This essay will examine the hostile, violent, inhumane, and unconstitutional efforts of the United States government in dealing with the American Indians during the westward expansion from 1877 to 1900s. During this time the US government attempted to contain, control and assimilate the Indians through warfare, treaties, and the reservation system.
The concept of white superiority and an ethnocentric view was based upon application of Social Darwinism which support the idea and belief that white civilization and culture was superior to that of the Indians. Americans began encountering the Indians more frequently as people began to follow their dreams westward. American theorist Fredrick Jackson Turner believed that it was the American Frontier that distinguished America from other nations. He described the frontier as both a place and a process because in conjunction to being a physical place the frontier was a series of advancement . It is important to understand this idea in order to understand the American relentless drive to move west. The concept of Manifest Destiny and writings of Turner encouraged settlers to move west which created a direct and inherent conflict between the settlers aided by the government and the American Indians who resided within those lands. This conflict led to the severe mistreatment of the Indians in the expansion into “The West”.
Before 1851 federal policymakers considered the region west of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota and