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Oklahoma in the 1860s


Picture of Oklahoma
Picture of Oklahoma

For their alliances with the Confederacy, in 1866 the U.S. government required the Five Civilized Tribes to abolish slavery, grant former slaves citizenship, grant permission for railroads to cross their territory, and surrender land to other native peoples that were being removed from Kansas and other Western states and territories. To satisfy the last requirement, the entire western half of present-day Oklahoma was taken by the federal government for the relocated Native American peoples. Today Oklahoma has more than 60 Native American peoples, many of whom were moved to reservations between 1866 and 1885, including the Sac and Fox, Osage, Potawatomi, Kickapoo, Pawnee, Iowa, and Ponca tribes.

The Civil War in Oklahoma left few homes standing, and the loss of personal property, livestock, and equipment caused widespread poverty. Tribal governments, divided and weakened, were unable to maintain order, and lawlessness flourished. White criminals from neighboring states used Oklahoma as a base from which to raid banks, trains, and stagecoaches all across the Southwest. Some of the more notorious outlaws who used Indian Territory hideouts were Frank and Jesse James and the Younger brothers, and Belle Starr. Unable to cope with the disorder caused by these intruders, tribal leaders appealed to the U.S. government, which built a federal district court at old Fort Smith, Arkansas. An army of deputy marshals scoured Indian Territory, rounding up outlaws, and Isaac C. Parker in Fort Smith became known nationally as the “hanging judge." "Oklahoma" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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