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View Diary: David Barton subject of scathing NPR piece--and has his latest book taken off shelves (216 comments)

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  •  Good point, but not the first treaty (1+ / 0-)
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    Various treaties were negotiated with Indian tribes during the Confederation and early Constitution period.  Although George Washington did not regard Indians as civilized in the same way that Europeans were, he insisted that these treaties have the same legal status.  From his address to the Congress on this point in September, 1789:

    "It doubtless is important that all treaties and compacts formed by the United States with other nations, whether civilized or not, should be made with caution and executed with fidelity.

    It is said to be the general understanding and practice of nations, as a check on the mistakes and indiscretions of ministers or commissioners, not to consider any treaty negotiated and signed by such officers as final and conclusive until ratified by the sovereign or government from whom they derive their powers. This practice has been adopted by the United States respecting their treaties with European nations, and I am inclined to think it would be advisable to observe it in the conduct of our treaties with the Indians; for though such treaties, being on their part made by their chiefs or rulers, need not be ratified by them, yet, being formed on our part by the agency of subordinate officers, it seems to be both prudent and reasonable that their acts should not be binding on the nation until approved and ratified by the Government. It strikes me that this point should be well considered and settled, so that our national proceedings in this respect may become uniform and be directed by fixed and stable principles."

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