Buffalo Bill Cody's Advertisement Analysis

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In nineteenth century America, Indians were commonly viewed as an inferior race and one that could be taken advantage of. There were, however, white Americans who thought differently, believing that Indians were almost if not as advanced as their white counterparts and that they had the ability to coexist with them. As some of the ideas of Indians being an “inferior race” progressed and were passed along via word of mouth, they began to form from a classic case of racism to full blown myths and awful savage lies used to frighten whites and portray Indians as something close to monsters. A common theory among white Americans during the nineteenth century was the idea of the “vanishing Indian.” It meant simply that because they were inferior …show more content…
Although Morgan appears to differentiate varying tribes into separate categories, he seemingly does so based on the tribes’ distance from white civilization. Therefore, Morgan was simply defining civilization as what he knew, not based on what actually worked for the Indians in that time period. Buffalo Bill Cody’s advertisement did not classify what whites had deemed as inferiority into civilizations, but, similarly to Morgan, into levels of savagery. While Colonel Cody is depicted in his advertisement as a regal and educated man, his Indian counterparts look like savages. They are nearly falling off their horses as they seem to attack harmless carriages making their way west. Not only that, but the Indians are depicted in little to no clothing, and while this was how Indians dressed when they were originally “discovered” by Columbus, at the time this document was painted Indians dressed in clothing very similar to White Americans. Furthermore, at the bottom of the advertisement there is writing that promises that what …show more content…
The journal that was published by the Northern Pacific Railroad showed ideas of Indian intelligence. Not only did the author have a clear bias in favor of the Indians, as displayed by his approval of their farming methods, but the author went above and beyond when it was distinctly stated that anyone in opposition to the author should probably take a look at the Indian’s advancement themselves. This article was likely not written simply to change people’s minds about the “inferiority” of Indians, but also to help with the Northern Pacific Railroad’s business which was located in the West. The less than pleasant rumors and theories about Indians, most specifically the Indians of the West, did not only hurt the targeted, they also had detrimental effects on the businesses and more liberal whites of the West. The idea that Indians were savage and dangerous caused a lot of Whites in the East to avoid moving West. This slowed down businesses, and hurt smaller western farming communities. The photograph of Joe Black Fox by Gertrude Käsebier depicts a very civilized looking Indian man. He wears what appears to be a robe, a collared shirt, and what appears to be an ascot while he smokes a cigarette. This man, fully clothed, was from the same tribe depicted by Buffalo Bill, and yet he appears to be light years ahead of them. These contrasting images show

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