After the Civil War had ended, several soldiers had returned home to find their places of living destroyed. Most of these people returned to practically nothing. The United States had to rebuild itself, and this rebuilding was called Reconstruction. Today historians refer to this era of reconstruction as the part of the Gilded Age. Many people had to pickup and start all over again, while others continued their quests of expanding.
Expanding by taking control over the land or by expanding their beliefs, either way lives of these people reflected the social tensions of the Gilded Age.
Philip H. Sheridan, who was one of the heroes of the Civil War, was a soldier who had started his career on the frontier and would return there after the war to help the United States in expanding its territory by having to combat many Native Americans in doing so. Sheridan was an extremely important person who helped conquer the frontier. Sheridan believed in the freeing of black slaves, and decided that he would help protect the blacks now that they were free. He expresses his opinion about what is done to black people in Texas by commenting that the black codes are a policy of gross injustice toward the colored people on the part of the courts, and a reign of lawlessness and disorder ensued.
(10) Sheridans defense of the black cause much tension in his life, in Texas, that he was later reassigned to command the Department of the Missouri. (11) In 1869 when Grant had became President; he appointed Sheridan lieutenant governor and command of the Division of Missouri. Sheridans past on tactics for attacking the Indians made him the best man for the job in defending the western frontier. Much of Sheridans life involved being enrolled in the army and defending the frontier. He is also known for the quote The only good Indian is a dead Indian, which he became synonymous with. (13) Sheridans life practically evolved around the Indian warfare and the tensions that surrounded it.
His ethics and tactics of Indian warfare were often questioned, leaving him to defend himself against his critics quite often.
Another lifestyle that had taken on the challenges of living a successful life was that of being a doctor. Susan LaFleshe Picotte was one of these doctors; but for Susan to be a successful doctor, she had to overcome many more obstacles than other people did. As you see, becoming a doctor is one difficult task at hand, but being a woman who was Indian was another. Susan was a Siouan-speaking Omaha, who had migrated to Nebraska because of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. (24) Susans life was different than the rest of the people in her tribe; she was one of the firsts not to have any piercing or any tattoos as Indians did back then.
One other unique characteristic of Susan was that she wanted to continue her education to eventually become a physician. So on October 12, 1850 Susan was accepted to the Womans Medical College of Pennsylvania. (26) She finished her schooling and soon became the physician of her old reservation. Susan did anything she could to help her patients, including going house to house from sunrise to sunset providing care for her patients. Susan was up to her knees in patients and was taking care of all of the 1,244 tribal members on the reservation. (28) She was an extremely hard working woman of this age.
Susan had to deal with other problems other than medicinal purposes. She had to deal with the fact that her tribe was constrained to its reservation. Susan also had to overcome the tensions at home and on the reservation with liquor, for she believed that it was one of the leading causes of death even before her husband succumbed to the effects. (32) Susan became politically involved and helped her tribe as much as possible, it must had been very difficult for someone of her stature to be looked at differently for her race and not for who she was.
Sarah Christie Stevens was another woman who had to overcome adversity and survive in a mans world. Sarah was a .