Abstract

Discussions of the escalation in the intensity and lethality of European–Native American warfare lack a systematic catalog of Indian restraints on war, in contrast to the extensive literature on European warfare. This article surveys eastern Native American societies at war from roughly 1500 to 1800 for limits on destructive potential and intent. Although Indian societies were willing to seek to destroy an enemy, including indiscriminate killing, patterns of restraint inherent to their social authority, cultural values, and methods of warfare tended to limit escalation and the overall level of violence. The dissonance of patterns of restraint in Indian and European warfare contributed to Euro-Indian escalation.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-7795
Print ISSN
0899-3718
Pages
pp. 701-741
Launched on MUSE
2007-07-26
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived 2010
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