By Adam Jortner
It all started with an eclipse. In 1806, the Shawnee chief Tenskwatawa ("The Open Door") declared himself to be in direct touch with the grasp of existence, and accordingly, the ideally suited non secular authority for all local americans. those that disbelieved him, he warned, "would see darkness come over the sun." William Henry Harrison, governor of the Indiana Territory and destiny American president, scoffed at Tenskwatawa. If he used to be really a prophet, Harrison taunted, permit him practice a miracle. And Tenskwatawa did simply that, making the solar move darkish at noon. within the Gods of Prophetstown, Adam Jortner presents a gripping account of the clash among Tenskwatawa and Harrison, who eventually collided in 1811 at a spot known as Tippecanoe. even though principally forgotten this day, their competition made up our minds the way forward for westward enlargement and formed the struggle of 1812. Jortner weaves jointly twin biographies of the opposing leaders. within the 5 years among the eclipse and the conflict, Tenskwatawa used his non secular management to forge a political pseudo-state along with his brother Tecumseh. Harrison, in the meantime, equipped an influence base in Indiana, rigging elections and maneuvering for greater place. Rejecting acquired knowledge, Jortner sees not anything as preordained-Native americans weren't inexorably falling towards dispossession and destruction. Deeply rooting his account in a new release of scholarship that has revolutionized Indian historical past, Jortner areas the spiritual measurement of the fight on the fore, recreating the non secular landscapes trod by way of both sides. The climactic conflict, he writes, was once as a lot a conflict of gods as of men.Written with profound perception and narrative verve, The Gods of Prophetstown recaptures a forgotten turning aspect in American heritage in time for the 2 hundredth anniversary of the conflict of Tippecanoe.
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Extra resources for The Gods of Prophetstown: The Battle of Tippecanoe and the Holy War for the American Frontier
The wars of 1774– 1815 were not the last gasp of a dying people; they were the birth pangs of a new Indian empire. This was the reason Puckenshinwa had gone to his death. Of course, beating the Americans to imperial power would be a heft y task. A new generation of white American leaders had their own “Great Spirit” with visions of the supernatural order and his favored people within that order. One of those leaders was William Henry Harrison, and as it happened, Dunmore had managed to destroy his childhood as well.
The prize was Kentucky. Once again claiming ancient rights of conquest, Iroquois negotiators “sold” Kentucky lands to Virginia in the 1768 Treaty of Fort Stanwix. The fact that the land was now occupied by Delaware, Wyandot, and Shawnee tribes mattered little to the Iroquois, safe in their Finger Lakes stronghold, and it mattered little to the Virginia government. White Virginians poured into Shawnee Kentucky—in part to prevent their tribal brethren, the British, from appropriating the land for other whites.
39 Perhaps predictably, Canasatego’s performance drove a wedge through the Iroquois Empire. Even as the Onondaga chief claimed to speak for the Iroquois nations, Mohawk chiefs seem to have been treating in Boston, also claiming to represent the whole confederacy. 40 The question is whether such conflict was mere posturing or whether the Mohawks had a real sense that injury had been done by one tribe against another, one that might threaten all Native peoples. Things began to move rapidly after that.