Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department or School/College
Department of History
Jeff Wiltse, Kyle G. Volk, Wade Davies
Northern Montana, American Empire, Reconstruction, Fort Assinniboine
University of Montana
Agricultural Economics | Environmental Studies | Military History | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance | United States History
This thesis explores Fort Assinniboine’s role as an extension of the federal government’s military arm in the Northern Plains. It argues that the military occupation of northern Montana served to incorporate the northern borderland region and peoples into the American mainstream as a part of the national reconstruction processes following the Civil War into the twentieth century. In a period of half a century, north-central Montana transformed from a Native American common hunting ground lacking any major white settlement to a rapidly developing agricultural region. Fort Assinniboine played a central role in this transformation, hastening the economic collapse of the area’s Native populations, controlling their mobility, and making the region amenable to capitalist economic structures. While Fort Assinniboine primarily served as an antagonist to Native sovereignty during its active years, after its decommission a portion of the reserve’s land was repurposed as the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation, thereby operating as a tool for the Chippewa, Cree, and Métis to regain their sovereignty. Fort Assinniboine and the U.S. military presence stationed in the Northern Plains was prerequisite for the region’s white settlement and capital development.
Nelson, Hayden, ""A Pressure Not To Be Resisted or Evaded": Military Occupation, Reform, and the Incorporation of Northern Montana, 1879-1916" (2020). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 11539.
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