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James Monroe peace medal, 3rd size / United States

Essay/Description

A James Monroe silver medal. The front has the bust of the president with the words, “James Monroe President of the U.S.A.D. 1817.” The back features two hands shaking, a crossed pipe and tomahawk pipe, and the words, “Peace and Friendship.”

Silver peace medals were given to influential Native Americans as a symbol of friendship and allegiance with the United States government or foreign power. Medals were given on important occasions, like the signing of a treaty, and then only to very influential members of the tribe. The medals held even greater importance than normal during times of war or tension, particularly between the US and Great Britain. The countries would compete for the loyalty and friendship of the tribes, and a chief trading in British medal for a US one signified a change in loyalty (Prucha 2000, xiv). Gradually, the medals original meaning diminished, and they were given as rewards for good behavior. The practice was discontinued in the late 1800s.

Nativ

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Title(s): 
James Monroe peace medal, 3rd size
Culture: 
United States
Date: 
circa 1817
Period: 
Historic
Materials/Techniques: 
silver
Classification: 
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
65.20
Department: 
Not On View

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