Effect of Civil War and its Aftermath on Indian Nations

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Indian tribes existed in North America for several thousands of years before the European settlers arrived. The tribes were racially alike, but they were separate nations with different languages, diverse geographical areas, and unlike cultural practices. The differences were preserved partly because of geographic isolation and partly due to lack of communication: no TV, radio, telephone even horses were not available until after the European settlers arrived.

As the settlers moved westward, they relocate the Indian tribes from their ancestral homelands. Millions of Indians died from diseases against which they had no confrontation, and from being slaughtered by the settlers. After tribes were forced out of their homelands and forced to move hundreds or even thousands of miles away, the recently empty lands were opened for settlement. In other areas, the Louisiana Purchase Texas the former Mexican territories tribes stayed in place in greatly reduced homelands that then became tribal reservations.

American policy was devised during the initial decades of the country’s existence. It was early comprehended that Native Americans were a potential check to westward expansion. The first problem staring the new American government squarely in the face was the need to found peace with the various tribes. Many groups had sided with the British and they had to be brought into the American fold.


Prucha, Francis Paul.  American Indian Policy in the Formative Years Lincoln, 1962

Gurney, Gene. A Pictorial History of the United States Army: In War and Peace, from Colonial Times to Vietnam. New York, NY: Crown Publishers, 1977

Matloff, Maurice, Editor. Army Historical Series: American Military History. Office of The Chief of Military History, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C. 1969

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