Migration and American Land
American history has many bloody and controversial pages, and one of them is the battle for the land. Representatives of different social groups had different approaches towards the land because all of them believed that the land belonged to them and wanted to use it in accordance with their desires (Foner Voices of Freedom 282). It is true because many of the conflicts between European settlers in America and American Indians were based on the issues associated with land. It is true as the natives had it, but the Europeans also wanted to possess the land. Despite the fact that the settlers purchased the land from the natives, the natives did not understand the content of the contract, which led to difference of the views regarding the issue.
The impact of Europeans and American natives having different thoughts about what meant to buy and own land led to conflicts. More to say, the presence of diseases, slavery, and warfare affected the ownership of Native American land as Europeans were constantly increasing in number. Therefore, the purpose of the paper is to illustrate the migration and land in detail by enumerating on how Native Americans, settlers, women, and men looked at land differently. It is perceived that there are those who observed that land was a hardship, and there are those who wanted to protect their sacred spaces (Foner Give Me Liberty 34). Essentially, it is clear that the purpose of the paper is based on the primary documents, namely “Appeal of the Cherokee Nation”.
Land, the Native Americans, Settlers, Women, and Men
Settlers perceived that the Native Americans were socially and genetically inferior and felt that suppressing and removing them from their lands was justified. It was not any easy task as the Native Americans had struggled to preserve their communities and food source in the face of mass migration and disruption. Unfortunately, by the end of the 19th century, the prosperous native cultures were deteriorating, and settlers had dominated the west side. In the “Appeal of the Cherokee Nation”, it entails that “the Native Americans saw land as a sum of its users and shared resources whereas Europeans perceived that land was private” (Foner Voices of Freedom 200). The implication here is that the American Natives owned what they made with their hands, but the Europeans did not accumulate goods but shared tools and other possessions. Mostly, it could be pointed out that land rights were complicated because the natives believed that one could own a land on which his property stood.
In the 19th century, women were looked at as autonomous beings that made the settlers view them differently. As a result, settlers introduced women to sewing as part of their assimilation and men to farming. Both men and women of Native Americans were taught to moral standards for the intention of training Native Americans to accept the entity of individual ownership and to restructure their society. Foner writes, “Women believed that they owned land because they farmed on it” (Voices of Freedom 203). Therefore, women can be looked at as essential individuals because they had an enormous impact in America, especially on the issue of land.
The implication here is that the 19th century was a complicated time because each party perceived that they were right. The American history entails that people could claim an exclusive right over a particular territory for hunting rights, but different individuals could use the same river for fishing rights. Essentially, the Native people did not claim the land, but rather the things that were on the land seasonally (Foner Give Me Liberty 44-47). Evidently, it meant that the Native Americans, women and men, wanted to protect their sacred spaces on the land. On the other hand, the settlers looked at the land as a hardship, hence the reason they wanted to own it and use if for their needs.
Settlers had different perceptions about land as compared to the natives as they perceived land as a commodity, and ownership was determined by formal means. Settlers purchased land from the Native Americans, and they termed the deal as a full transfer of rights. Men who bought the land had the right to sell it to any individual and use it for any purpose. On the other hand, the Natives did not understand the term of the contract and hence the outcome of conflicts. As Foner writes, “The conflicts came out because settlers who were purchasing the land did not know the rightful owner of the land” (Voices of Freedom 200). The reason was also that the Native Americans were hunters, and hence, being denied to farm and hunt their land generated many conflicts.
Moreover, the settlers never took the natives’ land in a forceful manner, but instead they encouraged them to convert to Christianity and live in permanent settlements. The conflicts were witnessed when the settlers decided to settle on the land that the natives used to hunting for their food and where they were to farm. The fact that settlers wanted the citizens to break their ancestral lands and become farmers was against their traditions, as doing what was asked of them would be a negative entity to their communities. Foner states, “The result of the settlers needs led to the inclusion of the government” (Voices of Freedom 201). The government took upon themselves to assimilate the natives, which further increased the conflict. Essentially, the insinuation is that the issue of land generated many challenges for settlers, the American natives, women, and men as well.
The outcome of migration in the 19th century is that the Native Americans became the victim of the land struggles. It is true as they were dominated, manipulated, and mistreated by the population of the settlers who tried to remove them off their land. The Native Americans could be perceived as being naïve of what was going on because they held the land communally as it belonged to the entire tribe and protected by the community. Furthermore, plants and animals on the land were perceived to be holding spiritual and religious meaning, and hence, the reason they did not want to give up on the land (Foner Give Me Liberty 12-25). As a result, the Native Americans approached the whites who came to their land with suspicion; however, they still accepted them and did not oppose them from coming.
Even more, they tried to cooperate with the new government and did not want to launch the conflicts over the land. After they were fooled by the government and realized that they could lose more of their territories and remain mistreated by the officials, they appealed to the community and whites to point out the injustice. The Native Americans appealed to the settlers that they wished to remain on the land of our fathers. The rationale offered by the natives was that they had a perfect and original right to remain without interruption or molestation (Foner Give Me Liberty 77-85). Then, they spoke about being fooled by the government and losing their rightful land. Thus, it shows that the Native Americans viewed American land as their home, and they had a right to do so.
Settlers compensated the Native Americans to toil for them, which was the reason they had wanted to reside serenely with them. The settlers also wanted to trade with them, but they were aware that a combat would arise. The above paragraphs bring about that the Native Americans and the settlers had a diverse outlook about land. Indeed, it was a momentous dispute based on the point of view that their dissimilarity on land has never wholly been settled to date. It is true, as their diversity was not solved for a number of years. Settlers assumed that possessing land was an indication of prosperity and political supremacy.
The Native Americans perceived that no one could own land, but believed that any person could use the land. The natives assumed that any individual could farm on the land, but the perspective of buying and owning the land was never in their thoughts. Therefore, it can be concluded that their way of living is what kept the natives in unity. The natives understood nature, and hence, they permitted it to prosper. On the other hand, the settlers wanted to buy their land and own the land, which was contrary to the Natives’ believes. The outcome of the differences led to conflicts among the immigrants and the natives. It can be perceived that the settlers had never seen huge junks of land with no owner, and hence, they opted to own them to benefit their desires.
From my perspective, I can say that land in America has generated both positive and negative impacts on women and men, the Native Americans and settlers. It is true because now both parties are learned, and their collaboration is what has made the United States of America a leading country in agriculture. Therefore, although the American Natives tried to maintain peaceful and healthy relations with the government, they were determined to fight for their land and did not want to be fooled anymore or to lose their territories. The Natives tried to fight the government with its tools. The rationale was that they regarded themselves as equal citizens of the USA who wanted to have the same rights and respect as whites.