This paper concentrates upon the historical expansion of the USA over the territory of Native Americans, this process as a series of wars was hard and challenging for both sides. At the beginning of the 19th century, when United States were growing really quickly, expanding the territories to the South, there appeared impediment on their way, namely the territories which used to be the native lands of the Cherokee, Greek, Choctaw, Seminole tribes.
For white Americans these people were not defending their own lands, they were causing obstacles for the progressive growth, whereas they needed these lands so much for growing cotton, thus were doing everything possible to make the Federal government to submit the territories of Indians.
The main reason of these wars is believed to be the colonial interest of the US. Generally historians describe these events using the term Indian Wars – conflicts between the USA and Native Americans or Indians.
This term also includes the colonial wars, before the United States were created.
During the period starting from the mentioned colonial wars till the American frontier of 1890 Indians had to go thought the process of assimilation, dissimilation and were made to relocate to special places, which were later called Indian reservations. “One scholar has noted that the more than 40 Indians wars from 1775 till 1890 reportedly claimed the lives of some 45. 000 Indians and 19. 000 of whites…” (J. Tebbel, K. Jennison, 11).
Generally talking about Native Indians, we have to underline that actually these were not all the same people, there were some formal unites, that took part in the wars, the main decisions about wars and peace were also taken locally, and there were certain leaders of the alliances. One of the examples can be the Iroquois Confederation. Most scholars nowadays state that it would be too simple and not deep enough to consider these wars as just racial wars between Indian people and American people, the fact was that Indians didn’t struggle only with white people, they also fought with Indians as well.
The result of the wars was however rather of single meaning, namely the conquest of the United States of Native Americans. The years from 1622 to 1774 are called colonial era for America. This period of time includes the wars between Native Americans and the USA before the Declaration of independence was issued. Colonial powers in North America had to subdue the resistance of the native people, trying to overcome their hostility. The following 70 years were the wars against the United States that were newly formed. The year 1763 is known for the Pontiac’s Rebellion in the territory of Northwest.
The main conflict at that moment with Native Americans was the consequence of not giving up of the tribes from Northwest of the settlement in the Ohio valley. The first couple of attempts of white people was not successful enough to defeat the tribes, but in 1794, during the battle of Fallen Timbers General Anthony Wayne was victorious. In 1830 president Andrew Jackson remade the Indian Removal Act into law. The act itself was not s straight order for relocating Native Americans, but it was pushing them to exchange their lands in the eastern part for those in the west.
One of the historians – Robert V. Remini stated that the deeds of the president could be explained by his intention to keep national security as the main reason, because at that time Great Britain and Spain started to use the Native Americans for the war with the United States. After the year 1815 the US was pushing the Indians to reservations by Mississippi river, and the result of the mentioned policy was the fact that by 1860 most of the tribes had to relocate. Usually that was not done peacefully; there were fights and strong resistance.
For example in order to move the Seminole it was necessary to win several wars for the white Americans. “The most notable Seminole War involved the celebrated Osceola. Similarly the refusal of the Sac and Fox to be removed led to the Black Hawk War in 1832” (J. Tebbel, K. Jennison, 25). During the years 1823 – 1890 the western part of the Mississippi was the territory of hard resistance from Indian tribes against white settlers, the strongest were the Sioux of the Northern Plains and the Apache of the Southwest. In 1864 the battle called the Sand Greek Massacre took place, as the result around 150 persons were killed or injured.
“The Indians at Sand Greek had been assured, by the US government that they would be safe in the territory they were occupying, but anti-Indian sentiments by white settlers were running high. Later congressional investigations resulted in short-lived U. S. public outcry against the slaughter of the native Americans” (Y. Bill, 137). Later on there was a number of another war conflicts, but as soon as in the year 1887 the Dawes Act was issued the new epoch stared, practically the resistance of the Native Americans was finally broken and the U.
S. government succeeded in removing them to reservations. Overall, the epoch of the Indian wars is a huge bloody spot in the history of the USA. One the one hand, being guided by the best aim of progress and development the white Americans did their best in order to remove Indians from their native lands, although the cost for it were thousands of people’s lives. It is not necessary to mention that the interests of Native Americans were not much taken into consideration, and their resistance is practically well founded.
1. M.Norton. A People & A Nation Volume One: to 1877, Seventh Edition, 2004 2. Portrait of America: From the European Discovery of America to the End of Reconstruction by Stephen B. Oates, 2000 3. Taylor, Alan. American Colonies: The Settling of North America (The Penguin History of the United States , Volume I) (History of the USA ), 1999 4. Y. Bill. Indian Wars: The campaign for the American West. Yardley, PA: Westholme, 2005 5. M. Schmitt, D. Brown. Fighting Indians of the West, 1966 6. J. Tebbel, K. Jennison. The American Indian Wars, 1990.