Mistreatment of Indians: Did The Founding Fathers Mistreat Them? It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Tune in today as we answer your question about our the Founding Fathers relationship to the Indians, and were the Indians people whom we should respect more than our Founding Fathers? This, and so much more, right here on WallBuilders Live!
Air Date: 03/16/2017
Guests: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
- WallBuilders | American historical events, founding fathers, historical documents, books, videos, CDs, tapes, David Barton’s speaking schedule.
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
President Thomas Jefferson said, “ I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves. And if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
A Founding Fathers quote out of the mouth of babes will give a hint to our longtime listeners, they know that means this is Foundations of Freedom Thursday! For those of you that are new listeners that means we’re going to be diving into some foundational principles and taking your questions.
This is WallBuilders Live, the intersection of faith and the culture. Where we’re talking about these hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always looking at it from Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
But Thursdays are a special day of the week where we take your questions and we go directly to those constitutional, foundational principles, and perspective and apply it.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premiere historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also Tim Barton with us today national speaker, pastor, and president of WallBuilders. And my name’s Rick Green. I’m a former Texas state rep.
Find out more about us at our websites WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com, a wealth of information at both websites and they’re new. So go check them out!
David, Tim, it’s always fun on Thursdays to get these questions because we’re always talking about these different areas of the culture and the Constitution but it’s fun to let the audience kind of drive the conversation on Thursdays.
Questions Are The Best Way To Learn
Well, when I speak in places the part I enjoy most is the question and answer at the end. That tells me what people are thinking and the culture, what’s going on, what’s being said, and what’s being talked about. You really get good practical application when you start getting questions and answers. That’s what I enjoy about Foundation of Freedom Thursdays, people start asking questions that give you a good practical application. But it also shows you what’s going on out in the culture.
Yeah, I was going to say that it gives you a really good sense for that kind of the vibe and the pulse of the culture. When we have interns in the summer and I get to talk to them about, “Hey, what do your professors say related to this issue when you’re in college? What do you know about this?” Based on what they are able to tell me what they’ve heard from their professors at their university and what they emphasizem, it gives me a really good indication of what we need to start focusing on maybe for millennials for the next year.
Because if this is what they’re hearing what we want to make sure they’re equipped to defend against some of that line of reasoning and logic. So it does give you a really good pulse for what we’re dealing with in culture.
It almost gives you an idea of where the other side is. What are they focused on? Because then that drives the questions that we get.
Even Jesus Asked Lots Of Questions
Yeah it is. But in some ways you don’t want to be driven by what the opposition does. You want to create your own offense and put them on defense. So, I like the questions, but some of the ways you handle that is by by equipping our people to go back at the other side. You do not have to answer every question they ask.
You can ask them a lot of questions. Tim and I’ve been looking recently at Jesus. I think we’ve found 337 questions that Jesus asked. If I asked a preacher how many questions you think Jesus asked I bet the answer would be purely double digits. Maybe 30 -50.
Even if we were going to stick up and defend pastors, that’s between four gospels. So let’s say we divide that number in four, that’s still 80 or 90 questions a Gospel that we’re talking about.
So you’re right, most Christians, even pastors wouldn’t come up more than a dozen maybe two dozen, but certainly not the 80 or 90 on average that you would find throughout the Gospels.
That is one of the tools that Jesus used very effectively was asking questions and for some reason conservatives felt like they are obliged to answer questions rather than ask them.
Let me back up and say, I don’t think it’s just conservatives necessarily. Although, conservatives, we’ve been told to get in our place. I think it’s really also an indication of the education system.
We’re used to fostering an environment that said, “We should ask questions. Because we want to make sure people are digging for truth. What is the truth? We want to get to the truth of the matter, the heart of the matter.” And today, it’s really we’re promoting an agenda.
We Need To Be Trained To Think Again
If your view lines up with the agenda then you’re given the right to speak. If your view doesn’t line up with the agenda then you don’t have a right to speak. But we don’t think anymore. We’re not trained to ask questions, to have that apologetic notion of what is truth.
I think this is cultural in general. Most people don’t know how to ask questions. But the Conservative / Liberal, the difference is, if you’re a Liberal you’re promoted or you’re encouraged to promote your view. If you’re Conservative you’re encouraged to shut up and sit in the corner and mind your own business and stay out of the way. But nobody really knows how to ask questions anymore.
If you do ask a question and it scares me, do I get a safe place?
Questions Guide The Flow Of The Conversation
Yeah, you get that snowflake award, is what you get for that. See, this goes back literally decades. Probably 25 years ago in California there was a state senator, H.L. Richardson who did an excellent job.
He had a series called, Confrontational Politics. He said, “The way that the left has moved forward so fast-” and this is back before Republicans were an endangered species in California. He said, “What happens is you get into debates and what they do is they run the debate by asking you questions. So they’ll ask you a question, and while you’re thinking of the answer they’re not listening to your answer they’re thinking the next question to ask you.”
And so they’ll say, “When did you stop beating your wife?” And you’ll go, “I didn’t beat- ” and so you get that answered. “How long have you had this problem?”
And you’ll go, “I didn’t beat- ” and so you get that answered. “How long have you had this problem?”
“How long have you had this problem?”
“I don’t have-” And you know, they don’t even care about the answers. They ask questions to lead you to a conclusion that causes people to reach certain thoughts about you. That’s something we have not done is ask questions and guide the conversation.
Not even just guiding it, to try to force them to a certain conclusion necessarily, even if we’re searching for truth. But it’s a point that you can use questions to your advantage, whether I’m trying to take you from A all the way to X. Y, and Z, or if we’re just having an honest conversation. “Well tell me why do you honestly believe that?” Questions are an incredible tool that utilized whether I’m trying to lead someone somewhere or just to have a genuine conversation get to know someone trying to understand the heart of where they’re coming from. Questions are things that we ought to utilize more.
“Well tell me, why do you honestly believe that?”
Questions are an incredible tool that utilized whether I’m trying to lead someone somewhere or just to have a genuine conversation get to know someone trying to understand the heart of where they’re coming from. Questions are things that we ought to utilize more.
We’re going to take a quick break and we’re going to bring some of those questions to you. In fact, Sean gets the first question. Will be reading his question when we come back. So stay with us. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live!
Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our states and of the United States asserts that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know. But it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.
Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. It’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders’ library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
We call it the QuickStart guide to the Constitution because in just a few hours through these videos you will learn the Citizen’s Guide to America’s Constitution. You’ll learn what you need to do to help save our Constitutional Republic. It’s fun! It’s entertaining! And it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at WallBuilders.com.
Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our Country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday today. We’re taking your questions and we’re not going to run to our safe space. Well, I might run to mine, but David and Tim will still answer the questions.
Hey, Rick, let me clear up something from the last segment, too. I was somewhat using questions to lead people to where we want to go. I don’t mean that in the sense of manipulation. I mean in the sense of leading them to truth. What we always want to do is help them find the truth, get the historical truth, the Biblical truth, and the political truth.
We Are Those Who Still Believe In Truth
We are that rare minority in America who believes there is actually truth. So, part of our objective is to lead people to the truth and not just manipulate them. The examples I gave of the Liberals and Dems they use questions to manipulate and to lead you into where they want you to look goofy.
We use questions to help you discover the truth and find the truth. Maybe things you haven’t thought about or maybe to set you on a way of thinking that lead you to the truth.
So we are leading them somewhere, but toward the truth, not just so they’ll embrace our position. If we want to be individuals that pursue truth we have to be willing to be open and say, “If I’m wrong, I want to be right. So what’s truth? Let’s find truth.” But if everybody is as honest and open in pursuing truth, culture would be in a lot different place than we are today, because it’s so much agenda driven and not truth driven.
Keep Pursuing Truth, Even If It Proves You Wrong
Let me say with that, although truth is kind of an endangered species today, you’re at the point where only two out of three Americans believe there is absolute, moral truth. I believe this moral truth because I think the Bible is very clear on that.
Having said that, there’s a great passage in 2 Thessalonians that says, “Because they did not love the truth.”
You have to have a love for the truth and if you do that, that means you’re going to have to look in the mirror sometimes and say, “You know what, I’ve got that dead wrong. That was my mistake. My bad, I own it. I’m going to change.”
One of the things I’ve done for a number of years is when people correct me if they’re right I’ll say, “You’re right.” And I’ll change things. We have a 25-year history of if we’ve come out with something and somebody points out we’re wrong we’ll admit it and we’ll go back and change it. We’ll put out a different article or correction.
Wait a minute, you mean you’re not perfect? You’ve made a mistake before?
A whole bunch of times.
That’s it. I’m out of here.
Yeah, you perfect people, you’re hard to live with at times.
I appreciate that about you too. That’s that desire to seek truth even if we’ve had bad information or just made a silly mistake or whatever. I want somebody to ask the questions that are pointed out to me.
I don’t just want to seek truth, I want to love truth. So that when it hits me, even if it slaps me in the face and says, “You’ve been wrong for 10 years.” I want to love it so much that I’m willing to make that change.
The consequences in 2nd Thessalonians is because they did not love the truth. They believed a lie and were damned. If you stop loving the truth as hard as it may be and as confrontational as it may be in your own life at times, if you don’t love it then you’re going to get misled. You’re going to get into deception You’re going to do something really stupid that is going to cause you some serious consequences. You don’t want that.
Did The Founding Fathers Have Good Morals
We’re going to talk about truth. We’re going to answer questions, and use questions to get us the truth. But you got to have a love of the truth when you hear this. And I know what the question is you’re going to ask. Our answer is going to be totally politically incorrect. But the deal is, go back and see, look at truth. Look at history and see what’s right.
One other thing before we get to the actual question. Tim and I teach it at Patriot Academy we always tell them, “It’s not about winning arguments, it’s about seeking truth.” That’s such a different mindset.
Like you said at the beginning, in this political world, let’s just argue, argue, argue. If you can win the argument you won the day. If you win the debate you won the day. Instead of actually seeking truth.
And when you bring people together, our system is supposed to be built on that. The deliberative process is to seek that truth through those questions through that debate and reasoning together. So you know same for our listeners, we encourage our listeners, seek truth. Don’t just win the argument. Seek out the truth, as you just said David, love that truth.
So I’m going to ask the question real quick, and we’ll take a break and come back and give you guys a chance to answer. First question comes from Sean Coontz and it says, “I really appreciate you answering my continued questions.” Because he’s had a couple that we’ve done on the program.
“Here’s the latest. I was talking with someone and said that we need to return to the values of the Founding Fathers and the government as they intended. Her reply was that the Founding Fathers did not have good morals because of how they treated the Indians. The Indians were minding their own business and we should look to them for our values. What would you answer?”
So, question about the Founding Fathers relationship to the Indians, and did the Indians have better values than the Founding Fathers themselves? Stay with us folks. Answers to those questions when we return to WallBuilders Live!
Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”
Moment From America’s History
This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. The teachings of God’s Word are the best friend civil government has. Because these teachings deal with the heart. Only by dealing with the heart can crime be prevented. For as Jesus explained in Matthew 5 all crime comes from the heart.
Understanding this, Daniel Webster, the great defender of the Constitution once declared, “The cultivation of the religious sentiment represses licentiousness. It inspires respect for law and order and gives strength to the whole social fabric. Whatever makes men good Christians makes them good citizens.”
Indeed, it is not the good Christians whom the police arrest for armed robbery, gang activity, or other such crimes. Understanding this, the Founding Fathers encouraged religious instruction. For as Daniel Webster so accurately noted, “Good Christians make good citizens.” For more information on God’s hand in American history. Contact WallBuilders at 1 800 8 REBUILD.
Abraham Lincoln said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
But Can You Prove You’re Right
Welcome to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. Just before the break, we asked the question from Sean about the Founding Fathers and their values, how they interacted with the Indians and were the Indian values better?
The question posed to him was, “Why should we follow the Founding Fathers? They treated the Indians wrong, and the Indians have better morals. That’s who we should have followed.” So David, Tim?
Rick, let me jump in to start with this. My dad certainly can give this sort of context to show that that’s totally wrong. Although it’s certainly what is portrayed in modern academia, that’s what said. We have students come through in our internship in the summer and this is something we hear from them.
We hear when we’re on the road, and we will show in the next few minutes, my dad can give the documentation showing how that is actually historically inaccurate. But here’s another thought. This is part of asking a question that I think is so vital.
There was a very strong claim made that the Founding Fathers morals were not good because of their mistreatment of the Indians. This is where so often one side makes a claim and if you don’t call them on that claim then they’re able to make wild accusations and get away with it.
So one of the things that we teach our interns here at WallBuilders is, “I don’t have to prove that that person is wrong if they cannot prove that they are right.” So I don’t have to say, “I actually know the Founding Fathers did this, this, and that.” I’m going to put the impetus on them to show that that’s actually what they did.
So I’m going to say, “Hey, can you give me the examples when the Founding Fathers mistreated abused and stole from the Indians? Can you give me specific examples? Because I’m really curious what that is.”
“Well, they did it so many times.”
“See, that’s a generalization, that’s not an example. Give me a specific example.” And I’m going to put the impetus on them to show because if they start looking they’re not going to go to the Founding Fathers, they’re going to go to somebody much later.
And by the way, they said, “Founding Fathers.” I mean, how are we defining even now Founding Fathers? Are you saying that George Washington mistreated to the Indians, is that your impression?
But this is where we need to ask questions. And I’m going to put the impetus on them to show they’re right. I’m not going to even try to prove you’re wrong because this is where if we just started baiting back and forth where everybody thinks they’re right then all we do is get heated and defensive and nobody wins.
So before I even embark on trying to give you an answer I’m going to ask the question of “You need to prove, the impetus is on you. Can you give me the examples of when and where did they mistreat the Indians? Show me specifically one of those examples.”
And they might come up, literally, with one or two. But one or two does not give me enough evidence to go, “Wow, all the Founding Fathers mistreated Indians.” Because that’s just not what the historical evidence is.
But this is where we have to call them on those bad accusations, bad claims, and make them prove their point. Don’t just try to defend it because at that point we’re doing all the work. And if you’re going to make the accusation you need to do some work too.
The Truth About Indians Versus The Founders
So, once you do that, and Tim’s laid it out, they will have proven to themselves that their whole claim is based on shallow or no evidence at all. At that point, you can then come back and say, “Well, let me show you what the truth actually is. Here’s the documentation.”
I’ll say up front, this is really a complicated issue in the sense that there is no black and white, right or wrong on this. There are humans involved and therefore there are problems on all sides.
You go back to the Pilgrims. The longest lasting treaty between Anglos and Indians is the Pilgrims. And yet, Tim and I got a thing from a professor recently at a university where his kids said, “Well, the Pilgrims killed the Indians and so they were really bad and we shouldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving.”
So we did a piece on that. It’s up on the web. You can check that and see. It has the explanation of a lot of this in the sense that you had for example, the Pilgrims living a great peace and then one of their Indian allies, Massasoit, the chief of the Wampanoags came to them and said, “Hey, you guys need to know that the Massachusetts Indians, that you guys don’t even know about and they’re not right here. They’re coming over here to slaughter all you guys because they just don’t like whites. So they’re going to kill you all.”
And so the Pilgrims were able to defend themselves because an Indian told them. And then you have the Wampanoags who are friends of the Pilgrims. Well, when the Indian War 1637 broke out, the Indians were surrounded by four other tribes of Indians and they attacked all the other tribes, there killing all the other tribes. And by the way, let’s kill all the white guys too.
Violence Within The Tribes
So, it’s not like the Indians were pure, pristine people just because they were Indians. I mean they slaughtered their own neighbors. When William Penn came and was given Pennsylvania he said, “Well, it belonged to the Indians, I need to buy from them.”
He actually in parts of Pennsylvania had to buy the land from three different tribes because one tribe would say, “Well you bought it from them but they stole it from us.”
“Ok, well I’ll buy from you too.” And other tribes said, “Wait a minute, they stole it from us before they got it.”
Sp he’d end up buying the land from at least three different tribes and that’s not the white guys exploiting the Indians. And what happened was the Indians had a very pretty vicious lifestyle.
What led even to King Philip’s War in 1675, a huge Indian War, was the fact that Indian chief Metacom, named King Philip was his English name. He says, “These missionaries are screwing up Indian life. They’re telling us to stop torturing people. They’re telling us not to kill our captives. That’s going to mess up our whole culture.”
And so because of Christians trying to spread morals of not killing wantonly, not murdering, and not torturing, they went to war against the white guys. And so they’re killing white guys like crazy. They killed 600 settlers before got organized and went back and they finally won the-
And by the way that war was won by Indians killing King Philip, not by white guys killing King Philip. So the Indians war, in many cases, is a very violent people. They kill their own neighbors. ”They kill their other tribes. They stole from each other.
The Reasoning Behind The Mindset
And by the way, that is part of the Conquest reality of the world they lived in it. Literally, they lived in this idea of the tiger, the shark, the bear. You’ve got to be big and strong. And if you can’t defend and if you can’t own, if I’m an Indian and my neighbor has a horse, if I’m a good enough to take that horse from him then I deserve that horse because I was good enough to get it from him. But that was kind of their mindset and way of life. It was a very conquest conquer and you had to live strong or die.
And there was a whole different set of values. Now, let’s fast-forward a little bit to the Founding Fathers because you have the situation where Anglos are trying very hard to live at peace but it’s a different culture.
We own Indians sells where that Indians would sell 300,000 acres at a time to the white guys. And the white guys tried very hard in the sixteen-hundreds and in the seventeen-hundreds to have no Indian land unless they had less they had a title deed to it.
Now, this rolled to the American Revolution. You have a chief named Joseph Brant, he went to, I think it was, Harvard-Yale, or one of those schools. He was educated as the English were. He was a friend with us etc.
And when the British came into the American Revolution, they went to him and made a deal. And he was he was supposedly a Christian Indian and civilized and dressed like Anglos and had lived there and gone to college.
They told Joseph Brandt, “Here’s the deal, we’ll essentially pay you five bucks for every American scalp you take because we need you fighting on the British side in the war.” And Joseph Brant said, “Great.”
And so Joseph Brandt into, in this case, Quaker villages because they don’t essentially have guns, I mean they’re pacifists, they don’t fight. Like in Cherry Valley, Pennsylvania, in Wyoming in Pennsylvania, they killed every man woman and child scalped them and get five bucks or whatever it was for every scalp.
Then the Anglos go, “That was treacherous. You’ve been one of us and now for money, you’re doing this?” And then the same thing happened in the war of 1812, etc. And so what you find is that in the sixteen-hundreds and seventeen-hundreds the relationship between the Anglos and the Indians was really good from the Founding Fathers standpoint.
The Truth About The Founding Fathers
They busted their tail to do the right thing. The first federal law George Washington signed on becoming the United States said, “You can’t have land unless you bought it from the Indians. You have to be able to show title deed to that.”
So, that was the way we acted and treated. But then when you get into the eighteen-hundreds, now you’ve got a lot of guys saying, “Man, those Indians have sure proven to be treacherous.” And Andrew Jackson comes along and says, “We’re going to forcibly remove them elsewhere.”
Well, Andrew Jackson fought them in wars and they were vicious fighters and ferocious fighters and we were able to defeat them. But it wasn’t like they were pure, pristine and had morals that were you know all this great.
And then as we start westward expansion it becomes really secular. We get into this thing of, “We don’t care who owns the property. The toughest guy owns it.”
So now we’re fighting essentially by Indian rules. And so if the Calvary can take it, if the government can take it, we’re going to take whatever land we can. That’s where you see all the atrocities occur.
In the sixteen-hundreds, it’s nearly always the white guys were right and the seventeen-hundreds it’s kind of mixed and the eighteen-hundreds it’s nearly always the white guys who are wrong. But that’s not the Founding Fathers.
Founding Fathers did an excellent job of trying to maintain. And as matter of fact, you’ll find that the Indians themselves went to George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Charles Thompson, and other Founding Fathers and got the Founding Fathers to negotiate peace treaties between the warring Indian tribes. That’s how much the Indians respected the Founding Fathers.
The Pressure Is On
So, as Tim said, ask questions. Give me the evidence that proves the Founding Fathers were wantonly killing Indians and bad against them. And when they can’t prove it, then you can come back with the other side say, “Here it is.”
And you can go to WallBuilders.com and you can find that piece called, “The Pilgrims and the Indians” and it talks about this relationship.
And by the way, we get a lot of this kind of questions. And in the midst of us traveling Rick, dad, me, as we’re doing things, “Well, the Founding Fathers were a bunch of deists. They were they were all racists, and bigots, and slaveholders.”
Let me just encourage you, people make these claims don’t feel like the responsibility is on you to show they’re wrong. Put the pressure on them to prove that they are right.
Tim, I had a professor this week who said, “Oh, you’ve overstated the Founding Fathers. They were mainly deist and agnostic.” And I said, “Ok, here’s the deal. I will give you the benefit of doubt. You name a deist Founding Father and for every deist Founding Father you name I’ll name five religious Founding Fathers that you would consider evangelical. Let’s see who runs out first.” And he didn’t even get off the ground. He didn’t even get two or three named. And I started throwing out names like crazy. So you’re exactly right. Make them prove their point.
That’s exactly right. Thanks for joining us today, folks. Appreciate you being here on this special Foundations of Freedom Thursday! If you want more of these Constitutional questions of Founding Fathers questions specifically coming from the audience there available on our website at WallBuildersLive.com, just scroll through the archives there and get those Thursday programs. Thanks for listening to WallBuilders Live.
President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”