Notably, Catlin was not commissioned to paint the blacks. While Indians were lionized as noble defenders of the land, blacks received the silent treatment, comparatively speaking. No one invited John Horse to a ball.
Steeped in Romanticism, Americans took pride in their continent's rebellious
Indians, who vividly reminded them of the country's frontier heritage and
westward ambitions. Rebel blacks, on the other hand, reminded Americans of
uncomfortable truths about slavery, an institution threatening to destroy the
fabric of the young republic.
Part 2, War: l