Tag Archives: Tecumseh

Show respect to all people, but grovel to none… Tecumseh

The Indian chief as tragic hero : native resistance and the literatures of America, from Moctezuma to Tecumseh Gordon M. Sayre Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c 2005 Softcover. x, 357 p. : ill., geneal. tables ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [319]-341) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG

King (Metacomet) Philip, Sachem of the Wampanoags, d. 1676, full length, standing at treaty table with white men

King (Metacomet) Philip, Sachem of the Wampanoags, d. 1676, full length, standing at treaty table with white men

The leaders of anticolonial wars of resistance – Metacom, Pontiac, Tecumseh, and Cuauhtemoc – spread fear across the frontiers of North America. Yet once defeated, these men became iconic martyrs for postcolonial national identity in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. By the early 1800s a craze arose for Indian tragedy on the U.S. stage, such as John Augustus Stone’s Metamora, and for Indian biographies as national historiography, such as the writings of Benjamin Drake, Francis Parkman, and William Apess.

William Campbell and Indians by a fire; possibly related to Pontiac's Conspiracy.

William Campbell and Indians by a fire; possibly related to Pontiac’s Conspiracy.

With chapters on seven major resistance struggles, including the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and the Natchez Massacre of 1729, The Indian Chief as Tragic Hero offers an analysis of not only the tragedies and epics written about these leaders, but also their own speeches and strategies, as recorded in archival sources and narratives by adversaries including Hernán Cortés, Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz, Joseph Doddridge, Robert Rogers, and William Henry Harrison.

Print shows Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee Prophet, and Tecumseh, with other Natives and tipis in the background.

Print shows Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee Prophet, and Tecumseh, with other Natives and tipis in the background.

Sayre concludes that these tragedies and epics about Native resistance laid the foundation for revolutionary culture and historiography in the three modern nations of North America, and that, at odds with the trope of the complaisant “vanishing Indian,” these leaders presented colonizers with a cathartic reproof of past injustices.

Statue of Cuitlahuac [i.e. Cuauhtemoc] Paseo de la Reforma.

Statue of Cuitlahuac [i.e. Cuauhtemoc] Paseo de la Reforma.

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Whereas the Catalogue of miseries and afflictions, with which it has pleased the Supreme Being of the Universe to visit the inhabitants of the earth there are none more truly awful and destructive than Earthquakes … The inhabitants of the late District now County of New Madrid, in this Territory, have lately been visited with several calamities of this kind, which have deluged large portions of their country and involved in the greatest distress many families, whilst others have been entirely ruined … In the opinion of the said General Assembly provisions ought to be made by law for or cashiered to the said inhabitants relief, either out of the public fund or in some other way as may can meet to the cost demand availability of the General Government.

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That plea by William Clark – later of Lewis and Clark – is thought by many to be the first disaster relief appeal in United States history. On the one hand nothing of this sort had been experience since the first colonists arrived but on the other there was absolutely no precedent for such relief to be provided by the central government and in those last days of liberty the Linnean Society and the Shaker community took care of their own, the government did not encourage too close a look at the event for fear of scaring off settlers and the nation received an extra impetus to push farther west. There have been subsequent earthquakes in the area – none of the magnitude of the 1812 event – and the area has gone from prairie to densely populated. It is on a fault line – there are shifting plates in the area – the question is not if but when and if it happens in the lifetime of this nation you will be sure that dollars from the central government will flow even if they burn out the presses printing them.

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The big one: the  earthquake that rocked early America and  helped create a science Boston: Houghton  Mifflin, c 2004 Jake Page and Charles Officer Earthquakes New Madrid  Seismic Zone Hardcover. 1st. ed. and  printing. xii, 239 p.: ill.; 22 cm. Includes index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

In the early 1800s a series of gargantuan earth tremors seized the American frontier. Tremendous roars and flashes of eerie light accompanied huge spouts of water and gas. Six-foot-high waterfalls appeared in the Mississippi River, thousands of trees exploded, and some 1,500 people – in what was then a sparsely populated wilderness – were killed. A region the size of Texas, centered in Missouri and Arkansas, was rent apart, and the tremors reached as far as Montreal. Forget the 1906 earthquake – this set of quakes constituted the Big One.

The United States would face certain catastrophe if such quakes occurred again. Could they? The answer lies in seismology, a science that is still coming to grips with the Big One.

Jake Page and Charles Officer rely on compelling historical accounts and the latest scientific findings to tell a fascinating, long-forgotten story in which the naturalist John James Audubon, the Shawnee chief Tecumseh, scientists, and charlatans all play roles. Whether describing devastating earthquakes or a dire year in a young nation, The Big One offers astounding breadth and drama.

Comments Off on Whereas the Catalogue of miseries and afflictions, with which it has pleased the Supreme Being of the Universe to visit the inhabitants of the earth there are none more truly awful and destructive than Earthquakes … The inhabitants of the late District now County of New Madrid, in this Territory, have lately been visited with several calamities of this kind, which have deluged large portions of their country and involved in the greatest distress many families, whilst others have been entirely ruined … In the opinion of the said General Assembly provisions ought to be made by law for or cashiered to the said inhabitants relief, either out of the public fund or in some other way as may can meet to the cost demand availability of the General Government.

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