American Indian Treaties: The History of a Political Anomaly / Edition 1

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American Indian affairs are much in the public mind today—hotly contested debates over such issues as Indian fishing rights, land claims, and reservation gambling hold our attention. While the unique legal status of American Indians rests on the historical treaty relationship between Indian tribes and the federal government, until now there has been no comprehensive history of these treaties and their role in American life.

Francis Paul Prucha, a leading authority on the history of American Indian affairs, argues that the treaties were a political anomaly from the very beginning. The term "treaty" implies a contract between sovereign independent nations, yet Indians were always in a position of inequality and dependence as negotiators, a fact that complicates their current attempts to regain their rights and tribal sovereignty.

Prucha's impeccably researched book, based on a close analysis of every treaty, makes possible a thorough understanding of a legal dilemma whose legacy is so palpably felt today.

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Editorial Reviews

A history of the treaty relationship between Indian tribes and the federal government, and the role of treaties in American history. Prucha (history, Marquette U.) analyzes ratified and unratified treaties to show how treaties were negotiated, and discusses historical arguments for and against their use. He details the treaty system during various periods, chronicles the collapse of the treaty system, and considers 20th-century issues. Includes b&w photos, and appendices of various documents and agreements. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520208957
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 562
  • Sales rank: 825,976
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Francis Paul Prucha, S.J. is Professor Emeritus of History at Marquette University. Among his many books is The Indians in American Society: From the Revolutionary War to the Present (California, 1985).
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Abbreviations Used in Footnotes
Introduction: The Anomaly of Indian Treaties 1
1 The Revolutionary War Years 23
2 Treaties of Peace after the Revolution 41
3 Treaty-Making Procedures under the Constitution 67
4 Confirming the Procedures: Other Treaties in the 1790s 85
5 Testing the Treaty System: 1800 to the War of 1812 105
6 A Position of Dominance: The War of 1812 and After 129
7 Indian Removal and the Debate about Treaty-Making 156
8 The Removal Period in the North 183
9 Patterns in Treaty-Making 208
10 Treaties in the Expanding West 235
11 The Civil War Decade 261
12 The End of Treaty-Making 289
13 Treaty Substitutes 311
14 The Collapse of the Treaty System 334
15 Treaties in the New Century 361
16 Treaties before the Supreme Court 385
17 Treaty-Rights Activism 409
Appendix A. Treaty Documents and Their Promulgation 429
Appendix B. Ratified Indian Treaties 446
Appendix C. Ratified Agreements With Indian Tribes, 1872-1911 506
Appendix D. Unratified Treaties 517
Sources for the Study of American Indian Treaties 521
Index 539
Picture Credits 561
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