"Excluding Indians Not Taxed": Dred Scott, Standing Bear, Elk and the Legal Status of Native Americans in the Latter Half of the Nineteenth Century

By Tennant, Brad | International Social Science Review, Spring-Summer 2011 | Go to article overview

"Excluding Indians Not Taxed": Dred Scott, Standing Bear, Elk and the Legal Status of Native Americans in the Latter Half of the Nineteenth Century


Tennant, Brad, International Social Science Review


Introduction

Throughout American history, the federal government has failed to follow a consistent approach in determining the legal and political status of individual Native Americans and Indian tribes. Such policies (i.e., treaty-making and reservations, allotment, reorganization, termination, and, currently, self-determination) range from the treatment of Indian tribes as sovereign nations to the assimilation of individual Native Americans as U.S. citizens in the dominant white society. (1) Assimilation generally meant that Native Americans should adopt Euro-American clothing, language, religion, and an agricultural lifestyle before qualifying for citizenship. Even at that, most Native Americans could only expect second-class citizenship status when it came to exercising their constitutional rights and protections. Simply put, the legal status of individual Native Americans has often been unclear.

During the latter part of the nineteenth century, social reformers, the courts, and politicians at the local, state, and federal level attempted to clarify this issue. To understand the difficulty in determining the legal standing of Native Americans, one must first examine the historical meaning and significance of the phrase "excluding Indians not taxed" as it appears in the U.S. Constitution. Attention should then be directed toward Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), Standing Bear v. Crook (1879), and Elk v. Wilkins (1884), arguably the three most significant cases involving the legal status of Native Americans during the latter half of the nineteenth century. (2) Collectively, they tried to determine: (1) how Native Americans could obtain citizenship; (2) the legal rights of individual Native Americans notwithstanding their tribal affiliation; and, (3) the legal status of individual Native Americans who had paid taxes or had separated themselves from their tribes. (3) Despite having the means to readily grant citizenship to Native Americans, the U.S. government largely ignored the wishes of individual Native Americans and often used citizenship as a means of assimilating tribal Indians into the dominant white society.

After more than a century of treaties and legislative acts affecting the legal status of Native Americans, Congress adopted H.R. 6355, the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, which granted citizenship to all "noncitizen Indians born within the territorial limits of the United States." (4) By then, almost two-thirds of the Native American population had gained citizenship through treaties or congressional legislation. (5) For example, the 1830 treaty with the Choctaws, which is noteworthy within the context of Indian removal, contained a provision which stated that "each Choctaw head of family being desirous to remain and become a citizen of the States, shall be permitted to do so." (6) Likewise, the 1887 General Allotment Act declared:

   every Indian born within the territorial limits of the United
   States to whom allotments shall have been made under the provisions
   of this act, or under any law or treaty, ... who has voluntarily
   taken up ... his residence separate and apart from any tribe of
   Indians therein, and has adopted the habit of civilized life, is
   hereby declared to be a citizen of the United States, and is
   entitled to all the rights, privileges, and immunities of such
   citizens. (7)

The prospect of citizenship, however, did not necessarily guarantee that Native Americans actually gained it or, if they did, that they enjoyed the same rights and privileges as other U.S. citizens. (8) Consequently, whether a citizen or not, the actual legal status of Native Americans remained controversial well into the twentieth century, long after passage of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. (9)

"EXCLUDING INDIANS NOT TAXED"

The phrase "excluding Indians not taxed" appears in the Constitution in regard to determining the apportionment of taxes and representation among the states, but little is known about the intent of inserting this clause into that governing document.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

"Excluding Indians Not Taxed": Dred Scott, Standing Bear, Elk and the Legal Status of Native Americans in the Latter Half of the Nineteenth Century
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.