Defending the Frontier: A Study of the U.S. Army in the Defense of the Nebraska Frontier in the Years 1849-1853.




This thesis places particular emphasis on the defense of the Great Platte River Road in Nebraska during 1849 - 1853. Those areas examined include: a look at the land - Nebraska; a study of the Indians inhabiting Nebraska during these years; and a brief look at the emigrants who crossed the Nebraska frontier. The general condition of the U.S. Army in the aftermath of the Mexican War is also examined, along with a study of the Army in Nebraska during this time. The author concludes: First, the danger of Indian hostility against White emigration in Nebraska was greatly exaggerated. There was no danger to the immigrant of Indian attack during this period. Second, the U.S. Army went into the Nebraska frontier to counter a perceived Indian threat that never materialized. This forced the Army to change its mission from one of area defense to one of humanitarian relief along the Great Platte River Road in Nebraska. Third, although the danger of Indian induced hostility did not exist in 1849 - 1853, hostility was inevitable between the Whites and Plains Indians of Nebraska, because of the destruction of the White emigrants caused to the Indians' ecological basis of existence. Conflict between the Whites and the Indians was to be only a matter of time.



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