Savage foes, noble warriors, and frail remnants: Florida Seminoles in the white imagination, 1865-1934 Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Adams, Mikaëla M.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • Between the Civil War and the 1930s, white impressions of Seminoles changed as Anglo-Americans encountered new pressures of urbanization, modernization, and immigration. Their initial impression of the Indians as "savage foes" came as a legacy of three Seminole wars and white insecurity about their ability to dominate the wilds of Florida. Over time, more positive images of the Seminoles emerged as Americans dealt with national reunification and the arrival of new immigrants. In this context, the Seminoles appeared as "noble warriors" whose brave resistance served as a model for American patriotism. Yet, as railroad construction and Everglade drainage opened Florida to non-Indian settlement, Anglo-Americans began to view the Seminoles as "frail remnants" of a once-glorious past. Seeing the Indians as doomed to extinction, whites tried to protect them as an "endangered species" by securing reservation lands. Thus, Anglo-American representations of the Seminoles not only reflected their own cultural concerns but also influenced government policy in Florida.
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  • Perdue, Theda
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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