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Study notes

Significance of the Fort Laramie Treaty 1851

  • Levels: GCSE
  • Exam boards: Edexcel

The Fort Laramie Treaty was significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was the first step towards reservations as it set out territory for individual tribes. Secondly, it undermined the Permanent Indian Frontier that had been established by Johnson in 1834 as it allowed whites to enter Indian Territory. Finally, the annuities created a relationship between the US government and Plains Indians in which the tribes were dependent on the government for food and money.

The Fort Laramie Treaty was significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was the first step towards reservations as it set out territory for individual tribes. Secondly, it undermined the Permanent Indian Frontier that had been established by Johnson in 1834 as it allowed whites to enter Indian Territory. Finally, the annuities created a relationship between the US government and Plains Indians in which the tribes were dependent on the government for food and money.

 

However, there were several problems surrounding the treaty. Although individual chiefs had agreed to the treaty many Plains Indian’s did not follow its terms as their individual bands had decided not to. Furthermore, since the treaty was written in English many Indian representatives had not actually understood what they had agreed to. Both of these issues meant that many Plain’s Indians broke the terms of the treaty. Likewise, many white migrants did not respect the treaty. Many migrants veered off the Oregon Trail and the US army failed to intervene when this happened.

  Ultimately, the terms of the Fort Laramie treaty were met with limited success. Inter-tribal fighting continued amongst the Plains Indians and migrants continued to trespass Indian Territory. 

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