Kickapoo, Potawatamie and other - while the buffalo-range, and all this side belong to and are parceled among the Cheyennes, the Arapahos, and the Apaches - or perhaps among the two former only, as Indian boundaries are not very well defined." (p. 149) "But the Indians are children..," he concluded. "They are utterly incompetent to cope in any way with the European or Caucasian race... And unless they shall be treated as a truly Christian community would treat a band of orphan children providentially; thrown on its hands, the aborigines of this country will be practically extinct within the next fifty years." (p. 151) He observed that the possession of the land by the Indians was not in accord with the best use of the land, coming to the conclusion that for that reason they did not have a right to it.
" As I passed over those magnificent bottoms of the Kansas which form the reservations of the Delawares, Potawatamies, etc., constituting the very best corn-land on earth, and saw their owners sitting around the doors of their lodges at the height of the planting season and in a good, bright planting weather as sun and soil ever made, I could not help saying, "These people must die out - there is no help for them. Good has given this earth to those who will subdue and cultivate it, and it is vain to struggle against His righteous decree." (p. 52)
He ended his book with the following plea:
" Men and brethren! Let us resolve to have the railroad to the Pacific - to have it soon. It will add more to the strength and wealth of our country than a dozen Cubas. It will prove a bond of union not easily broken, and a new spring to our national industry, prosperity and wealth. It will call new manufactures into existence, and increase the demand for the products of those already existing. It will open new vistas to national and individual aspirations... My long, fatiguing journey was undertaken in the hope that I might do something toward the early construction of the Pacific Railroad; and I trust that it has not been made wholly in vain. " (p. 386)
It wasn't. With the passage of the Pacific Railway Act, as we have seen, the country was opened up for greater settlement. According to Gates (1954) the results of the railroad were profound, not only on the influx of settlers, but on the dislocation of the Indians. On the first page of Gates' Fifty million acres: conflicts over Kansas land policy, 1854-1890. is a photograph of a broadside by the Kansas Pacific Railway announcing five million acres for sale. It read:
" Kansas Pacific Homesteads The best place to get a farm is on the line of the Kansas Pacific Railway The lands are rich. The prices are very low. The time of credit long. 25 per cent discount for cash. 10 per cent for improvements. The climate is very mild. The winters are short. The Water is pure and good, and the grasses are exceedingly; nutritious. Fortunes are being made in cattle and sheep raising. No payment of principal is required for four years after the first installment has been paid. A free ride to land buyers. Five million acres to select form, and five million acres more of government land open for homestead and pre-emption, all lying along the line of this great railroad. The Kansas Pacific Homestead gives a good a reliable account of the country and its progress; the soil, climate, minerals, and agricultural products, and also give good advice as to who should come to Kansas, when they could come, and what they should have, and points out to the poor man the road to prosperity. A copy will be mailed free of cost by sending address to S. J. Gilmore, Land Commissioner, Kansas Pacific Railway, Lawrence, Kan. "
As Greeley pointed out, one of the drawbacks to Kansas were the various Indian reserves. This meant that to obtain the land, the Indians had to relinquish their holdings. According to Gates (1954), "The traditional process of divesting the Indians of their right to occupy land was to draw a treaty providing for the sale or cession to the national government of the Indians' right; when the treaty was ratified by the Senate, the land thus ceded became public domain and subject to the public-land laws." (p. 6) However, land sometimes was granted by treaty to chiefs and headmen in the form of individual reserves which might be sold directly to whites with the approval of the President.
Eighteen Kansas reserves, ranging from the tiny 2,571-acre tract of the Christian Indians to the great Osage reserve of 8,841,927 acres, were forever barred from becoming a part of the public lands of the United States and subject to the laws of Homestead and Pre-emption. Instead, these reserves became the booty of speculators, land companies, and railroads, with substantial benefits accruing to helpful politicians... A fourth of the area of Kansas and by all odds the best fourth, passed by the treaty process from Indians ownership to individuals, land-speculating companies, and railroads without becoming a part of the public domain or becoming subject to Congressional control... Because the railroads were snapping up much of the Indian land, in addition to the great grants of land given to aid in their construction, they were becoming the principal proprietors of the West, gaining all the profit which construction of their lines would assure to owners of land in the way of added value. (Gates, 1954, pp. 6-8)
Although speculators and railroads were a dominant force in land acquisition in Kansas, by 1860 more than 100,000 settlers had obtained ownership of over 4 million acres of trust and public land. With much of the valuable land now claimed, the Kansas population now sought to remove the Indians as quickly as possible from the remaining Indian reserves, striving to make their holdings subject to pre-emption. (p. 109) The Indians were induced to sign away their treaty rights. Reserve after reserve began to be sold. However, the Indians, who began to realize that they had signed away their homeland, protested to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, George W. Manypenny, claiming that they had not known what they had signed. Manypenny refused to sanction any of the sales. He was removed, eventually, by political forces, and the sales began to go through. Between 1859 and 1862 eight new treaties were negotiated with the Indians, opening the way to the transfer of the land to private ownership. Among the successful purchasers was the LP&W Railroad (later the Kansas Pacific Railway), consisting of a "powerful group of jobbers, politicians, speculators, and business interests." They had obtained the right to buy surplus lands through treaties with the Delawares and Pottawatomie tribes. (pp. 113, 109) Because frontier railroads were not attracting eastern financial support in 1861, the railroad company was able to modify the original terms of the purchase of the Delaware reserve - which originally provided for payment to the Indians in gold or silver - by paying them in bonds of the company, bonds secured by a mortgage on the lands. As a result, the LP&W, without putting up any cash for the land, had the right to sell the land to settlers. In a similar way, the railroad secured additional reserves of the Pottawatomie Indians. (p. 117) Throughout Kansas, numerous other lands belonging once to various Indian tribes passed into the hands of railroad companies and other speculators, including the reserves of the Osage, Sac and Fox, Kansas, Kickapoo and Ottawa. (p. 113) A bureaucratic war began to be waged among various railroad interests for the rights to acquire land. In particular, railroad interests in Atchison vied with interests in Leavenworth. The most influential railroad turned out to be the LP&W Railroad, with principle interests in Leavenworth. (p. 116)
It became increasing apparent that the LP&W Railroad had the most solid support among Missouri-valley people and was in a better position for bargaining with Congressmen and other influential people in Washington. Thomas Ewing, Jr., a Leavenworth booster and partner of William T. Sherman in the real estate business, besought (Congressmen's) John Sherman's aid in keeping William Montgomery off the Committee on Public Lands on the ground that he favored aid to an Atchison railroad. (p. 117)
Thomas Ewing Jr. was the son of Thomas Ewing, former Whig Secretary of the Interior and Senator from Ohio and at that time a successful Washington attorney. He, and his brother Hugh, along with several other businessmen, were leading investors in the LP&W Railroad. (p. 114) The Ewings were brothers-in-law to General Sherman. William J. Palmer, president of the Kansas Pacific, had commanded one of Sherman's cavalry brigades. W.W. Wright, superintendent of the Kansas Pacific, was a former general, and had managed Sherman's railroad operations during the Georgia campaigns. (Hutton, 1985, p. 38-9) According to Gates (1954) Thomas Ewing, Jr., his father, and his brother Hugh were close personal friends of Orville H. Browning, who succeeded Harlan as Secretary of the Interior. Before his appointment to the Department, Browning had been associated with the Ewings in prosecuting claims against the government. The Cherokees were among their principal clients. As Secretary, Browning took Thomas Ewing, Jr. to talk with the President on a number of occasions. So influential had be become that in Kansas it was said of Ewing: "a good fee, and Thomas Ewing Jr., on one's side, is all that is necessary to secure almost anything in the line of Indian contracts or government lands from the Department of the Interior." (Gates, 1954, p. 157-8) Ewings influence was noted in a June 21, 1867 article in the Leavenworth Evening Bulletin, which carried the following cryptic comments under the head "Which is Our Friends:" "Senator Pomeroy obtained the treaty by which the Delaware and Potowatomie Indian land, worth two millions of dollars, to aid in building railroads from Leavenworth; and Ewing, Stone, McDonald and others, sold us out."
The removal of the tribes to Indian Territory from Kansas created further hardships. H. C. Miner and W. E. Unrau in The end of Indian Kansas - a study of cultural revolution, 1854-1871 explained:
" Leaving Kansas required of the tribes a terribly difficult psychological adjustment, since many of them were being torn from established homes for the second time in thirty years. Ottawa chief John Wilson repeated over and over as he walked south to Indian Territory that he did not want to go. He died on the road... The last of the Modocs form California came through Kansas City in railroad cars, painted black in mourning for the dead. Newspaper reporters commented on the "peculiar odor." (p. 133)
The Potawatomi, Kickapoo and Osage, Fox and Sacs Indians resisted leaving. Some refused to have a census taken of their tribe so no one could count how many stayed behind, some refused to send delegations to select land for their new homes, some wept as they walked toward Indian Territory. (pp. 133-5) According to R. Gittinger in The Formation of the State of Oklahoma: 1803-1906, by 1886 the population of Indian Territory included such tribes as the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, Quapaws, Seminoles, Senecas, Seneca-Shawnee band and mixed tribes of the Wichita agency. It grew rapidly. By 1879 Indian Territory also included Modocs, Ottawas, Perorias, Miamis, Wyandottes, Osage and Kansas reservations, Kaws, Quapaws, Nez Perces, Pawnees, Poncas, Sac and Foxes, Kickapoos, Potatawatomies, Cheyenne and Arapaho, Wichitas, Wacoes, Towaconies, Kechies, Caddoes, Delawares, Comanches, Kowas and Apaches. The largest tribes were the Creeks - 14,000, the Cheyennes - 3,600, the Arapahos - 2,000 and the Osages - 2,000.
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