Native Americans Had it Worse during New World Settlement (Historical Opinion #1)

5 Aug

In case you did not know it about me, I am majoring in philosophy, and history, and now that my amount of history classes are going up, my thoughts in our past continues to be increased, causing me to think of more than just philosophy. This site is still going to be primarily for philosophy, but history and its involvements continues to be a part of my thought sphere, and I want to also write about it along with my philosophical writings. I  am beginning a new category for this site called Historical Opinion and this is the first one, being for all my writings that are opinionated about certain parts of history. I have not posted any writings all week because I have been studying for a 6 chapter American history test that I took earlier this evening, and I tweeted a quote by James Madison (find it to the lower right), and with that tweet, I had the thought that I could write about history too. The class the test was for was American history up to 1865 and it involved African slavery and the things we did to the Native Americans living here when we settled. This writing is to be about my opinion why African slavery and its evils are inferior to the evils conducted in the acquirement of the land we reside upon today. I wholeheartedly believe that African slavery does not even measure up to how evil it was to take land from, sicken, kill, and betray the Native Americans that lived here before us. I have my opinions why. In no sense do I think that African slavery up to the emancipation proclamation was right, but I think it is a very much lesser sin and evil than what we did to the Native Americans.

I want to make my point that the natives had it worse by why and how the Native Americans and the Africans came to their state of nadir (as the blacks termed the times of slavery, meaning ‘low point’, contrasting with zenith meaning ‘high point’). Lets start with the Native Americans. The indians (called that by Columbus because he thought he was in India when he was actually in America) lived all over North America each tribe having an established place here. When the Spanish, French, British, Dutch, and other settlers came here and pretty much invaded the land, the indians (going to call them this from now on to not have to type Native American each time I refer to them) retaliated furiously ending in their demise by being removed from their home. The indians were put towards their nadir through 1) being removed from their lands, 2) getting European diseases they had no bodily immunity to, 3) being enslaved for a very very short period, and finally4) being slaughtered during battle with settlers and colonists. There are probably other things that caused the indian’s point of nadir, but those 4 were the main reasons for their demise.  The indians were enslaved for a short period, but the settlers stopped enslaving them because they did not last long, and because the diseases from Europeans killed them off quickly from being exposed daily to the settlers. This is why Africans were brought to the New World and were enslaved because they had immunity and could last long in the sun working for long periods of time. During the peaceful life of the indians in North America, each tribe was attached to their holy home because of religion and sources of food and shelter that were there. Their native indigenous religion branded their home as holy land making the taking of their land an enormous tragedy and loss. Diseases that Europeans carried were exposed the the indians without immunity such as smallpox and other diseases killing tribes in vast numbers. That alone I feel is an injustice to those died from European disease, along with the survivors of the disease having lost their loved ones. The taking of the indian’s land by the settlers was not an immediate process. Colonists were given their boundaries for settlements that were just broken as settlers just moved west. When Europeans first settled in the New World in the 1600’s the indian’s saw that the Europeans were dying and not surviving there, and the indians came to their aid in a nice and formal way to help them survive, and did so just to have their land taken from them. At Plymouth (present day Massachusetts), Pilgrims (an unorthodox branch of protestant separatists) settled there and the Pilgrims had hard times surviving there because of lack of food, and harsh winters. The Wampanoag indians including Samoset and Squanto came to the aid of the Pilgrims by teaching them how to fish, grow corn (which they thought food for pigs at first, and declined to eat it until they began to starve), and do other things to ensure survival. The Wampanoags helped the Pilgrims get on their feet and to live. Later after established settlement in Massachusetts, after massacring Pequot indians, and encroaching on Wampanoag land, the Wampanoags attacked back at the settlers lead by Metacomet (King Phillip as termed by colonists) starting King Phillip’s war in 1675. The Wampanoag’s helped the settlers learn to survive here just to have their land taken from them to start a war between each other. Another similar incident in Virginia where Algonquian indians under Powhatan came to the aid of settlers as well only to have their land taken from them. Not only did the settlers just take their land, but as conflicts with indians proceeded, the Americans set forth many treaties and proclamations stating that they would not settle past a certain line to ensure indians of less conflict and removal from lands. For example the Proclamation of 1763 later in settlement of the New World that stated no settlement west of the Appalachian mountains. This proclamation was null as  settlers continued west to take more indian land. Much later after the American Revolution during the Andrew Jackson administration, he passed Indian removal acts making all indians in American states having to be transported to the midwest (present day Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Kansas, and places north to the Canadian border). The indians having established their land again there, the Kansas Nebraska Act was passed making Kansas and Nebraska states before the Civil war (amongst slavery debate) again taking indian land. The indians were just continually pushed westward into foreign lands. Because of Jackson’s indian removal act, the trail taking them to Oklahoma gained the name Trail of Tears because of the tears shed from the depressed indians being removed from their beloved homes. Hopefully this has briefly explained the harships, depressing times, and betrayals to the indians because of European settlement of the New World. African slavery occurred for different reasons, and because of its roots it was a lesser evil than the mistreatment of the Native Americans.

The main reason I feel that enslavement of the Africans was not as big of a shocking part of history as the removal of the indians was because of the fact that Africans enslaved each other in their homeland of Africa before the Europeans enslaved anybody. Higher people in African society enslaved other Africans in Africa, and when Europeans went there as a part of their trade routes, they observed this enslavement, and seeing how the Africans could withstand that kind of work, they bought slaves in African slave markets and brought the African slavery back to the New World. As we look back on American enslavement of the Africans, the Americans of the time are often viewed as sick horrible people that could not have possibly done something so terrible. When in reality, the Americans  just got the idea from the Africans themselves. Because of this documented historical fact I now do not view African enslavement to be as terrible as I previously thought. African slavery was in places more than just America, and it being the new way to do things, it was adopted in America too. The situation of slavery was exacerbated when it divided the nation preceding the Civil War, which may be a reason why African slavery is viewed as so incredibly low.

I feel that slavery is a terrible evil, but to brand the white man as evil because of it is wrong because the black man started it all.

Because of the above stated fact, the removal of native Americans from their land greatly outdoes  the evil of African slavery. White and black people are both sinners because they participated in enslavement of equal people, but to polarize it towards saying that the white man is evil is wrong.

Hopefully I made my point without saying anything radical, fallacious, or blasphemous. Don’t try to say that the Africans did not enslave themselves first, because they did. This fact equalizes evils of white and blacks for enslavement of each other, and it removes the false polarization against the white man.

Thanks for the support. Comment below,@ reply on Twitter, or email at to explain your thoughts.


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