Gilded Age: Does Real Freedom Exist?

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Does “Real” Freedom Exist? The answer is vague, depending on whom you ask. During the Gilded Age (from 1870 to 1890) in the West, Native Americans and the government had different views and it’s clear that there’s inequality. Native Americans did not have real freedom as the government claimed because they did not have the same rights as American citizens. Real freedom is not based on how you look, what you believe, and where you used to reside. As the first Americans, Indians should’ve been given freedom as white Americans. The identity of American Indians was frowned upon by Anglo-Americans. Different as they may seem, they’re still human beings who should have been granted citizenship. According to Eric Foner, “Many laws and treaties in …show more content…
This is precisely evident in the Dawes Act 1887 which was passed to “encourage adoption of white norms among Indians; broke up tribal holdings into small farms for Indian families, with the remainder sold to white purchasers” (Foner A-46). In other words, Anglo-Americans were not letting the Indians do what they want. They were being “controlled” in many ways in order to be more civilized. It’s difficult to imagine sending your child to a school only to change everything about them. It’s unthinkable to do something like that especially to younger ones because they’re not as mature as their parents. And that’s what happened in Carlisle Boarding School. Children of varying ages were being transformed into someone totally different from who they were before attending. However, it’s contrary to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, “Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion…” (224). Native Americans’ culture is part of who they are because it’s a combination of their language, religion, identity, and history. Although this was passed way before this happened to the Indians; it’s similar to what the Bill of Rights says. Americans shouldn’t take away anyone’s rights because of their …show more content…
It’s bad enough if they were denied citizenship if they were actually immigrants. However, it’s worse because they have lived there even before Anglo-Americans settled in American soil. In his speech, Chief Joseph of Nez Percé entreated, “ Treat all men alike…Give them the same law…Let me be a free man—free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to…think and talk and act for myself” (Foner 611). Chief Joseph’s point is clear and simple. He wants the same rights as everybody else for himself and his people. They didn’t even have access to their original territory because the government moved them to a reservation in another state. Regarding the reservations, Carlos Montezuma himself writes, “…our people did not act without the consent...did not express themselves without the approval…and they did not dare to think, for that would be to rival the Superintendent” (Montezuma, 94). Basically, Montezuma is warning how they have to suffer and deal as an Indian community in a small piece of land where their privileges were taken away. His argument is that they’re not free people and have no independence from the government who’s taking over them. These are rights as a human being; sadly, they couldn’t even do anything without permission. It’s a contradiction to the meaning of

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