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Not Now

The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

compassion for the people whom he diligently sought to represent.
Readers will admire Champagne's scholarship while at the same time
they enjoy the reveries that nostalgia invites. We are not likely ever to
read of another congressman like Sam Rayburn.
Texas Woman's University MARTHA H. SWAIN
The Indian Frontier of the American West, 1846-18go. By Robert M.
Utley. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984. Pp.
xxi+325. Foreword, preface, maps, illustrations, notes, bibliogra-
phy, index. $19.95, cloth; $10.95, paper.)
Robert M. Utley has written a general account of Indian-white rela-
tions in the trans-Mississippi West during the last half of the nine-
teenth century. This book deals with such topics as the evolution of
the reservation system in the 184os and 1850s, the failure of Ulysses S.
Grant's peace policy, and the bitter Indian wars that stemmed from
the decision to concentrate Indians on newly created reservations after
the Civil War. It also focuses on the legacy of the Lake Mohonk re-
formers, the stark reality of Indian life in the 189os, and the events
leading up to the battle of Wounded Knee, which symbolized the end
of the Indian frontier.
The author suggests that the Indian frontier was more complex than
the single line of Anglo-Saxon expansion described by Frederick Jack-
son Turner. He characterizes the American West as a series of frontier
zones where interaction permanently changed both Indians and whites.
This mutual acculturation, however, was not extensive enough to en-
able the Indian and white worlds to understand each other fully. The
result was the failure of well-intentioned federal Indian policies.
Utley clearly demonstrates that the decision to place Indians on
reservations was part of a long-standing ethnocentric attitude that de-
manded the destruction of tribal culture to promote white ideas of
progress and civilization. The creation of reservations demonstrated a
lack of white understanding concerning Indian land tenure and politi-
cal organization. It also led to fraud and corruption, encouraged fac-
tionalism, eroded Indian spiritual life, and resulted in the enormous
loss of land after the passage of the Dawes General Allotment Act.
Utley concludes that the history of the Indian frontier from 186o to
1890 was the record of Indian resistance to confinement on reser-
This book has a few shortcomings. We need to know more about
how the Indian frontier experience compared with frontiers in other


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 1, 2016.

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