The Hardships Endured by the Indian People by the American Imperialism

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Up until about 1871, all the Indians wanted to live was a life of freedom. During this time, the Indians desired most of all to keep the reigns on their culture and land. But of course, this was conflicting with most white Americans. Unfortunately, most American officials believed that the “freedom” the Indians held should be controlled and monitored by the government. They deemed it necessary that the Indians should just surrender most of their declared land and conform to Christian, American ways of life. By doing this, whatever little freedom the Indians felt they had, were being stripped away from them anyway. 

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The Indian people had their ways of life, in terms of culture, politics, and religious views; they did not want to conform to the ways the American officials demanded they should. However, in 1871, Congress removed the treaty system that was used during the revolutionary era, which was mandated by the federal government when they had originally agreed that the Indians were an independent nation. During this time, the federal government moved forward with Indian discrimination. They created boarding schools where Indian children would be placed away from their culture and families, to become Americanized by wearing non-Indian clothes, be given new names, and be educated in white ways. Later, in 1887, the Dawes Act was passed. This helped separate Indians to be known as individuals rather than members of tribes. After this Act was taken into effect, the Indians were still victims of settlers pouring into their land against their will, and they lost 86 million of the 138 million acres of land that were theirs. Years after, the Indians were offered the ability to gain American citizenship, but only if they left behind their ways of life and culture. What they would have to sacrifice to gain American citizenship was the only thing they wished to hold on to.

Josiah Strong was a Congregationalist clergyman. He was on a mission to renovate the concept of manifest destiny. With that being said, he was all for American Imperialism. He believed that Anglo-Saxons should spread their beliefs to what he called “inferior races” across the nation. He was very adamant that the economy would benefit from imperialism because the idea of civilizing what he called “savages” would turn them into consumers of American goods. What mostly separates Strong’s view on American Imperialism from Emilio Aguinaldo’s is that people must be civilized and the end goal would be that the Anglo-Saxon race would become the superior race. On the other hand, Emilio Aguinaldo was a Filipino leader, who differed from Strong right off the bat because he came from a different racial background. Contrasted to Strong, he was against American Imperialism. He knew that, unlike Anglo-Saxons, most Filipinos were not as wealthy or advantaged as many other Americans. He also knew that since he had the leader status that he did, he could use it for good and speak for his people. One of his goals was to fight against the Spaniards and to free the Philippines from the Spaniard colonists. Essentially, the two most likely felt as strong in their beliefs as the other did too; this is at least one thing they had in common. They both wanted what they thought was best for their people, even if from opposite views, they didn’t agree with the other. In a realistic aspect, I can see where both parties are coming from. I would have to side more with Aguinaldo and his beliefs because I also come from a background of a less advantaged people, and to have a leader speaking for their relative minorities would be a bit of a sigh of relief.   

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