James Madison and Benevolent Assimilation


November is Native American Heritage month. The following is one of a series of historic Presidential quotes on Native American rights and the political relations between the United States government and the first nations of this continent.

Fair warning: Most of these statements are not nice and, at times, can be difficult to read. They also make excellent starting points for a research paper.

The following is the list of objectives James Madison gives for his time in office – note the contrast.


Indulging no passions which trespass on the rights or the repose of other nations, it has been the true glory of the United States to cultivate peace by observing justice, and to entitle themselves to the respect of the nations at war by fulfilling their neutral obligations with the most scrupulous impartiality. If there be candor in the world, the truth of these assertions will not be questioned; posterity at least will do justice to them.”

To cherish peace and friendly intercourse with all nations having correspondent dispositions; to maintain sincere neutrality toward belligerent nations; to prefer in all cases amicable discussion and reasonable accommodation of differences…”

“…to foster a spirit of independence too just to invade the rights of others, too proud to surrender our own, too liberal to indulge unworthy prejudices ourselves and too elevated not to look down upon them in others…”

“…debts; to keep within the requisite limits a standing military force, always remembering that an armed and trained militia is the firmest bulwark of republics—that without standing armies their liberty can never be in danger, nor with large ones safe…”

“…to carry on the benevolent plans which have been so meritoriously applied to the conversion of our aboriginal neighbors from the degradation and wretchedness of savage life to a participation of the improvements of which the human mind and manners are susceptible in a civilized state….”

United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches by United States. Presidents.

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