We live in a day and age wherein violence has become quite rare, but suffice it to say that this was not always the way of the world especially in the days of our ancient past. One of the most violent times in American history was the 19th century, and if you are confused about it due to your assumption that this was actually quite peaceful you should know that you have been hoodwinked perhaps due to your focus on how things were in the East Coast of the country whilst ignoring the violent Old West.
This region comprises a stretch of land that goes from Wyoming to Texas, and the people that lived in these areas a couple hundred years ago often had to fight for their very lives. This is what lead to the creation of the handmade damascus bowie knife. A man by the name of Rezin Bowie was shocked when his brother came home with a gunshot wound, and since access to guns was limited he got to work creating a more efficient knife because of the fact that this could level the playing field somewhat.
The knife was initially supposed to be a one off to help his brother keep attackers at bay, but over the years it became enormously popular due to the reason that a lot of other people also saw its true worth. The use of these knives became so widespread that they turned into a public nuisance and were banned for a really long time, but since they are a piece of history we are grateful that normal, everyday folk can use them in the modern era as long as they are responsible.