Indians in the United States and Canada: A Comparative History

By Roger L. Nichols | Go to book overview

6 Old Threats, New Resolve, 1795-1820s

When the ohio and indiana tribes ignored the Miami leader Little Turtle's urging to accept peace with the United States in 1794, they went on to fight and lose the Battle of Fallen Timbers. That defeat and the 1795 Treaty of Greenville destroyed Indian efforts to unify and block pioneer expansion in the Ohio Valley for over a decade. At the same time, the British and Spanish importance in North American Indian affairs shrank drastically. In Jay's Treaty of 1794 the British accepted American demands that they withdraw their troops from army posts along the northeastern border. Two years later, in 1796, the Union Jack came down and the troops left. Just a year earlier, Spain and the United States concluded Pinckney's Treaty, related to American use of the Mississippi River and also to Spanish-Indian relations along the nation's southern border. As a result of these actions, by the late 1790s tribal leaders faced an expansive, confident, and still hostile United States with few resources and options.

Having defeated the tribes of the old Northwest and settled the disputes with their European competitors, American authorities turned their attention to dealing with the Indians through economic expansion and the fur trade. As early as 1783 George Washington had suggested that some kind of governmentsponsored effort would "engross their Trade, and fix them strongly in our Interest." 1 Just over a decade later he proposed that Congress establish trading houses on the frontier to wean Indian traders away from their British and Spanish partners. Supporters suggested that government-subsidized trade was far cheaper

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