We returned to The Name of War, having considered the heady arguments for a social contract and in favor of independence from England. Lepore takes us through the changing presentations of natives into the 19th century. In doing so she does not give a single, simple account . Rather she allows us to enter into the debate and helps us to understand what was at stake.
Attending to the ways in which Euro-Americans changed their view of Natives in the midst of that debate and the developments that followed is salutary. The former colonists, eager to be independent, no longer identify themselves with the English; instead they compare the English to the Native people and judge both savage in their own ways.
Once free and now determined to demonstrate their superiority to the effete, enervated Europeans, the citizens of the new nation claim the virle, virtues of their neighbors. Like Edwin Forrest, they flipped the old view that Natives were only savage even as they were glad to have them removed further West. It is difficult to romanticize those who are close by, especially if they are potentially a threat. Here we see the opposite of the “good Samaritan” who became a neighbor by coming close. And yet we also find that some who opposed Indian Removal had views of Natives that might be rejected in our time.