Sample History Paper on The Seminole Wars (SW)


The Seminole Wars (SW) or as historians prefer Florida Wars, are the conflicts that took place in Florida. The parties to the conflict were Seminole; amalgamated groups made of up of native Americans residing in Florida in the beginning of the 18th century, and the country’s army. According to historians, were not only the longest, but also the most expensive Indian Wars ever experienced in the region. The SW was characterized with the use of law to control minorities, whom in this case were the Blacks and the Seminoles. On that note, this paper summarizes chapter 4 of Black resistance and white law highlighting the use of law to control minorities.

Seminole Wars

The book provides a description and analysis of the violence that has been constitutionally sanctioned against the Blacks within the borders of the United States (US). The constitutional sanction has come alongside apparent suppression of violence by the region’s government since 1619 with new long term system regarding to slavery. According to Mary Frances Berry, from a historical point of view, the policy set by the government towards the Black people, was basically based on racism rather than legal or constitutional grounds[1].

From chapter four and five, it is clear that prior to the American Revolution, the colonists had already come up with a system that would see the Black people subjected to internal controls, both by militia and adjunct patrols. Furthermore, the adoption of force in maintaining the system of slavery was the major fault of the colonial defense. As a result of this, the constitutional convention provided a solution to matters regarding to suppressing resurrection together with revolts on slaves. This was made possible by voting and implanting the clause regarding the Fugitive Clause as well as the Militia Act.

SW were basically some of the conflicts between the US and the Seminole Indians residing in Florida during the time prior to the region’s civil war[2]. The three wars paved way for the establishment of the Seminole’s desirable land that facilitated white exploitation and settlement. The First SW was triggered when the US authorities made an attempt of recapturing black slaves whom had runaway and settled among Seminole bands. Under the reign of Andrew Jackson as the General Commander, the US military forces moved into the region, scattering the entire villagers, setting their towns into fire ad seizing Pensacola.

The next SW arises from the refusal of quite a number of Seminoles to move out of the reservation, that was particularly meant for them by relocating to the other side of the Mississippi River. The Whites were attracted to the land and the resources in the region, including minerals, and embarked on ousting the Seminoles basing on the arguments raised under the Indian Removal Act. With Osceola as their chief, the Seminole warriors managed to secure their family members, hence creating an opportunity to engage in war with the objective of defending their homeland, by use of guerrilla tactics. The third SW, on the other hand, emerged from some of the efforts that were renewed towards overpowering the Seminole remnant that were still remaining in Florida. This gave rise to little bloodshed, with the US forced to finance the resistant bands of those whom were displaced to move west.

From the two chapters, particularly chapter four, the work by Mary Frances Berry clearly illustrates the use of war in controlling minorities. The Whites; the majority, managed to use the law in controlling the blacks; minority. The law was defined and engineered to have a poor relationship, both with the ethnic and racial minorities, which in turn presented highly enduring and complex problems in the US. The relationship between the law enforcers, security personnel and blacks could be harmonious but the law was defined and interpreted to for a problematic relationship with the minorities[3]. For example, all the Seminole Indians and blacks were deprived of land and mineral ownership in Florida as well as other state services that they were entitled to. The major acute concern was the direct conflict between the Militia and the minorities, leading to death and displacement of populations.


Indeed, through the SW, the US army managed to displace some of the Seminoles in Florida. The conflict between these groups was guided by the desire of the militia to inhabit Florida and enjoy the resourceful region. Through the use of law to control the Seminoles, most of the Seminoles lost their lives with others being displaced.




Berry, Mary Frances. Black resistance/white law: A history of constitutional racism in America. Penguin, 1995.


[1] Berry, Mary Frances. Black resistance/white law: A history of constitutional racism in America. Penguin, 1995.


[2] Berry, Mary Frances. Black resistance/white law: A history of constitutional racism in America. Penguin, 1995.


[3] Berry, Mary Frances. Black resistance/white law: A history of constitutional racism in America. Penguin, 1995.