As early as 1803, Thomas Jefferson proposed a policy that later under Andrew Jackson would be called Indian removal. Beginning in 1821 during this time of tension between American Indians and the U.S. government, Thomas McKenney, the U.S. Superintendent of Indian Trade, commissioned portraits of Indian delegates to Washington, D.C., expressing his desire to preserve their “vanishing” culture. Wishing to share these images with a broader public, McKenney and James Hall created the publication History of the Indian Tribes of North America, which featured 120 hand-colored lithographs. Almost all the images are portraits of individual American Indians painted from life by Charles Bird King.