Cover image for Indian fighters turned American politicians : from military service to public office
Indian fighters turned American politicians : from military service to public office
Mitchell, Thomas G., 1957-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiii, 238 pages, 10 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E183 .M698 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The words Indian fighter recall Custer. Indian fighter politician brings to mind Andrew Jackson or William Henry Harrison. Yet politicians who rose to prominence by exploiting their participation in bloody campaigns against Native America were much more common than most Americans realize. This book will bring to light important facts and highlight controversial issues regarding well-known figures from American history and folklore, while situating the questionable actions of these politicians within their historical and political times.

While most people know that Davy Crockett went to Congress and died at the Alamo, few realize that his only previous combat experience was in one conflict during the Creek War, which was more massacre than battle. Daniel Boone was a hunter and frontiersman who waged war against the Indians, but he was also a state legislator. Both Abe Lincoln and Jeff Davis were involved in pre-Civil War battles against Native Americans. How and why did the era of the Indian fighter turned politician begin? Which party was the party of the Indian fighters? Why did the era end just before the Civil War? Mitchell explores this American political phenomenon and reveals how it influenced politics in other nations around the world.

Author Notes

THOMAS G. MITCHELL is the author of Indispensable Traitors (Greenwood, 2002) and Native vs Settler (Greenwood, 2000). His research concentration has been on ethnic conflicts in settler societies. He has also served with the Army in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

While Indian fighters will always maintain a place in US culture and folklore, independent researcher Mitchell examines a unique population of these heroes who used their Indian war records to attain public office. He attempts to fill the gap in historiography between the "Age of Jackson" and "Age of Lincoln," where little analysis of Native American conflict and its relation to US politics exists. Unfortunately, his book lacks a central thesis. Mitchell fails to explain how an exemplary Indian fighting record contributed to the success of these warrior politicians, and often goes dozens of pages without mentioning anything about the issue at all. Instead, he simply presents a general overview in his first four chapters of the second party system, which could be drawn from any college survey text. The final three chapters repeat much of the information from earlier in the book, though focusing on individuals and regions. Mitchell often draws these lengthy sketches from only one secondary source. Moreover, the entire work utilizes no primary sources and is fraught with factual errors throughout. His ambitious but flawed appendix attempts to draw comparisons between the American Indians and modern Palestinians. ^BSumming Up: Not recommended. B. A. Wineman Virginia Military Institute

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
1 The Militia and Indian Warsp. 1
2 The Revolutionary Warp. 25
3 The War of 1812p. 45
4 The Second-Party System: Democrats and Whigsp. 69
5 The Mexican Fighters and the Collapse of the Whig Partyp. 87
6 Indian and Mexican Fighters as Presidentsp. 127
7 Indian Fighters on the Frontier: Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texasp. 151
8 The End of the Indian-Fighter Erap. 197
Appendix The Indian Fighter and the Arab Fighterp. 215
Bibliographyp. 231
Indexp. 235