This 1872 painting by John Gast called "American Progress" depicts romantic nationalism of the time, also known as Manifest Destiny. It can also be seen in the quotes below.

Nice Day for a Genocide: Shocking Quotes on Indians by U.S. Leaders, Pt. 2

ICTMN Staff
7/17/13

These quotes about Indians from American leaders span from 1823 to 1889.

Check out Part 1 here.

Chief Justice John Marshall, Johnson and Graham’s Lessee v. William M’Intosh, 1823

“The tribes of Indians inhabiting this country were fierce savages, whose occupations was war, and whose subsistence was drawn chiefly from the forest… That law which regulates, and ought to regulate in general, the relations between the conqueror and conquered was incapable of application to a people under such circumstances… Discovery gave an exclusive right to extinguish the Indian title of occupancy, either by purchase or by conquest.”

Chief Justice John Marshall (Wikipedia)

President Andrew Jackson, in his fifth annual message, December 3, 1833

“They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement which are essential to any favorable change in their condition. Established in the midst of another and a superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority or seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances and ere long disappear.”

Andrew Jackson (Wikipedia)

General Philip Henry Sheridan, 1869

“The only good Indians I ever saw were dead."

General Philip Sheridan (Wikipedia)

Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1887

“This language which is good enough for a white man or a black man ought to be good enough for the red man. It is also believed that teaching an Indian youth in his own barbarous dialect is a positive detriment to him. The impractibility, if not impossibility, of civilizing the Indians of this country in any other tongue than our own would seem obvious.”

Theodore Roosevelt, The Winning of the West, Vol. I. 1889

“Nowadays we undoubtedly ought to break up the great Indian reservations, disregard the tribal governments, allot the land in severalty (with, however, only a limited power of alienation), and treat the Indians as we do other citizens, with certain exceptions, for their sakes as well as ours.”

Theodore Roosevelt, The Winning of the West, Vol. I. 1889

“The settler and pioneer have at bottom had justice on their side; this great continent could not have been kept as nothing but a game preserve for squalid savages. Moreover, to the most oppressed Indian nations the whites often acted as a protection, or, at least, they deferred instead of hastening their fate.”

Theodore Roosevelt (Wikipedia)

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indianmedicine's picture
indianmedicine
Submitted by indianmedicine on
If you read the "sanitized history" of these men; and then compare these presentations of quotes - you will understand the brevity of any wisdom they claim to have had............................................................................................ ........................................................................................................................... It is with great disappointment that I read Theodore Roosevelt's quote, as he is held in high esteem in European Man's History & as a Champion of the nation................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................ If any have studied Political Science, and Psychology of Men - you would know that there is a Give & Take Requirement to accomplish anything in Politic; however these words attributed to them; would nullify any term of "Friend of The Red People" or Treaties negotiated in "Good Faith" with their name as giving anything in good faith and trust........................................................... ........................................................................................................................... If you look at Quotes by many "Red Chiefs",they attacked what was done; and not the personal character of a race as these "Men of politic".................... ............................................................................................................................ These Men, were simple Opportunists, and Shallow as men may come in "Spirit"; and were never a friend to not only The Red People; but the Common People of this Nation......................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................. I certainly not would not brag about having them as an Ancestor in my Family Tree, for their words shame themselves and relatives with dishonor & being a hypocrite.............................................................................................................. .............................................................................................................................. Too personaly "attack" their individual character would lower us to their level and caliber of men; so we shall just look upon them as the men they are - nothing.................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................... It's sad that History must lie about them as it does; otherwise they would never be in any Annuals used to Teach our Children................................................. ...............................................................................................................................

James Tolliver
James Tolliver
Submitted by James Tolliver on
To Indianmedicine I registered at this site so I could respond to your comments on this article. I think what you said is thought provoking and compelling and I’d like to expand on a few of your comments and would hope to exchange ideas with you and others of like mind because at this late date in OUR troubled world, we need to work together to fix the problems instead of fixing the blame. To me, that shows the same positive attitude that was shown by “many “Red Chiefs” who attacked what was done and not the personal character of a race as these men of politics.” “I certainly would not brag about having them as an Ancestor in my Family Tree, for their words shame themselves and relatives with dishonor & being a hypocrite.” Boy, that one hit close to home because cousin of mine told me one of our great-great-grandfathers was a part President Jackson’s administration and had a part in starting Natives on one the first of what would become many “Trails of Tears.” I’ve found nothing that supports what I was told but if anyone can find out if Lemuel F. Lloyd did have such a role I would like to know. It would sadden me, yes, but I do take heart in the FACT that one of Lemuel’s grandsons married a woman whose ancestors walked that first trail which brings a little beauty and healing. But again, I can’t apologize or take responsibility for what was done; that’s fixing the blame and we’re here to fix the problem. I skipped over your comments on Theodore Roosevelt because I have a lot to say. What you said was pretty mild; almost generous and what I want to add about him is darker and includes many of his “esteemed contemporaries.” Some of the beliefs they held were dangerous then and today they could come back. Please stay tuned. Finally, the only thing I can say about those comments made by the founding fathers in part one of this article is…and again, I’m not apologizing for or excusing the inexcusable, but these men weren’t perfect. And they knew they weren’t perfect and they knew the world wasn’t perfect but they gave us a means to achieve that perfection through the Constitution. The first three words of the Constitution, “We the People,” in 1783 did not include the Natives. It did not include blacks whether they were freedmen or slaves. It took years of debate, legislation, court decisions and a major civil war before the black people were part of “We the People” and it wasn’t until 1924 when the real Founders of this land became citizens of the U.S. My bringing the Constitution to this discussion isn’t the only solution but we can work with it to further the ideals of a more perfect union if we do it knowing there is no justice until there is justice for all and that there is no freedom until everybody is free. I bring it to the table along with my pledge to help fix the problem(s) not just because I think perfecting our rights and freedoms under the constitution is the only way toward achieving what we all want. It’s not the only answer. I bring the Constitution to the table because I think it’s in grave danger and we need everybody’s help to protect it. Respectfully.

Rhonda Davis
Rhonda Davis
Submitted by Rhonda Davis on
Wow, I just found this site today, and as much as I love learning history, I've never been exposed to the statements in the articles I've read on these men that have been so revered in our history books...but what should I expect!

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
There is no changing the past, but we should stay vigilant for those who would still do Native people harm (politically, financially and culturally) for their own profit. It's no secret that Conservatives in the U.S. are always holding up "the founding fathers" as great examples of what it means to be American. Few of them know the REAL history behind their idols and I sometimes wonder if any of them would care. They claim that the U.S. was founded on equal right, but how many of them know that the majority of the founding fathers were slave owners? So, ". . . all men are created equal," meant all White men are created equal. Those haughtly beliefs didn't call for giving freedom to their slaves, nor did it keep them from hunting Indians and wiping them out whenever possible. George Washington started a genocide against the Iroquois and Abraham Lincoln (the Republican sweetheart) presided over the largest mass execution in the U.S. They were 39 Sioux medicine men and Chiefs who lived on land the Whites wanted. This nation wasn't built on freedom for all. It was built on hypocrisy.

2late2matter's picture
2late2matter
Submitted by 2late2matter on
Historically, inter-tribal warfare was waged long before Europeans came to the continent and revisionist suggestion that aggressive settlers alone were to blame for ensuing hostilities is disingenuous and the stuff of propaganda. Quoting only from the soldiers, leaders and politicians gives the false appearance that the Natives were totally free of any guilt or revulsion is hypocritical. Just as slavery was not "new" to humanity when Africans were brought to the colonies, nor was tribal warfare and the tortures and killings that ensued new to the Native Americans.
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