Literary responses to both the American Indian Wars 1 and the Revolutionary War, the earliest writings that can be considered “American war literature,” helped shape the identity of the nation and laid the groundwork for a literature that would become essentially “American,” a tradition distinct from its British roots. As we know, the stories of violent conflicts tend to be written by the victors, who define the terms and the stakes of the war. In the case of the on-going suppression, dislocation, and extermination of the continent’s indigenous peoples, European authors who described the barbarity of the Indians felt justified, often by the Christian God, by the belief that they were building a “civilized” nation. In the case of the Revolutionary War, writers who argued for the colonists’ independence from England sought to outline a new national American character as well as principles of both private and public life. In both wars, however, the losing side wrote back, and although these voices are less well known today, their rhetoric has its own power and value. American Indians produced a body of literature protesting the injustices of the settlers’ and later the U.S. government’s attitudes and policies, including broken treaties, physical invasion, and the slaughter of women and children, not just warriors. Loyalists to the English crown used a variety of printed forms to argue for the illegitimacy of a break with Britain and often mocked the pretensions of those who sought to form a new government. While these sets of literature address different wars and cover different, though overlapping, periods in American history, it’s worthwhile to examine them in the same chapter because at the center of both literatures are issues of human rights, the violence enacted to secure or deny them, and the long-lasting consequences of that violence and the rhetoric that justified it.