In Thomas Jefferson's time, white Americans were bedeviled by a moral dilemma unyeilding to reason and sentiment: what to do about the presence of black slaves and free Indians. That Jefferson was himself caught between his own soaring rhetoric and private behaviour toward blacks has long been known. But the tortured duality of his attitude toward Indians is only now being unearthed. In this text, the author offers a tour of discovery to unexplored regions of Jefferson's mind. There, the bookish Enlightenment scholar - collector of Indian vocabularies, excavator of ancient burial mounds, chronicler of the eloquence of America's native peoples, and mourner of their tragic fate - sits uncomfortably close to Jefferson the imperialist and architect of Indian removal. Impelled by necessity of expanding his agrarian republic, he became adept at putting a philosophical gloss on his policy of encroachment, threats of war, and forced land cessions - a policy that led, eventually, to cultural genocide.
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(225mm x 147mm x 27mm)
The Belknap Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
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Author Biography - Anthony F. C. Wallace
Anthony F. C. Wallace is University Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, at the University of Pennsylvania, winner of the Bancroft Prize in American history for his book Rockdale, and the author of The Death and Rebirth of the Seneca and The Long, Bitter Trail.