Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Owens, Kenneth N.||Hayter, Earl W. (Earl Wiley), 1901-1994

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of History


Indians of North America--Wars; Fox Indians--Wars


The purpose of this study was to produce an ethnohistorical account of the Pox Wars, 1712-1735. This conflict was significant because it contributed to the eventual downfall of New France in the Old Northwest and to the expulsion of the French from the New World by draining the colonial treasury, weakening the colonial militia, and destroying the colonial image of invincibility among Prance's Indian allies. The question of how one Algonquian tribe, with its relatively insignificant population, was able to oppose successfully the awesome colonial might of eighteenth century France posed a stimulating academic problem. Ethnohistory is a relatively new discipline which attempts to bridge the gap between ethnology and history. By employing the techniques and principles of the ethnohistorian, an effort has been made to reconstruct the history and culture of the Foxes before their society had been affected by the incursions of the white man, and then to evaluate the Indian's subsequent reaction to this contact with a narrative treatment of the Pox Wars. In order to accomplish this objective, it has been necessary to make use of the tools of the archaeologist, the anthropologist, the sociologist, and the political scientist as well as those of the ethnologist and the historian. The Fox Wars were brought to a conclusion only after the Foxes were corrupted by European influences and reduced as a military power, and after France adopted lenient and diplomatic frontier administrative policies. Although the French were unable to devote their full attention to the Foxes, because of the machinations of the English, the Iroquois, the Sioux, and a number of southern tribes, the effectiveness of the Foxes cannot be denied. By their interference with the fur trade, by their contribution to the jealous competition between Canada and Louisiana, and by their disruption of French control over the aboriginal inhabitants of the Old Northwest, the Foxes were in large part responsible for the failure of the French to maintain their New World possessions.


Includes bibliographical references.


xx, 117 pages




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