Explanatroy Synthesis – Black Hawk War

Black Hawk was an Indian war chief who had a following of couple hundred Sauks Indians. Black Hawk and his fought against the Americans before the war of 1832 and were strictly against the expansion of Americans into their territory (Tena 2-3). The Indian war chief was born in Saukenuk and had been living there with his fellow Indians until the Americans came and forced them out of their land.
Since Saukenuk was Black Hawk’s hometown, he was determined to hold onto it and was ready to oppose Americans because he saw the Americans as a threat to his culture and land (John 3). His anger and disgrace towards the Americans eventually led to the Black Hawk war along with a couple of other factors. The unjust treaty of 1804 was one of the main factors of the War and it made Black Hawk even more concerned about the Americans and the treaty also caused some intertribal rivalries between different Indian tribes but even after that Black Hawk was hoping to avoid a war.
It is known that the American soldiers who confronted Black Hawk allegedly fired the first shot, which started the Black Hawk war. The United States Government put forth many treaties to obtain the Land from the Indians but the unjust Treaty of 1804 is known as the main factor that led to the War of 1832. The way the signing of the this Treaty took place was very unlawful because most of the Indians who signed it were not really main authority holders of the Indian tribes and the signing of the treaty proceeded even though there were many Indians who were not ready to sell their lands over to the Americans (John 1).

Some of the Indians did not even fully understood the conditions of the treaty and the worst part of this treaty was that it gave the land of the Saukenuk village over to the Americans, which made Black Hawk furious and bitter (Tena 3). Since even Black Hawk, who was a major Indian chief did not have the complete knowledge about the extent of the Treaty, it proves that the Treaty of 1804 was unlawful and unjust. After the Treaty of 1804, Black and other Sauks became extremely bitter and enraged towards the Americans. The Treaty also ended up causing some intertribal rivalries between the Indian tribes.
Black Hawk and his followers were not willing to accept the terms of the treaty of 1804 and wanted to resist the American ways but on the other hand, some Indian tribes feared that they would stand no chance against the Americans and did what they were told by the Americans, which became the cause of tension between the Indians (John 2-3). One of the leaders who held a different point of view from Black Hawk was Keokuk, who was also the leader of Sauks Indians and he had no intention of resisting against the Americans ( Jane 4 ).
The different point of view of the Indian tribes and the intertribal rivalries that the Treaty of 1804 stirred up caused Black Hawk and his followers to go on a different path, which was to try and move back to the land where they all originally started from. That land was Illinois and the Americans had begun settling there. Black Hawk and his followers tried several times to retake their hometown but could not succeed and were attacked by the Americans, which led to the conflict known as the Black Hawk war.
The Indian chief with his couple hundred followers decided to resist against the Americans and tried going back to where they started from, with the purpose of settling there (Jane 4). However, Black Hawk was still hoping to avoid getting into a war with the Americans but in the end, it was inevitable. The Americans always thought of the native Indians as savages, who killed a lot of Americans in the past. So when Black Hawk and his people were crossing the Mississippi River, they were attacked by the American soldiers and the Indians ultimately lost (Arnold 1).
It is known that the Americans allegedly attacked and fired on the Indians first, which resulted in the Black Hawk war of 1832 and the capture of the Indian Chief; Black Hawk by the Americans. The road to the Black Hawk war of 1832 was paved by the unlawful treaty of 1804, which not just enraged Black Hawk but also caused a lot of intertribal rivalries between the Indians and furthermore the unjust actions of American soldiers brought upon the downfall of Black Hawk (Tena).
One can easily blame the treaty of 1804 for ultimately dividing the Indians and for their bitterness towards the United States government since Black Hawk was just trying to protect the land and the culture of his people (John 3-4).
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Tena L. Helton. “What the White “Squaws” Want from Black Hawk: Gendering the FanCelebrity Relationship. ” The American Indian Quarterly 34. 4 (2010): 498-520.
Project MUSE. Web. 14 Mar. 2013. Arnold Krupat. Patterson’s Life; Black Hawk’s Story; Native American Elegy. ” American Literary History 22. 3 (2010): 527-552.
Project MUSE. Web. 14 Mar. 2013. John K. Flanagan. “The Treaty of St. Louis and Black Hawk’s Bitterness. ” 21 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 405. (2001 ): 2553 words.
LexisNexis Academic. Web. 14 Mar. 2013. Jane Simonsen. “Descendants of Black Hawk: Generations of Identity in Sauk Portraits. ” American Quarterly 63. 2 (2011): 301-335. Project MUSE. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.


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