One of the most famous observers of indigenous Americans, George Catlin, was educated as a lawyer but gave up the bar after two years in 1823 and began a lifelong career as an artist and amateur ethnographer. Race is a very emotive issue; and making distinctions in terms of race is fraught with definitional problems. These come in two main forms, the first being differentiation between one group and another on the basis of a variety of possible criteria, religion, language, colour and so on, usually to their detriment, and this we shall term racialism, a phenomenon which seems to be as old as society. One particular cultural feature associated with war which ideologically set the Indians apart from the Europeans was what the whites considered to be an inordinately superstitious attachment to the spirit world. The War of Independence brought the colonial phase to a close, but disputes over territory continued under the newly constituted United States.