There can be several reasons for violent conflicts. Violent conflicts can be caused by territorial ambitions, competing political ideologies, strategic concerns, an evil leader, who wishes to begin the war, and, finally, economic considerations (Bourke 382-386). Talking about Texans and Indians, there were two reasons for violent clashes, which occurred during 1980s. Firstly, the conflict was fueled by economic ambitions of Texans. In order to supply the cattle they owned, Texans needed a sustainable transportation system. Railroad seemed as a perfect solution. Therefore, Texans wanted to build a railroad. However, such railroad was meant to cross the territory of reservation of Indian people. Indians opposed railroad construction. Satanta, one of the Indians’ leaders, who was subsequently arrested, revealed during the trial that Indians were not going to permit Texans to build a railroad “in their country”. Thus, one may observe that there is a second reason for the conflict between Indians and Texans: territorial ambitions. It would be correct to argue that territorial ambitions of Texans were aggressive. Indeed, they wanted to use the territory of the Indian reservation for their own economic wealth. Therefore, it is not surprising that such intentions met the opposition of Indian people. In a word, there were two main reasons for the conflict in question: economic considerations and territorial ambitions of Texans.
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The next question is whether the conflict could have been resolved peacefully. The most difficult thing in any conflict is to reach a mutual acceptance of deep-rooted grievances. In other words, conflicting parties, as a rule, are reluctant to admit each other’s grievances and to reconcile them in a peaceful manner. Obviously, in a conflict between Texans and Indians, there were grievances from both parties. Thus, Indians attacked Texans’ farms and ranches located on the western frontier of Texas. In response to marauds made by Indians, Texans organized a military campaign. In the result of such a campaign Indians were driven back to their territory. In his trial deliberations, Satanta describes that the white people pulled Indians by the hair and pulled them close to Texas, where Indians had to fight with them. One may observe that Satanta’s contentions have a point. Texans indeed were aggressive towards Indians. The deliberations of the district attorney, Samuel Lanham, clearly illustrate the reluctance of Texans to take any responsibility for the conflict. Thus, from Lanham’s deliberations it follows that Texans perceived Indians as wild and barbaric people. Lanham also describes the grievances of Texans: seven men who were fathers and sons, brothers and husbands had been brutally killed by Indians. The district attorney rejects any sympathy for Indians. Thus, one may observe that Lanham focuses exclusively on the grievances of Texans, while ignoring the pain of Indians. It seems that Lanham believed that Indians attacked Texans only to satisfy their greed for blood. All his accusations were based on the cruel and barbaric image of Indians. The attorney did not make any attempts to view the conflict from the other side. Perhaps such a deliberation was dictated by his position: the primary task of the district attorney was to accuse and not to justify.
The analysis of the conflict in question shows that it could have been resolved peacefully, if the parties had been able to put aside their emotions. The conflict could have been resolved through reconciliation. Texans, who needed a railroad to make more profit, could consult with Indians, ask their permission and offer Indians certain benefits of using their territory. However, Texans chose another, violent method. Overall, reconciliation was needed for Texans and Indians to live together without subjugating each other. The first step in such reconciliation could be the abandoning of negative stereotypes. For instance, Texans could stop view Indians only as wild and barbaric people and try to conceive them as people whose identity and rights have been abused for a long period. Perhaps, with such an attitude it would be easier for Texans to explain Indians why a railroad and overall technical progress was important and how Indians themselves could benefit from it.
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