American Indians and State Law: Sovereignty, Race, and Citizenship, 1790-1880

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U of Nebraska Press, 2007 - History - 340 pages
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American Indians and State Law examines the history of state and territorial policies, laws, and judicial decisions pertaining to Native Americans from 1790 to 1880. Belying the common assumption that Indian policy and regulation in the United States were exclusively within the federal government's domain, the book reveals how states and territories extended their legislative and judicial authority over American Indians during this period. Deborah A. Rosen uses discussions of nationwide patterns, complemented by case studies focusing on New York, Georgia, New Mexico, Michigan, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Massachusetts, to demonstrate the decentralized nature of much of early American Indian policy.

This study details how state and territorial governments regulated American Indians and brought them into local criminal courts, as well as how Indians contested the actions of states and asserted tribal sovereignty. Assessing the racial conditions of incorporation into the American civic community, Rosen examines the ways in which state legislatures treated Indians as a distinct racial group, explores racial issues arising in state courts, and analyzes shifts in the rhetoric of race, culture, and political status during state constitutional conventions. She also describes the politics of Indian citizenship rights in the states and territories. Rosen concludes that state and territorial governments played an important role in extending direct rule over Indians and in defining the limits and the meaning of citizenship.

  

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Contents

Tribal Sovereignty and State Jurisdiction
19
The State Sovereignty Argument for Local Regulation
51
Race
81
Slavery the Law of Nationsand Racial Classification
83
Indians and Racial Discrimination
102
Debating Race Culture and Political Status
128
Citizenship
153
State Citizenship by Legislative Action
155
The Politics of Indian Citizenship
180
State Law and Direct Rule over Indians
202
Appendix
219
Notes
225
Bibliography
299
Index
327
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Page 13 - But the tribes of Indians inhabiting this country were fierce savages, whose occupation was war, and whose subsistence was drawn chiefly from the forest. To leave them in possession of their country, was to leave the country a wilderness...

About the author (2007)

Deborah A. Rosen is a professor of history at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. She is the author of Courts and Commerce: Gender, Law, and the Market Economy in Colonial New York and coeditor of Early American Indian Documents: Treaties and Laws, 1607?1789, volumes 15, 16, and 17.

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