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“American Indians and Land Monopolies in the Gilded Age"

Harmon, Alexandra. “American Indians and Land Monopolies in the Gilded Age,” Journal of American History 90 (June 2003): 106-133

During the Gilded Age, monopolization of land was a concern not only in the United States but also among the Civilized Tribes of the Indian Territory, where it provoked a similar ideological discourse. Rather than acknowledge shared concerns and values, however, both Indians and non-Indians differentiated their political dilemmas and economic cultures. A comparable focus on cultural distinctiveness has limited historians’ vision, Alexandra Harmon contends, preventing them from seeing underlying correspondences and connections between Indian and non-Indian intellectual history. By juxtaposing the U.S. and Indian debates about land allocation, Harmon exposes the irony in Congress’s 1887 decision to require the wholesale redistribution of Indian property—a measure unthinkable in U.S. society.

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