Last Updated 03 Mar 2020

Why Did the Native Americans Lose the Plains Wars

Category Native Americans
Essay type Research
Words 1090 (4 pages)
Views 363

When the Euro-Americans (whites) and Native Americans came into contact, there was conflict. This conflict eventually led to The Plains wars, which the Native Americans lost. In this essay the details as to why the Native Americans lost the plains war will be explained.

These details include seven main points, which are- the end of the civil war and the manifest destiny, different attitudes towards land, the whites upsetting the population balance, the effect of reservations, the start of the Californian gold rush, the weapons that both the sides used during war, and the actual wars that made up the plains war.At the end of the civil war the god-fearing Christian whites believed that god had told them to spread the freedom and democracy of the United States westward into North America. This was the manifest destiny. Whites everywhere were willing to fight for the land and for god. The fact that the Native Americans were not very good long-term fighters, made the natives weak, also the whites had just been in a long term wars so they had many physically powerful men. This proves that the manifest destiny and the end of the civil war were one of the reasons as to why the Native Americans lost the Plains wars.Another factor that is to be considered is that the Whites and the Native Americans both had different attitudes to land.

The Native Americans believed that land could not be owned, and looked at it as a life source, while the Whites though the private ownership of land was extremely important. This made the Native Americans more likely to lose because, if a white settler came and lived on some land, the white would think e owned the land, while the Native Americans wouldn’t mind because they thought that the land couldn’t owned by the Whites.This scenario would not have been a problem, but if the amount of whites increased, the Native Americans would eventually have no space for their living. The Native Americans didn’t notice this, and the population of whites increased in some areas and overpowered the Native Americans. When the population count of the whites increased, there was a disturbance in the Population balance between whites and Native Americans. As well as the different attitudes to land there were a few more happenings that led to the unbalance.The US government wanted to wipe out the Native Americans, so they told the Whites to go around on trains killing the Buffalo.

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The buffalo was the main life source for the Native Americans so many of them died. When the Euro-Americans traveled over to North America, they bought their diseases long with them. Since the Native’s weren’t immune to these diseases, many of them died. This made the Whites more powerful because the Native Americans turned to the whites for cures, and the Whites wouldn’t help. When the whites expanded and became more powerful, there were many incidents were the two groups didn’t get along together.To prevent this from happening, the Native Americans were put into reservations. There was a benefit for both the sides by this; the whites had more land, while the Native Americans were paid, allowed to keep there sacred land where whites weren’t allowed, and were given houses to live in.

One example of the sacred land being protected against Whites was the treaty of fort Laramie. This was a Treaty signed saying that whites wouldn’t be allowed into the Black Hills which were sacred grounds for the Santee Sioux. Although both sides were meant to be content, the Native Americans were upset.The effect of the reservations were that the native Americans, who were nomadic by birth, were refined to a certain area, also they realised that the white’s were going against their beliefs by owning the land. Although there were reservations, the Californian gold rush in 1848 made many white men trespass into the reservations secretly. This became a problem because some men started to look for gold in the Black Hills. This was the end of the Treaty of Fort Laramie and a Sioux Chief said, “If we make peace, you will not keep it”.

Also a very famous Gold Trail, called the Bozeman Trail was opened up in Western Sioux Hunting grounds, the Sioux feared the Whites and started to attack them at the same time the whites fought back and many Native American men were killed. The trail was closed, but the Whites were angry, and this lead to more wars which made the Native Americans weaker. In the wars, the weapons that the Whites used killed man Native American men. This is because the Whites weapons were guns, rifle, canons and other weapons which worked from long distances and were very deadly.The Native Americans made their weapons of war out of wood, stone, and bones. Later on the Native Americans were able to make steel knives, but this wasn’t very efficient compared to the White’s weapons. Some Native American tribes possessed a gun; they got guns because some unhealthy trade was carried out between the some money avaricious whites and the Native Americans.

Of course, the Native Americans couldn’t refill the guns with gun powder or bullets because they didn’t know how to make them. Therefore, more Native Americans were killed, and this was a major aspect towards their loss.The weapons of war were more powerful, but the wars themselves had a huge impact of the Native American’s loss. There were many wars, battles and massacres under the overall title of the Plains wars. These were from Chippewa in1862, to Wounded Knee in 1890. But one of the most well-known wars was the Little Big Horn. In Little big horn the whites were defeated and 250 white men died, this was because Colonel Custer under-estimated the number of Native men that would come to fight and only took 250 white men.

Therefore, the whites were outnumbered.The battle of little big horn, and also the fact that a group of Native Americans slaughtered Captain Fetterman and 79 of his men in the Fetterman Massacre, made the Whites determined to win. This determination created the final major battle between the whites and the Native Americans, and the Native Americans lost. All these factors contributed towards the loss of the Native Americans in the Plains wars. The Native Americans lost their land, freedom, and peaceful lifestyle when they lost the Plains wars. The Native Americans fought until the end and so did the Whites, but there is always one winner, and those were the Whites.

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Why Did the Native Americans Lose the Plains Wars. (2019, Feb 19). Retrieved from

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