Monday, May 08, 2017

Reformation History: New Interpretations, Trends, and Perspectives

From the sixteenth century until the mid-twentieth century, almost all interpreters agreed that the Protestant Reformation began in 1517 with Martin Luther’s acts of “heroic individualism.” As Bernd Moeller has described it, this now-outdated story of the origins of the Reformation pictured Luther as “a great sage, a kind of spiritual colossus, who attains his Reformation breakthrough, draws the broad consequences, and then drags people with him as he strides through history handing out his truths right and left.”[1] But sometime during the mid-1900s, scholars began to conclude that “Luther as sage and Wittenberg as Jerusalem” was an insufficient historical paradigm. Other people and places—like Huldrych Zwingli in Zurich, John Calvin in Geneva, and a number of lesser-known leaders and locations—were vital to the rise of Protestantism in the sixteenth century.[2] This change contributed to a new situation in which, over the past fifty years, Reformation historiography has not only grown more diverse, it has also grown in volume at an impressive pace. My purpose here is to describe and analyze some of the newer Reformation historiography, especially in regard to terminology, chronological scale, the rise of social history, what is called “deconfessionalization,” and revisionist interpretations that have emerged within the last forty years.


As Euan Cameron has observed, what people have for hundreds of years called the Reformation was actually “a series of parallel movements; within each of which various sorts of people with differing perspectives for a crucial period in history combined forces to pursue objectives which they only party understood.”[3] The majority of today’s Reformation scholars would agree with Cameron’s assessment, and this raises a question: If what we are describing was never a unified movement led by a single leader who proclaimed a consistent set of teachings, is the singular term Reformation the most appropriate descriptor? Clearly, Cameron, who titled his own work The European Reformation, believed it was perfectly acceptable to combine his conclusion about “parallel movements” with the standard singular terminology. However, beginning in the mid-1990s, at least a few historians took such thinking to heart as they gave titles to their books. For example, Carter Lindberg titled his 1996 textbook The European Reformations. Regarding his choice of the plural, Lindbergh did not elaborate. He simply explained, “I view the Reformation era as a time of plural reform movements.”[4] Significantly, his coverage begins in the late fifteenth century and runs to the early seventeenth century, and includes a chapter on “Catholic Renewal and the Counter-Reformation.” In 1999, three years after Lindberg’s book first appeared, James D. Tracy published Europe’s Reformations 1450-1650. For his part, Tracy explained the plural by asserting that “we can best understand the historical significance of the Protestant movement by viewing it . . . as the high point in a series of ‘reformations’ that convulsed the Latin or western half of Christendom from the eleventh to the eighteenth centuries.”[5]

In an interesting twist on this theme, Diarmaid MacCulloch has written about the singular Reformation in a book that includes coverage of those reforms that were introduced even by popes and the Counter Reformation.[6] In contrast to MacCulloch’s approach, scholars like Bernd Moeller, Berndt Hamm, and Dorothea Wendebourg insist on an exclusive sense in which the terms Reformation and Protestant go together. C. Scott Dixon also subscribes to this view and explains specifically:
[W]hen I mention the Reformation I mean the Protestant Reformation, and not only the Protestant Reformation of Luther, Zwingli, or Calvin but the reformations of all the groups of western Europe that consciously broke away from the Catholic church in the early modern period in the wake of the Luther Affair.[7]
Thus, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, one of the unanswered questions of Reformation historiography asks whether expressions like Catholic Reformation and Counter Reformation deserve sections in a survey text about the Reformation.


The term reformatio and its cognates were commonly used during the late medieval period to speak of reform impulses or movements in any number of different areas: the law, politics, and the academy, for example. Thus, when Luther and Zwingli preached a message of reform, they were using language that had long since become familiar. Reform was part of the atmosphere into which all sixteenth-century reformers were born.[8] Yet, by the end of the century, the Reformation had come to mean, specifically, the well-known movement most closely associated with Luther. Indeed, during the year 1617, any number of centennial sermons celebrated Luther’s triumph over the papacy and error. Also by that time, the Reformation had become an embattled, confessionalized expression among Protestants. For example, in his History of the Religion of the Reformed Churches (1721), Jacques Basnages de Beauval insisted that the first reformer was Zwingli, since he had preached against the abuses of Rome as early as 1516.[9] Thus, another reason for the diversity of the secondary literature relates to the question: When did the Reformation begin and end?

Scholars who have taken up the task of establishing chronological boundaries for the Reformation have followed one of two distinct patterns. The first maintains a focus on Martin Luther and especially seminal events from his life, most notably his posting of the Ninety-Five Theses in 1517. In this arrangement, end points might be identified with the death of Luther in 1546, or with the Peace of Augsburg in 1555, which provided a secure legal standing for Lutheranism in the Holy Roman Empire, or in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia marking the end of the Thirty Years War and the beginning of a more secular approach to political life.[10]

Those who espouse the alternative chronological framework insist that we cannot possibly understand specific memorable events of the Reformation without an appreciation for the much broader historical contexts in which those events occurred. Within such contexts, an upheaval no longer seems to have been so sudden, and a breakthrough appears as the natural result of pressures that had been growing over a relatively long period.[11] One remarkable such treatment is Peter G. Wallace's 2004 work titled The Long European Reformation: Religion, Political Conflict, and the Search for Conformity 1350-1750.[12] Wallace begins by describing late-medieval Christendom. In the wake of the first appearance of the Black Death and the ensuing devastation, he writes, survivors were motivated to pursue the ideal model of apostolic Christianity. Such motivations set the stage for an emerging Reformation whose values were eventually integrated “into the belief systems of common Christians.”[13] Indeed, by the middle of the eighteenth century, “the original goal of religious renewal could be documented all over Europe.” However, also by that time Reformed Christianity “had become pluralistic rather than unitary, and popularly inspired as much as officially determined.”[14] Wallace justifies his decision to tell the story of a European Reformation with roots that reached down to the Middle Ages and with ramifications that reached far into the eighteenth century. Europe’s experience of the Black Death had the effect of redoubling the calls for “spiritual renewal and structural reform.”[15] Four hundred years later, a new era began when the dynamic ideologies of Europe’s future— “democracy, nationalism, socialism, capitalism, and racism”—identified a time when “secular ideologies grounded in worldly interests” took over.[16]

Social History and “Deconfessionalization”

Two additional factors have contributed to the diversification and to the growth of Reformation historiography over the last half century. Conveniently, Philip Benedict specifies both of these in his 2002 work, Christ’s Churches Purely Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism. Benedict introduces this fine piece of scholarship as a survey of “the history and significance of Reformed Protestantism in Europe from its origins until the end of the age of orthodoxy around 1700.”[17] He points out that no single author has attempted anything similar since John T. McNeill wrote The History and Character of Calvinism, first published in 1954. Since then, writes Benedict, the broad field of history and a specific part of that field, the corner known as Reformation studies, have each gone through what he describes as a dramatic sea change. What is the nature of that change?

First, in general, historians no longer report only those events surrounding “elite actors.” Instead, they now incorporate “the actions and aspirations of ordinary men and women.” Second, the fifty years following McNeill’s book witnessed what scholars have called the “deconfessionalization” of Reformation history. Benedict explains that, before, “most church history was written by members of the church in question eager to explore a critical moment in the formation of their religious tradition.” But since then a new scene has emerged where it is not uncommon, for example, for Roman Catholic scholars to offer “sympathetic and penetrating studies of Protestant theology.”[18] Clearly, Benedict hopes that his book will be a good example of both trends. He not only subtitles his work A Social History of Calvinism, he also describes himself as “a total outsider, an agnostic, nonpracticing Jew raised in a secular household.”[19]

Was There a Reformation? If So, Was it Good?

A related, but quite different approach to elongating the Reformation almost completely avoids the term. In the preface to his 1985 work, Christianity in the West, 1400-1700, John Bossy announces that he intends to describe “a way or ways of life and the features of Christian belief which seemed most relevant” to people at that time.[20] One can hardly help noticing that the dates of Bossy’s title place one foot on either side of what, according to long-standing tradition, marks the beginning of the Reformation. The author does not doubt that the Reformation was “an event in human life,” and he suggests that paying attention to both its background and foreground permits “some kind of purchase on the event.”[21] Part of what Bossy rejects, however, is the idea that “medieval Christianity was a burden which most of the population of the West was delighted to shake off,” and “that Christianity was brought to the people of the West during and after the sixteenth century.”[22] To the contrary, the basic outline of the Christian gospel, interpreted and mediated by the likes of Augustine of Hippo and Anselm of Canterbury, was known, inculcated, assumed to be true, and practiced by all echelons of society for many hundreds of years before any so-called Reformation. What is more, Christianity in the West during the Middle Ages functioned very well and consistently as an organizing principle for society. As Bossy puts it,
Christians of the late medieval West did not need reformers to tell them who their saviour was; not the pope, nor the learned Fathers of the Council of Constance who finally settled the Schism in 1417; not even, in the end, the hierarchical Church itself, but Christ.[23]
He agrees that “[s]omething important happened to Western Christianity in the sixteenth century,” and that the term Reformation can be used to describe it. What Bossy objects to is “the notion that a bad form of Christianity was being replaced by a good one.” Further, the Reformation, although “a necessary concept in the history of the Church as an institution . . . does not seem much use in the history of Christianity.” Why? Because the typical understanding of the Reformation “is too high-flowing to cope with actual social behavior, and not high-flown enough to deal sensitively with thought, feeling, or culture.”[24] In short, much like the so-called revisionist historians of the English Reformation, Bossy does not wish to celebrate anything that was supposedly won in the episode known as the Reformation. Rather, he laments what, between 1400 and 1700, was lost.

Along this line, he points out that “of those words whose meaning undoubtedly changed” from the sixteenth to the seventeenth century, “several represented ideas and institutions at the heart of Christianity.”[25] The term satisfaction, for example, “had shifted “from meaning atonement to meaning (accept in duelling classes) contentment and gratification.”[26] Again, up to about the year 1400 “the word ‘religion’ . . . had for centuries usually meant a ‘religious’ rule or order and those who followed or belonged to it.” By the time of Calvin, the term meant “the primary posture of the Christian community, or of the individuals who composed it, towards God.” Still later, by 1700, “the world was full of religions, objective social and moral entities characterized by system, principles and hard edges.”[27] Bossy ends with the summary assertion that before the seventeenth century, “Christianity” meant “a body of people,” but that since then the word has meant “an ‘ism’ or body of beliefs.”[28]

Judging from the persistent historiography that Bossy’s tour de force represents, it seems clear that some scholars will continue to challenge what might be called Whig-Protestant interpretations of the Reformation. At the same time, however, revisionist laments will have to contend with what Patrick Collinson described as “the perception that those living through these events had of an almost total transformation,” and that it was good. To drive home his point, Collinson quoted a sixteenth-century Englishman who wished that God might bless his elderly uncle, “and make him to know that which in his tender years he could not see, for the world was then dark and we were blind in it.”[29]

Over the last half century, then, names for the Reformation have grown in number, while a much broader time frame now makes it seem more like an historic era than an episode. The name of Martin Luther, though still very important to historians, is now more often accompanied by the names of other reformers and members of their personal networks. In addition, the rise of social history has led to the deprivileging of theology and religion in Reformation studies, which are now produced by historians of all religious persuasions. Not surprisingly, the growing variety of topics and scholars means that Reformation studies now exhibits a wide array of competing interpretations.


[1] Bernd Moeller, Imperial Cities and the Reformation, trans. H. C. Erik Midelfort and Mark U. Edwards, Jr. (Durham, NC: Labyrinth Press, 1982), 13, as quoted by C. Scott Dixon, Contesting the Reformation (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 1-2.

[2] Dixon, Contesting the Reformation, 3.

[3] Euan Cameron, The European Reformation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), 1.

[4] Carter Lindberg, The European Reformations (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1996), xii.

[5] James D. Tracy, Europe’s Reformations, 1450-1650 (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), 3.

[6] Diarmaid MacCulloch, Reformation (New York: Viking Penguin, 2004).

[7] Dixon, Contesting the Reformation, 13-14.

[8] For an insightful discussion of the terms reformatio and renovatio reaching back to the period of the Gregorian Reforms, see John W. O’Malley, Trent and All That: Renaming Catholicism in the Early Modern Era (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 16-20.

[9] Dixon, Contesting the Reformation, 8-10.

[10] Ibid., 15.

[11] This was certainly the opinion of Elizabeth Eisenstein. She argued that even if Luther and Zwingli had never lived, something very much like the Reformation that we know would have occurred due to the invention of the printing press. See Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe, 2nd ed. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), chap. 6, esp. 208.

[12] Peter G. Wallace, The Long Reformation: Religion, Political Conflict, and the Search for Conformity, 1350-1750 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

[13] Ibid., 7.

[14] Ibid., 166.

[15] Ibid., 218.

[16] Ibid., 222.

[17] Philip Benedict, Christ’s Churches Purely Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002), xvii.

[18] Ibid., xviii.

[19] Ibid., xxv.

[20] John Bossy, Christianity in the West, 1400-1700 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985).

[21] Ibid., 7.

[22] Ibid., viii.

[23] Ibid., 3.

[24] Ibid., 91.

[25] Ibid., 167.

[26] Ibid., 169.

[27] Ibid., 170.

[28] Ibid., 171.

[29] Patrick Collinson, The Reformation: A History (New York: Modern Library, 2006), 9.

Works Cited

Benedict, Philip. Christ’s Churches Purely Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002.

Bossy, John. Christianity in the West, 1400-1700. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Cameron, Euan. The European Reformation. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991.

Collinson, Patrick. The Reformation: A History. New York: Modern Library, 2006.

Dixon, C. Scott. Contesting the Reformation. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

George, Timothy. Theology of the Reformers. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1988.

Eisenstein, Elizabeth L. The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe. 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Lindberg, Carter. The European Reformations. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1996.

MacCulloch, Diarmaid. Reformation. New York: Viking Penguin, 2004.

O’Malley, John W. Trent And All That: Renaming Catholicism in the Early Modern Era. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.

Tracy, James D. Europe’s Reformations, 1450-1650. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.

Wallace, Peter G. The Long European Reformation: Religion, Political Conflict, and the Search for Conformity, 1350-1750. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

The Indian Frontier, 1846-1890, by Robert M. Utley

Robert M. Utley, The Indian Frontier, 1846-1890. Revised Edition. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2003. Pp. xix, 325.

First published in 1984, The Indian Frontier, 1846-1890 was revised and then reissued in 2003. The revised edition is part of the Histories of the American Frontier Series published by the University of New Mexico Press. The rich narrative is supplemented by 99 illustrations and 12 useful maps.

According to the back cover, author Robert M. Utley is "a retired Chief Historian of the National Park Service and has written over fifteen books on a variety of aspects of history of the American West." In his Foreword, the eminent historian Howard R. Lamar called Utley "one of the most popular and productive historians of the American West" (xiii).

Of course, no historian who writes about the American frontier can avoid Frederick Jackson Turner's thesis first presented in 1893. In his Preface, Utley explains that as Turner saw things, experiences on the frontier--"a trader's frontier, farmer's frontier, rancher's frontier, miner's frontier"--are what made Americans and America exceptional. Turner did not completely neglect the Indians on the American frontier. However, he did treat them merely as "an influence in shaping the special American character" (xv). In other words, as Turner described things, Indians were not characters on the stage that was the American West. They were more like props in a drama that kept the spotlight on whites who were moving west. Nevertheless, unlike some other historians who regard "frontier" as just another f-word, Utley refuses to reject the Turner thesis. He prefers instead to treat it as "a conceptual framework, however simplistic, within which to develop themes of western American history" (xv). By design, Utley's work revises, qualifies, and supplements Turner's outlook. That is the book's most prominent feature from the standpoint of theoretical perspective. How could anyone move west in nineteenth-century America without encountering and dealing with Indians? Utley brings the obvious answer to that question into this exploration of the American frontier. Hence the title of his book.

What follows here is my summary, chapter by chapter. I made fuller notes for some parts more than for others. So, some chapter summaries are quite long, while others are much more concise.

Chapter One: The Indian West at Midcentury

Utley begins with the growing presence of white people in the Indian country during the 1840s. With the annexation of Texas in 1845 and the ensuing U.S.-Mexico War, American citizens moved further west into newly acquired lands. "[T]he United States at midcentury boasted a population of more than 20 million, a counting utterly beyond the comprehension of the western natives. By 1860, 1.4 million would live in the West; by 1890, 8.5 million" (4). The author discusses various influences that forever changed the Indian frontier: European diseases, the horse, and the gun. Dependence upon the gun changed balances of power and, of course, meant that Indians were dependent on the white man for gun "powder, lead, and repairs" (14). And, all such impact meant environmental change, what William Cronon has called Changes in the Land.

First contact between Indians and white men was almost always due to the arrival of a trader. This created new tastes and wants, especially liquor. The trader was most often the first white person an Indian ever saw, as opposed to a missionary. Utley summarizes a central point of this chapter as follows: Many natives of the Trans-Mississippi West had changed in response to the arrival and presence of white people "in or near their world." However, until the 1840s, "the changes had been evolutionary and mostly within the bounds of traditional culture. Henceforth they would be revolutionary and finally destructive of traditional culture" (26).

Chapter Two: Foundations of a New Indian Policy, 1846-1860

White imagination saw Indians in basically two ways: There was the good Indian, the noble savage, to be destroyed by civilizing him. Then, there was the bad Indian, the ignoble savage, to be destroyed by killing him. Either way, as part of the landscape of the frontier, Indians would have to be conquered (29-31).

When push came to shove, possessing Indian land was more important, more pressing than the question of how to civilize Indians (31). The making of treaties with Indians often ascribed to chiefs an authority that did not match up with tribal realities. Chiefs were not elected officials with constitutional authority. Indian politics operated much more by consensus. A chief's leadership utterly depended on a group that was willing to follow.

Founded in 1824, by 1890 the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs "was the most powerful force in the lives of Indians" (37). "The Indian Bureau had two purposes: to extinguish Indian land titles and to grapple with the vexing problem of what to do with people whose title had been extinguished. . . . Only in Texas was there no immediate question of title; on entering the Union, the state had retained jurisdiction over all its vacant land and refused to concede that the Indians owned any of it" (38). "Besides the army and the Indian Bureau, a third institution of government dominated Indian relations: Congress" (41).

The environmental impact of white westward travel and immigration was considerable. The arrival of white traders, and especially U.S. agents with their desire to establish treaties that favored the whites, treaties that Indian leaders often did not understand, led to a radical decline in Indian population (48-49).

Unlike the situation in the rest of America, Texans were having none of the treaty business. Texas never acknowledged Indian right to or ownership of any land in the state (52). Part of the "solution" to Indians in Texas was to drive them north of Red River into the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, where the Texas government leased land from those nations for the incoming Indians (esp. 52).

Chapter Three: When the White People Fought Each Other, 1861-1865

Apache leaders in places like New Mexico began to having violent interactions with whites in 1860-61. Much of this was precipitated by the discovery of gold in old Spanish copper mines and the subsequent influx of miners (66). Following deadly encounters, the Apaches noticed soldiers marching away to the east. The Indians assumed that the whites were giving up and going away. Of course, what they did not realize was that whites were now mobilizing for the Civil War. But the whites were not gone for long. They soon returned to the Indian frontier due to "Abraham Lincoln's need for western gold and silver and western political support for the prosecution of the war." This "dramatized how little the war slowed the pace of the western movement" (72).

"No Indians experienced more trauma than the Five Civilized Tribes of the Indian Territory. Many of those people owned slaves and felt a natural affinity for southerners. Also, geographical proximity gave the Confederacy an edge over the Union. The Choctaws and Chickasaws went overwhelmingly with the South" (73).

Utley describes troubles in Minnesota, New Mexico, Colorado. He details the Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado. "By 1865 military force as the solution to the Indian problem had achieved virtually unchallenged supremacy. In Indian matters President Lincoln had shown himself a humanitarian, but the struggle with the Confederacy ruled his White House years, and he left Indian affairs almost entirely to Congress and the Indian Bureau" (92).

Then, in 1864, U. S. Grant put John Pope in charge of the Great Plains. Pope basically regarded all Indians in that huge swath of territory as hostile. Many were, thanks to incidents like Sand Creek. Pope's policy was essentially war against all plains Indians, all the time. Many Indians fled north. Some of them were looking merely to escape. But others looked to join up with tribes of the northern plains in order to take the fight to the white man.

Utley tells the story of Adobe Walls in 1864. The War came to an end. Stories about Sand Creek horrified many Americans. So, there were new attitudes regarding Indian policy. Some argued for a policy of "conquest by kindness" (96-97). Thus, sometime around 1865, the U.S. political leaders spoke in terms remarkably different from previous years. Whereas the earlier times had been bloody, beginning in 1865 the language was rhetoric of peace, which was confusing to the Indians.

Chapter Four: War and Peace: Indian Relations in Transition, 1865-1869

This chapter describes a post-war period during which mistrust and atrocities on both sides led American federal policy in the direction of "the rifle" as opposed to "the peace pipe"; this, in spite of the peace rhetoric that became popular at war's end. In other words, by fits and starts U.S. policy towards the Indian became more aggressive and hostile. Thus, the years that immediately followed the war were characterized by broken treaties, ambushes, massacres, and the failure of the treaty policy. It is no coincidence that leaders of the U.S. Army at this time were battle-hardened veterans of the war.

Chapter Five: Grant's Peace Policy, 1869-1876

Grant began his presidency with the promise of a Peace Policy. At the same time, he said, "Those who do not accept this policy will find the new administration ready for a sharp and severe war policy" (128). So, although the official rhetoric emphasized peace, it seems that Grant's effective policy had two sides. Grant appointed Ely S. Parker, a full-blooded Seneca, Commissioner of Indian Affairs (130). Again, this was part and parcel of a dedication to "conquest by kindness." Still, Grant's policies were enacted by dozens of army officers, not to mention that the Indian Bureau was part of the War Department. Nonetheless, there were sometimes genuine attempts at kindness and justice (132).

Utley describes the frustrations for both Indians (in his specific example, Apaches) and U.S. representatives to Indians. The Great Father was slow in making decisions and providing the promised means of survival. Frequently, after a long wait, the Indians would be delivered a unsatisfactory message. However, some officials like Vincent Colyer and General Oliver Otis Howard did well as advocates of the Indians and made good decisions.

Utley turns to the Fort Sill Agency in the western Indian Territory. Kiowas and Comanches were the tribes of interest here. Lawrie Tatum, a determined Quaker, became agent. Tatum tried to get the Kiowas to stop raiding in Texas. Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson at Fort Sill was the military complement to Tatum's agency. Grierson was devoted to the peace policy, even though that meant that some of his military peers looked down on him.

Ultimately, the Salt Creek Prairie Massacre of 1871 frustrated Tatum and set off William Tecumseh Sherman. Satanta, a Kiowa chief, was proud and unrepentant. Like most tribes, encroachment by whites and U.S. federal policy divided the Kiowas. The Kiowa war chief was Lone Wolf. Kicking Bird led the Kiowa peace faction (see photos pp. 144-45).

The final paragraph of the chapter reads, "But in essence Grant's Peace Policy was chiefly about peace, and peace it did not achieve. The public could thus hardly be faulted for failing to note the persistence of the Peace Policy when war so dominated the Indian news. Indeed, the era of the Peace Policy featured some of the bitterest warfare in the history of Indian relations" (154).

Chapter Six: Wars of the Peace Policy, 1869-1886

" 'The campaigns in Arizona did not owe their ultimate success to any particular Waterloo-like victory, as much as they did the covering of a great deal of ground by a comparatively small number of men, permitting the Indians no rest and rendering any and every hiding place insecure.' " (155, quoting a report from 1890).

Utley relates the army's Walter Schuyler and his troops tracking down Apaches in Arizona in 1873 (155-58). The freedom of the Kiowas and Comanches came to an end in 1875 (160). The general rule was: Those Indians on the reservation are friendly and the federal Indian Bureau is responsible for them; Those off the reservation are hostile and the army must be responsible for them (161). This made sense, but the realities were never quite that simple (162-63). When war was brought to Indians, it tended to be the "total war" made (in)famous by the likes of Sherman and Sheridan during the Civil War (164).

"Man for man, the [Indian] warrior far surpassed his blueclad adversary in virtually every test of military proficiency; but unit for unit--however great the numbers--the Indians could not come close to matching the discipline and organization of the army. When Indians made the mistake of standing and fighting on the army's terms, they usually lost." However, the west was not won as a result of military conquest. Instead it was "an aggressive and highly organized society" (166).

Events like the Modoc War on the west coast in 1872-73 and especially "Custer's Last Stand" in 1876 marked the demise of the Peace Policy (171). Utley also tells of the Red River War of 1874-75.

Finally vanquished, the Nez Perces wound up in I.T., just like the Modoc had before them, in spite of promises made to the Nez Perces by the army. By 1881, only the Apaches "had not yet been made to face the truth that the reservation represented their only possible destiny" (187). Their leaders were Victorio and Geronimo. The reservation designated for them was a terrible place to live: no game, lots of snakes, etc. Eventually, Geronimo and other Apaches gave up and "the Indian Wars of the United States came to a close in Skeleton Canyon, Arizona, on September 4, 1886" (196). The Apaches were loaded up on trains that took them to Florida.

Chapter Seven: The Vision of the Reformers, 1865-1890

The chapter begins by describing the Mohonk House resort in upstate New York. The Smileys, Quaker twin brothers, were the owner-operators. Beginning in 1883, this was the cite of an annual Mohonk Conference of reform leaders and organizers, self-appointed friends of the Indians. The conference did not include Catholics, nor groups who fought for the right of Indians to simply be Indians. The official name of the gatherings was the Lake Mohonk Conference of the Friends of the Indians.

The emphasis of virtually all of these reformers was education. Utley tells the story of how in the 1870s and 80s especially, it seems, various crusaders, leaders, and reformers fighting in behalf of their visions for Indians were active and influential in American politics. For example, Helen Hunt Jackson, who published A Century of Dishonor in 1881, hoped that her book would do for Indians what Uncle Tom's Cabin did for slaves. Another factor that promoted reform interest were the stories about and statements from Indians themselves. These "aroused public sympathy and reinforced what the crusaders were saying" (201).

Such interest in Indians led to cooperation. The greatest organization of the time was the Indian Rights Association, founded and led by William Welsh. Groups like this one set out to "civilize" Indians. "This vision of the ideal Indian sharply delineated the paramount self-image of American society in the late nineteenth century. It was a vision of an 'Americanized' American Indian. By the 1880s and 1890s, despite conventional platitudes about separation of church and state, 'Americanism' represented virtually a fusion of nationalism and Protestantism" (203).

According to reformers, the first step was to "detribalize" Indians, that is to "individualize" them. "Once the individual had broken free of the tribal heritage, the reformers' program would power the final stage, the leap into the mainstream of American life" (204). Eventually, "all Indians could be submerged in the body politic of America" (205).

"In the Indian reform crusade of the 1880s, four issues overshadowed all others, both in their potential consequences for the Indians and in the zeal with which the reformers attacked them: land, education, law, and purification of the Indian Bureau. Give the Indians fee ownership in their own plot of land. Educate them in preparation for citizenship and self-support. Extend law for their protection against whites and other Indians. Upgrade reservation management to speed the civilization process and the dissolution of the reservations" (205).

Henry L. Dawes, U.S. senator from Massachusetts, was the champion of severalty for Indians (206). His leadership generated the Dawes General Allotment Act of 1887 (207).

Beginning in the 1880s, the U.S. began appropriating funds for the establishment and operation of schools among the Indians. By then, of course, church groups had been conducting educational work for many years, especially Roman Catholics. Various denominations had conducted virtually all formal schooling among the Indians. Thus, they received much of the funding that the federal government had appropriated. This was true because government schools could not set up and start running as fast as the money was becoming available. The churches were more than willing to accept any surplus funds. This situation naturally generated religious contests for government money.

Captain Richard Henry Pratt was founder and president of the Carlisle School, Pennsylvania, the greatest of the off-reservation boarding schools for Indians. Pratt spoke of a sudden and total immersion "in our civilization" (211).

"Not amid the cushioned comforts of Lake Mohonk, but on the reservations, where spoilsmen ran the programs, were the theories of the reformers put to the test. Lake Mohonk provided the perfect setting for spinning the theories, for it so perfectly mirrored the life and values of the reformers themselves, and therefore the life and values considered ideal for the Indians. But the polished lobby of Mohonk House differed from the hard environment and society of the reservation as night differed from day, and what seemed so ideal and attainable at Mohonk proved considerably less so on the reservation. There, to their pain and sorrow, several generations of Indians were fated to grapple with the legacy of Mohonk" (217-18).

Chapter Eight: The Reservation, 1880-1890

Utley narrates the obliteration of the buffalo in the 1870s and 80s. This "doomed the Plains Indians' way of life and forced them to settle on the reservations." How? Because going off reservation was for the purpose of hunting buffalo. The animals also provided the means of survival when Indians killed one. So, the demise of the buffalo basically took all the fun out of going off the reservation.

Utley distinguishes between nonprogressives (traditionalists) versus progressives among the Indians (223). A third distinction can be described as those who resisted when they could, but who gave in when they had to (225).

The Sioux began to experience the confinement of the reservation, and agents discouraged the hunt because hunting, it was said, perpetuated in the Indians "all the cruel and wicked propensities" (226). The vision quest was directly related to the hunt and to warfare. So, due to reservation life, the vision quest fell into irrelevance (230). It was much the same story for the sun dance as well (230-31).

" . . . the main explanation for the spread of Christianity lay in the nature of the Indian spiritual belief, which did not bar the new from living comfortably next to the old--so long as the Christian holy men did not demand too insistently that the old be cast aside. The Indian spiritual life centered on a quest for personal power. The white man visibly possessed power. Therefore, his God might also be petitioned for power along with the traditional Sioux deities" (231).

"Like Christianity, education elicited ambivalent reactions from the Sioux. On the one hand, they sensed its importance in helping them to cope with the white people in the new world forced on them. On the other hand, they feared what it would do to the hearts and minds, indeed the Sioux identity, of their children. On both counts, of course, they were right" (231).

Federal officials pressed individual homesteads and farming on the Indians (232). Major General George Crook to the leaders of the Sioux Indians: "It strikes me that you are in the position of a person who had his effects in the bed of a dry stream when there was a flood coming down, and instead of finding fault with the Creator for sending it down, you should try and save what you can" (236).

In 1890, President Harrison announced that the land ceded by the Sioux was now open to settlement, news which came as a shock to the Sioux (239).

Chapter Nine: The Passing of the Frontier, 1890

The "spoils system" had one of its most abusive manifestations at the Pine Ridge reservation in Dakota. Two incompetent, desperately in-debt government agents were there: Royer and Gleason. Around this time, a desperate attempt by the Sioux and other tribes showed up in the form of the Ghost Dance. The dance had apocalyptic dimensions. Its participants hoped for the emergence of a world of bliss. And, it promised protection from the white man's bullets and cannon balls. In the standoff between the two sides, Sitting Bull was killed. Then, there was a melee in which 150 more Indians were killed, and 50 wounded. "Instead of armed challenge to the reservation, the Ghost Dance was a desperate bid for divine salvation where all else had failed. It ended in violence because of an incompetent Indian agent and a tragic accident born of mutual distrust, misunderstanding, and fear" (248-49).

Utley relates the histories of Indian Territory, Oklahoma Territory, and early statehood. There was no Indian warfare in Alaska. There just weren't many Indians there, and the land was so vast.

The Dawes Act succeeded in only one of its goals: it moved Indian land into white ownership. All of the other idealistic goals of the act never came true for Indians. Still, Utley insists that it is unfair to refer to 19th reformers "racists."