Sherman Played An Instrumental Role Research Proposal

Length: 16 pages Sources: 12 Subject: Military Type: Research Proposal Paper: #40062385 Related Topics: Modest Proposal, Westward Expansion, Railroads, Manifest Destiny
Excerpt from Research Proposal :

The warfare was also psychological because the looting of southern homes and the pillaging of southern farms greatly diminished the resources of the confederate army. The confederate army was running out of options. In addition to the use of psychological warfare, Sherman also used traditional warfare tactics to bring about surrender and ultimately victory.

Sherman's strategies during the Civil War also had an influence upon the manner in which the Indian Wars were conducted. Again the general utilized a combination of traditional and psychological warfare tactics. The Indian wars were a series of conflicts between the Colonists and Native American tribes. The Indian Wars lasted foor several decades.

According to Hughes (2001) the 1840's saw a rise in negative attitudes towards colonists by Native Americans and vice versa. Native American's believed that White men were taking over their native territories and pushing them off of the land where they had lived for centuries. As the settlers continued to push their way onto the land that was once Native American territory Indians began to see their way of life become jeopardized. As such they felt threatened and decided to fight back against what they felt were injustices. For decades Native Americans fought against settlers. They would stage attacks without warning and perform acts of hostility as they tried to regain the land that once belonged to them. Hughes (2001) explains

"If the settlers were lucky enough to arrive at their destination, knock-together a makeshift cabin and set up home, their tranquillity could be broken in a moment.

While away hunting, a husband could return to find his hard toil and loved ones gone forever. His house burned, his wife murdered and scalped (or worse captured) and his prized stock runoff. Such was the ferocity of an Indian attack."

Of course settlers also fought Native Americans and the violence between the two groups went on for many years. Some people desired to just kill all the Native Americans so that settlers would not have to confront the danger associated with the attacks they often endured.

In order to resolve the problem General Sherman along with other military experts were deployed. Keep in mind that there were Indian Wars taking place at the same time that the Civil War was taking place. General Sherman worked to try and develop a solution to the ongoing problem just described. In some ways developing a strategy for this type of war was quite different from developing a strategy for the civil war because of the type of problem that existed between Native Americans and settlers. The first difference was the stark contrasts between the cultures as it pertained to trying to preserve a certain way of life. Settlers did not seem to understand that there presence in certain areas was disruptive to the way of life of the various Native American Tribes. As such there was a great deal of hostility and dealing with this hostility while also coming to some sort of resolution was the type of problem that Sherman was tasked with resolving.

An article entitled "New perspectives on the west" once the Civil war was completed General Sherman was made the commander of the Missouri district. This district included the Rocky Mountains and extended out into the Mississippi River. As commander in this region he was responsible for sending troops to guard those working on the transcontinental railroads from the attacks of Native Americans. Indians were attacking these workers because they believed that there presence would mean an even more significant invasion onto the land that they believed belonged to them.

During his time as commander over this district he established certain beleifs about what the policy should be towards Native American's. General Sherman came to the conclusion that the Indian Policy should be established by the army as opposed to outside forces who did not have direct contact with Native Americans. In addition, Sherman asserted that Native Americans needed to be placed on reservations and be forced to remain there.

Sherman's approach to the relationship between Native American's and Settlers was quite visceral and it seemed to shape the strategy that he adapted to resolve the violence between the two groups. He was so vehement that Native Americans should be placed on reservations that he declared that those who refused to go to plantations would be killed. General Sherman was actually able to legalize these assertion when he played an instrumental role in the development of the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867 and the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. These two treaties, he established...


He perceived clearly the devastating effectiveness of striking at the economic basis of the Plains Indians' lives, once commenting to General

Philip Sheridan that "it would be wise to invite all the sportsmen of England and America... For a Grand Buffalo Hunt, and make one grand sweep of them all."

It is obvious from this quote that Sherman believed that Native Americans were nothing more than inferior trouble makers. He believed that the only strategy that would be effective in stopping the dispute between settlers and Native Americans was the death of all the Native Americans who would not move to reservations.

On November 21, 1868 General Sherman published a Report entitled "The Indian War-Its Cause and Extent -- What Should be done with the tribes." In this report Sherman outlines the issues that he saw as it pertained to the native American people and their place in America.

In this particular report Sherman speaks on the difficulty of war with the Indians. He explains that there seems to be no rhyme or reason for the declarations of war in which the Indian tribes engage. Additionally he asserts that there is often no warning of the impeding war. These issues associated with war with the native Americans makes them difficult enemies to face. It seems that Sherman had a more difficult time establishing a strategy for the Indian War when compared to the civil war because the nature of the enemy was quite different. In addition, the general was facing war with an enemy that had lived on the land for many years and had deep connections to the land. These variables were not particularly prominent during the civil war.

In his report, Sherman proposes several options as it pertained to dealing with the Native American tribes. The first of which was to "save the Indians." Again his idea of saving the Indians was to place them all on reservations according to tribe. Although this is what ultimately occurred, history has shown that this "solution" had devastating effects. Unlike the outcome of the Civil War which led to the freedom of southern slaves, the decision to relegate Native American tribes to reservations has proven to be an aspect of American history that is dark and has received a great deal of criticism.

The article also reports that Sherman also adopted Sheridan's strategy of attacking Native American Camp Grounds during the winter. Winter attacks were used as a strategy because the provisions and the ability of the camp to move was more limited during the cold winter months. Sherman's field commander Sheridan was instrumental in carrying out these attack strategies.

According to the article the first attacks on winter camps took place against the Kiowas and Comanches who resided in the southern Plains. The next tribes to be attacked were the Lakota and Cheyenne in the north.

The article further explains that by the late 1870s, all of the aforementioned tribes and other free-roaming warrior tribes had been placed on reservation.

General Sherman's strategy during the Indian Wars has received a great deal of criticism because of the way it destroyed the way of life for numerous Native American tribes and the amount of death and cruelty that was visited upon native Americans during this time. Since this time many Native Americans still live on reservations where they do not always have access to the same services as those who live outside of the reservations.

"the native population suffered terribly in the name of expansion and progress.

Native Americans were deprived of their homelands, killed mercilessly, or placed on reservations where many continue their marginalized existence today.

Early concepts of the "good Indian" or "noble savage" quickly were replaced by attitudes and policies that reduced the native inhabitants to "wild savages" who were standing in the way of expansionism in the name of "manifest destiny."

Indeed, many reservations are stricken with high rates of poverty and substance abuse. It may seem inconceivable but the problems facing native Americans today are a direct result of General Sherman's Strategy.

Although hindsight is always 20/20 General…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Dunkelman, Mark H. American History; Aug2002, Vol. 37 Issue 3, p28, 8p, 4 color

Fellman, Michael. Lincoln. Cary, NC, USA: Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1995. p 125

Hanson, Victor Davis. "Sherman's War." American Heritage; Nov99, Vol. 50 Issue 7, p58, 8p, 3 bw

Hughes, Howard. American Indian Wars. Harpenden,, GBR: Pocket Essentials, 2001. p 7.

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