1844 - A New Indian Country

A new bill sponsored by Stephen Douglas envisioned a new "Indian Territory' between the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails. This initiative demonstrates how 'out of touch' politicians were with the legal realities 'on the ground' as that territory was already owned by the plains Indians. Despite its promise to protect Indian lands and resources from white settlers, Congress never sent troops to fulfill its treaty obligations to the Plains Indians.

        U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas and Sen. David R. Atchison (Missouri) float a bill to set aside territory across the Great Plains as Indian Country.  Secretary of War William Wilkins, backs the bill.  Wilkins wants the Indians pushed north and south of the Platte to settle a central district through which would run the Santa Fe and Oregon trails.  Despite its great promise (or, perhaps because of it), the bill fails.


(for more on the new Indian Country in 1844, click here)