Thomas Jefferson and American Indians

As he reviewed the reports of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Thomas Jefferson read of encounters with the Sioux, Mandan, Shoshone, Nez Perce, and various other Native American communities. Although these Indian Nations were relatively new to Jefferson, American Indians were not, as his personal encounters with Indians began during his boyhood in Virginia and extended through his public career and into his retirement. Over time and in varying circumstances, he viewed Native Americans as subjects of intellectual curiosity or saw them in political terms as enemies in war or partners in peace. Jefferson's long public career during a formative time period allowed him to shape the relations between the United States and the various Indian nations in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and beyond.

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