Western Immigrants Battle Native Americans

 

Ako,_a_Comanche_warrior_and_horse_-

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

 

The welcome peace after the American Civil War brought only tragedy to the Native American Indians of the West. The September 2016 Delancey Place blog features the book, Citizen Sherman by Michael Fellman. 

 

With the North-South war behind them, Generals Sherman, Grant, and Sheridan turned their energies to battling the Western Indians.

The buffalo-hunting warlike Indians were directly in the path of the transcontinental railroads—keys to the planned Western expansion. General William Tecumseh Sherman stated to general Ulysses Grant, “We are not going to let a few thieving, ragged Indians check and stop the progress of [the railroads], a work of national and world-wide importance.”

The army guarded the developing railroads to such an extent that Indian raids could no longer slow construction. Encroaching pioneer settlers joined the army in slaughtering the buffalo, the Native American food supply, as well as assassinating their young warriors. Disease and starvation reduced the remaining Indians  to dependency and ultimately, to reservations.

Army casualties were light during these battles; fewer men were lost than in an average Civil War battle. “It is all moonshine about the great cost of the war,” Sherman bragged to a friend in 1875.

 

 

Pre-World War II China

1939-Shanghai-Cookie (age 2) Amah Paula (age 6) Doris (age 32)-we ride in rickshas to avoid floodwaters at Grosvenor House, our apartment building in the International Settlement copy

Cookie, Amah, Paula, and Mom ready for a rickshaw ride in Shanghai

 

Prior to World War II, we lived in the Far East where my adopted expatiate father worked for the Standard Oil. In the photo above, we’re about to take a rickshaw ride through the flooded streets of Shanghai—Cookie in Amah’s lap on the left, and me in my mother’s lap on the right. Rickshaws were fun, I thought back then, but I’ve recently learned more about rickshaw drivers, or pullers, in the April 19, 2017 Delancey Place blog states otherwise. It features a selection from The Search for Modern China, by Jonathan D. Spence. 

Everyday life was a struggle for survival for most Chinese in the 1930s. Few could afford to marry, and among those who did, many had to sell their children, or watch them slowly starve. The country was increasingly ready for a revolution.

“China’s hundreds of millions joined scores of their fellows at 4:00 a.m. or earlier, waiting in anxious groups with their tools to see if any work would come that day. Most such men died unnoticed after brief, miserable lives. Some of them ‘escaped’ to the factories or became human horses, pulling two-wheeled rickshaws through the crowded streets of China’s cities. These rickshaw men were constantly exploited by racketeers, and returned after each backbreaking day to grim tenements, where they slept in rows, packed side by side, in spaces just vacated by fellow pullers who had returned to the streets.”

Life was no better for poverty stricken country peasants. “Few of the wealthier farmers went to the expense of mechanizing farm work, even when machinery and fuel were available. Nor did they invest much in draft animals, since the wages paid to a hired laborer per day were the same as the cost of a day’s fodder for a single donkey. The man could be laid off when the need for him was over, but the donkey had to be fed the sheltered for the whole year.”

Such is often the fate of the world’s powerless.

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