[gov3009-l] Spirling on ``Bargaining Power in Practice: US Treaty-making with American Indians, 1784--1911"

Justin Grimmer jgrimmer at fas.harvard.edu
Mon Mar 30 11:13:53 EDT 2009


Dear Applied Statistics Community,

Please join us this Wednesday when Arthur Spirling, Department of
Government, will present ``Bargaining Power in Practice: US Treaty-making
with American Indians, 1784--1911".  Arthur provided the following overview
for his talk:

I will discuss a new data set of treaties signed 1784--1911 between the
United States government and American Indian tribes, and comment on some
early findings using kernel methods to analyze these texts. I particularly
welcome feedback and suggestions from the ASW on the appropriateness of the
techniques given the problem at hand.

Arthur also provided the following abstract for a paper that is the basis
for his talk:

Native Americans are unique among domestic actors in that their relations
with the United States government involve treaty-making, with almost 600
such documents signed between the Revolutionary War and the turn of the
twentieth century.  We obtain and digitize all of these treaties for textual
analysis.  In particular, we employ new 'kernel methods' to study the
evolution of their nature over time and show that the Indian Removal Act of
1830 represents a systematic shift in language.  We relate our findings to a
bargaining model with the parties---government and tribes---varying in power
according to contemporary political and economic events.  With a mind to
earlier historical and legal literatures, we  also show that the 'broken'
treaties do not form their own cluster in the data, and that the post-1871
'agreements' represent a straightforward continuation of earlier treaty
policy in both style and substance.
The Applied Statistics Workshop meets each Wednesday at 12 noon in K-354
CGIS-Knafel (1737 Cambridge St).  The workshop begins with a light lunch and
presentations usually start around 1215 and last until about 130 pm.

All are welcome--
Justin Grimmer
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