By Lucy Maddox
This publication resituates a few accepted nineteenth-century texts in the context of public debates in regards to the position of yankee Indians within the civil and cultural associations of the recent American state. Rereading texts by way of Melville, Hawthorne, baby, Sedgwick, Thoreau, Fuller, and Parkman, Maddox demonstrates the pervasiveness of the anxieties produced via dialogue of "the Indian query" and exhibits how broadly they inspired the creation and reception of writing within the first 1/2 the century.
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Extra info for Removals: Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Politics of Indian Affairs
62 In 1842 the Democratic Review carried an attack on George H. Colton, author of a long poem titled Tecumseh, accusing him not only of writing badly but of choosing a wildly inappropriate subject for serious, mature poetry: And it may be legitimate in the literature of college compositions to inflate and embellish up to the dignity of the heroic the barren and brutal barbarism of savage character and life, but Mr. 63 Colton's poem was also reviewed by Emerson, in the Dial of July 1842. Emerson's reaction was almost exactly the opposite of that of the writer for the Democratic Review.
21 When Ralph Waldo Emerson lectured to his fellow citizens of Concord in 1835 on the history of their town, he addressed the subject of seventeenth-century relations between Indians and whites in ways that suggest that his reaction to the contemporary crisis in Indian-white relations was even more ambivalent than Hoffman's. Emerson spoke with approval of the efforts of the early settlers to civilize and christianize the Indians, but he also spoke of the sad failure of the whites to accomplish their objectives.
15 Morse's attitude toward native languages quickly became part of official government policy, as the Commissioners of Indian Affairs throughout the nineteenth century reiterated the necessity for establishing schools in which priority would be given to replacing the native languages of Indian children with English. "16 The fundamental question of the Indians' capacity for assimilation into white American society was usually contextualized by the almost universally shared assumption that there were only two options for the Indians: to become civilized, or to become extinct.