Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

How the Indians Lost Their Land: Law and Power on the Frontier

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674018716
ISBN-10: 0674018710
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
More Buying Choices
14 New from $28.36 13 Used from $17.81
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Prime Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Banner's well-documented history addresses the question of how repeated land sales drove Indians west, with a careful detailing of transactions from the 1600s to the 1900s. Did the Indians think they were agreeing only to "share resources," and were the English aware of the Indians' increasing poverty as a result of these one-sided transactions? The author describes how land sales changed from contracts between private parties to treaties between sovereign nations after the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, followed by the convenient perception of Native Americans not as owners of their land but merely as occupants. This philosophical shift culminates in the landmark Supreme Court decision of 1823 declaring that Indian lands are actually owned by the states and the federal government, a decision Banner calls the "final nail in the coffin of . . . Indian property rights." He concludes with Native success in recent years in obtaining reparations for their land, due to the government's admittance that the seizure of these lands was illegal when it was practiced, which is Banner's thesis in a nutshell. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

In deceptively simple prose, Stuart Banner lays out the complexities and contradictions of the long history of how Anglo-Americans justified the dispossession of Native Americans. His even-handed exploration of the moral gymnastics necessary for lawyers, politicians, and writers to make expropriation seem logical and Native participation voluntary breathes new life into the old saying about the pen proving mightier than the sword. (Daniel K. Richter, author of Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America)

In a subtle and sometimes startling reinterpretation of 18th and 19th century North American land transfers, Stuart Banner shows how relentlessly expansionary colonial powers met active and savvy Indians who worked to protect their interests as best they could. In the end, it was the English and American power to declare what was lawful that transformed power into right and facilitated increasingly involuntary land transfers at extraordinarily low prices, leaving the Indians worse off than before and bereft of a continent. (Joseph William Singer, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School)

Banner's well-documented history addresses the question of how repeated land sales drove Indians west, with a careful detailing of transactions from the 1600s to the 1900s. Did the Indians think they were agreeing only to 'share resources,' and were the English aware of the Indians' increasing poverty as a result of these one-sided transactions? The author describes how land sales changed from contracts between private parties to treaties between sovereign nations after the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, followed by the convenient perception of Native Americans not as owners of their land but merely
as occupants. (Deborah Donovan Booklist 2005-10-01)

[An] important new study...Despite the common belief that colonists simply took what they wanted by right of conquest, Banner shows that English colonial policy recognized Indians as legitimate owners of the land. That policy was continued by the American nation-state. If the colonies--or, later, the US federal government--wanted Indian land, it had to be purchased or otherwise obtained by cession through legitimate treaty. This policy, Banner argues, developed not out of respect for Indians but out of concern for settlers. After all, it was far less expensive to purchase land than to expend the blood and treasure required to seize it. And deeds of sale or treaties of cession provided a much firmer legal foundation for a property system than did wars of conquest. Banner acknowledges that raw power was important. As settlers grew stronger in relation to Indians, he argues, fraud and violence became more widespread. Yet the legal formalities were preserved. (John Mack Faragher Bookforum 2006-02-01)

Stuart Banner has written an intriguing account examining the dynamic and convoluted territorial, legal, political, and economic relationships among indigenous nations and colonial nations, particularly Great Britain, and its principal successor, the United States...Banner provides, especially in the first two-thirds of the book, a fresh perspective--utilizing a variety of high quality original and secondary materials--on one of the most crucial questions that has animated indigenous/nonindigenous relations since the arrival of Europeans: how and why did Native peoples lose ownership of ninety-eight percent of their lands to non-Natives? This powerful question has generally occupied the attention of many people inside and outside the academy, but very few have explored it to the depth that Banner has...This is a text that is quite striking, informative, and one that will be useful to a variety of audiences: historians, legal scholars, political scientists, and sociologists, among others...I hope it enjoys a wide readership as it deftly addresses important questions regarding land and sovereignty that continue to have great legal, property, and moral potency today. (David E. Wilkins American Historical Review)

Banner's book, which is well suited for undergraduate use, is a wonderful introduction to a surprisingly complex subject. Banner covers with brevity and style the entire period from the first English settlements through the General Allotment Act of 1887. He discusses the land policies pursued by the English and American governments as well as the intellectual and legal justifications for those policies...Banner skillfully avoids casting this tale as a simple morality play. (Michael Leroy Oberg New England Quarterly)

Stuart Banner has written an intriguing account examining the dynamic and convoluted territorial, legal, political, and economic relationships among indigenous nations and colonial nations...This is a book with real verve and merit...It deftly addresses important questions regarding land and sovereignty that continue to have great legal, property, and moral potency today. (David E. Wilkins American Historical Review 2006-04-01)

A wonderful introduction to a surprisingly complex subject. Banner covers with brevity and style the entire period from the first English settlements through the General Allotment Act of 1887. (Michael Leroy Oberg New England Quarterly 2006-06-01)

Employing an impressive array of the latest Native American scholarship, as well as published primary documents, Banner argues--in opposition to what he claims is a "near-consensus among historians and lawyers"--that by the end of the seventeenth century the English normally acknowledged that Indian land had to be obtained by contract, not by force...The valuable work clearly explains the sometimes obtuse legal framework that the English and Americans used to dispossess the Indians of the United States of most of their lands, a subject that has confused many scholars of Native American history, as well as Native Americans themselves, for a very long time. (F. Todd Smith Historian)

Banner contributes a major new conceptualization and many fresh insights into how the Indians lost their land...[the] studies compel readers to reconsider many aspects of Indian history, identity, and issues related to removal, migration, and life on reservations...Both specialists and nonspecialists will find these studies interesting and beneficial...they raise important questions and answer them in detail with new discoveries and insights. (Rodger C. Henderson Canadian Journal of History)
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press (October 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674018710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674018716
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,910,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Important Information

Ingredients
Example Ingredients

Directions
Example Directions

Customer Reviews

5 star
80%
4 star
20%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 5 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Stuart Banner has taken a complex, 400+ year history of American Indian Land Acquisition and has abstracted the legal basis and the prevailing sociocultural worldviews of settlers, governments and aborigines to produce a work that we, today, can use to understand "How the Indians Lost Their Lands." This is a must read for anyone who has any official involvement with Native American Indians, or anyone who is interested in their, and our, history.
Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book answers a lot of questions that, sadly, most folks don't even ask. Because of the popular culture and political ideology, it is put out that the Indians' land was simply stolen. While that did happen, the full story is much more complicated. Banner does a tremendous job in this scholarly work explaining how the land within the bounds of the United States was, for the most part, lost to the Native American Indian tribes. It is a mixture of good intentions and nefarious intentions.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written. Accurate. Thoughtful. Not many people actually know anything about how the Indians lost their land, so when the topic comes up, I enjoy exposing their ignorance. I hate listening to facebook educated know-it-alls pontificate about every topic under the sun, and it's books like this that allow me to shut them down hard. Delicious. Did I mention that it's well written? This is a great example of concise academic writing.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
As only a lawyer could do, this book meticulously, slowly sets out the various scénarios involved in all aspects of the Indian Land situation. It was not all stolen away from them, but they usually didn't get fair prices either. A clash of two very different cultures--and all white settlers were not the same nor the many different Indian tribes. Nice to see that some progress has been made over the past 50 years to redress the deeds of the past. FDR was a big mover for fairness.
I found this a very interesting, fact-filled book. Not exactly the type that keeps one on the edge of his seat, but well written. I did find it a little repetitious at times, maybe just trying to review points.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I speak as a supposed expert in European international relations (the USA included) between approximately 1500 and 1950 AD. My current project concerns the positions that the USA has occupied in the formerly European, now global, international system that has developed from its initial foundations in the late medieval European era. My thesis is that the USA both has mainly (in fact, overwhelmingly) benefited from the preceding achievements within this system, and has more or less systematically exploited its advantageous position within the system to its benefit.

I say this not as self-advertisement, as it must seem, but as truth in advertising. Having read Banner's work carefully, I think it fits
perfectly within my general thesis and supports it. But that is not why I am recommending it to the general reader. I do this because as a general educated lay reader in this field, I think it is a very good book--well written, sensible, careful in supporting his argument with evidence, allowing for other views, and above all fair with opposing views while at the same time coming out clearly with an important interpretation and thesis of his own.

Sincerely,

Paul W. Schroeder
Professor emeritus of History and Political Science
University of Illinois, Urbana-Chqampaign
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse