After Columbus: Essays in the Ethnohistory of Colonial North by James Axtell

By James Axtell

This quantity contains a brand new number of essays--four formerly unpublished--by James Axtell, writer of the acclaimed the ecu and the Indian and The Invasion inside: the competition of Cultures in Colonial North the US, and the key modern authority on Indian-European relatives in Colonial North the US. Arguing that ethical decisions have a valid position within the writing of historical past, Axtell scrutinizes the activities of varied ecu invaders--missionaries, investors, infantrymen, and traditional settlers--in the 16th century. targeting the interactions of Spanish, French, and English colonists with American Indians over the japanese half the U.S., he examines what the background of colonial the US may need gave the impression of had the recent global really been a virgin land, with out Indians.

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Extra resources for After Columbus: Essays in the Ethnohistory of Colonial North America

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On the surface they may look harmless enough, or resemble something equally benign. But as they descend and detonate, their resonant power is unleashed, showering our understanding with fragments of accumulated meaning and association. In our search for professional disinterestedness, fairness, and objectivity it is easy to give our students and readers the impression that words are strictly denotative (rather than detonative) instruments of scientific precision and emotional neutrality. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

As long as we are sensitive to new and fruitful questions about the past, whatever their source, as scholars we can safely ignore any answers proffered by people or parties who have not mastered the documentary record. I, for one, am persuaded that the European colonists, soldiers, and administrators in America do carry an extra burden—not of foreordained guilt but—of responsibility, of moral initiative, for three reasons. First, it was they who invaded the Indians' land, they who demanded the Indians' cultural surrender, and they who benefitted so richly from the Indians' losses.

Such a condescending attitude does an injustice to the historical value of archaeology, glottochronology, and oral tradition. Precontact is a better word. e. "savages") did to (innocent) white folks, as in the Virginia "Massacres" of 1622 and 1644 when the Powhatans surprised the encroaching colonists and in brilliant coordinated attacks claimed nearly 850 victims. The English attack on the Pequot Fort in 1637, on the other hand, is rarely described as a massacre, although between three and eight hundred men, women, and children lost their lives in the fiery onslaught.

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