History of America overview

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Pocahontas

The Europeans arrived in coastal Virginia, a place inhabited by Powhatan Indians. The colonialist’s settlements spread in Virginia, forcing the Powhatans to move inland and away from the fertile lands. The Indian territories diminished as well as the Indian population due to warfare, diseases and food shortages.  Pocahontas was a maiden Indian, who befriended John Smith, an English colonialist. John Smith later writes that Pocahontas rescued him from a powerful native chief. Pocahontas’ father wanted to execute him. She was the daughter of Powhatan chief.  Pocahontas was the favorite child of the chief but had little influence over her father’s decisions on English colonists. She married  John Rolfe in 1616  and traveled to England and got the opportunity to showcase Virginia colony to the attention of prominent Europeans. The story narrates how Pocahontas had turned against her people to support an English adventurer. Pocahontas represents the Native Indians, who admired Christianity, European culture and peace. She makes the White American culture appear good. The narrative of Pocahontas, turning her back on the native Indians and lying with Europeans, brings in a common ground between the two cultures, which has endured for centuries.

Four – A world of Dreams and Bibles

The Europeans noted that the Indians did not have churches. The natives had no organized worship as the Europeans witnessed dances and belief systems that they termed as primitive and devil worship. The Europeans found an opportunity to introduce Christianity to the Native Indians. They introduced missionaries and bibles, who came with new codes of conduct for the American Indian community. Notably, the Indian religion was less intolerant than Christianity, a fact that prompted most Indians to convert to Christianity. However, Christianity changed as more Indians joined the religion. They had to reshape the religion to prioritize their ideas of the world, making it an Indian and also European religion. As a consequence, old and new beliefs continued to exist together. Missionaries played a role in the cultural genocide. They took Indians from their homes and gathered them in mission villages. The missionaries exploited them through labor, sexual abuse and stole their land. The Europeans used Christianity as a weapon and not a religion for salvation.

The Indians and Christians shared natural events and understanding. But Christianity was slowly altering the symbolic structure of the Native’economy. The new religion required respect for God and not animals or the natural world. The Europeans used the restraining environmental ethic to stop Indians with old hunting rituals. The Indians stopped listening to the spirit is of animals and became commercial hunters. As noted above, the Indians converted to Christianity but does not assimilate the ways of European life. Christianity was a religion that proved to be a force that offered spiritual basis, and a means to cope with the crisis. The Indians assimilated the invader’s culture for survival. They hid their religious beliefs from the Europeans, making the evangelist believe that the Indian religion had died.

Six: the New World Diplomacy and New World Foreign Policy

According to Calloway, the vibrant cultures of the Europeans and Indians came together to form early America.  The process took a long time, a period where America was a country inhabited mainly by the native Indians. The Americans consider the establishment of colonies as the birth of their country. But the fact is the country existed long before the European settlement. The article describes the early interaction between Native Americans and Europeans. The history shows how European conquered North America through the malicious genocide of the native population.  Native Indians found themselves at the of European invaders, who ignored their contribution to the American culture. In the history of America, the effect of European invasion on the Indian life was devastating. However, the Indian culture contributed significant ways to the distinct way of life in America.

The European settlers had strategies to achieve their goals. They settled in towns that Indians had deserted, but searched for the Natives and educated them on how to grow indigenous crops, such as Tobacco, corn, tomatoes, and potatoes. These crops were exported from the European Colonies.  On the other hand, Europeans adopted Indian medicine and used their guerrilla tactics to fight against the British army in the American Revolution. The Indian-style warfare used was invented a hundred years before to fight unfamiliar tactics by European intruders.

There were violent confrontations when the Indians met the Europeans. The only dialogue between the two sides were gunfire and arrows. The new diplomacy in America involved Indian chiefs, who wore clothes given by the European allies. The strategic, as well as political decisions, relied more on the European side. As a result, the Europeans decided to adjust their grand ambitions and accommodate the realities of the Indians. They noted that the Indians controlled most of the continent. In this regard, the Europeans courted the Indian chiefs and embraced Native diplomacy, despite the fact that it disturbed the European political arrangements. It is interesting to note that the Europeans invaded a world where the Indians pursued various foreign policies. They found a supply of allies and enemies. These rivalries made North America a competing, changing and overlapping place for foreign policies.

The Indians realized that their dealings with Europeans revolved the issue of land.  The Christians claimed that the empty lands in North America were theirs due to the right of discovery. The Indian leaders recognized that they could not satisfy the European’s demands for land. Thus, they looked for ways that could divert the tide of the lands. They sold lands to gain time, but the young warriors were angered by the move leading to struggles in the Indian society. The British and the French recognized that their imperial ambitions in the land that depended on the support of the Native Americans. The two rivals retorted to send agents in the land of the Natives to cultivate good relations with the chiefs. Besides,  they were to learn the language of Indian diplomacy.

The European’s ambitions imposed a background of diplomacy in North America. The Indian treaty councils led till the end of the nineteenth century where the Congress in 1871 ended the treaty. Notably, the Europeans were keen in colonial America to follow the protocol of the Native American procedures. But then again, they were interested in having fewer Indians and more land. After the Revolution, the United States commissioners gave out the old protocol to council-fire rhetoric. They were to take the position that Indians had forfeited their lands and agreed with the British that the lands were the property of the United States through the right of conquest. The Europeans got the upper hand to dictate their terms to the Indian delegates. They demanded territory and hostages and rejected the wampum belts. The Indians were not happy with the pretentious decision to take their lands by conquest. But they did not have the power to do anything. The power belonged to the new America and not Native America. The Europeans changed the diplomacy of North America through calculated strategies.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Calloway, Colin G. “A world of Dreams and Bibles,” New Worlds for all Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America ( Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1977, 68-91.
  2. Calloway, Colin G. “New World Diplomacy and New World Foreign Policy”, New Worlds for all Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1977, pp. 115-133.
  3. Shapiro, Laurie G. “Pocahontas: Fantasy and Reality: Why so many people still need the Indian princess,” Slate, http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/06/pocahontas_wedding_re_enactment_john_rolfe_john_smith_and_native_americans.html, (June 22, 2014).
  4. Laurie, Shapiro G. “Pocahontas: Fantasy and Reality: Why so many people still need the Indian princess,” Slate, (2014). http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/06/pocahontas_wedding_re_enactment_john_rolfe_john_smith_and_native_americans.html
  5. Laurie, Shapiro G. Slate, (2014).
  6. Colin, Calloway G. “A world of Dreams and Bibles,” New Worlds for all Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America. ( Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1977) 68.
  7. Colin, Calloway G. New Worlds for all Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1977) 72.
  8. Calloway. New Worlds, 90.
  9. Colin, Calloway G. “New World Diplomacy and New World Foreign Policy,” New Worlds for all Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1977) 115.
  10. Colin, Calloway G. New Worlds for all Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1977) 116.
  11. Calloway. New Worlds, 129.
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