A group blog to promote discussion, debate and insight into the history, particularly religious, of America's founding. Any observations, questions, or comments relating to the blog's theme are welcomed.
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I applaud Larry Spotted Crown Mann’s critique of Barton’s fabricated and ahistorical “propaganda” about the causes of King Philip’s War.But I would also caution Mann, and remind him of his own rejoinder that, “there is a lot of complexities and nuance to this conflict that should be earnestly discussed.” An AC comment area is not the place to discuss it. But I think Mann is also somewhat guilty of ahistorical assertions, particularly when he invokes “race,” “racist attitudes” and the “racial ideology” of New England’s colonizers circa 1675 as being “much like Barton posits here in 2013.” When studying the history of the 17th century, we should stick to accurate descriptions of the “ethnocentric lens” of both sides that Mann invokes in his introduction, and not anachronistically impose our more modern notions of race and racism. Let me state upfront that I sympathize with Metacom (King Philip), the Wampanoag and their other tribal allies. I think the historical record is clear that English land and resource hunger/greed precipitated the bloodiest war (per capita) in American history, As Metacom stated, “ Sometimes the cattle of the English would come into the cornfields of my people, for they did not make fences like the English. I must then be seized and confined till I sold another tract of my country for satisfaction of all damages and costs. But a small part of the dominion of my ancestors remains. I am determined not to live till I have no country.” But, relations between the Native peoples of New England and the English colonizers took place within a complicated historical and cultural context. One major consequence of English colonization was the radical reordering of intertribal relations among regional Native communities. These changes led to greater conflicts over the growing assertion of English sovereignty that created a “many-sided, complex conflict” that cannot be reduced to a simple English versus Native American antithesis. By 1675, struggles over “land uses and economic habits” led to the outbreak of King Philip’s War because, as noted by Quaker deputy governor John Easton of Rhode Island, “the English said the Indians wronged them and the Indians said the English wronged them.” Ultimately, this inter-tribal and inter-colonial conflict involved various villages, alliances, factions and shifting counter-alliances of Wampanoag, Nipmuc, Narragansett, Wabanaki, Mohegan and Mohawk contesting or allied with the colonies of Plymouth, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire and coastal Maine. “Both sides knew victory hinged on securing Native allies.” Unfortunately for Metacom and his tribal allies, the Mohawk intervention for the English tipped the scales of war in favor of the colonists. I recommend highly, to Barton, Mann et. al., the concise and readily available paperback book, King Philip’s War: Colonial Expansion, Native Resistance and the End of Indian Sovereignty by Daniel R. Mandell.
When studying the history of the 17th century, we should stick to accurate descriptions of the “ethnocentric lens” of both sides that Mann invokes in his introduction, and not anachronistically impose our more modern notions of race and racism. Wise.And thank you for a more even-handed consideration of what is more tragedy than criminal, one people pushing another off its lands. It's only with the advent of the modern nation-state that borders and boundaries become sacrosanct. Until then, it's whatever you can get away with.My late-in-life studies of history were triggered by coming across a set of geographical history books by Colin McEvedy. Each 2 page set covers 50 or 100 years and you can see the human race since the Sumerians pushing each other back and forth over the millennia.No people is crime-free: "Apache" means "enemy"; the Bantus pushed the Pygmies out of Central Africa; the Turkmen started on the Asian steppe; the Aztecs themselves were invaders who took over the Mexico City area just a few centuries before the Spanish; there's a people called the Allans who started in eastern Europe and ended up in Spain. http://www.amazon.com/The-Penguin-Atlas-Ancient-History/dp/0140513485The European series has 4 books from antiquity to the modern age, and there are also volumes on North America, Africa, and the Pacific Rim, although they're not as impressive.
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