Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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INDIAN TERRITORY, The, a portion of the public lands of the United States, not organized in preparation for becoming a state, but set aside as a residence for various Indian tribes.


—That consistent friend of the Indian, Jefferson, seems to have been the first to form the idea of transferring the Indian tribes across the Mississippi to the new acquisition of Louisiana. (See his proposed Louisiana amendment, CONSTITUTION, III.) This policy was carried out by various Indian treaties thereafter (see CHEROKEE CASE), and by the act of June 30, 1834; all the territory of the United States west of the Mississippi, and not included within Missouri, Louisiana or Arkansas, was to be "taken and deemed to be the Indian country." By another act of the same date a superintendent of Indian affairs was to be appointed, and no one was to trade or settle in the Indian country without his permission or that of one of his agents. The Indian country, or Indian territory, has since been diminished by the erection of various organized territories, until it now comprises the 68,891 square miles, bounded on the north by Kansas, east by Missouri and Arkansas, south by Texas, and west by the 100th meridian. The narrow strip of territory north of Texas, west of the 100th meridian, and east of New Mexico, has never been placed in any organized or unorganized territory by law.


—The capital of the Indian territory is Tahlequah, and the population is about 75,000. The leading tribes are the Cherokees (19,000), the Choctaws(16,000), the Creeks(14,000), and the Chickasaws (5,000), but there are a large number of smaller tribes. At the outbreak of the rebellion most of the tribes were divided in sympathy, and many of them formed treaties with the confederate states, but these were readmitted to their former privileges in 1865-6, slavery being abolished among them. In 1870 a convention at Ocmulgee formed a state government, with a governor; a senate composed of one member from each nation, or group of nations, having over 2,000 population; and a house of representatives, elected in the ratio of one representative to 1,000 population. This was rejected through the objections of the smaller tribes to the composition of the senate. Efforts have since been made to organize the Indian country as the territory of Oklahoma, but the Indians object to this step strongly, and congress has not yet taken it. In 1881-2 an organized expedition from southern Kansas, styling itself "the Oklahoma colony," made persistent efforts to settle in the Indian country, in defiance of the ancient prohibitions against settling there without the consent of the government; but they have as yet been intercepted and turned back by the army. The final breaking up of the Indian imperium in imperio will probably come through the agency of the treaties made by the Indians in 1866, by which they agreed to grant the right of way through their country to railroads. Interests were thus developed which almost immediately led congress to extend the revenue laws and taxation to all territory "within the bounds of the United States," although the treaties with the Indians guaranteed to them freedom from taxation. The supreme court has upheld the power of congress to thus change the treaties, and their final abrogation is evidently only a question of time.


—The act of June 30, 1834, is in 4 Stat. at Large, 729; in 2 Stat. at Large, 139, 146, will be found a summary of previous Indian acts, and supreme court decisions thereon.


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