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The Second Seminole War and the Limits of American Aggression

C. S. Monaco

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A major study of a costly and influential Jacksonian-era war.

The Second Seminole War (1835–1842) was the last major conflict fought on American soil before the Civil War. The early battlefield success of the Seminoles unnerved US generals, who worried it would spark a rebellion among Indians newly displaced by President Andrew Jackson's removal policies. The presence of black warriors among the Seminoles also agitated southerners wary of slave revolt. A lack of decisive victories and a series of bad decisions—among them the capture of Seminole leader Osceola while under the white flag of truce...

A major study of a costly and influential Jacksonian-era war.

The Second Seminole War (1835–1842) was the last major conflict fought on American soil before the Civil War. The early battlefield success of the Seminoles unnerved US generals, who worried it would spark a rebellion among Indians newly displaced by President Andrew Jackson's removal policies. The presence of black warriors among the Seminoles also agitated southerners wary of slave revolt. A lack of decisive victories and a series of bad decisions—among them the capture of Seminole leader Osceola while under the white flag of truce—damaged the US Army's reputation at home and abroad. Desertion was rampant as troops contended with the subtropical Florida wilderness. And losses for the Seminoles were devastating; by the war's end, only a few hundred remained in Florida.

In this ambitious study, C. S. Monaco explores the far-reaching repercussions of this bloody, expensive campaign. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Monaco not only places this protracted conflict within a military context but also engages the various environmental, medical, and social aspects to uncover the war's true significance and complexity.

By examining the Second Seminole War through the lenses of race, Jacksonian democracy, media and public opinion, American expansion, and military strategy, Monaco offers an original perspective on a misunderstood and often-neglected chapter in our history.

Reviews

Reviews

This highly recommended title replaces John K. Mahon's History of the Second Seminole War, 1835–1842 as the definitive work on the conflict. Essential.

An important book on an often-neglected topic. Monaco is a skilled writer. He has distilled extensive archival research from across the United States—along with a robust list of newspapers and published memoirs—into eleven succinct chapters. Monaco's work will surely be a valuable resource for historians and students of American Indian Removal in the coming years.

A strong contribution to American history, in the current paradigm of settler-colonial studies. Monaco writes with fascinating ecological insight, keenly critical revisions of standard ideas, access to newly discovered documentary sources, and a commendable sense that he is writing about perception and rhetoric as much as about (sometimes unascertainable) fact.

Although several books about the Second Seminole War have been published in the last few decades, none have broken as much new ground as C. S. Monaco does here... Monaco goes to new lengths exploring ecological and medical phenomena and the violation of norms of warfare in a balanced military, political, and cultural history... C. S. Monaco provides the most critical and, on the whole, the most insightful analysis of this tragic conflict.

An elegant recounting of the war, its context, and its effect. The story gains a sharp interpretive edge from Monaco's use of settler-colonialism theory and models well what could become an important cross-fertilization between the provocations of indigenous studies and the more theoretically conservative currents of nineteenth-century American historiography.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
304
ISBN
9781421436340
Illustration Description
10 b&w photos
Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part I
1. Treaties and Reservations
2. Seminoles, Slaves, and Maroons
Part II
3. "It Came with the Suddenness of the Whirlwind"
4. The United States Responds

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Part I
1. Treaties and Reservations
2. Seminoles, Slaves, and Maroons
Part II
3. "It Came with the Suddenness of the Whirlwind"
4. The United States Responds
5. "Sacrifice of National Honor"
6. The Last Pitched Battles
7. "Never-Ending, Still-Beginning War"
Part III
8. Malarial Sword and Shield
9. Land of Darkness and Shadows
Part IV
10. Osceola as Settler-Colonial Icon
11. Bloodhounds, Abolitionists, and Freedom Fighters
Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
C. S. Monaco
Featured Contributor

C. S. Monaco

C. S. Monaco is a courtesy professor of history at the University of Florida. He is the author of Moses Levy of Florida: Jewish Utopian and Antebellum Reformer and The Rise of Modern Jewish Politics: Extraordinary Movement.