The Cause of Indian Wars

The Cause of Indian Wars

Every so called Indian war in this country originated in a desire on the part of the white man to possess the home and the hunting grounds of the Native American. Discovery by the European nations was considered a right to extinguish the Native American’s title. England’s policy then as now was to claim that all title to land was vested in the crown, that her subjects might occupy the soil, but could not alienate it except to her own people. England treated the Indians as she did her own subjects. When the United States at the close of the Revolutionary War succeeded to this country from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, the same principles regarding the title to the Indian lands were carried out, and while in every instance our government had secured title and extinguished Indian rights, by treaty or purchase, we must admit that the consideration was the most trivial, and too often acceptance on the part of the red-man was influenced by the force of arms. “Did the red man foresee his impending doom, his forced retreat towards the setting sun, the gradual breaking up of his power and the final extinction of his race?” Careful study of Indian history leads us to believe that among the Indians, as well as among the white men, there were those who saw the coming storm, “who saw the threatening cloud coming from the east, small at first, scarce a shadow, but gradually becoming more distinct and greater as it traveled west-ward, and, when it reached the summit of the Alleghenies, it assumed a darker hue; deep murmurs, as of thunder, were heard; it was impelled westward by strong winds and shot forth forked tongues of lightning.” On the plains of Abraham, when French supremacy west of the Alleghanies was forever lost, and Pontiac stood before the British officer who was to proceed westward to secure the fruits of victory and said, “I stand in thy path,” he realized the impending conflict, and his note of warning to the chiefs of his nation to “Drive the dogs who wear red clothing into the sea” was his last appeal to save his race. Fifty years later Tecumseh fell a martyr to the Indian cause, and his efforts to stem the westward march of the white man failed. For three years after that Tuscaloosa strove in vain to save his nation, and in 1832 the Sacs and Foxes on Rock Island soil, under the leadership of their great chief, Black Hawk, made the last determined Indian defense of their homes and the resting place of their forefathers.

The Sac and Fox Indians of Illinois 


Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908

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