Native Americans in the Gilded Age: Conflict, Conquest & Assimilation - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1064 Words
Date:  2023-08-16


By the end of the civil war, the Native Americans were more concentrated on the North American continent. A larger number of the tribes were pushed to settle in the west of river Mississippi where Americans also were interested in settling (Native Americans: Conflict, Conquest, and Assimilation during the Gilded Age, 2014). The tribes were being forced by the federal government to sign treaties and settle in the reservations that is, each tribe was designated its land. In most cases, the tribes were allocated the worst parts of a region which was inadequate to fulfill the population's needs

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The whites settled in the reservations which were desirable, for example, those with golds and suitable farmlands. They would later raise complaints to the federal government that they are being attacked in the Indian land. The U.S. Army had to intervene in the response of their citizens' cry, but they would selfishly chase out the tribes that were rightfully entitled to the ownership of those lands. Such selfish motives imply that military conquests were inevitable because these tribes had to continuously fight back in the claim of their land ("America's Gilded Age (1870-1890) Timeline | Preceden", 2020). Tribes such as Apache were forced to lead raids that were murderous against those who settled in their land

What was the nature of the Comanche society in the mid-nineteenth century before significant impact with the mainstream society?

In the 19th century, this society practiced a traditional Indian culture that was decentralized. They had undergone a lot of changes as a result of the European movement into America. For instance, they had acquired horses from the Spanish people, thus enabling them to expand their territory of hunting. There existed no political groups that would be referred to as tribes (Gelo & Hämäläinen, 2009). There existed informal organizations where the members of the society were distributed in autonomous bands, which were loosely organized. There were outstanding fighters known as the war chiefs who had long achievement records against their enemies.

There was freedom for any individual to plan for a war party as long as he could influence others to follow him. Still, he only acquired leadership roles when individuals volunteered to follow him, and during that particular raid. They obtained wealth by raiding from advancing Euro-Americans and other Indian communities (Comanche Empire | World History Project, 2019). There were also heads of the band known as "peace chiefs," but they had no formal authority either. They were wise men well respected by the members of the band who made decisions of day to day routine of operating activities, for example, where and when the camp will be relocated.

There existed an individual's property rights that were set in ownership of private properties such as horses, construction materials, weapons, tools for hunting and gathering, and different body ornaments used in religious activities. In this community, they believed that an individual is supreme in all things (Kavanagh & Betty, 2014). The ostracism threat was one used to encourage respect of rules concerning any individual that is any man who faced a legal wrong was to take action against the wrongdoer or else encounter social disgrace as a coward.

How did the Comanche society respond to mainstream American encroachment on their homeland?

The Comanche community dominated the most significant area of West, North, and Central Texas. Out of the thirteen Comanche's bands, five of them played prominent roles in the history of Texas. Following the buffalo, the community-led a nomadic lifestyle. They were in control of buffalo products, captives, trade produce, and horses during their domain. By warring with the Apaches and the Spanish, the Comanche made their presence known in Texas (Jones, 2017). The Spanish signed a peace treaty with them in fear of losing Texas to the Comanche. After the Spanish failing to observe their promises in trade products and gifts, the Comanche resumed their raiding against them. They traded the stolen horses to the Americans who had newly arrived.

Americans' interest was settling in Texas plains after the Texas revolution. The Comanche violently resisted their encroachment with raids on the frontier that were deadly and destructive. During the reign of President Mirabeau B. Lamar, the raiding and retaliation cycle climaxed. They succeeded in driving away from the Comanche to the other side of Red River; however, it was at a terrible cost to both parties. After Texas became a state, a few Comanche members were defeated by buffalo depletion, disease, and warfare, thus moving to an Indian territory for reservation (Jones, 2017). The rest were left active and succeeded in stopping the spread of American encroachment in the west of Texas hill country.

Which factors contributed to the military defeat of the Comanche society by the military?

There was a significant attack launching against buffalo hunters at Adobe walls. The raid pulled down a retaliatory campaign of the U.S. Army, which destroyed the Comanche power wholly by the destruction of their horses. The Comanche's camp and all its supplies and about 1400 horses that were abandoned were burnt down. An order was given by Mackenzie, who was the leader of the military after acquiring the best parts of the mounts to send all horsemen unrivaled into despair (Jones, 2017). Because all essential things, food supplies, and the essential horses were gone, the Comanche could not go hunting and get back their essential supplements. The society was left with no option but to surrender and start a painful change process to reservation life. The raiders no longer impeded the expansion of the American frontier towards the west.


America's Gilded Age (1870-1890) Timeline | Preceden. (2020). Retrieved 28 May 2020, from

Comanche Empire | World History Project. (2019). [Video]. Retrieved 28 May 2020, from

Foner, E. (2004). Give me liberty! (5th Ed.). W. W. Norton & Company.

Gelo, D., & Hämäläinen, P. (2009). The Comanche Empire. The Journal Of American History, 96(1), 214.

Jones, K. (2017). The story of Comanche: horsepower, heroism, and the conquest of the American West. War & Society, 36(3), 156-181.

Kavanagh, T., & Betty, G. (2003). Comanche Society: Before the Reservation. The Western Historical Quarterly, 34(2), 222.

Native Americans: Conflict, Conquest, and Assimilation during the Gilded Age. (2014). [Video]. Retrieved 28 May 2020, from

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Native Americans in the Gilded Age: Conflict, Conquest & Assimilation - Essay Sample. (2023, Aug 16). Retrieved from

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