Sunday, April 17, 2011

Possible Solutions for Resolving the Situation

          What options did the American government of the time possess in order to deal with the problem of two culturally diverse nations within a single territory? Sadly, the options that the government could implement remained few and difficult to impose. Total extermination, or rather genocide, concluded one options because the U.S. government remained militarily dominant and the Native Americans maintained little power in their own land, yet to some degree the U.S. allowed the Natives Americans to remain sovereign. While this variable seemed unusually cruel, many political leaders preserved the option.
Optimists looked to rapid assimilation which was the dream of idealistic humanitarians who thought it could be accomplished in one generation, although it soon became apparent this was not going to happen. The cultural differences divided the two nations extraordinarily. Politically, the white settlers believed if one did not cultivate and develop the land then the ‘owner’ had no right to keep the territory. The Native Americans understood land to be an extension of their deity and their ancestors, through natural inherent placement the land became part of the Indians’ identity. The state also passed laws against polygamy, the Indians practiced this to some extent, and the men should support their children, while Native American law dictated the children as a natural and complete extension of the mother, maintaining a matrilineal society as opposed to a patrilineal society. The two nations contradicted each other in the basic unit of civilization and property rights. Additionally, religious ideologies drove an impassable stake through the sparing nations. The U.S. government exiled idolatrous practices as brutish and barbaric.  The Native Americans used several wooden carvings in ceremonies and festivals to represent the presence of their gods. Women also maintained a large role in Indian authority and governance which countered the U.S. practices of women’s roles to be isolated to the domestic sphere. Assimilation proved to be naïve option for realists.
One option that many favored, although in practice never prospered. The U.S. would agree to protect their sovereignty if they remained isolated in their ancestral lands, although trade and commerce would be allowed on a nation level. This proposal never flourished due to several proponents. The question of their status became a question in that the government ruled them to be domestic independent nations, similar to a protectorate, but the Indian nations could not maintain that independence without federal assistance. The U.S. never acquiesced to creating a standing army to defend them.
The catalyst came when the state of Georgia required the U.S. to act on a previously agreed upon treaty to irradiate the Indians from Georgia in exchange for lands west of the Mississippi. In 1826 and 1827, the state legislature passed resolutions asserting state sovereignty over Indian lands within Georgia on the basis of their colonial charter. The state legislation proclaimed that all the federal government did was to regulate commerce and failed to initiate the Indian Removal Act as promised in 1802. Under this shortcoming, the state had the right to possess the Indian lands. The federal government, not willing to go to war with Georgia, felt that the Indian Removal Act posed the best option.
Sadly, the Indian Removal Act appeared to be the best option in that the Native Americans could regulate their own laws without hindrance from federal or state jurisdiction to interfere. The Indians could assimilate at their own pace if they desired and they could maintain a semblance of their own culture without contentious, social pressures to conform. President Jackson implemented the Indian Removal Act in 1830 when it finally passed in U.S. Congress. Jackson made several statements to the native nations in order to make sure the Indians understood that they would be well compensated for their lands, and the government would provide for all the cost of removal and relocation. He wrote that only in the west could “the general government exercise a parental control over their interests and possibly perpetuate their race.”[1] While the Indian Removal Act became a devastatingly fatal march of intolerance, the U.S. government had few other realistic options without inciting a civil war.

[1] Dr. Katherine Osburn, Andrew Jackson and Indian Removal, notes from ilearn in HIST 4440 (11 Nov. 2010).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

An anaylitcal review over the foundational steps of colonizer initiated revolution

          In examination of this first step to colonizer initiated revolution, many ideas seem to circumvent each other; this is called a Cartesian circle. A Cartesian circle comes from the Enlightenment Era and specifically from the French theologian and mathematician René Déscartes. He ascribed the idea of the Cartesian circle which applies to a plethora of ideas from the first step in colonizer based revolution. In Descartes’ paper entitled, Meditations on First Philosophies, he detailed the understanding of the Cartesian model through his thoughts on God; I know God exists because of certainty, and I am capable of certainty because God exists.[1] This reflects the similar ideologies behind the terms of the mark of the plural, dehumanization, orientalism, and racism. They confluence in order to exist; they cannot exist without each other. Mark of the plural can only exist with the understanding of dehumanization, and dehumanization is possible through the mark of the plural. Orientalism exists because people understand racism, without racism orientalism could not function and racism is the product of orientalism.
            To fully elucidate this idea one must be in a tenacious comprehension of the terms. Dehumanization contains the existence of the mark of the plural because for one to see a person as less than worthy of human respect the individuality must be demolished completely. In order for this to be accomplished, the individual can only be stripped of individuality by being viewed exactly the same as several others. While two persons can never inherently be the same, through mark of the plural they may be considered as such. A person utilizes the mark of the plural when they observe one trait or pattern in a few people of similar ethnic, national, political, or religious background and assigning the characteristics of the few to the whole, in so doing they strip the identity from the individual. For a person to justify a stereotype as more than a canard, said person must understand the person to not be worthy of individuality. Many times people may take identity away in order to simplify a group of people and thus create an easier understanding of a particular religious, political, ethnic, or national association. For an onlooker to vindicate the mark of the plural they must first make them less than themselves. Given that the onlooker is human, the group or victims of the mark of the plural become less than human which procreates dehumanization. This orchestrates the ideology of the Cartesian circle in that the effect is also the cause and the cause is the effect.
            Orientalism and racism pertain to the Cartesian circle in a reciprocal parallel. In the aforementioned definition of orientalism, Edward Said who ascribed in his book, Orientalism, defined the ideology as a way of regarding a particular group of people with a constellation of fabricated assumptions marked from a privileged perspective.[2] This falsified assumption from a privileged perspective can take many forms, one such form is racism. Racism may be defined as grouping together a particular group of people based on ethnic heritage and discriminating against them because of their ethnic heritage and assuming one’s own ethnic heritage as superior. In order for this to happen a certain brindled characteristic must be ascribed which many times are based on false assumptions and regulated ideas from a callow and neophyte perspective, which is orientalism. Racism comes from orientalism although orientalism cannot be justified without racism. For orientalism to be rationalized racism must be understood because no one can have a privileged perspective without regarding other groups as less civilized or intelligent, which is a factor in racism. This again propels the Cartesian circle ideology.

[1] John Cottingham ed., Meditations on First Philosophy: With Selections from the Objections and Replies (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 25-30.
[2] Class discussion on Edward Said, notes taken in HON 4013: The Fallout of Civilization, Francophone Africa (1 February, 2011).

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Foundation to the first step in colonizer initiated revolution

             In understanding the first step in colonizer based revolution, one must then be led to the foundation of this step which is the mark of the plural. The mark of the plural may be defined as an individual that looks upon a particular group of people as a whole and not as several individuals. In doing this the practice proliferates and induces the mindset of creating dehumanization. Dehumanization encourages the onlooker to see an individual as less than human and more animalistic. In utilizing the mark of the plural, one dehumanizes the individual to lower than being worthy to be seen as an individual which individuality intones people as equal. When someone performs in important role in society they become an individual and personalized, but to dehumanize them would be take that away from them. When the colonizer capitalizes on the mark of the plural, orientalism takes shape. Orientalism may be defined as one who stereotypes in taking one aspect from one or two members of a group and categorizing the entire group under that persona, in essence taking away individuality. Orientalism in its full growth gives place to racism. These ideologies coalesce to form the foundation in the first stage of rebellion.
            Jackson believed the Indians did not own their land just roamed and because they did not advance and develop in the land, the Native Americans were savages and uncivilized. The white American lived in faith to the idea that these lands should be used as “God intended,” which is market based, mono-crop agriculture, and mining in order to advance bullionism, the amount of gold a country possesses which was the basis to mercantilism in Europe; the primary economic system of the time. Civilization and savagery could not coexist in the eyes of the white-American settlers or as the French might call them the “pied noir.” President Andrew Jackson, the signer of the Indian Removal Act, stated, “The philanthropist will rejoice that the remnant of that ill-fated race has been at length place beyond the reach…”[1] Jackson showed his ideas of racism in his phrase “that ill-fated race.” In doing this, Jackson utilized several aspects of the foundation to the first step of which rebellion emerges. He expresses obvious racist ideas which spurn from orientalism, and orientalism has seated ideologies in the mark of the plural which is a form of dehumanization. Once the colonized start to accept their usurpers authority the colonizer’s laws and ideologies become more important and considered worthy to be regarded as truth and the colonized start to internalize the negative orientalism as truth because in their mind they may be able to see some aspects of the negative stereotype in their native society. Rarely does an orientalized stereotype develop from nothing, but the ideas are gleaned from a few and assigned to the whole. In seeing the few examples that the colonizer may be deriving his orientalism from and exploiting the occurrences as more common place than reality would allow, the colonized internalize the racism as the truth. Sadly, numerous Native Americans internalized the racism as truth and thought their life and society worthy to be a protectorate of the American government.

[1] Dr. Katherine Osburn, Andrew Jackson and Indian Removal, handout in class (11 November, 2010).