Native Peoples in the Revolutionary War

Jane T. Merritt

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199746705
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Native Peoples in the Revolutionary War

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)
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The relationship between native peoples and the emerging United States during the era of the American Revolution was a complicated one. From the onset of Lord Dunmore's War in 1774 to the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Indians in North America faced a dilemma on whether they would fight, for whom they would fight, and why they would fight. Most Native Americans initially thought that the Revolution was an isolated disagreement between white colonists and their mother country. However, the Revolutionary War evolved into a continent-wide struggle that the Indians could not avoid. Individual Indians joined both the Continental and British armies as regular soldiers or as scouts, guides, mariners, and diplomats. Indian involvement in the American Revolution has often been interpreted as the story of a people who picked the wrong side, lost, and were destined to move west and disappear. However, history shows that Native Americans not only participated in the American Revolution, but also survived the long-term changes it produced.

Keywords: Indians; Native Americans; American Revolution; United States; Lord Dunmore's War; Treaty of Paris; native peoples

Article.  7218 words. 

Subjects: History ; United States History ; Early Modern History (1500 to 1700) ; Military History

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