ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
This thesis describes the evolution of United States Indian policy with emphasis on the effects of public opinion during Grants administration, 1869-76. A brief description of Indian affairs from 1825 to 1867 is followed by a detailed analysis of Indian policy and public opinion for each year from 1868 to 1876. Indian policy documents, reports of military operations, and newspaper reports are examined to determine cause and effect relationships of the historical events portrayed. The author concludes that public opinion was generally divided into four divergent views the Eastern humanitarian, the Western pragmatist, the military and the general public and that the American public had strong influences on the formulation of Indian policy. Specifically 1 Contemporary public opinion rather than later historical analysis determined whether military actions against the Indians were considered heroic events or massacres 2 The public supported removal of the Indians from the path of westward expansion at all costs throughout the period 3 Politically potent humanitarian groups controlled the making of Indian policy from 1869 to 1873 and 4 Public opinion supported the humanitarian approach as exemplified by the Grant Peace Policy until 1873 when it became generally accepted that use of military force as a tool of the peace effort was necessary.