11. Launching the Peace Policy
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263 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 11 LAUNCHING THE PEACE POLICY ,QKLVHͿRUWWRVHFXUHWKHDQQH[DWLRQRI6DQWR'RPLQJR*UDQWJDYHOLWWOH evidence that he saw its inhabitants as fundamentally inferior because of their racial or ethnic origins. While many of his opponents (and some of his allies) cast the island’s black or mixed-race people as inherently weak or treacherous or naturally suited to inhabit the tropics, Grant saw them as fellow members of the human family, deserving of empathy rather than scorn. He harbored similar feelings toward Native Americans . During his army service in the Far West in the 1850s, he had written to Julia that “the whole race would be harmless and peaceable if they were not put upon by the whites.” For years the American government had pursued irregular and capricious warfare in the West, punctuated intermittently by treaties of peace both fragile and transitory. A concurrent civilian policy designed to provide material assistance to the tribes gave as much opportunity for thievery by Indian Bureau agents DVLWGLGVXFFRUWRWKHVXͿHULQJ1DWLYHV7KHJRYHUQPHQW·VDSSURDFK DQJHUHGDQGDOLHQDWHGWKH,QGLDQVRͿHUHGVFDQWSURWHFWLRQWRVHWWOHUV moving west, and showed little prospect for lasting success.1 After Appomattox, General Grant assumed a central role not only LQ 5HFRQVWUXFWLRQ EXW DOVR LQ WKH PDQDJHPHQW RI ,QGLDQ DͿDLUV 6L[ ZHHNVDIWHU/HH·VVXUUHQGHUKHGLVSDWFKHGWURRSVWRIHQGRͿDSRVVLEOH outbreak of hostilities in Minnesota. “It may be,” he advised General John Pope, “the Indians require as much protection from the whites as CHAPTER 11 264 the whites do from the Indians. My own experience has been that but little trouble would have ever been had from them but for the encroachPHQWV  LQÁXHQFHRIEDGZKLWHVµ2YHUWKHQH[WIRXU\HDUVWKHIURQWLHU witnessed numerous incidents of violence of varying duration and severity , as well as attempts to forge a policy alternative to war.2 'XULQJWKH-RKQVRQDGPLQLVWUDWLRQVKDUSGLͿHUHQFHVEHWZHHQWKH ,QWHULRU'HSDUWPHQWZKLFKKRXVHGWKH%XUHDXRI,QGLDQ$ͿDLUVDQG WKH:DU'HSDUWPHQWSODJXHGHͿRUWVWRIDVKLRQDFRKHUHQWSROLF\*UDQW and most military men favored shifting the bureau to the War Department , where it had resided before the creation of the Interior Department in 1849. Grant condemned the exploitation and abuse of Indians E\FLYLOLDQJRYHUQPHQWR΀FLDOVDQGRWKHUVEXWKHGLGQRWIDYRUWKHVRUW of unbridled armed conquest that military leaders such as Sherman and Sheridan seemed to prefer. “I have always felt,” he wrote to Sherman,´WKDWDJRRGSDUWRIRXUGL΀FXOWLHVDULVHIURPWUHDWLQJDOO,QGLDQVDV hostile when any portion of them commit acts that makes a campaign against them necessary.” If the War Department could take control of InGLDQ DͿDLUVWKHQH[WVWHSZRXOGEH´WRGHDOIDUHO\>VLF@ZLWKWKH,QGLDQV and protect them from encroachments by the Whites.”3 In early 1867 Grant worked to fashion a comprehensive solution. He relied on the assistance of Colonel Ely S. Parker, a member of his RZQVWDͿDQGDIXOOEORRGHG6HQHFDDQG*HQHUDO-RKQ3RSHDORQJWLPH advocate of a more humane policy. In separate reports, both Parker and 3RSHFDOOHGIRUWKHWUDQVIHURI,QGLDQDͿDLUVWRWKH:DU'HSDUWPHQWDQG the elimination of civilian agents, traders, contractors, and the like. This would save considerable expense by substituting career military men, FRPSHQVDWHG E\ WKHLU UHJXODU PLOLWDU\ SD\ IRU FLYLOLDQ R΀FLDOV ZKR were usually transient and eager to milk as much from the system as possible. Parker advocated concentrating Indians in a separate territory or territories with a territorial government erected by Congress. He suggested the creation of a board of commissioners to monitor the implementation of Indian policy and to encourage Indians to abandon “their nomadic mode of life” and adopt “agricultural and pastoral pursuits, and the habits and modes of civilized communities.” Grant forwarded these recommendations to the Johnson administration through Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.4 The proposed changes met opposition in Johnson’s cabinet, however , especially from Secretary of the Interior Orville Browning. In the ensuing turf battle, Stanton invited Grant to explain his recommendations at cabinet meetings, where Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles LAUNCHING THE PEACE POLICY 265 WKRXJKWWKHJHQHUDOFDPHRͿDV´PRUHUHDVRQDEOHWKDQ6WDQWRQµ*UDQW DOVR JDYH WKH 6HQDWH 0LOLWDU\ $ͿDLUV &RPPLWWHH D VXSSRUWLQJ OHWWHU from reformer Henry Whipple, the Episcopal bishop of Minnesota, who denounced rapacious agents...


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