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U.S. Government and the Plains Indian

This excerpt from an army wife's journal gives an example of what frontier living was like for these indomitable women:

The isolation of the cavalry posts makes them quite inaccessible to travelers, and the exposure incident to meeting warlike Indians does not tempt the visits of friends or even of the venturesome tourist. Our life, therefore, was often as separate from the rest of the world as if we had been living on an island in the ocean (Custer, xxix).

This paper will examine the lives of officers' wives in the Frontier Army in order to show that these remarkable women had to adjust their entire form of being in order to succeed at what was a largely thankless and inordinately difficult task: setting up a home within a military outpost. These women were confronted by the prevailing thought of the time that held that a woman's role in society was creating a moral oasis within the home for their husband and children. Conditions in Army outposts, with the squalor, the cramped quarters, and the constant moving did not lend themselves to the separation of the public and private spheres that society dictated. The officers wives had to adjust to the Army reality in order to succeed; those that attempted to adhere to the expected codes of feminine behavior that prevailed in the late nineteenth century were doomed to lead lives of "glittering misery"


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U.S. Government and the Plains Indian. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 17:16, October 24, 2014, from
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