Kansas MemoryKansas Memory

Kansas Historical SocietyKansas Historical Society

Thomas L. McKenney to James Barbour - Page

To order images and/or obtain permission to use them commercially, please contact the KSHS Reference Desk at KSHS.reference@ks.gov or 785-272-8681, ext. 117.

For more information see the Copyright and Permission FAQ.

Thomas McKenney, the current Superintendent of Indian Affairs, wrote this letter to James Barbour, Secretary of War, explaining the perceived success of the government's attempts to "civilize" Indian tribes. As part of this process of "civilization," the government believed that it was necessary for native groups to become assimilated into white American society by adopting white agricultural methods, Christianity, and other elements of European American culture. Thomas McKenney was a passionate proponent of this system, and so he included a transcription of a letter written by a Cherokee man named David Brown who describes how his people had adopted Christianity, a republican form of government, and other elements of white culture. According to McKenney, as well as many other white Americans during this time period, the "civilization" process had a positive effect on Native Americans. McKenney also advocated Indian removal, writing that "should they retain their present location [within the United States] they will, in the course of a few years, be lost as a race."

Creator: McKenney, Thomas Loraine, 1785-1859
Date: December 13, 1825

Bookbag Share Print

Thomas L. McKenney to James Barbour - 1Thomas L. McKenney to James Barbour - 2Thomas L. McKenney to James Barbour - 3Thomas L. McKenney to James Barbour - 4Thomas L. McKenney to James Barbour - 5Thomas L. McKenney to James Barbour - 6Thomas L. McKenney to James Barbour - 7

Thomas L. McKenney to James Barbour - 1

This letter is most useful as an explanation of the government's reasons for removal. It also explains the "civilization" process and why there were so many mission schools in Kansas. For classroom purposes use the first three paragraphs of scanned page 1 (page 15 of the original) and the long paragraph on pages 5 to 6 (page 20 of the original).

KS:7th:1.4:Indian Removal (2005)

Item Number: 210394
Call Number: U.S. Congress. House of Representatives. The Executive Documents. 19th Cong., 1st sess., 1824-1825. House Doc. 102. Serial 135.
KSHS Identifier: DaRT ID: 210394

Copyright © 2007-2020 - Kansas Historical Society - Contact Us
This website was developed in part with funding provided by the Information Network of Kansas.