January 8, 2014

Abraham Lincoln's speech to 14 Indian chiefs: "We pale-faced people think that this world is a great round ball"

I would have liked to have seen Daniel Day-Lewis act out this White House scene.

From the Washington Daily Morning Chronicle, March 1863
The Executive Mansion was yesterday morning the scene of a very interesting ceremony. The Indian chiefs now in the city met the President of the United States and had a formal interview with him. ... These Indians are fine-looking men. They have all the hard and cruel lines in their faces which we might expect in savages; but they are evidently men of intelligence and force of character. They were both dignified and cordial in their manner, and listened to everything with great interest.  At half-past eleven the President entered the circle, and each one of the chiefs came forward and shook him by the hand, some of them adding a sort of salaam or salutation by spreading out the hands, and some contenting themselves with a simple shake of the hand and the inevitable `how' of the Indians of the Plains. The following is a list of the chiefs: 
Cheyennes.---Lean Bear, War Bonnet, and Standing Water.  Kiowais.---Yellow Buffalo, Lone Wolf, Yellow Wolf, White Bull, and Little Heart.  Arapahoes.---Spotted Wolf and Nevah.  Comanches.---Pricked Forehead and Ten Bears.  Apache.---Poor Bear.  Caddo.---Jacob. 
Mr. Commissioner Dole introduced them.  The President said: "Say to them I am very glad to see them, and if they have anything to say, it will afford me great pleasure to hear them."
Mr. Lincoln then gave the following speech: 
"You have all spoken of the strange sights you see here, among your pale-faced brethren; the very great number of people that you see; the big wigwams; the difference between our people and your own. But you have seen but a very small part of the palefaced people. You may wonder when I tell you that there are people here in this wigwam, now looking at you, who have come from other countries a great deal farther off than you have come. 
"We pale-faced people think that this world is a great, round ball, and we have people here of the pale-faced family who have come almost from the other side of it to represent their nations here and conduct their friendly intercourse with us, as you now come from your part of the round ball. 
Here a globe was introduced, and the President, laying his hand upon it, said: "One of our learned men will now explain to you our notions about this great ball, and show you where you live." 
Professor Henry then gave the delegation a detailed and interesting explanation of the formation of the earth, showing how much of it was water and how much was land; and pointing out the countries with which we had intercourse. He also showed them the position of Washington and that of their own country, from which they had come.  The President then said: 
"We have people now present from all parts of the globe---here, and here, and here. There is a great difference between this palefaced people and their red brethren, both as to numbers and the way in which they live. We know not whether your own situation is best for your race, but this is what has made the difference in our way of living. 
"The pale-faced people are numerous and prosperous because they cultivate the earth, produce bread, and depend upon the products of the earth rather than wild game for a subsistence.  This is the chief reason of the difference; but there is another.  Although we are now engaged in a great war between one another, we are not, as a race, so much disposed to fight and kill one another as our red brethren. 
"You have asked for my advice. I really am not capable of advising you whether, in the providence of the Great Spirit, who is the great Father of us all, it is best for you to maintain the habits and customs of your race, or adopt a new mode of life.  I can only say that I can see no way in which your race is to become as numerous and prosperous as the white race except by living as they do, by the cultivation of the earth. ..."

It's not terribly clear how much of this the Indian chiefs, none of whom spoke English and who spoke several different Indian languages, grasped. The translator rendered about a third of Lincoln's speech via sign language, which probably helped. (By the way, Lincoln addressing the Indian chiefs via a sign language interpreter who doesn't actually know any sign language sounds like it would make a pretty good Key & Peele sketch.)

Although Lincoln's White House speech to the Indian chiefs is quite obscure these days, I recognize it as perhaps the source of the ideology of the black and white Western movies that were always on TV when I was a small child. I recall that it was common for the cowboy hero to explain to his Indian captors just before they started torturing him to death that, sure, you Indians might outnumber me right now, but there are lots more pale-faces where I come from, and they're coming out West and you can't stop them all.

That kind of majoritarianism is highly out of fashion today, except when it comes to immigration politics and anything else where whites might wind up a minority and then it's all: There are hundreds of millions of us and we're coming and you can't stop us, nyah-nyah-nyah.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/asias-ultimate-nightmare-china-japan-war-9662

Grok it

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that there was a lot of Civil War politics entangled with this. Both the Union and the Confederacy wanted the Indians on their side.

The Confederacy got considerably more tribes then the Union, after all the Confederates could make the argument that they were fighting the same government. Toward the end the Confederacy granted some chiefs the equivalent position in the Confederate government of what would be a senator today. (I think they had also promised the Cherokee that they could become a Confederate state.)

The Commanche and Apache remained enemies of both. The Union Army abandoned the Texas Frontier and Texas militia had to struggle to replace them.

In some areas of the mid-west different tribes fought against one another on different sides.

The last Confederate general to surrender to the Union was actually one of the Indian "generals".

The Union Army, which had some reason to hate some of the Confederate tribes who they had been fighting, then, of course, embarked on the Plains Wars that finally crushed the last Indian holdouts.

Matthew said...

The speech is wonderful for its remarkable indifference to political correctness.

Consider how we cling to so many proclamations of our early leaders - Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln - then consider the utter rubbish often spouted by our modern-day leaders, which perhaps hit an all-time low when Bill Clinton stated - no, not 'It depends on what the definition of "is" is," or "I did not have sex with that woman," but this fucking jaw-dropper:

"Both candidates speak Spanish. I hope I will be the last President of the United States that doesn’t speak Spanish."

It's as if Winston Churchill had in 1940 proclaimed, "I hope I'm the last prime minister of England who doesn't speak German."

We cling to the pronouncements of our early leaders as wisdom from the ages, telling us who we were, are, and should aspire to be. Now it's hard to sift out the sincere from the attempt to flatter one wretched interest group or another.

Anonymous said...

"There are hundreds of millions of us and we're coming and you can't stop us, nyah-nyah-nyah."

Leftists believe the government to be omnicompetent, capable of solving every imaginable problem, no matter how large or seemingly intractable: racial inequality, sexual inequality, healthcare for all, quality education for all, complete and total gun control, you name it. The one thing it is not capable of doing is securing the borders and deporting illegal aliens. None of those other issues would surpass the government's constitutional authority or the citizens' right to privacy. Giving the government complete and total access to every single one of your medical records would not violate your privacy, but stopping a Hispanic man who speaks no English and asking him to provide proof of citizenship would be a gross and total violation of his rights.

Anonymous said...

In those days, believe it or not, politicians were actually respectable, good, intelligent, decent, educated and honorable men.

What went wrong in 150 years?

Dominique said...

But there is another aspect of it that shows great insights from Lincoln. The fact that Indians were gatherers hunters and the pale-faced people farmers was the definite reason why the Americans had to (convert or) kill all their red brethren : a land can’t serve two masters. Had the Indians been farmers, whites and reds would have get along much better.

Steve Sailer said...

That might have come as a surprise to Squanto.

Jerry said...

What went wrong in the last 150 years?

"Although we are now engaged in a great war between one another, we are not, as a race, so much disposed to fight and kill one another as our red
brethren."

So much for that. The West never recovered emotionally, psychologically, and morally from the slaughter of 1914-1945, and alas that includes America as the inheritor of Western European civilization. The best thing for the West now would be a savage and bloody war between two powerful Asian countries... I can think of two such pairings. But America is doing all it can to reduce the chance of such a war.

Reg C├Žsar said...

Where is the Washington Daily Morning Chronicle today, when we could use it?


In those days, believe it or not, politicians were actually respectable, good, intelligent, decent, educated and honorable men.
--anon

Funny, that's not how they described one another. Read the invective of the day.

Mr. Anon said...

"This is the chief reason of the difference; but there is another. Although we are now engaged in a great war between one another, we are not, as a race, so much disposed to fight and kill one another as our red brethren."

Lincoln really was a shameless liar, wasn't he. If those Indian chiefs could have been taken on a tour of the fields of battle of Shiloh, or Fredricksburg, or Waterloo, or Balaclava, they would have undoubtedly replied: "Great White Father with funny beard is full of shit".

Anonymous said...

Anon at 1:25: >>In those days, believe it or not, politicians were actually respectable, good, intelligent, decent, educated and honorable men.
What went wrong in 150 years?<<

I don't know, old Abe sounds exactly like a modern politician to me:

"...but there is another. Although we are now engaged in a great war between one another, we are not, as a race, so much disposed to fight and kill one another as our red brethren."

Anonymous said...

"Although we are now engaged in a great war between one another, we are not, as a race, so much disposed to fight and kill one another as our red brethren."

Clearly he didn't see what occurred in twentieth-century Europe.

Anonymous said...

"In those days, believe it or not, politicians were actually respectable, good, intelligent, decent, educated and honorable men.

What went wrong in 150 years?" - well, self evidently not all of them were respectable, good, decent, or honorable men.

Anonymous said...

What struck me was the repeated use of the term "pale-face" in a very formal address by the president of the United States. The past really is a different country!

Anonymous said...

"It depends on what the definition of "is" is"

There's absolutely nothing wrong with that quote. Maybe reading the context of that quote might help.

Also, while the Spanish thing is questionable, he might be talking about how he wishes for more worldly and educated presidential candidates. Part of that is knowing a foreign language. Spanish is the most obvious foreign language to learn.

Anonymous said...

If Lincoln could refer to White as "pale faces", and Indians as "Reds"; is "Redskins" for the Washington football team so bad?
Robert Hume

Anonymous said...

Dominique said..

"Had the Indians been farmers, whites and reds would have got along much better."

I definitely think you are on to something here. Hunter-gatherers require a vastly greater spatial area then farmers do. Three or four hundred thousand farmer-types would have taken up only a small area of the plains and western states. It was the nomadic, roaming nature of the Indian lifestyle that made clashes so much more likely.

Simon in London said...

It's an endearing and impressive speech. It makes me think men were better men, then.

RonMexico said...

Dominique said "But there is another aspect of it that shows great insights from Lincoln. The fact that Indians were gatherers hunters and the pale-faced people farmers was the definite reason why the Americans had to (convert or) kill all their red brethren : a land can’t serve two masters. Had the Indians been farmers, whites and reds would have get along much better."

Lincoln was speaking to Plains Indians and perhaps SW Indians here. The Eastern Indians did farm. Look where it got the Cherokee... A trail to a shit-hole. Lincoln should have included industry producing tools gave pale face a size alb advantage as well.

RonMexico said...

Anon 11:19 said "Also, while the Spanish thing is questionable, he might be talking about how he wishes for more worldly and educated presidential candidates. Part of that is knowing a foreign language. Spanish is the most obvious foreign language to learn."

Nah, Clinton just wished he could say some Spanish phrases to a nice looking Latina while he boned her from behind. Don't overthink Clinton.

Anonymous said...

The pale-faced people are numerous and prosperous because they cultivate the earth, produce bread, and depend upon the products of the earth rather than wild game for a subsistence.

This is 100% true – a culture that needs 10 archers per person is superior to a culture that needs 1000 archers per person – end of story.

In reality, this is not about genetic tribes, this clash is about different cultures – one culture being more life sustaining then the other. Ordinary people wanted to create farms without being murdered - that is not a bad thing. In the eyes of nature, people are people – each with a will to survive. The Indians needed 1000 archers per person – the farmers only 10 per person. Nature says that the 10 archer folks should prevail.

Taking into consideration the intellectual culture of those times - what happened was natural for our species. Measuring the past by today’s standards is just intellectually wrong and dishonest. Of course the pseudo-intellectual liberal culture of today wants to use the past as a club to shame Americans into submission to their power politics.

Anonymous said...

"Had the Indians been farmers, whites and reds would have got along much better."

I don't know about that. It may have resulted in larger and more frequent mass wars, rather than the skirmishes and raiding that characterized much of the fighting. It's not like agricultural populations don't war with each other. The biggest wars in history have been among agricultural populations.

Maxwell Power said...

I realize the (serious) background political and military considerations for the pow-wow, but couldn't help thinking, it's the story of holy-fool Close-The-Gap schemes in a nutshell. "Our way makes more sense than your way" etc.

If we just funded more midnight basketball/gave iPads to kindergartners/showed Indian chiefs where they are on a globe

Anonymous said...

"Stand Watie was a leader of the Cherokee Nation and a brigadier general of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He commanded the Confederate Indian cavalry of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi, made up mostly of Cherokee, Muskogee and Seminole, and was the final Confederate general in the field to surrender at war's end.

...a majority of the Cherokee Nation initially voted to support the Confederacy..."

Matthew said...

"It depends on what the definition of "is" is"

"There's absolutely nothing wrong with that quote. Maybe reading the context of that quote might help."

You mean there's nothing wrong with the quote besides the person who said it, and why. I'm not just talking about logic here. Logically, there's nothing wrong with saying "I did not have sex with that woman," either.

Anonymous said...

"Lincoln really was a shameless liar"

Yeah that may be true - but he lied for his own people, and not for the others.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

""Lincoln really was a shameless liar""

Yeah that may be true - but he lied for his own people, and not for the others."

Do you mean the 600,000 of his own people whom Lincoln sacrificed in the service of (depending how you chose to look at it) a.) some abstract ideal of "The Union", or b.) northern business interests?

pat said...

I would have liked to have seen Daniel Day-Lewis act out this White House scene.

I would have liked to see the movie Lincoln pull out his silver ax and go after the Indian vampires.

Albertosaurus

David said...

>I definitely think you are on to something here. Hunter-gatherers require a vastly greater spatial area then farmers do. Three or four hundred thousand farmer-types would have taken up only a small area of the plains and western states. It was the nomadic, roaming nature of the Indian lifestyle that made clashes so much more likely.<

Benjamin Franklin made this point in his Observations Concerning the Increase in Mankind, Peopling of Countries, etc. (1751, 1755), which Steve has referenced in the past.

Here's what Ben had to say.

"America is chiefly occupied by Indians, who subsist mostly by Hunting. — But as the Hunter, of all Men, requires the greatest Quantity of Land from whence to draw his Subsistence, (the Husbandman subsisting on much less, the Gardner on still less, and the Manufacturer requiring least of all), The Europeans found America as fully settled as it well could be by Hunters; yet these having large Tracks, were easily prevail’d on to part with Portions of Territory to the new Comers, who did not much interfere with the Natives in Hunting, and furnish’d them with many Things they wanted."

David said...

>http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/asias-ultimate-nightmare-china-japan-war-9662

Grok it<

With the WOT? (War On Terror?) petering out to its pathetic conclusion, being balked of Iran or even Syria, WWC is the next big thing. Count on it. Watch for it.

Little trial balloons are taking flight furtively here and there. For instance, we have the linked article above from "The National Interest," and I recently saw a straight news story on (apropos of nothing) "What would America do if China nuked part of our country?"

The faux-elites were starting to instigate some kind of Sino conflict 13 years ago, in the first edgy months of Bush's reign, but 9-11 intervened.

If I'm right, then what is the motive? It might be several-fold. 1. Shot in the arm for defense contractors. 2. Distraction of Americans from you name it (economic collapse, amnesty, mass political arrests, etc.). 3. The faux-elite must see many ways to squeeze money - and power - out of it. 4. "The American public needs the tonic of a serious moral adventure," as the New Republic announced 100 years ago, in reference to the question of whether the US should enter WWI.

I hope I'm wrong.

David said...

Actually, sorry, Franklin didn't make the exact same point: my mistake. But the basic situation was clear to him.

Anonymous said...

My High School primer on Cortez and his campaign to Mexico City/ the Aztecs specifically noted the the New World locals that Cortez met had a mythic legend of Whites coming across the eastern ocean.

It's now been revealed that MANY of the American natives were WELL familiar with Whites -- long before Columbus.

So, when the final wave of European settlers arrived -- it was in fulfilment of a nightmare that had haunted their culture for centuries.

The Solutrean theory is proving up with each passing year. It's toxic to the Indians as perpetual victims schtick.

As both Polynesians and Vikings showed, the oceans were highways even in primitive times.

As for the natives: their own myths commonly point back to Asia -- and a grand migration -- forever ago.

One bone of contention from 11,000 ybp: the Solutreans had already named all of the topology. Indeed, many of the 'Indian' names we still use may actually be 20,000 year-old names. Like boot-code, weird place names can hang on and on and on.



Mr. Anon said...

"David said...

>http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/asias-ultimate-nightmare-china-japan-war-9662

Grok it<

With the WOT? (War On Terror?) petering out to its pathetic conclusion, being balked of Iran or even Syria, WWC is the next big thing. Count on it. Watch for it."

If so, it proves how truly stupid is our hostile elite. Killing brown people in Trashcanistan is one thing. Arabs, Afghanis, none of them are existential threats to this country. But the Chinese could be. They are a serious, capable state with serious capability to do us harm.

Anonymous said...

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152077064504694&set=a.389231624693.171869.8422119693&type=1&theater

A bridge too fat. Making fun of homosexuals, out. Making fun of fat people, still in.

When will fat people come out of the refrigerator and stand up for their rights?

Anonymous said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/koch-backed-political-network-built-to-shield-donors-raised-400-million-in-2012-elections/2014/01/05/9e7cfd9a-719b-11e3-9389-09ef9944065e_story.html?hpid=z8

Of course, they have to shield donors.

If someone donates to the Libs and if the right raise a fuss about it, it's MCCARTHYISM!!!

If someone donates to the Cons and if the libs raise a fuss about it, it can lead to blacklisting, loss of business, tarring and feathering, and etc.

If you donate millions to the homo agenda, the Jewish-controlled media will support and protect you.

If you donate merely thousands to a pro-normal agenda, your business will be targeted, boycotts will be called, and the media will lambaste you.