Excerpt from Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father of Indian Removal
By Mark Hirsch (historian in the Research Unit of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.)http://westgatehouse.com/art263.html
"As Lewis and Clark explored the West, Jeffers...on began hammering out a policy for acquiring lands from tribes living east of the Mississippi. The plan rested on alternately encouraging, cajoling, bribing, tricking and pressuring Indians into signing treaties that ceded tribal lands to the United States.
Jefferson first instructed his agents to persuade Indians to adopt agriculture. That new way of life, the agents explained, would require less land than hunting. With no need for their vast forests, the Indians were encouraged to sell their uncultivated territories for 25 cents per acre, the profits of which Indian farmers could use to purchase agricultural tools and manufactured goods. To stimulate Indian consumerism, Jefferson increased the number of government trading houses located near Native villages, arguing publicly that the establishments enabled Indians to share in the fruits of white "civilization." But it was a ploy. His real motive, he confided in 1803, was to lure Indians into spending themselves into debt, obligations that would be paid off through the sale of tribal lands. "
"Jefferson suggested that if the various Indian nations could be encouraged to purchase goods on credit, they would likely fall into debt, which they could relieve through the sale of lands to the government."
"To promote this disposition to exchange lands, which they have to spare and we want, for necessaries, which we have to spare and they want, we shall push our trading uses, and be glad to see the good and influential individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when these debts get beyond what the individuals can pay, they become willing to lop them off by a cession of lands." - Thomas Jefferson