Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory

Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory

In May 1830, the United States formally launched a policy to expel Native Americans from the East to territories west of the Mississippi River. Justified as a humanitarian enterprise, the undertaking was to be systematic and rational, overseen by Washington’s small but growing bureaucracy. But as the policy unfolded over the next decade, thousands of Native Americans died under the federal government’s auspices, and thousands of others lost their possessions and homelands in an orgy of fraud, intimidation, and violence. Unworthy Republic reveals how expulsion became national policy and describes the chaotic and deadly results of the operation to deport 80,000 men, women, and children.

Drawing on firsthand accounts and the voluminous records produced by the federal government, Saunt’s deeply researched book argues that Indian Removal, as advocates of the policy called it, was not an inevitable chapter in U.S. expansion across the continent. Rather, it was a fiercely contested political act designed to secure new lands for the expansion of slavery and to consolidate the power of the southern states. Indigenous peoples fought relentlessly against the policy, while many U.S. citizens insisted that it was a betrayal of the nation’s values. When Congress passed the act by a razor-thin margin, it authorized one of the first state-sponsored mass deportations in the modern era, marking a turning point for native peoples and for the United States.

In telling this gripping story, Saunt shows how the politics and economics of white supremacy lay at the heart of the expulsion of Native Americans, how corruption, greed, and administrative indifference and incompetence contributed to the debacle of its implementation, and how the consequences still resonate today.

Title:Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780393609844
Format Type:

    Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory Reviews

  • William2

    This book is appropriately enraging. If you’ve read Killers of the Flower Moon then you might like this book. Flower Moon is about the shakedown by white grifters of Osage Indians in the early 20th ...

  • Mehrsa

    Since I finished this book a few weeks ago, I cannot stop talking about it and thinking about. This one is a must-read for every American. You think you know about Native American dispossession. I act...

  • Libby

    This is an excellent study of the dispossession of Native Americans, mainly during the 1830s, but covering the political and economic landscape shortly before and after those years. The author, Claudi...

  • Jake

    So, in the 1800's there was this genocidal maniac President of the United States named Andrew Jackson (god bless America, his portrait is once again hanging in the white house {and he was very handsom...

  • Pete

    i will admit that i have an intellectual kink for history books that, in eyebrow-frying detail, lay out how completely the USA is founded on greed hate and hardheartedness. yUnworthy Republic is prett...

  • Keith

    This was a book that I dreaded reading. The title says it all, it is the story BEHIND the "trail of tears" that we have all "peripherally" studied in our reading of history. It is the story of the rem...

  • Robert Wechsler

    This book tells what should be an incredible story, but is instead as American a story as one can get. Paternalistic (often faux paternalistic) racism is only one part of the story. Greed, bureaucrati...

  • Leo Walsh

    I love history, especially when it illuminates a part of our collective pasts I have only a passing acquaintance with. But like most Americans, I was fed a line of bull through high school, a history ...

  • James Bechtel

    A first-rate history in all ways. The 1830s mass dispossession/deportation/expulsion of indigenous Americans west of the Mississippi River was the war the Southerners won. Yet, it was not inevitable. ...

  • Benjamin

    Except for "The New Jim Crow," this was by far the most infuriating thing I read all year. This history is just so brutal and so heart-breaking. Even though I knew the ultimate outcome of the Native A...