Theda Perdue (Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
March 20, 2013
As soon as Europeans arrived in North America, they claimed land that belonged to Indians. By the 1820s Indians had been displaced from millions of acres, but about 120,000 Indians remained in the territories east of the Mississippi. White Americans saw them as an obstacle to national expansion, profit, and progress. They were “savages” who could not live side-by-side with civilized people. They had to be moved.
How did Native Americans attitudes toward the land contrast with those of white Americans? How did the federal government justify its policy of removal? How did Native Americans respond to it? How did it ultimately affect them? Using resources from the Library of Congress’s American Memory Timeline and the National Humanities Center’s teaching anthologies, this seminar explores these and other questions.