After the Civil War, Americans, who believed expansion was their “manifest destiny,” began moving westward across the continent, subduing the Native Americans through various means, creating a North American empire. BEYOND THE FRONTIER
Prior to the Civil War, the march of White settlement paused at the margin of the semiarid Great Plains, a region seared by hot winds in the summer and buffeted by blizzards and hailstorms in the winter, presenting a temporary obstacle to further migration. CRUSHING THE NATIVE AMERICANS
Because they were seen as an additional obstacle to further White migration, the Native Americans were pushed from their lands and forced to radically change their cultures by the end of the century. Those who did not peacefully acquiesce were beaten into submission. Life of the Plains Indians
After they acquired the Spanish horse, the Plains Indians abandoned their former agricultural lifestyle in favor of a strong, unique culture based upon nomadic hunting of the buffalo. Though the Plains Indians generally existed in tribes of thousands people, they lived in smaller bands of several hundred. Within Plains’ culture, men and women existed in relative egalitarianism as the occupations of both were necessary for group survival. “As Long as Waters Run”: Searching for an Indian Policy
Earlier in the century, the Great Plains, known as the Great American Desert, was considered by the United States government as unusable for Whites and was given to the Native Americans as “one big reservation.” But with the discovery of gold in the West, the federal government began a policy of concentration, restricting tribes to specific, limited reservations. This new policy led to conflicts and violence among Native American groups and with Whites. Final Battles on the Plains
From 1867 to 1890, the federal government fought a number of tribes in brutal military campaigns, eliminating any semblance of resistance and culminating in the Massacre at...
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