Summary Of Lewis Cass 'Removal Of The Indians'

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In Lewis Cass' "Removal of the Indians" article, Cass writes: THE destiny of the Indians, who inhabit the cultivated portions of the territory of the United States, or who occupy positions immediately upon their borders, has long been a subject of deep solicitude to the American government and people. Time, while it adds to the embarrassments and distress of this part of our population, adds also to the interest which their condition excites, and to the difficulties attending a satisfactory solution of the question of their eventual disposal, which must soon pass sub judice... (Cass) Cass refers to the plight of the Native American as one of "destiny," and goes on to explain the Native American's fading out of existence is due to lack of…show more content…
In 1830 he began collecting human craniums, expressing an interest in racial science and phrenology, a pseudoscience involving the comparing of skulls from different ethnic groups in order to rank races from least to most evolved. Taking measurements of skulls was a method by which those in the field of phrenology could identify intellectual capacities and character traits of the races. Eventually, Morton would gather the largest collection of skulls in North America, accumulating over 1,000 human skulls. In 1839 the first published work by Morton on the subject was Crania Americana, or, a Comparative View of the Skulls of Various Aboriginal Nations of North and South America. Morton's findings were that all Native Americans were descended from a common ancestry distinctly different from Old World European races. Morton claimed differing cranial capacities among races which led him to a conclusion that the intelligence of races could be measured and that they were indeed different. According to Morton, Mongolians and Caucasians possessed the highest intelligence while Native Americans and Ethiopians were the least intelligent of the races (Morton). Additionally, George Combe, a fellow phrenologist and founder of the Phrenological Society of Edinburgh, supported Morton's findings in his 1828 publication, The Constitution of Man. Combe concluded that the capacity for intelligence is passed down through hereditary descent (xvi). The results of the phrenological studies in the 1800s were used as evidence of savagery existing in Native Americans. Morton and Combe's work was well received by the elite scientific community, including Harvard naturalist, Louis Agassiz (Morton). Phrenology is one example of the ethnocentric views of the period that led to subsequent actions taken concerning the Native Americans. Rather than help willing Native Americans and

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