The War of 1812


Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and part of Wisconsin. Conflict over the Northwest Territory was inevitable. The Treaty of Paris had acknowledged that the territory belonged to the United States, but those lands were occupied by Native American tribes that did not feel bound by a treaty that had been signed by their British allies without their agreement. In addition, Britain wanted control over the western fur trade and did not honor its treaty obligations to turn over its posts at Detroit, Michilimackinac, and Niagara. These remained a source of sanctuary and supplies for the Native Americans. In November and December 1786, a general council of Indians met near Detroit, creating a federation of the Shawnee, Miami, and Kickapoo tribes. The Miami Confederacy agreed that they would only recognize American purchases of Indian lands if all the tribes of the new federation approved them. The U.S. Congress stated its own claim to the territory in July 1787. The Northwest Ordinance reaffirmed American ownership of the territo- ry and created a process for establishing new states through white settle- ment. The ordinance claimed that Native American land would not be taken without the Indians’ consent except in a “just and lawful” war. However, it did not recognize the authority of the Miami Confederacy to confirm treaties. Between 1784 and 1786, American commissioners had negotiated treaties for eastern and southern Ohio with small groups of Indians. The Miami Confederacy did not recognize those treaties as legal. Following the passage of the Northwest Ordinance, Congress began selling Ohio land that was still claimed by the tribes of the Miami Confederacy. Native Americans who saw the Ohio River as the boundary between the American and Indian territories were prepared to fight to defend their right to the land. They were encouraged by British authorities, who thought it was important to maintain their alliance with the Indians. The British also wanted an Indian buffer state that could protect Canada’s western boundaries from American encroachment. Indian resistance was answered by raids by the American army against Indian towns along the Ohio, escalating into a major Indian war in the winter of 1789. Problems in the Old Northwest were solved for a short time after

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