Indian, Native American, Jefferson, Factory, Lewis, Clark, Knox, Policy


This work investigates the American-Indian policy between 1790 and 1810 through the vehicle of the American government, focusing on the 'white, sincere, religious-minded men who believed intensely in both American expansion and positive relations with the Indians.' While Indian reaction comprises an important piece of the native-white cultural encounter in the West, this study questions if scholars have the ability to address this problem in more than a very general way. In truth, each tribe was unique and different in their reaction to white legislation and settlement. There was no pan-Indian movement against settlement, and for the same reason, there is no pan-Indian history. However, it is possible to write of the white Americans as more of a single entity. They were closely united both in outlook and in goals. They had a single program which they meant to apply to all the Indians. This work will attempt to assess the piece of this policy regarding the fur trade and the Northwest. This study also links the Republican policies of Thomas Jefferson with the platforms of his federalist predecessors. Thorough investigation reveals choices in Western settlement were made by both government officials and settlers. Settlement of the Western frontier did not follow a predetermined path; private settlement and frontier violence were not predestined. Many junctures existed where it could have shifted. Lewis and Clark can be used as a case study with which to assess Jeffersonian policy. First, the men followed direct orders from Jefferson, instructed to act as the 'forward voice' of his anticipated policy. Second, the men recorded almost the entirety of the voyage, and thoroughly captured the initial contact between whites and natives. Moreover, this contact occurred in region without previous contact with whites. As such, the Lewis and Clark expedition affords a unique opportunity to eliminate some of the inherent biases which were amassed during the colonial period of contact, both with the British and the American colonies.


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Graduation Date



Sacher, John


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program









Release Date

May 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Included in

History Commons