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Engines of DiplomacyIndian Trading Factories and the Negotiation of American Empire$
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David Andrew Nichols

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469626895

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469626895.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Civilization versus Commerce

Civilization versus Commerce

(p.151) 8 Civilization versus Commerce
Engines of Diplomacy

David Andrew Nichols

University of North Carolina Press

In an effort to shore up Congressional support for the factory system, Superintendent Thomas McKenney made a strong effort to link it to the U.S. government's Indian “civilization” program. With support from private missionary societies, McKenney pressed Congress to enlarge the factory system and use its profits to finance Indian schools. The factories, he argued, would protect Native Americans from whiskey-peddling traders and encourage them to undertake peaceful pursuits, while mission schools would train their children in farming and other civilized arts. McKenney ran into multiple and collectively insurmountable obstacles: a well-connected private trading company, John Astor's American Fur Company; a changing view of commerce—that trade promoted not peaceful habits but competition; and a financial recession that caused Congress to embrace austerity measures. Congress agreed to create an Indian school system, under the Civilization Act of 1819, but separated it from the factory system, which it viewed as obsolete and expendable, and closed in 1822.

Keywords:   Astor, Benton, Civilization Act, McKenney, School

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