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C O U R S E 
A History of the World since 1300
Jeremy Adelman, Princeton University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Indian Wars and Mass Slaughter of Bison
Notes taken on February 11, 2017 by Edward Tanguay
after the U.S. Civil War resolved the conflict between the South and the North
United States turned its sights to the West
1867 Indian Peace Commission
under the leadership of Major Joel Elliot
signed treaties with the Cheyennes, Plains Apaches, Comanches, Arapahos, and Kiowas
major reservations were established in present-day South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Arizona
1860 to 1890 reservation lands came under extreme pressure from white settlers, leading to increased conflict
at the edge of this pressure were
the cattlemen
land speculators
moved into and used these perceived-to-be vacant territories
newly arriving Americans and Europeans moved into the West
bison were important for sustenance for meat and hides for the indigenous survival
Comanche populations
the arrival of photographia captured images of Comancheria
not just military pressure on the Comanches
ecological pressure as well
the effect on the bison would in turn have an effect on the indigenous people
the Comanches would have decreasing access to this important ingredient for their own survival
a clash between industrial peoples and nomadic peoples
the assault on the bison took on industrial proportions for industrial ends
became a war of humans against animals fought with industrial weapons
conducted on a mass scale
because there was rising demand for hides for industrial consumption
hides were important because it was out of hides that you got leather belts
not the kind of leather belts that people wear, but leather belts to drive large machines
between 1850 and 1900 the price of leather doubled
and while the demand for leather rose, so did the supply, since the large bore rifle was developed during this time
delivered greater accuracy and ballistic impact from a longer distance
so that you could perforate the thick hide of a bison and bring the animal down
hunting expeditions, if you can call them that, were systematically organized, and bison were slaughtered in the millions
hunters took down as many bison as they could
left them lying in the fields to die
and continue following the herds to take down as many as he could
1878: 40,000 buffalo hides
Orlando Brown felled 6,000 bison in two months
small armies of men would move out into the plain pursuing the animals
by the 1880s the bison were almost extinct
Indians waged mostly futile resistance
Cherokee faced starvation
cities would emerge on the Great Plains to transform them
Chicago became gateway to the American West
cattle ranching took the place of the bison
commodity production
shipped to meat slaughter houses in Chicago
1906 "The Jungle" - Upton Sinclair
the land was being inducted into a more global system
Chicago became the bovine capital of the world