George Armstrong Custer


George Armstrong Custer was a West Point graduate who became famous as a Civil War general and an Indian fighter on the Plains. He was a flamboyant but hardworking and faithful. He strove to be great, and he wanted to leave a place in history. He was popular because he accepted group standards and challenged no one's intellect. Custer's views about the Indian mirrored the country's views of the time. The Americans could not agree on what to think about the Indian, but they did agree on what to do about them. Custer and the American society believed that nothing would stand in the way of the country's destiny to overspread the continent. Americans of the time felt that the conquest of the continent added to the strength of the nation, and it allowed for more opportunities to become rich.
At the age of seventeen, George Armstrong Custer entered the United States Military Academy at West Point. At the Academy, Custer learned the meaning of institutional discipline and the importance of selective obedience. He was always on the brink of dismissal, but he was able to control himself when it was necessary. Custer knew what he could get away with without being dismissed from the academy, and he enjoyed going to the edge but not over it. The fellow cadets loved Custer for his fun-loving and joking ways. Though Custer was frequently punished for his behavior, he understood why he was at the Academy, and wanted to make something of himself. At the Academy, Custer became a good writer. He felt the need to write throughout his lifetime, and it was an integral part of his character as was his courage, ambition, and joyful nature. He ended up graduating last in his class, but graduating last in a class from the Academy was still a great accomplishment. During the Civil War, which began when he was attending the Academy, Custer became known as a fearless cavalry leader. Custer captured the public's attention and became a hero in the North through his leadership and desire to advance himself. After the Civil War, Custer joined the Seventh Cavalry Regiment and won greater fame and made more enemies while fighting Indians on the western plains.
George Armstrong Custer, a man who may have been over confident, possessed many leadership qualities. How could any group of Indians killed him and his men? Many believe that Custer disobeyed orders, and others felt that others in the regiment were cowards. Some feel that Custer could have been saved. Many argue the reasons for Custer's defeat, but none will argue about his abilities and bravery on the battlefield. George Armstrong Custer was an ambitious man who deserved the fame he strove for. However, it was this ambition that was directly responsible for his death.
Bibliography

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Utley, Robert M. (1990, September). Custer Battlefield: Chapter 2 Road to the Little Big Horn., U.S. History.