Friday, May 09, 2014

Contract and Domination, part 1

Carole Pateman and Charles Mills', Contract and Domination, is a revelation:

"By the mid-eighteenth century the British were in need of alliances with the Native [what became American] nations because of the conflict with France. Indeed, a Proclamation in 1761 stated that the peace and security of the North American colonies depended on their friendship (Borrows 1997: 261 n 39). This was  followed by the crucial Royal Proclamation of 1763, issued at the end of the Seven Years' War. John Borrows argues that the Proclamation together with the Treaty of Niagara in 1764 reaffirmed Native sovereignty. In itself the Proclamation is ambiguous; it "uncomfortably straddled the contradictory aspirations of the Crown and First Nations." But it was also central to the Treaty negotiated between the Crown and about 25 Native nations, represented at Niagara by some 2,000 chiefs. The Treaty was sealed diplomatically by a two-row wampum belt signifying peace, friendship, and mutual non-interference in internal affairs; that is to say, the sovereignty of the Native parties was acknowledged. In the 1840s Native peoples in (what became) Canada still possessed copies of the Proclamation (Borrows 1997: 160).

The Crown had set in motion a process of colonization from which it did not withdraw. However, the colonists had different ideas about both imperium and dominium. In (what became) the United Staes the Royal Proclamation brought matters to a head. The British government was concerned about the settler's continued territorial expansion and its implications for alliances with Native nations. The Secretary of State wrote that the principle of informing British policy was that "invasion or occupation of [The Indians'] hunting lands" was to cease, and possession "is to be acquired by fair purchase only" (quoted in R. Williams 1990: 235).

The Proclamation reserve the lands beyond the eastern mountains to the Indian nations, and stated that:it is just and reasonable, and essential to our interest and the security of our colonies, that the several nations or tribes of Indians with whom we are connected, and who live under our protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the possession of such parts of our dominions or territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by us, are reserved to them or any of them, as their hunting grounds.

Anyone who had "either willfully or inadvertently seated themselves" in the reserved lands was "forthwith to remove themselves from such settlements." The Proclamations further laid down that if Indians wished to sell land it was to be purchased "only for us, in our name [i.e., the Crown] at some public meeting or assembly of the said Indians, to be held for that purpose by the Governor or commander in chief of our colony (reprinted in Commager 1868: 48-9). Such restrictions on expansion and appropriation of land were anathema to colonial elites and the Proclamation became a precipitating cause of the American Revolution."


Me again:  There was always a piece of the original Boston Tea Party that didn't make sense -- why did the colonists dress up like Indians? But if the British were making alliances with Indian Nations -- and one of the main motives of the American revolutionaries was to undo those alliances so that Indian lands could continue to be confiscated, then the Boston Tea Party may have been a false flag operation, designed to provoke a rupture in the British/Indian Nations alliance. Wow.

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