Richard white middle ground thesis


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Click Update to apply the changes. He ordered subordinates to immediately put to death captured enemy Indian warriors. Colonel Henry Bouquet at Lancaster, Pennsylvania was preparing an expedition to relieve Fort Pitt; Amherst wrote to him on about June 29, "Could it not be contrived to send the small pox among the disaffected tribes of Indians? We must on this occasion use every stratagem in our power to reduce them.

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I will try to inocculate the Indians by means of Blankets that may fall in their hands, taking care however not to get the disease myself. As it is pity to oppose good men against them, I wish we could make use of the Spaniard's Method, and hunt them with English Dogs. Supported by Rangers, and some Light Horse, who would I think effectively extirpate or remove that Vermine.

Amherst replied: [65]. You will Do well to try to Innoculate the Indians by means of Blankets, as well as to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race. I should be very glad your Scheme for Hunting them Down by Dogs could take Effect, but England is at too great a Distance to think of that at present.


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Officers at the besieged Fort Pitt had already attempted to do what Amherst and Bouquet were discussing, apparently on their own initiative. During a parley at Fort Pitt on June 24, , Ecuyer gave Delaware representatives Turtleheart and Mamaltee [66] two blankets and a handkerchief that had been exposed to smallpox, hoping to spread the disease to the Indians.

Historians are at odds as to how much damage was caused in the attempt to spread smallpox at Fort Pitt. Historian Francis Jennings concluded that the attempt was "unquestionably successful and effective" and inflicted great damage to the Indians. On August 1, , most of the Indians broke off the siege at Fort Pitt in order to intercept British troops marching to the fort under Colonel Bouquet. On August 5, these two forces met at the Battle of Bushy Run. Bouquet's force suffered heavy casualties, but they fought off the attack and relieved Fort Pitt on August 20, bringing the siege to an end.

His victory at Bushy Run was celebrated in the British colonies; church bells rang through the night in Philadelphia , and King George praised him. This victory was soon followed by a costly defeat. Fort Niagara was one of the most important western forts, but at least Senecas, Ottawas, and Ojibwas attacked a supply train along the Niagara Falls portage on September 14, Two companies were sent from Fort Niagara to rescue the supply train, but the Indians defeated them.


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More than 70 soldiers and teamsters were killed in these actions, which colonists dubbed the " Devil's Hole Massacre ", the deadliest engagement for British soldiers during the war. The violence and terror of Pontiac's War convinced many western Pennsylvanians that their government was not doing enough to protect them. This discontentment was manifested most seriously in an uprising led by a vigilante group known as the Paxton Boys , so-called because they were primarily from the area around the Pennsylvania village of Paxton or Paxtang. The Paxtonians turned their anger towards the Indians who lived in small enclaves in the midst of Pennsylvania settlements.

A group of more than 50 Paxton Boys marched on the village of Conestoga on December 14, because they heard that an Indian war party had been seen there; they killed the six Susquehannocks whom they found there. Pennsylvania officials placed the remaining 16 Susquehannocks in protective custody in Lancaster , but the Paxton Boys broke into the jail on December 27 and killed most of them.

Governor John Penn issued bounties for the arrest of the murderers, but no one came forward to identify them. The Paxton Boys then set their sights on other Indians living within eastern Pennsylvania, many of whom fled to Philadelphia for protection. Several hundred Paxtonians marched on Philadelphia in January , where the presence of British troops and Philadelphia militia prevented them from committing more violence.

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Benjamin Franklin had helped organize the local militia, and he negotiated with the Paxton leaders and brought an end to the immediate crisis. Franklin published a scathing indictment of the Paxton Boys. Indian raids on frontier settlements escalated in the spring and summer of The hardest hit colony that year was Virginia, where more raids occurred on July 26, when four Delaware Indians murdered and scalped a school teacher and ten children in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Incidents such as these prompted the Pennsylvania Assembly to reintroduce the scalp bounties offered during the French and Indian War, which paid money for every Indian killed above the age of 10, including women.

In , Gage sent two expeditions into the west to crush the rebellion, rescue prisoners, and arrest the Indians responsible for the war. According to historian Fred Anderson , Amherst had designed Gage's campaign, and it prolonged the war for more than a year because it focused on punishing the Indians rather than ending the war. Gage's one significant departure from Amherst's plan was to allow William Johnson to conduct a peace treaty at Niagara, giving those Indians an opportunity to "bury the hatchet".

Most Iroquois had stayed out of the war, but Senecas from the Genesee River valley had taken up arms against the British, and Johnson worked to bring them back into the Covenant Chain alliance. As restitution for the Devil's Hole ambush, the Senecas were compelled to cede the strategically important Niagara portage to the British. Johnson even convinced the Iroquois to send a war party against the Ohio Indians. This Iroquois expedition captured a number of Delawares and destroyed abandoned Delaware and Shawnee towns in the Susquehanna Valley , but otherwise the Iroquois did not contribute to the war effort as much as Johnson had desired.

The “Middle Ground” Perspective on the Expropriation of Indian Lands

The British secured the area around Fort Niagara then launched two military expeditions into the west. Bradstreet was to subdue the Indians around Detroit before marching south into the Ohio Country. The second expedition was commanded by Colonel Bouquet to march west from Fort Pitt and form a second front in the Ohio Country.

Bradstreet set out from Fort Schlosser in early August with about 1, soldiers and a large contingent of Indian allies enlisted by Sir William Johnson. Bradstreet felt that he did not have enough troops to subdue enemy Indians by force. Strong winds on Lake Erie forced him to stop at Presque Isle on August 12, and he decided to negotiate a treaty with a delegation of Ohio Indians led by Guyasuta.

Bradstreet exceeded his authority by conducting a peace treaty rather than a simple truce, and by agreeing to halt Bouquet's expedition, which had not yet left Fort Pitt. Gage, Johnson, and Bouquet were outraged when they learned what Bradstreet had done. Gage rejected the treaty, believing that Bradstreet had been duped into abandoning his offensive in the Ohio Country. Gage may have been correct; the Ohio Indians did not return prisoners as promised in a second meeting with Bradstreet in September, and some Shawnees were trying to enlist French aid in order to continue the war.

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Bradstreet continued westward, as yet unaware that his unauthorized diplomacy was angering his superiors. He reached Fort Detroit on August 26, where he negotiated another treaty. He chopped up a peace belt that the Ottawa leader had sent to the meeting in an attempt to discredit Pontiac, who was not present. According to historian Richard White , "such an act, roughly equivalent to a European ambassador's urinating on a proposed treaty, had shocked and offended the gathered Indians. Bradstreet had successfully reinforced and reoccupied British forts in the region, but his diplomacy proved to be controversial and inconclusive.

Colonel Bouquet was delayed in Pennsylvania while mustering the militia, but he finally set out from Fort Pitt on October 3, , with 1, men. He marched to the Muskingum River in the Ohio Country, within striking distance of a number of Indian villages. Treaties had been negotiated at Fort Niagara and Fort Detroit, so the Ohio Indians were isolated and ready to make peace, with some exceptions. In a council which began on October 17, Bouquet demanded that the Ohio Indians return all captives, including those not yet returned from the French and Indian War.

Guyasuta and other leaders reluctantly handed over more than captives, many of whom had been adopted into Indian families. Not all of the captives were present, so the Indians were compelled to surrender hostages as a guarantee that the other captives would be returned. The Ohio Indians agreed to attend a more formal peace conference with William Johnson, which was finalized in July Although the military conflict essentially ended with the expeditions, [88] Native Americans still called for resistance in the Illinois Country, where British troops had yet to take possession of Fort de Chartres from the French.

In , the British decided that the occupation of the Illinois Country could only be accomplished by diplomatic means. As Gage commented to one of his officers, he was determined to have "none our enemy" among the Indian peoples, and that included Pontiac, to whom he now sent a wampum belt suggesting peace talks. Pontiac had by now become less militant after hearing of Bouquet's truce with the Ohio country Native Americans. It was hardly a surrender: no lands were ceded, no prisoners returned, and no hostages were taken.

The total loss of life resulting from Pontiac's War is unknown. About British soldiers were killed in action and perhaps 50 were captured and tortured to death. Pontiac's War has traditionally been portrayed as a defeat for the Native Americans, [97] but scholars now usually view it as a military stalemate: while the Native Americans had failed to drive away the British, the British were unable to conquer the Native Americans.

Negotiation and accommodation, rather than success on the battlefield, ultimately brought an end to the war. Relations between British colonists and Native Americans, which had been severely strained during the French and Indian War, reached a new low during Pontiac's Rebellion. According to Richter, the war saw the emergence of "the novel idea that all Native people were 'Indians,' that all Euro-Americans were 'Whites,' and that all on one side must unite to destroy the other.

The British government also came to the conclusion that colonists and Native Americans must be kept apart. The Proclamation, already in the works when Pontiac's War erupted, was hurriedly issued after news of the uprising reached London.


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  6. Officials drew a boundary line between the British colonies along the seaboard, and Native American lands west of the Allegheny Ridge i. It thus confirmed the antebellum demarcation that had been set by the Treaty of Easton in By forbidding colonists from trespassing on Native lands, the British government hoped to avoid more conflicts like Pontiac's Rebellion.

    The effects of Pontiac's War were long-lasting. Because the Proclamation officially recognized that indigenous people had certain rights to the lands they occupied, it has been called the Native Americans' "Bill of Rights", and still informs the relationship between the Canadian government and First Nations. The resentment which this created undermined colonial attachment to the Empire, contributing to the coming of the American Revolution.

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