Date of Award

Fall 12-2014

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Joe W. Trotter


From 1861 to 1867 the diverse peoples—Indian, Hispano, and Anglo—of the Southwest borderlands struggled for survival and dominance in civil wars, quite apart from the Civil War of the Southern rebellion that raged in the eastern United States. Successful adaptation to the changing conditions in the borderlands required accommodation, compromise, and alliances as much as it did violent confrontation, martial prowess, and the capacity to wage war. The warrior cultures of each of the antagonistic groups bore many similarities, but each brought to the conflict its traditional means of fighting and adapted to the evolving political and social landscape. The martial traditions—tactics, logistics, weapons, martial customs, treatment of enemy captives—of the communities in conflict in order to demonstrate how the preparation and practice of warfare by the different ethnic groups set in motion actions that resulted in conflict and played a significant role in the causes and outcomes of the wars for the borderlands. At the beginning of the Civil War, Navajos, Apaches, and Comanches held the reins of power in the borderlands while sedentary, agrarian Indian communities, Hispanos, and Anglos struggled to maintain strongholds in fortified villages, outposts, and mining settlements. By 1867, the last of the volunteer soldiers of the Civil War era had mustered out of service, and Benito Juárez’s Republicans had driven out the French, executed Emperor Maximilian, and reclaimed Mexico. In the border states of Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexican Republican troops began relocating tribes and reestablishing settlements devastated by Apache raiders. In the newly-configured U.S. territories of Arizona and New Mexico, slavery as an economic and social system began to collapse, and a new social, political, and economic order arose, with Anglos and Hispanos at the top of the hierarchy and the raiding tribes at the bottom. The federal government exerted control over reservation-restricted Indians and defined new territorial boundaries. International relations had also changed. A more defined and restricted border between Mexico and the United States emerged from the war-torn borderlands while Hispano and Anglo citizens uneasily shared a new American political and economic model for survival in the Southwest.

Available for download on Monday, January 13, 2020