TheNative American tribes (including the Indians) occupied America longbefore the white settlers could arrive. This implies that the whitesettlers had to displace some of the native communities in order toget land for agriculture, development, and other uses. However, theprocess of displacement could be achieved through treaties or waragainst tribes that resisted a peaceful relocation (Hatch, 2012).This paper will address two wars (including the Second Seminole Warand the Black Hawk War) that were intended to displace Seminole andSauk tribes respectively.
TheSecond Seminole War
TheSecond Seminole War occurred between 1835 and 1842 in the state ofFlorida. The war involved a conflict between a group of NativeAmerican tribes that used a common name “Seminole” and thegovernment forces. The war is considered as the most costly, deadly,and the longest conflict that involved the native Indians in thehistory of the U.S (Hatch, 2012). There are two major factors thatcontributed towards the occurrence of the Second Seminole War. Thefirst and the most important cause was the threat of relocation. Thegovernment had established a trend of relocating the and giving their fertile land to the white settlers. The NativeAmericans were considered as a hindrance to development. The threatthe Seminole tribes being relocated from Florida began in 1823 andcontinued until 1828 when Andrew Jackson became the U.S. president(Hatch, 2012). After seeing these tribes as a hindrance to theprogress of the U.S., Jackson pushed for the Indian Removal Bill. Thebill allowed the government to make a treaty with the Seminole sothat they could be relocated to the opposite side of the MississippiRiver. However, the tribes considered the process of relocation as aninhalation to their nation, which made war as the only alternative toprevent the encroachment of their land.
Thesecond cause of the war was the perceived fear of being enslaved.When the treaty was finally drawn in 1832, Osceola, one of theinfluential members of the Seminole tribes, convinced the chiefs thatsome provisions of the treaty could allow the white settlers to seizeand enslave the black Seminoles (Hatch, 2012). This motivated anumber of chiefs to oppose the treaty and choose war the alternativeto secure the dignity of the black Seminoles. It is estimated thatthe U.S. army lost about 1,466 officers out of diseases while about328 of them were killed by Seminole militias (Hatch, 2012). Althoughthe Seminoles managed to stop the process of relocation, there was aconstant threat of encroachment of their land, which culminated inthe Third Seminole War.
TheBlack Hawk War
TheBlack Hawk War started in the year 1832, and it involved a seriousconflict between the U.S. government and the wholived in Wisconsin in Northern Illinois. However, the origin the warcan be traced back to 1804 when a group of representatives of theSauk Nation made a treaty with William Henry at St. Louis. The treatyallowed the U.S. government to encroach the land that belonged to theSauk community at $ 2,500 (Wisconsin Historical Society, 2016). Theland was found on the east side of River Mississippi, and the U.S.government intended to give the land to the white settlers. However,Sauk’s chiefs considered the treaty to be invalid, given that thegroup of people who negotiated the treaty with Henry had no authorityto represent Sauk community.
TheSauk continued living on the land until the late 1820s when leadbecame profitable in the region of Rock River. This provided anexcuse for the white settlers to come in large numbers to harvestlead along River Mississippi. Sauk was short-changed changed by thegovernment in the order made in 1829 when they were required to crossto the western side of the river in exchange for corn that could lastthem for the winter season (Board of Trustees of Northern IllinoisUniversity, 2014). The Sauk people crossed over after realizing thatthey could not fight with the strong government military. However, afailure by the government to honor its part of the deal, which wasthe supply of corn, forced the Sauk communities to return to the eastside of the river to reclaim their land.
Thesettlers had divided the land among themselves, established fences,and a militia. War was the only alternative that Sauk could use toget their land back. However, Sauk fighters could not overcome acombined effort of the government forces and the local militia thatwas established by the white settlers. Black Hawk, one of thecommunity leaders, led the Sauk fighters against the white forces.The main attacks occurred in two regions, namely the Bad Axe and theWisconsin.
TheWisconsin`s Black Hawk War
Thiswar started on 21st of July 1832 at Sauk City Wisconsin. The Saukfighters lost the battle because they were outnumbered by the whitemilitia. Sauk lost about 68 fighters while the militia lost one man(Wisconsin Historical Society, 2016). Apart from being outnumbered,many of the Sauk fighters died of hunger, exhaustion, and thirst.
TheBlack Hawk and the Second Seminole War resulted from common factors,including unjust treatment of the by the U.S.government encroachment of the land that belonged to the NativeAmericans by the white settlers. The had the zeal tofight for their rights, but they were outnumbered by the whitemilitias and the government forces. In addition, the Native Americanfighters faced other challenges (such as the lack of food and watersupply) that reduced their capacity to win the battle against thewhites.
Boardof Trustees of Northern Illinois University (2014). Lincoln/Net: TheBlack Hawk War. NorthernIllinois University.Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://niu.edu/contactinfo.shtml
Hatch,T. (2012). Osceola fights to save the Seminole. AmericanHeritage,62 (2). Retrieved May 25, 2016, fromhttp://www.americanheritage.com/content/osceola-fights-save-seminole
WisconsinHistorical Society (2016). The Black Hawk War. WisconsinHistorical Society.Retrieved May 25, 2016, fromhttp://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/tp-012/?action=more_essay