Use this primary source text to explore key historical events.
- These Primary Sources are rooted in a larger discussion of power and what justifies claim to the land within the American continent, which can be explored in The Battle of Fallen Timbers Narrative.
King George III issued The Royal Proclamation of 1763 (commonly referred to as the Proclamation of 1763) after Great Britain’s victory in the French and Indian War. The proclamation outlawed settlement on Native American land west of the Appalachian Mountains. The proclamation was issued from London, England (no American Indians were consulted in its creation) and colonists were angered by this proclamation from afar. They continued their westward expansion into these lands despite the proclamation’s terms.
After the Revolutionary War, the new American government inherited the problem of reconciling a just policy toward American Indians and their citizens’ thirst for western expansion. The Creek Nation occupied extensive territory in what is today eastern Georgia, northern Florida, Alabama, and eastern Mississippi. After several failed negotiations, the leaders of the Creek, including Chief Alexander McGillivray, traveled to New York and signed the Treaty of New York. The treaty guaranteed Creek land as a sovereign foreign nation.
Georgians were angry that the treaty limited their western settlement, and they resented the federal government telling them what to do. Because the federal government did not have the troops to enforce the treaty, it was routinely violated.
- Who issued the Proclamation of 1763?
- What did this Proclamation outlaw?
- Who traveled to New York to sign the Treaty of New York?
- What did this treaty guarantee?
- Why did Georgians resent the terms of the Treaty of New York?
Document A: The Proclamation of 1763 (excerpts)
|And We do further declare it to be Our Royal Will and Pleasure, for the present as aforesaid, to reserve under our Sovereignty, Protection, and Dominion, for the use of the said Indians, all the Lands and Territories not included within the Limits of Our said Three new Governments, or within the Limits of the Territory granted to the Hudson’s Bay Company, as also all the Lands and Territories lying to the Westward of the Sources of the Rivers which fall into the Sea from the West and North West as aforesaid. . . .
|And. We do further strictly enjoin and require all Persons whatever who have either wilfully or inadvertently seated themselves upon any Lands within the Countries above described. or upon any other Lands which, not having been ceded to or purchased by Us, are still reserved to the said Indians as aforesaid, forthwith to remove themselves from such Settlements.
|And whereas great Frauds and Abuses have been committed in purchasing Lands of the Indians, to the great Prejudice of our Interests. and to the great Dissatisfaction of the said Indians: In order, therefore, to prevent such Irregularities for the future, and to the end that the Indians may be convinced of our Justice and determined Resolution to remove all reasonable Cause of Discontent, We do. with the Advice of our Privy Council strictly enjoin and require. that no private Person do presume to make any purchase from the said Indians of any Lands reserved to the said Indians, within those parts of our Colonies where, We have thought proper to allow Settlement: but that. if at any Time any of the Said Indians should be inclined to dispose of the said Lands, the same shall be Purchased only for Us, in our Name, 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.
- What does this paragraph require those living on Native American land to do?
- What actions does this treaty propose to ensure no further “frauds and irregularities” in purchasing land?
Document B: The Treaty of New York, 1790 (excerpts)
|A Treaty of Peace and Friendship made and concluded between the President of the United States of America, on the Part and Behalf of the said States, and the undersigned Kings, Chiefs, and Warriors of the Creek Nation of Indians, or the Part and Behalf of the said Nation.
THE parties being desirous of establishing permanent peace and friendship between the United States and the said Creek Nation, and the citizens and members thereof, and to remove the causes of war by ascertaining their limits, and making other necessary, just and friendly arrangements: The President of the United States, by Henry Knox, Secretary for the Department of War, whom he hath constituted with full powers for these purposes, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States, and the Creek Nation, by the undersigned Kings, Chiefs and Warriors, representing the said nation, have agreed to the following articles.
|ARTICLE I. There shall be perpetual peace and friendship between all the citizens of the United States of America, and all the individuals, towns and tribes of the Upper, Middle and Lower Creeks and Semanolies composing the Creek nation of Indians.
|sovereign (n): supreme ruler
|ARTICLE II. The undersigned Kings, Chiefs and Warriors, for themselves and all parts of the Creek Nation within the limits of the United States, do acknowledge themselves, and the said parts of the Creek nation, to be under the protection of the United States of America, and of no other sovereign whosoever; and they also stipulate that the said Creek Nation will not hold any treaty with an individual State, or with individuals of any State. . . .
|ARTICLE IV. The boundary between the citizens of the United States and the Creek Nation is, and shall be, from where the old line strikes the river Savannah; thence up the said river to a place on the most northern branch of the same, commonly called the Keowee, where a north east line to be drawn from the top of the Occunna mountain shall intersect; thence along the said line in a south-west direction to Tupelo river; thence to the top of the Currahee mountain; thence to the head or source of the main south branch of the Oconee river, called the Appalachee; thence down the middle of the said main south branch and river Oconee, to its confluence with the Oakmulgee, which form the river Altamaha; and thence down the middle of the said Altamaha to the old line on the said river, and thence along the said old line to the river St. Mary’s.
And in order to preclude forever all disputes relatively to the head or source of the main south branch of the river Oconee, at the place where it shall be intersected by the line aforesaid, from the Currahee mountain, the same shall be ascertained by an able surveyor on the part of the United States, who shall be assisted by three old citizens of Georgia, who may be appointed by the Governor of the said state, and three old Creek chiefs, to be appointed by the said nation; and the said surveyor, citizens and chiefs shall assemble for this purpose, on the first day of October, one thousand one hundred and ninety-one, at the Rock Landing on the said rigor Oconee, and thence proceed to ascertain the said head or source of the main south branch of the said river, at the place where It shall be intersected by the line aforesaid, to be drawn from the Currahee mountain. And in order that the said boundary shall be rendered distinct and well known, it shall be marked by a line of felled trees at least twenty feet wide, and the trees chopped on each side from the said Currahee mountain, to the head or source of the said main south branch of the Oconee river, and thence down the margin of the said main south branch and river Oconee for the distance of twenty miles, or as much farther as may be necessary to mark distinctly the said boundary. And in order to extinguish forever all claims of the Creek nation, or any part thereof, to any of the land lying to the northward and eastward of the boundary herein described, it is hereby agreed, in addition to the considerations heretofore made for the said land, that the United States will cause certain valuable Indian goods now in the state of Georgia, to be delivered to the said Creek nation; and the said United States will also cause the sum of one thousand and five hundred dollars to be paid annually to the said Creek nation. And the undersigned Kings, Chiefs and Warriors, do hereby for themselves and the whole Creek nation, their heirs and descendants, for the considerations above-mentioned, release, quit claim, relinquish and cede, all the land to the northward and eastward of the boundary herein described.
|ARTICLE V. The United States solemnly guarantee to the Creek Nation, all their lands within the limits of the United States to the westward and southward of the boundary described in the preceding article.
|ARTICLE VI. If any citizen of the United States, or other person not being an Indian, shall attempt to settle on any of the Creeks lands, such person shall forfeit the protection of the United States, and the Creeks may punish him or not, as they please.
|ARTICLE VII. No citizen or inhabitant of the United States shall attempt to hunt or destroy the game on the Creek lands: Nor shall any such citizen or inhabitant go into the Creek country, without a passport first obtained from the Governor of some one of the United States, or the officer of the troops of the United States commanding at the nearest military post on the frontiers, or such other person as the President of the United States may, from time to time, authorize to grant the same. . . .
|ARTICLE XI. The Creeks shall give notice to the citizens of the United States of any designs, which they may know or suspect to be formed in any neighboring tribe, or by any person whatever, against the peace and interests of the United States.
|husbandry (n): the care, cultivation, and breeding of crops and animals
|ARTICLE XII. That the Creek nation may be led to a greater degree of civilization, and to become herdsmen and cultivators, instead of remaining in a state of hunters, the United States will from time to time furnish gratuitously the said nation with useful domestic animals and implements of husbandry. And further to assist the said nation in so desirable a pursuit, and at the same time to establish a certain mode of communication, the United States will send such, and so many persons to reside in said nation as they may judge proper, and not exceeding four in number, who shall qualify themselves to act as interpreters. These persons shall have lands assigned them by the Creeks for cultivation, for themselves and their successors in office. . . .
|ARTICLE XIII. All animosities for past grievances shall henceforth cease; and the contracting parties will carry the foregoing treaty into full execution, with all good faith and sincerity.
- Who are the two parties agreeing to this treaty?
- What are the goals for this treaty?
- Who negotiated this treaty for the United States?
- According to Article II, what was the relationship between the Creek Nation and the United States?
- According to Article II, what was the relationship between the Creek Nation and individual states?
- What measures would be taken to ensure that the boundary of the Oconee River is fairly decided?
- How would the boundary be marked?
- What did the United States agree to do in exchange for recognizing this boundary?
- What did the Creek Nation agree to do in exchange for recognizing this boundary?
- What would happen if a U.S. citizen settled on Creek land?
- What must a U.S. citizen have done to enter into Creek country? What is a modern parallel to this?
- Summarize Article XI in your own words.
- What is implied by the phrase “may be led to a greater degree of civilization”?
- According to Article XII, what type of society is preferable?
- According to Article XII, what will the United States provide to the Creek Nation to support this?
Historical Reasoning Questions
- How are these treaties similar?
- How are they different?
- How has the relationship between American settlers and Native Americans changed between 1763 and 1790? How has it stayed the same?
- Proclamation of 1763 http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/proc1763.asp
- Treaty of New York http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/cre1790.asp#art13