1871 Silver Ulysses S. Grant Indian Peace Medal 63.5 mm
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1871, Ulysses S. Grant Indian Peace Medal Struck in Silver, Very Rare Medium Size 63.5 mm, with attached Contemporary Silver Top Ring, NGC graded Extremely Fine.
Julian IP-42. Belden-57. Prucha-53. Rare Size 63.5 mm. Silver Indian Peace Medal, holed at the top for suspension as always, with a contemporary silver top ring still attached. Tiny obverse ding at 2:00 o’clock, attesting to its authenticity and to having actually been worn. This rare medal shows an updated design, which is unique to this medal. The obverse features a high relief head of Grant with a peace pipe and olive branch below. The reverse features a globe atop a mixed bag of American icons - a stump in a cleared field, a plow, shovel, rake, axe, and even a Holy Bible. United States Mint records indicate that only 300 of these medals were struck. The U.S. Grant Indian Peace Medal has the distinction of being the only Peace medal of its type on which the name of the President does not appear! This piece was obviously issued to a significant Indian Chief as it shows definite signs of light, even wear and actual use and a typical its NGC tag reflects details once cleaned. This example Ex: EAHA February 2000 sale, lot #872 for $6,900. A great rarity, always in great demand and highly prized by collectors. A lower quality graded Very Fine example of this same medal in Silver sold in Stack’s Ford XVI Sale of October 2006 for $16,000. This current example is very attractive, lightly and evenly worn. Lacking in most collections this 1871 Silver Ulysses S. Grant Indian Peace Medal has nice eye appeal making it excellent for display. Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant) April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was an American soldier and statesman who served as Commanding General of the Union Army and became the 18th President of the United States, the highest positions in the military and the government of the United States.
A prominent United States Army general during the American Civil War, Grant led the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy with the supervision of Abraham Lincoln. As President of the United States (1869–77) Grant led the Republicans in their efforts to remove the vestiges of Confederate nationalism and slavery during Reconstruction.
When Grant took office in 1869, the nation's policy towards Indians was in chaos, with more than 250,000 Indians being governed by 370 treaties.
Grant appointed Ely S. Parker, a Seneca Indian, a member of his wartime staff, as Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the first Native American to serve in this position, surprising many around him. In April 1869, Grant signed a law establishing an unpaid Board of Indian Commissioners to reduce corruption and oversee implementation of Indian policy, based on the appointment of churchmen, "Quakers", as Indian agents.
In 1871, he signed a bill ending the Indian treaty system; the law now treated individual Native Americans as wards of the federal government, and no longer dealt with the tribes as sovereign entities. Grant's peace policy was undermined by Parker's resignation in 1871, denominational infighting, and entrenched economic interests, while Indians refused to adopt European American culture.
On October 1, 1872, General Oliver Otis Howard successfully negotiated peace with Apache leader, Cochise, who waged guerrilla war against the army and settlers, to move the tribe to a new reservation. On April 11, 1873, General Edward Canby, was killed in Northern California south of Tule Lake by Modoc leader Kintpuash, in a failed peace conference to end the Modoc War, shocking the nation. Grant ordered restraint after Canby's death, the army captured Kintpuash, who was convicted of Canby's murder and hanged on October 3 at Fort Klamath, while the remaining Modoc tribe was relocated to the Indian Territory.
In 1874, the army defeated the Comanche Indians at the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon. Their villages were burned and horses slaughtered, eventually forcing them to finally settle at the Fort Sill reservation in 1875. Grant pocket-vetoed a bill in 1874 protecting bison and supporting Interior Secretary Columbus Delano, who believed correctly the killing of bison would force Plains Indians to abandon their nomadic lifestyle.
The Plains tribes accepted the reservation system, but encounters with prospectors and settlers in search of gold in the Black Hills led to renewed conflict in the Great Sioux War of 1876, ending the understanding established between Grant and Sioux Chief Red Cloud. Grant was determined to enforce the treaty using the army if necessary, but after consulting with Sheridan he was reminded that the post-Civil War army was undermanned and that the territory involved was vast, requiring great numbers of soldiers to enforce the treaty; as a result, it was never enforced.
During the war, Sioux warriors led by Crazy Horse killed George Armstrong Custer and his men at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, the army's most famous defeat in the Indian wars. Later, Grant castigated Custer in the press, saying "I regard Custer's massacre as a sacrifice of troops, brought on by Custer himself, that was wholly unnecessary – wholly unnecessary."
In spite of Grant's efforts, over 200 battles were fought with the Indians during his presidency. The policy was considered humanitarian for its time but was later criticized for disregarding native cultures.