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American History 9/15/16

by: Max Skidelsky

American History 9/15/16 HIST 1310

Max Skidelsky

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About this Document

These notes cover what was discussed in the lecture, and could be used to supplant a potential paper.
Intro to American History
Class Notes
american, history
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Max Skidelsky on Saturday September 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 1310 at George Washington University taught by Silverman in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see Intro to American History in American History at George Washington University.


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Date Created: 09/24/16
9/15/16 While it is difficult to capture exactly what the Native American viewpoint on certain events were, colonial accounts rarely track tribal feelings accurately. For instance, in 1671, when the English seized Phillip’s brother for fear of Native American plots against them (while in English custody Alex died of illness, prompting Native Americans to suspect foul play), tensions mounted on both sides. Additionally, the English seized and executed three of Phillip’s men in Wampanoag country in connection to a feared multi-tribal plot against the English to lay waste to the colonies. These increasing tensions ultimately led to King Phillip’s War, which had a devastating effect on the region, leading to widespread death and enslavement. Practically all of the colonies had engaged in slavery and fought in major wars with or against certain Native American groups. These tensions began out of European rudeness concerning livestock, wherein Native Americans demanded the English fence in their animals so they would not consume Native American crops. Even after the Pequot War, there was a general notion that neither side could peacefully coexist with the other indefinitely. Trading and military alliances introduced the colonies as potentially valuable allies in the Native American power struggles, and an important factor in the victory of certain groups over others. The instrumental backing the colonies provided for Native Americans, primarily by introducing them to metal works and weapons, created the first ‘consumer revolution.’ Trade for Native Americans went beyond the marginal benefit, rather for them it was a gesture of goodwill, an establishment of trading partners or a sort of diplomatic social custom. Despite whatever violence occurred or whatever rhetoric was used, both sides depended on the other for trade. For instance, in 1626, the colony of New Netherland had an extremely small population, but in just six years, they exported 63,000 beaver pelts. They depended heavily on the Native Americans considering how quickly beaver pelts were exhausted in the local area. As such, Native Americans, now dependent on European metal tools such as pots and axes, were driven to expand outward into other natural territories to reap, encroaching on neighboring tribes, raising tensions, warring, and ultimately becoming more dependent on European technology and weaponry, which again continued and expanded this depressive cycle. Tensions in New Netherland rose when the colony on Manhattan attempted to draw a corn tribute from the Native Americans, considering only their sister colony up north at Albany traded with Iroquois directly. This led to Kieft’s War, which, like others for other colonies, devastated the community, and almost drove them back to Europe. With regards to Native American relations, there was initially some misunderstanding. Interpreters were mainly the children of those who intermarried and Catholic interpreters and other missionaries who ventured out into the wilderness seeking conversions. Native American diplomacy typically involved a single authoritarian leader who spoke decisively on behalf of the people he represented, concluding the deal orally. Europeans, conversely, sought to discuss deals collectively and transcribe contracts and other written agreements. Often, there would be disputes between what the Europeans wrote down and what the Native Americans remember. It is important to note that hostilities erupted not out of misunderstandings (initially and briefly yes, but no longer by the 17 th century) but out of disagreements. These disagreements could begin out of something such as disputes over how to fence in animals, drunk Europeans with strange hairstyles, and other cultural practices that either found disturbing. In fairness, there was an attempt to remedy this infraction— Native Americans wore pants, colonists smoked tobacco—but ultimately many did not adapt. Missionaries too ended up antagonizing the Native Americans. Many Catholics and Jesuits ventured out into Indian Country, sometimes alone and for years at a time, hoping to win converts. Some Native Americans were attracted to the concept of Christianity, primarily because of the perceived protection it offered the colonists in the wake of the myriads who died of diseases unknowingly brought over the Atlantic by the colonists themselves. Nevertheless. The few converts that initially did adopt Christianity abandoned their previous reckoning of spirituality which upset the remainder of the community. Many resented this change, and their rejection led to revolt. For instance, a drought in the Southwest raised tensions in Pueblos in the late 17 thcentury. When the Native Americans rejected Christianity, claiming a turn away from traditional worship caused the drought, the missionaries began a crackdown. Their actions did not spark war itself, only heightened tensions. Trade rivalries meant it was impossible for colonies to remain on good terms with all Native American groups, as trading with one would establish another as a de facto rival. This pattern is seen throughout the French and Iroquois territory as well, and in the Natchez war, which ultimately led to Native American devastation and destruction. The Native American concept of justice differed from the English—they sought compensation from the murderer’s family, whilst the English sought to execute the murder himself. Indentured servants too, could only claim land so deep inland that it encroached on Native American territory, again raising tensions. This cycle of warfare and destruction continued until a Virginian farmer named Nathaniel Bacon raised an army against all Native Americans and even his own state, resulting in a bloody clash for all.


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