Settlements in the americas - Essay Example

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Time after time it becomes evident the British settlers established a strategy of befriending the American Indians and then, over time, the American Indians would come to…
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When reviewing the relationship between British settlers and American Indians, a consistent pattern emerges. Time after time it becomes evident the British settlers established a strategy of befriending the American Indians and then, over time, the American Indians would come to view the relationship differently with prolonged conflict becoming the byproduct. The American Indians often felt the alliance rapidly became one sided. In short, they weren’t seeing the benefits of the relationship in the same way the British were. In fact, in many cases the American Indians felt exploited.
One example of such explosion occurred in Jamestown in 1610. For three years after the arrival of the British in 1607, the Indians felt the newcomers were allies. All that changed in the winter of 1610 when starved British settlers raided the Powhatan tribe of their food. Within a few short months, the British occupying Virginia announced a declaration of war against the American Indians in the region. Eventually a peace treaty would be signed, but it was only to last for right years. Despite the peace treaty being struck, the American Indians remained bitter towards their British neighbors and continued to feel exploited. Additionally, overtime a strong sentiment developed amongst the Indians reflecting the feeling that their land had been taken from them. By 1646 the British had defeated the Indians following an all-out Anglo-Indian war.
No one can deny the impact economics had on the British’s decision to first befriend and the eradication of the Indians. For the British, it was largely about land. Land meant money and power. However, this did not compute for the Indians because their concept of land remained very different. For the Indians, and unlike the British, land was not “private property.” In fact, the Indians had no concept of private property at all. In their view, the land belonged to all who occupy it and it should be treated with respect. Their fundamental inability to understand land in the same way as the British meant conflict was truly inevitable.
However, land wasn’t solely used to justify violence against American Indians. The British also used religion to justify violence. In 1637 New England settlers committed the equivalent of a genocide against Pequot Indians. The British in charge of the attack claimed God favored their extermination of the Indians because they had previously killed settlers. According to the Indians, God not only accepted but encouraged the slaughter of Indians because they did not have faith in him and were, in fact, heathens.
Ultimately, the relationship between the British settlers and the American Indians can be summed up as a history of violence. It demonstrates the worse of human civilization as exemplified by the fact that both economics and religion were falsely used as justification for mass violence. Read More
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