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Manifest Destiny vs Native American Culture

Trail of Tears

America's shame should be recognized, in light of the fact we hold other countries accountable for human rights abuse, the American Holocaust should be recognized and taught in our education system.

America's shame should be recognized, in light of the fact we hold other countries accountable for human rights abuse, the American Holocaust should be recognized and taught in our education system.

Origin of the Term 'Manifest Destiny'

The term Manifest Destiny was first used in an essay written by John L. O'Sullivan when referring to Native American culture, an American columnist and editor, promoting the annexation of the territory of Texas and Oregon to the United States in 1845. In Manifest Destiny vs Native American Culture the author will explore why this term was used to justify the extermination of the Native American culture and why it was such a threat to the Powers That Be!

A popular advocate of the Democratic Party, O'Sullivan believed that America through divine providence had the right to expand their territory throughout North America and possess the 'Whole Continent in order to develop the great experiment of liberty and federated self government entrusted to the United States.

In 1845, he published a piece entitled Annexation in the Democratic Review,[10] in which he urged the U.S. to annex the Republic of Texas, not only because Texas desired this, but because it was "our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions"


Although O'Sullivan was 150 years ahead of his times in terms of philosophical beliefs, his use of the term Manifest Destiny took on a life of it's own, as politicians from all parties used it to encourage the expansion of the United States in North America.

His original concept was that God had given the United States a mission to spread a 'higher law' to all native cultures on the North American continent that superseded their rights and disregarded any treaties.

Although his article did not advocate the use of force to accomplish this, it was no doubt influenced heavily by President Jackson's treatment of the Native American cultures removal to the Oklahoma territory.

To give credit where credit is due the philosophy of Manifest Destiny is essentially just a continuation of the Monroe Doctrine and John Quincy Adams influence on U.S. expansionists ideas. Adams helped the U.S. purchase Florida from Spain, formulate the Monroe Doctrine, establish borders with Mexico and Canada and negotiate the Transcontinental Treaty in 1819.

While I could spend the whole of this article writing about Americas expansionist history and ideas, the main emphasis is to show how these ideas affected the Native American culture and lead to the almost complete extermination of a race of people. The very way of life of the Native Americans threatened the ideals of the United States, even though Americans claimed to be setting an example that they hoped the rest of the World should follow.

Cheyenne Anthem

This song written and performed by the band Kansas (People of the South Wind) is a great tribute to the Native American culture.

This song written and performed by the band Kansas (People of the South Wind) is a great tribute to the Native American culture.

Cheyenne Anthem

From the mountains to the sun, Life has only just begun.
We wed this land and pledge our souls to meet its end,
Life has only just begun
Here my people roam the earth, in the kingdom of our birth,
Where the dust of all our horses hides the sun
We are mighty on the earth, on the earth

You have come to move me, take me from my ancient home,
Land of my fathers I can't leave you now
We will share it with you, no man owns this earth we're on
Now the wheels are rolling hear the howling winds of war
It's my destiny to fight and die
Is there no solution, can we find no other way, Lord let me stay
Under the endless sky and the earth below
Here I was born to live and I will never go, oh no

But we cannot endure like the earth and the mountains
Life is not ours to keep, for a new sun is rising

Soon these days shall pass away, for our freedom we must pay
All our words and deeds are carried on the wind,
In the ground our bodies lay, here we lay . . .

Lyrics by Kansas (which means people of the south wind)

Trail Of Tears Map

The trail must commonly used to remove Native Americans to Oklahoma.

The trail must commonly used to remove Native Americans to Oklahoma.

Louisiana Purchase

The absurdity of purchasing Native American land from the French still baffles me.

The absurdity of purchasing Native American land from the French still baffles me.

Native American Feathers

Using natures art to express themselves the Native American attire is in tune with their surroundings.

Using natures art to express themselves the Native American attire is in tune with their surroundings.

Trail of Tears

No article can fully described the horror of the American Holocaust that resulted from the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and so I won't even try. Suffice to say that after many broken treaties by our Government a final solution was created to allow for American expansion to take place.

The five civilized tribes of Native Americans the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Seminole, Choctaw and Muskogee (Creek) were removed from their homelands of the deep South to the eastern section of what is now the state of Oklahoma.

This forced removal is known as the Trail of Tears because of the many atrocities that took place during this process. Many Native Americans died from the treatment they received from the American people while being forced from their ancestor-al homes and marched in the winter to their new home.

The Choctaw Nation was the first to go in 1831, and a young member of this nation, George W. Harkins sent a farewell letter to the American people which said in part . . .

" . . . We as Choctaws rather chose to suffer and be free, than live under the degrading influence of laws, which our voice could not be heard in their formation."

We are a country that deplores the abuse of civil rights of other nations and yet we created our own nation on the abuse of these same civil rights on the Native American people and culture that lived here for ten thousand years before our arrival.

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Many of the people in the Five Civilized Tribes were considered American citizens, yet chose to suffer the fate with their families, rather than abandon them. Of the 17,000 Choctaws that left their ancestral homes in the Winter 1831, 6,000 died on the Trail of Tears.

Many of the Seminole tribe refused to move and fought a ten year battle with the U.S. Government, known as the Seminole Wars, which ended in 1842. Some of the Seminole Nation was removed to Oklahoma while others retreated into the Florida Everglades.

Although the Creek Nation was considered a valuable ally in the War of 1812, they ended up fighting the American Government for their lands in what is known as the Creek War of 1836. They were forcible removed to Oklahoma later that year.

The Chickasaw Nation sold their claim to the land surrounded the Duck River Valley in 1837 and took all their possessions west of the Mississippi to merge with the Choctaw Nation.

The Cherokee Nation suffered the most from their forcible removal by President Jackson in 1838 in what can only be called for what it was a Death March. Of the 13,000 Cherokee's rounded up, over a third would die (over 4,000) from the thousand mile march west from starvation, disease, exposure to the elements and murder.

“I fought through the Civil War and have seen men shot to pieces and slaughtered by thousands, but the Cherokee removal was the cruelest work I ever knew.”

-Georgia Militiaman

They were given smallpox infected blankets to begin the march west, mostly on foot. They were charged the equivalent of twenty dollars a person to cross the Mississippi and many died from exposure waiting to cross. This sad chapter in American history can only be described as genocidal indifference.

It has been estimated that over 10 million Native Americans lived on the North American continent before the arrival of the white man, now less than a million remain scattered but not broken. The Native American Culture vs Manifest Destiny eventually lost but did not perish completely and is a testimony to the will and pride of a great people.

Cheyenne Anthem by Kansas

Native American Culture/Origins

While there is much controversy surrounding the origins of Native Americans, their culture demonstrated an advanced form of democracy that worked, while respecting nature and embracing all it had to offer.