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There are many reasons why the Indians lost the struggle for the Great Plains. Each one is significant and pieces together the eventual outcome.

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Introduction

Why Did the Indians Lose the Struggle for the Plains? There are many reasons why the Indians lost the struggle for the Great Plains. Each one is significant and pieces together the eventual outcome. The tension first started between the two groups when early explorers first went west. Mountain men led the way, trapping beavers and hunting other animals for their fur. Mostly the mountain men and the Indians got along; many mountain men were accepted into an Indian tribe to rest during the winter and to marry an Indian woman. Although these were the least harmless of travellers, the Mountain Men sowed the seeds for the eventual outcome. This was done in three ways. Firstly, it was the Mountain Men who introduced alcohol and firearms to the Indians. Before they didn't have alcohol and their only weapons were simple such as a bow and arrow or tomahawk. The new weapons and alcohol meant that the Indians were now more dependent on white men to get new guns or alcohol. Secondly, the amount of time the Mountain Men spent in the west and the places they went meant that they learnt great knowledge of the Plains. This would make it a lot simpler for further settlers to access the west, obviously leading to meetings with Indians. Finally, in 1837, the Mountain Men were no longer welcomed by the Indians after they spread smallpox to them. ...read more.

Middle

The railroads also supplied the army with men and supplies, ready to fight the Indians. All the arguments and fights had to be resolved somehow and the system of reservations sorted the problem to a certain extent. This kept the Indians away from the whites and enabled the government to control the Indians. They were forbidden to leave the reservation, making them dependent on government hand-outs. This meant that the Indians couldn't resist as they could be stopped with force or by withholding rations. What made maybe the most conflict were the US army and government. Whenever there was an argument with the Indians and a white group, the government policy was to support the whites - whenever there was an argument the usual solution was to send in the US army to sort out the Indians. The government had complete disregard for the Indians, not allowing them to live their traditional ways. This was not only ignorant, but stupid as the Indians would be made even angrier by this. The actual US army, although maybe not as good fighters as the Indians, nearly always won a battle due to the shear number of people and tactics. The army's forts made the Great Plains easy to control for the army. One of the best methods of destroying the Indian race was the clever destruction of the buffalo. ...read more.

Conclusion

The generation of warfare between nations meant that they never combined fight the army. In fact some of the nations took the army's side fighting an enemy. Even when fighting against the US army, Indians still raided other nations. When they came together they won, defeating Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. If they had united at the start then maybe the Indians could have stood more of a chance against the US army. Although all these factors led to the final outcome, I think the main reason why the Indians were defeated was the selfishness and ignorance of both sides. Although the Indians were on the Plains first, they could have adapted to share with the white men. Similarly, the white men never tried to understand the Indians. They believed they were primitive savages that were in the way of their manifest destiny. Manifest Destiny was the made up belief that it was the American's God-given right to occupy the whole of the continent, as they had the greatest way of life. Manifest Destiny was everyone's justification for killing masses of Indians as well as Mexicans and Chinese. If anyone was in the way of this they were a traitor to the United State and God. If both sides had accepted each other, and lived cooperatively, then maybe the Indians wouldn't have been forced into reservations for the next century and just maybe, the white men could have learnt off the Indians, giving both parties a better quality of life. ...read more.

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