Were Peace Medals the Price of Loyalty?
Were Peace Medals the Price of Loyalty
Beginning in the late 18th century and continuing through much of the 19th century, the US government offered peace medals as gifts to leaders of Native American communities. The British, French, and Spanish governments had long used medals stamped with images of their respective kings in international diplomatic efforts; the United States began copying that practice using images of the president as soon as the presidency came into being in 1789.
No matter which president was on the front, peace medals were important instruments in US diplomacy with Native American tribes across North America. They were offered as gifts of introduction and to celebrate treaty signings and other significant events.