Phil Sheridan’s War: The Pacification of the American Frontier and Total War in the Trans-Mississippi West

  • 2017

Phil Sheridan’s War: The Pacification of the American Frontier and Total War in the Trans-Mississippi West

Author:
Robert Ranstadler
Abstract:

This investigation is principally concerned with the application, applicability, and repercussions of total war in the modern era. The Post-Civil War United States was a financially fractured and socially divided nation that ambivalently endorsed General Philip Sheridan’s unrestricted strategy in the American West. Many social, political, and economic factors facilitated the U.S. Army’s eventual triumph on the Great Plains, while simultaneously contributing to the subsequent collapse of Amerindian society on the frontier. Previously established comparative and causative historiographic arguments explicate several cultural connections that prescribed the course and outcome of the Great Plains Wars. The author demonstrates that the Clausewitz’s Trinity, when framed within the appropriate interdependent and practical context, is greater than the sum of its theoretical parts. A final supposition explores the potential application of such studies in the mitigation and abatement of future conflicts.