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Why did the Americans think Indians were savages?

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"Thorough savages and completely uncivilised" Explain why so many Americans held this view of the plains Indians Many Americans believed the plains Indians to be savages because of their life style. They have many different views on their land, religion, law and order and society. The harsh conditions of the Great Plains meant that both the new settlers and the Native Americans had to struggle to survive, and they fought hard against anyone who threatened their way of life. There was certainly little understanding between the various sides in the conflict. The conflict was seen as a 'clash of cultures'. The Native Americans felt that white Americans were devils who ruined the earth. Differences of culture caused them to hate and despise each other, and led to war. The white settlers believed that the Native Americans were inferior. Many white Americans believed in manifest destiny. They believed that white American people were destined to occupy and govern all the territories of North America and to take over the Plains. They took the land that Native Americans believed belonged to everyone. The Native Americans had different attitudes to religion than the white people. The Native Americans believed when you die you would go to the happy hunting grounds and believed the in the Great Spirit called the Wanken Tanka. ...read more.


Native Americans had totally different views on land than the white Americans did. The Native Americans respected land as it was there mother. They believed that by digging and farming it would be like taking a knife and tear her heart apart. 'You ask me to plough the ground! Shall I take a knife and tear my mothers' bosom?' and if you would harm nature, mother earth wouldn't have accepted you when you died. They thought cutting the grass would be like cutting the hair of your mother. They believed that land could not be bought or sold. It belongs to all living things. While the white Americans thought that land was for farming and owning land. They saw land as money and getting rich and thought the Native Americans where crazy not to use it. 'These people must die out,' Horace Greeley wrote, 'God has given this earth to those who will subdue and cultivate it.' Horace Greeley also despised the Native Americans for: '...sitting around the doors of their lodges at the height of the planting season', and said they were '...squalid and conceited, proud and worthless, lazy and lousy'. Society between the Native American and the white American where different because they did not understand each others beliefs so it didn't make sense on both sides why they believed in such things. ...read more.


The main aim in war was to stay alive, in order to care for the family (community spirit). The white Americans saw running away as being a coward. White soldiers saw surprise attack as deceit, scalping as barbarous and retreat as 'a total lack of courage'. 'The first impulse of the Indian,' wrote Colonel Dodge, '...is to scuttle away as fast as his legs will carry him ... there is one example of a fair stand-up fight.' The Native Americans saw war was based on ambush and skill (e.g. stealing a tied horse). The white Americans particularly hated horse stealing, because 'depriving a man of his horse could mean life itself on the Plains'. There were several reasons why Native Americans & white Americans didn't get on. The most important being is manifest destiny. I think this because the belief influenced many people to come to the United States and take over throwing out the Native Americans one by one. The Native Americans of course didn't like that and so everything led into war. "Thorough savages and completely uncivilised" The white Americans had this view on the Native Americans because of their totally different views on land, religion, law and order and society. Therefore I conclude why many white Americans had this view as they just didn't simply understand the way of life of the Native Americans. ...read more.

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