1830s - Indian Territory land bridge

Two million square miles of territory between the eastern frontier and outposts on the Pacific Ocean had to be crossed (and acquired) in order to fulfill the vision of a nation determined to prosper under its Manifest Destiny.

          Indian Territory now served as the land bridge that link the East to the Far West. For the first two generations of the American republic, what the Indians did in the country beyond the Mississippi was on little concern to politicians and ordinary citizens.  But by 1836, the Indian land bridge was the largest and most formidable obstacle to reaching the Pacific Ocean. Indian Country was being criss-crossed by new emigrant trails every year, but this peaceful impasse between settlers and Indians was not going to last long.  The status of Indian territory would soon be challenged by the ever expanding tide of western settlements. 

         By the end of the decade, as whites in Texas were clamoring for statehood, and pioneers began demanding that Congress open up the entire Indian Territory to settlement, the land bridge was under seige.  Soon, the demands of white citizens took the form of bills introduced into Congress calling for the extinguishment of tribal titles.  The Indians, who had been promised these lands in perpetuity, were fast learning that 'perpetuity' in the white man's world was shorter than a generation.