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First Sioux War

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Overview

The First Sioux War was a vitally important conflict that helped define Lakota Sioux / white relations; created a closer national unity among the Sioux; and allowed the United States Army to develop new military tactics, which would eventually be used to defeat the Plains Indians. The war influenced future Sioux leaders like Crazy Horse, Spotted Tail, and Sitting Bull. Fought between two expanding peoples, the Sioux and the Americans, the First Sioux War produced two engagements, both worthy of study_the Grattan Fight and Blue Water Creek. The Grattan Fight, a debacle for the army, caused heated debate in Congress, fueled animosity between the army and Indian Bureau, and allowed Secretary of War Jefferson Davis to increase the size of the army. Blue Water Creek, a punitive expedition led by General William S. Harney, completely destroyed two Sioux villages. During the First Sioux War, Harney used new tactics that officers serving on the expedition would later use in the Civil and Indian wars. Stunned by their losses, the Sioux quickly sought peace, but they never forgot the catastrophic lessons learned. For the Sioux, the war helped define a unified response to further white encroachment after the Civil War.

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Editorial Reviews

Nebraska History
[The First Sioux War] provides a concise, general overview of the terrible events that would shape federal government policy and subsequent military actions towards the Sioux on the northern Great Plains for over forty years.
— Bob Rea, Oklahoma Historical Society
Western Historical Quarterly
[Beck] masterfully reveals the events, motivations, and actions of key participants to the Grattan fight and reveals how the confluence of factors…influenced the future of Plains Indian-United States relations…Beck deserves praise for his study…[which] refocuses attention on an important event in western history.
— Jeffrey D. Means, University of Oklahoma
Great Plains Quarterly
Beck, for example, provides a more balanced account of the First Sioux War, giving equal coverage to each phase of the conflict. He also provides several chapters of useful background information on the Lakotas and their migration to and domination of thePlains, conflicts on the overland trails, and the early government presence in Indian Country. .... Beck's judicious use of quotations and his narrative adroitness make The First Sioux War a smoother read. .... Beck's engaging and readable account of the First Sioux War, however, will be enjoyed by a larger audience...
— Mark R. Ellis, Department of History, University of Nebraska at Kearney
Military History Of The West
...succeed[s] admirably in [its] stated purpose of demonstrating the real significance of this war. ...Beck is especially balanced in his appraisal of the Sioux, discussing fully the depredations of Americans against them while acknowledging practices too often ignored or explained away, such as their penchant for violent expansion at the expense of other Indians and thier barbarous practice of mutilating the bodies of thier enemies.
Nebraska History - Bob Rea
[The First Sioux War] provides a concise, general overview of the terrible events that would shape federal government policy and subsequent military actions towards the Sioux on the northern Great Plains for over forty years.
Western Historical Quarterly - Jeffrey D. Means
[Beck] masterfully reveals the events, motivations, and actions of key participants to the Grattan fight and reveals how the confluence of factors…influenced the future of Plains Indian-United States relations…Beck deserves praise for his study…[which] refocuses attention on an important event in western history.
Great Plains Quarterly - Mark R. Ellis
Beck, for example, provides a more balanced account of the First Sioux War, giving equal coverage to each phase of the conflict. He also provides several chapters of useful background information on the Lakotas and their migration to and domination of thePlains, conflicts on the overland trails, and the early government presence in Indian Country. .... Beck's judicious use of quotations and his narrative adroitness make The First Sioux War a smoother read. .... Beck's engaging and readable account of the First Sioux War, however, will be enjoyed by a larger audience...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761828846
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 7/28/2004
  • Pages: 194
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul N. Beck is Associate Professor of History at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Professor Beck holds a Ph.D. in 19th century American History from Marquette University.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Acknowledgments Chapter 3 "…there exists a nation of barbarians…" Chapter 4 "I have little confidence in their promises of good conduct…" Chapter 5 The Grattan Fight: "a piece of foolishness" Chapter 6 "It will be an expensive cow" Chapter 7 Blue Water Creek: "By God I am for battle- no peace!" Chapter 8 "We, of necessity, killed a great many women and children" Chapter 9 "They have no desire nor wish to fight or prolong the war" Chapter 10 Epilogue Chapter 11 Endnotes Chapter 12 Bibliography Chapter 13 Index

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 12, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent treatment of a little-known and almost forgotten part

    Excellent treatment of a little-known and almost forgotten part of the period of westward expansion - our first military encounters with the Lakota in the 1850's The author captures the sense of truly being on  the frontier, dealing with incursions against traffic on the Oregon Trail, plus the beginning of white settlement of the lands north of the Platte River, land that that Lakota considered their own.  

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