It’s good to be reminded that imperial expansionism was central to the American project. And it began with the first president, George Washington, in his relationship with natives and in his addiction to land speculation.
The Anti-Federalists warned against making America into another empire. But the Federalists won the war of rhetoric and power. Because of this, we now live in Washington’s dream of an American Empire.
On Monday Afternoon, February 4, 1793, President George Washington sat down to dinner at his official home on Market Street in Philadelphia. Washington’s dinners were often elaborate affairs, with numerous guests, liveried servants, and plenty of food and wine. On this occasion Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of War Henry Knox, Attorney General Edmund Randolph, Governor of the Northwest Territory Arthur St. Clair, and “the Gentlemen of the President’s family” dined with him because they were hosting an official delegation. Six Indian men, two Indian women (see Author’s Note on use of the word “Indian”), and two interpreters, representing the Kaskaskia, Peoria, Piankashaw, Potawatomi, and Mascouten Nations, had traveled more than eight hundred miles from the Wabash and Illinois country to see the president…
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