For the Purpose of Example and Justice by Mark Arvid Warburton

river view park reconstructed fort facing southeast
Fort Madison, Iowa

In this historical dissertation, early nineteenth century Native American incarceration in the Upper Mississippi Valley is examined and explored. Detailing Native American prison experiences, Mark Arvid Warburton argues that Native imprisonment at the time was inseparable from the geopolitical maneuvers, which allowed the United States Federal Government to conquer the region.

Whether Native men were held in municipal jails for civil trials, or in military guardhouses as hostages, their incarceration was directly, or indirectly, tied to the social control of larger Native collectivities and worked to bolster U.S. military, political, legal and economic hegemony in the region. As such, these carceral practices constituted a glaring contradiction of U.S. officials’ often repeated 2 dictum that as “fair” and “benevolent” arbiters of “Indian affairs,” they would never punish the “innocent” for the behaviors of the “guilty.”

Adding to a topic of American history which is often under told, For the Purpose of Example and Justice paints the picture of Native American life during the historical periods shortly after the Louisiana Purchase. Warburton decidedly explains the story un-told of the average Native American prisoner during a time when prejudice for Native Americans was nearing a boiling point.

Mark Arvid Warburton “For the purposes of example and justice”: Native American incarceration in the upper Mississippi Valley, 1803-1849″ PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) Thesis, University of Iowa, 2011.