The war for the West in America after the civil war assumes greater significance as the Western inhabitants had to endure years of hardships and misery due to its bad effects. American troop’s war on Lakota (Sioux), a tribal western part of the United States, destroyed the normal life of the tribal men as their cattle industry and mining, which earned them livelihood, suffered major setbacks.
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The civil war was one of the greatest wars in the history of America during the 1860s. It was an outbreak against the slavery which was going on in America. A strong movement against slavery spread rapidly in North America and as a result, there was severe fighting between the united states and eleven states of the south, which were under the slavery of the United States. As part of the civil war, Lakota (Sioux) was threatened by white domination. Even though the war ended with the treaty of Laramie in 1868, there was no doubt that the war was aimed at plundering the land and there was an upheaval against the war by the Red Indians led by their chieftain Sitting Bull.
Sitting Bull became the chief of the Lakota (Sioux) tribe and led a very heroic fight against the whites. He declared himself as the agent of Great Spirit, “I am here by the will of the Great Spirit, and by his will, I am chief.” (Sitting Bull). The discovery of gold in the Black Hills led the American people to interfere in their area which was sacred to the tribal people. The main aim of Americans was to capture the gold mines in the tribal area, but they had to endure high resistance from the people of that place. Being red Indians, they refused to give up in front of Americans. The tribesmen, under the leadership of Sitting Bull, fought heroically to protect their homeland which was so precious for them.
The protests met with some initial success as they were able to withstand the white domination in the beginning. Later Bull and his troop had to surrender before the American superior force. Even though the tribesmen lost the war, “Sitting Bull remained defiant toward American military power and contemptuous of American promises to the end.” (Sitting Bull. 2001). Being a Red Indian, he resisted his boundary from the outside. He provoked the tribe to refuse the mixing of Indian land.
Effects on the lives
The war had far-reaching effects on the lives of the tribal people as they were highly dependent on agriculture. They treasured their land and how much the land was part and parcel of their lives is evident when they consider the people who toil in the land as “the chosen people of God… Corruption of morals in the mass of cultivators is a phenomenon of which no age nor has nation furnished an example.” (History of the American West, 1860-1920. 2003). But due to the war at that time, the majority of the people who were involved in agriculture had to concentrate more on war than agriculture, as they had to actively participate in the war to protect their homeland.
The war also adversely affected the cattle industry because most of the people who were depended on cattle participated in the war. The Americans attacked the cattle field also which led to the collapse of the cattle industry of the tribal men. After the war, it took a long for the people to reestablish the cattle industry because “in 1865 there was no market for them in the South” (Historyonthenet 2000-2008 All rights reserved Site created in November 2000. After the war, the Americans began to use heavy machinery to find gold from that place and started using heavy water compressors to break the stones to extract the gold and people became more interested to invest more in those machinery because they thought that they could get more income from that source.
The outcome of the war in America was the end of slavery and industrial development. Due to industrial development, many people turned towards industrial work from agriculture. The war, thus, affected the normal life of the tribal people and made their lives miserable; however, the courage and heroic deeds performed by Sea Bull to protect his homeland and the way he could command the respect and support of the tribal people are praiseworthy. These types of protests do find their place in the history of remarkable resistance shown by sects of people to protect their homeland.
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Sitting Bull. Tatanka-Iyotanka (1831-1890). The West Film Project and WETA. 2001. Web.
Sitting Bull. Hunkpapa Sioux (1831-1890). Powerful People. Power Source Gallery. Web.
History of the American West, 1860-1920. Photographs from the Collection of the Denver Public Library. The Library of Congress. 2003. Web.
Historyonthenet 2000-2008. Web.