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Grant number like: FEL-257203-18

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Fay A. Yarbrough
Rice University (Houston, TX 77005-1827)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2018 – 6/30/2019

Choctaw Confederates: The American Civil War in Indian Country

A book-length study of the alliance between the Choctaw Nation and the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

The Choctaw Nation officially sided with the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Choctaw legal authorities deemed any criticism of the Confederacy or of the Confederate army to be a form of treason against the Choctaw Nation and punishable by death. Lawmakers raised an infantry force and a cavalry to fight with the Confederate forces. What accounts for this level of commitment to the Confederate cause among the Choctaws? I argue that Confederate ideology appealed to Choctaw authorities in part because the Choctaws were slaveholders who wanted to protect their right to own human property. European traders and settlers introduced the Choctaws to African slaves as early as the 1720s. By 1860, black slaves comprised 14% of the population in the Choctaw Nation. Moreover, Choctaw political thinkers drew a connection between states' rights and the sovereign rights of native nations to remain independent of U. S. authority. Thus, many Choctaws were committed Confederates.