Red Gentlemen and White Savages: Indians, Federalists, and the Search for Order on the American Frontier

Red Gentlemen and White Savages: Indians, Federalists, and the Search for Order on the American Frontier (2008-12-12)
David Andrew Nichols

Red Gentlemen and White Savages argues that after the devastation of the American Revolutionary War, the main concern of Federalist and Indian leaders was not the transfer of land, but the restoration of social order on the frontier. Nichols focuses on the "middle ground" of Indian treaty conferences, where, in a series of encounters framed by the rituals of Native American diplomacy and the rules of Anglo-American gentility, U.S. officials and Woodland Indian civil chiefs built an uneasy alliance. The two groups of leaders learned that they shared common goals: both sought to control their "unruly young men"-disaffected white frontiersmen and Native American warriors-and both favored diplomacy, commerce, and established boundaries over military confrontation. Their alliance proved unstable. In their pursuit of peace and order along the frontier, both sets of leaders irreparably alienated their own followers. The Federalists lost power in 1800 to the agrarian expansionists of the Democratic-Republican Party, while civil chiefs lost influence to the leaders of new pan-Indian resistance movements. This shift in political power contributed to the outbreak of war between the United States, Britain, and Britain's Indian allies in 1812, and prepared the way for Indian Removal.