It should not surprise people that the politics of what was known as “The Indian Wars” are not much different from the politics of war today. As I got deeper into historic research for my new historical western, Warriors, coming out in mid-March, I was intrigued by the political maneuvering involved in preventing the wars from ending sooner than they did.
Until I wrote Warriors, like most people, I believed the reason behind the wars was to tame the wild west frontier. In reality, though, the wars were fought to conquer the west. As I read the journals written by high-ranking military campaign officers and of prominent politicians of the era, I learned the US was in a state of perpetual conquest – a land grab, if you will. That was the purpose of the westward expansion, the Louisiana Purchase, the war with Mexico (which brought the southwest states into the US), and the Indian Wars.
But did you know…?
War is, and was, big business. There were many powerful politicians who lobbied against a quick end to the Indian Wars because their wealthiest campaign contributors were making millions by selling supplies, food, and horses to the US Army. Also, huge weapons manufacturers in the east would have gone bankrupt overnight with a premature end to the Wars. In addition, there were hundreds of black soldiers stationed throughout the southwest, and many citizens were afraid that if the wars ended the unemployed black soldiers might settle in their towns.
Why did the government keep taking back the reservations that were promised to the indigenous peoples forever? After the reservations were established, it was discovered that some were established on mineral-rich land. It was far easier and less costly to have the Army take back the land rather than to negotiate with the native people for the land’s fair value.
I portray all these themes from both sides in my new action-packed historical western, Warriors, which pits the famous Buffalo Soldiers of the Ninth Cavalry against the fierce and proud Apache Warriors.
In my next posts I’m going to talk about the origins of the famous Ninth Cavalry and the Native leader whose name the army thought no one would ever remember. So follow me below on your favorite media for more revisionist history.
Want high-octane adventure with an edge? Sign up to get an email notification of the FREE pre-release historical western ebooks “Warriors” and “Courage” (coming early 2014) at www.JeffreyPoston.com or find Jeffrey Poston on Twitter: @jeffposton or Google Plus: +Jeffrey Poston or www.facebook.com/JeffreyPostonBooks