Thepurpose of this essay is to assess and investigate qualities ofTecumseh, a legendary leader the Shawnee tribe. Tecumseh was duringthe time when there were several battles between the British, theAmericans and the French as well as the Native Americans who foughtalong the British. Tecumseh became in charge of the Shawnee tribe astheir Chief when hisfather was killed in a battle. He was a fearless and a tactful typeof leader who fought very hard with the main agenda of uniting theNative Americans to fight a common foe while defending Upper Canadafrom the French inversion. According to Edmund, Tecumseh was such agreat leader who got support from his followers who believed in himand considered him as an intelligent man, despite his age. Theybelieved in everything that he said. The trust came as result ofTecumseh gaining a keen sense of strategy and the ability to conducthimself in ways that his enemies were least expecting during thefrequent wars with the Americans.
Asan intelligent and fearless leader, Tecumseh spoke openly against theever existent tradition of prison torturing even though he was stillyoung. Tecumseh as a leader had a unique character and a differentviewpoint as he progressively continued to question why the Indianpeople frequently fought each other, instead of fighting common foeswho were the white intruders in all their parcels of land. As such,his questioning of why his people could not fight a common enemybecame the dominant theme of his life and leadership. His leadershipqualities such as being persistent, tactful, fearless, mobilizer,risk taker, caring, and understanding ensured that he gained moresupport from the Native Americans to support his ambitions of unitingthe Native Americans. However, despite all the challenges he facedtill his was killed in the battle, his people considered him as agreater leader.
Duringtimes of war, good leadership becomes an essential quality of aperson. However, not everyone can become a leader. Winning a war alsorequires a leader with good strategies and plans to fight against theenemy. In his book, “Tecumseh and Quest for Indian Leadership,”Edmunds (1, para 4) investigates the life of a legendary Shawn leaderknown as Tecumseh and the key role he played in defending the NativeAmerican culture. During the war to defend Upper Canada, ChiefTecumseh was one of suchleaders withunique qualities and personalities that help him lead the Shawneetribe. Assuch, this essay intends to assess and investigates the life historyand leadership qualities of Tecumseh, a legendary leader of theShawnee tribe.
Tobegin with, Chief Tecumseh was of the tribe Shawnee in the presentOhio. He was born on the bank of a large spring in Greene County inthe year 1768 during the time which the great meteor seared acrossthe skies. His pivotal role was to unite the other Indian tribesresiding in the Northwest, South, and eastern part of MississippiValley to reject white extension into the West regions in the early1800s. During the time of his birth, Tecumseh’s parents, the chiefof Shawnee, Pucksinwah, and his wife, Methotasa, were on their way tothe village of Kispoko Town located along the Ontario River, to agreat tribal council located in the capital village of Chalahgawth,also known as Chillicothe-currently Oldtown, of Shawnee tribe. Hespent most of his youthful life traveling across the Ohio region.Tecumseh’s leadership qualities begun to manifest during hisseveral trips that he made to Ohio, as he was able to get asurprisingly loyal band of followers from various Indian individualsand nations. As a result, Tecumseh gained an excellent reputationamong both the whites and the Indian tribes as one of the mostintelligent person, in addition to his fearlessness (Edmunds 1, para6).
Next,Tecumseh gained a keen sense of strategy as well as the capability toperform what his enemies expected the least during the frequent warswith the Americans. As an intelligent and fearless leader, Tecumsehspoke openly against the long existent tradition of prison torturingdespite his tender age. Tecumseh as a leader had a unique characterand a different viewpoint as he continued to question why the Indianpeople constantly fought each other, as opposed to fighting commonfoes who were the white intruders in all their parcels of land. Assuch, his questioning of why his people could not fight a commonenemy became the major theme of his life and leadership.
Inhis leadership, Tecumseh was tactful and a good mobilizer. During themany times he fought on the side of the British and the Americanssettlers against the French, he later realized that it was theAmericans that posed a great threat to their land and the nativepeople. As a result, by 1800, Tecumseh campaignedandcalled for all the Native Americans to unite and fight as one againstthe rising threat of the Americans. According to Zinn (1, para 3),the Natives were tired of and rejected the social and politicalorders that progressively ensured that they remain in poverty.Similarly, Zinn (1, para 4) believed that the mobility of the NativeAmericans deterred them from uniting and organizing themselves in arevolutionary manner. As a result, Tecumseh saw that it was necessaryto bring the Native Americans together and as such, he tried tofoster and ensure unity among the Native Americans (Edmunds 3, para6). He called out for and created an alliance between all the NativeAmericans. For a decade, he traveled across the nation with theprimary agenda of accomplishing the alliance. According to Zinn (2,para 5), Tecumseh’s tactic worked and the people continued toresist and rejected the oppression from the Americans. The riots ofTecumseh tribe were accompanied by many industrial strikes anddisobedience (Kuron 2011).
Further,Tecumseh’s leadership style appeared to be accommodative andcunning. During the mission of uniting the people, Tecumseh realizedthe need to change his appearance to accommodate those around him(Edmunds3, para 3). For instance, when he was among the Americans, he couldwear clothes to resemble Americans. His main agenda for using thistactic was to ensure that there was peace between the Indians and thewhite settlers until his efforts of forming an alliance could becomefruitful. Additionally, during his campaign for his messianic visionof bringing together the Indian Nations of America, Tecumsehencouraged the fightersand the Indian American chiefs to follow him and help him spread hismessage to the people (Edmunds 8, para 3). As a reward for hisefforts in 1809, William Henry Harrison entered into a negotiationwith a small delegation of the Native Americans, who signed theirpurported rights to three million acres of land to the U.S. Thetreaty marked the turning point for the success of Tecumseh’sleadership. He gained much popularity among the Native Americans aswell as their leaders. The support he had increased significantly,especially among those people that signed the Treaty of Greenville.They came to believe that they were able to live with the Americansin peace.
Tecumsehwas also a coercive leader. At some point, he became coercive in hisquest to convincepeople to form an alliance. When he realized that not everyonesupported his agenda, he forcefullytried to convince everyone including the ones who sign the treaty tojoin him. However, to all those leaders who rejected his quest tounite the Native American and refused to partner with him, hisfollowers demanded them to be removed from their positions (Edmunds14, para 2). For instance, in 1810, there was an execution of Chiefleather lips who was an outspoken signer of the Treaty of Greenvilleand who cooperated with the Americans (Shorris2012).However, his leadership position and ambition to unite the NativeAmericans were thwarted in 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe, during the timewhen the U.S. troops led by their future president, William HenryHarrison, defeated fighters of brother his Tenskwatawa, who was alsoreferred to as The Prophet.
Further,Tecumseh was a persistent and risk taker kind of a leader. Hispersistence was manifested throughout his determination to unite theNative Americans. According to Zinn (2, para 4), during the Tecumsehstruggle to unite people to fight against the Americans, the power ofthe law crushed the anti-riot movement to make it clear that theycould not win the war by fighting, and that they must restrict theirattempts to voting, to the recommended and acceptable means ofreforms. However, his persistence made him progress with the effortsto uniting his people, and by the period the 1812 war between Britainand the U.S. broke out, he had gathered a force of 2,000 fighterswhom he commanded and made a risky into a deal with Britain (Zinn 3,para 4). Supporting the British was very risky because they could notanticipate the outcome of the war. In case the war did not favortheir side, then that could be a big blow to his ambitions ofunification.
Throughhis persistence, he was able to witness the Americanslosingthe war in 1812 after they started the war poorly in the westerntheater. As a result, he took the success as good luck for hisefforts to unify the Native Americans (Zinn 4, para 5). The newsspread quickly throughout Ohio, and several other Native Americanswho were undecided decided to join the winning side, which was theTecumseh’s men and the British. After the victory, fear spreadthroughout the country as the once peaceful Native Americans startedmaking threats and went to the extent of attacking the Americansettlers. However, since Tecumseh was not able to control his people,things started changing.
Thingsbegan to change when the British were forceful subjected to withdrawback to Canada after being persuaded by General Harrison, and thus,the Americans won (Edmunds 18, para 5). Even though Tecumseh pleadedwith the British to stay, his efforts were fruitless when they wereoutnumbered by the U.S. soldiers (Zinn 4, para 5). Before the war,Tecumseh decided to show his generosity by giving his followers theornaments he had and remained like any other ordinary person withoutornamentation (Kuron 2011).The success of the Americans meant that Tecumseh had to organizehimself and his men to defend themselves in the next war. However, asa leader, Tecumseh was fearless as he even knew he was going to diein the next battle but he still went ahead to lead his warriors(Edmunds 18, para 2). Tecumseh had no option but to remain calm allowanyone who wanted to quit the troop to leave freely (Shorris2012).These concerns just showed how caring Tecumseh was as a leader of theShawnee tribe, of the Native Americans.
Inconclusion, it is clear that Tecumseh’s leadership qualities weregreater than any other during his reign. His leadership manifestedwhen he was still at a tender age, during the time when he traveledto Ohio with his parents. He would then take over as the new ShawneeChief after his parents’ death. Additionally, Tecumseh’sleadership qualities kept him going and continue leading his peoplewho became very loyal to him. He was determined to fight and give hispeople their rights which they believe they deserved. Similarly,Tecumseh was a tactic, fearless, mobilizer, persistent and risktaker, caring and understanding. As such, it is arguably true thatany leader with such qualities would be considered as great.
Edmunds,R D. Tecumsehand the Quest for Indian Leadership.Boston: Little, Brown, 1984:1-49. Print.
Kuron,Frank E. "thusFell Tecumseh".United States: Kuron Pub, 2011. Print.
Shorris,E. (2012). Latinos:A biography of the people.WW Norton & Company.
Zinn,Howard, and Anthony Arnove. APeople`s History of the United States.2016:1-4. Print.