...The treatment of the Indians by 19th-century settlers (and governments, and generals) is something we could argue about all night. I know all the wrongs that were done, and don't need to be told. I've read Blood Meridian and seen Soldier Blue. Personally, I have a clear and uncomplicated attitude to the whole business. The white man took North America from the Indians, by means frequently foul. As a result, we have a civilized nation here, with laws and legislatures, with libraries and hospitals, with colleges and police departments and TV talk shows and orthodontists and supermarkets and second-hand bookstores and gun clubs and lawns and swimming pools. If the thing had not happened, North America would be vegetating in barbarism, as it did for the previous several millennia, with none of the above. I like the above, all of them. I don't want to live in a society with no law but blood revenge, with no medicine or sanitation, with no books or computers, with a 30-something median lifespan, with a famine every five years, with ritual public torture, human sacrifice and chronic tribal warfare. Far as I am concerned, civilization is the bee's knees, and barbarism stinks. Yes, I know how it was done, and I can't say I altogether approve. But it was done, and I am glad it was done.
When anyone tried to push the "noble barbarian" line on the unfoxable Samuel Johnson, he had a sharp retort for them: "Don't cant in defense of savages." Same answer here.
Okay: ( some quick googling by history junkieCollapse )