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The Second Seminole War and the Limits of American Aggression

The Second Seminole War (1835–1842) was the last major conflict fought on American soil before the Civil War. The early battlefield success of the Seminoles unnerved US generals, who worried it would spark a rebellion among Indians newly displaced by President Andrew Jackson's removal policies. The presence of black warriors among the Seminoles also agitated southerners wary of slave revolt. A lack of decisive victories and a series of bad decisions—among them the capture of Seminole leader Osceola while under the white flag of truce—damaged the US Army's reputation at home and abroad. Desertion was rampant as troops contended with the subtropical Florida wilderness. And losses for the Seminoles were devastating; by the war's end, only a few hundred remained in Florida.

In this ambitious study, C. S. Monaco explores the far-reaching repercussions of this bloody, expensive campaign. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Monaco not only places this protracted conflict within a military context but also engages the various environmental, medical, and social aspects to uncover the war's true significance and complexity.

By examining the Second Seminole War through the lenses of race, Jacksonian democracy, media and public opinion, American expansion, and military strategy, Monaco offers an original perspective on a misunderstood and often-neglected chapter in our history.

About the Author

C. S. Monaco is a courtesy professor of history at the University of Florida. He is the author of Moses Levy of Florida: Jewish Utopian and Antebellum Reformer and The Rise of Modern Jewish Politics: Extraordinary Movement.

Reviewss

"This highly recommended title replaces John K. Mahon's History of the Second Seminole War, 1835–1842 as the definitive work on the conflict. Essential."

- Choice

"An important book on an often-neglected topic. Monaco is a skilled writer. He has distilled extensive archival research from across the United States—along with a robust list of newspapers and published memoirs—into eleven succinct chapters. Monaco's work will surely be a valuable resource for historians and students of American Indian Removal in the coming years."

- Civil War Book Review

"A strong contribution to American history, in the current paradigm of settler-colonial studies. Monaco writes with fascinating ecological insight, keenly critical revisions of standard ideas, access to newly discovered documentary sources, and a commendable sense that he is writing about perception and rhetoric as much as about (sometimes unascertainable) fact."

- lection

Endorsementss

"An up-to-date narrative of the Second Seminole War that transcends narrow military analysis and addresses current historiographical interests and issues. This book supplants John K. Mahon’s History of the Second Seminole War as the new standard history of this war."

- John W. Hall, author of Uncommon Defense: Indian Allies in the Black Hawk War

"With exhaustive research, fresh interpretations, and elegant prose, C. S. Monaco has produced the definitive history of the Second Seminole War."

- David S. and Jeanne T. Heidler, authors of Old Hickory's War: Andrew Jackson and the Quest for Empire

"Finally, a history of the Seminole War worth reading."

- Paul N. Backhouse, coeditor of We Come for Good: Archaeology and Tribal Historic Preservation at the Seminole Tribe of Florida

"A holistic interdisciplinary study of great interest. C. S. Monaco provides a fascinating account of the limits of settler-colonialism and American military power on the lands of the Seminole while highlighting the strength of native peoples intent on preserving what is theirs."

- Alan Gallay, author of The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670–1717

"Although several books about the Second Seminole War have been published in the last few decades, none have broken as much new ground as C. S. Monaco does here... Monaco goes to new lengths exploring ecological and medical phenomena and the violation of norms of warfare in a balanced military, political, and cultural history... C. S. Monaco provides the most critical and, on the whole, the most insightful analysis of this tragic conflict."

- Samuel J. Watson, United States Military Academy - Journal of Southern History

"An elegant recounting of the war, its context, and its effect. The story gains a sharp interpretive edge from Monaco's use of settler-colonialism theory and models well what could become an important cross-fertilization between the provocations of indigenous studies and the more theoretically conservative currents of nineteenth-century American historiography."

- James Taylor Carson, Griffith University - Journal of American History

"This accessible and highly engaging volume... offers a much-needed history of the Florida War that not only explicates and validates the Seminole reasons for war, but also repudiates other studies that offer apologist interpretations of whites' removal program."

- John Campbell, Winona State University - Florida Historical Quarterly

"The Second Seminole War and the Limits of American Aggression offers a comprehensive account of the war, going beyond traditional military history. Alongside his meticulous, interdisciplinary research that draws on archeology, anthropology, medical sciences, and media studies, historian C.S. Monaco brings the insights of settler-colonial theory... The Second Seminole War and the Limits of American Aggression is an intellectually invigorating book and a major contribution to the study of American continental expansion and its embedded violence."

- Yoav Hamdani, Columbia University - Journal of American Ethnic History
Johns Hopkins University Press
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9781421424811 : the-second-seminole-war-and-the-limits-of-american-aggression-monaco
Hardback
304 Pages
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304 Pages
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