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

By James Axtell

This quantity includes a brand new selection of essays--four formerly unpublished--by James Axtell, writer of the acclaimed the ecu and the Indian and The Invasion inside: the competition of Cultures in Colonial North the United States, and the key modern authority on Indian-European kin in Colonial North the USA. Arguing that ethical decisions have a sound position within the writing of background, Axtell scrutinizes the activities of assorted 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 us, he examines what the background of colonial the USA may need gave the impression of had the hot international actually been a virgin land, with out Indians.

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Sample text

If there is to be an historical standard of judgment, it should not be double. French and Indian War appears in nearly every American history textbook—and should give way to "Seven Years' War" (even though in America the war lasted nine years, thanks to George Washington). Indians fought on both sides in that and every other intercolonial war. " To the Indians it was simply another "French and English" or (by that time) "White Man's" War. Contemporaries, of course, called it none of these. " The "French and Indian" tag apparently was hung by Anglo-American historians in the nineteenth century.

2 Neal Salisbury, on the other hand, was caught by a generally complimentary reviewer in the act of giving a seventeenth-century word a twentieth-century meaning. " He concluded (not wholly without reason) that the English colonizers were utterly contemptuous of Indian land rights. "3 Another problem faced by many historians, particularly those who study the history of native peoples largely through the documents produced by European invaders, is the tendency to adopt uncritically the intruders' descriptions and value judgments of the natives as their own.

Even from the missionary viewpoint, it cannot be said to constitute a failure; the numbers are too impressive. I suggest that mission history simply adopt a good working principle from ethnohistory, namely that each side of the Christian curtain has to be viewed from its own perspective. Thus far, historians have judged the missionaries by the missionaries' criteria, but then have judged the Indians only from their own contemporary perspective as champions of the underdog, defenders of the weak, and protectors of the ethnic enclave.

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