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Matthew Walls
AP Lang Per 1
Kelley
9-18-13

What is an American?

I think that anybody who was born in America or who has spent more than
half of their life in America should be considered and American. Some people say
that is not true because they think of America as both of the continents and would
include the Native Americans in that category because they were the first people to
be on this continent that we know of. Native Americans have been bullied around
because the Spanish and English settlers had more advanced technology, had
diseases that the Native Americans were not immune to and finally they had a lot
more greed.

Before 1492, Native Americans have never encountered people from or
heard of other continents named Europe, Africa and Asia. They were a primitive
people that had basic tools and technology but nothing near what the European
settlers had. When the first European ship came to the Americas, Christopher
Columbus captained the ship, and when they first encountered the Native
Americans, the Native Americans saw them as gods because of all of the clothing and
higher-in there technology was than theirs. So they gave them all their gold and
riches which in turn made the Spanish feel god-like so they decided to make the
Native Americans their slaves and the Native Americans couldn’t do anything about
it because of their inferior weaponry system.

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Since the Native American have never come in contact with Europeans
before 1492, their immune systems in their bodies do not defend against the
diseases that are in Europe. Within the first 100 years of Christopher Columbus to
the Americas, about 90% of the Native American population was dead because of a
European disease, and about 50,00 within the first two years. The Europeans
noticed that they were getting sick off of their diseases and started to “poison” them
with smallpox blankets and anything that carried disease on it. On the National
Humanities Center’s website it explains why, how, when, where, and who the
European settlers “poisoned” with their diseases.

Now, one of the main reasons the Native Americans were considered bullied
around by the European Colonists was because the colonists had a lot of greed. In
Thomas Jefferson’s “Policy of Civilization and Assimilation” he states, “While they
are learning to do better on less land, our increasing numbers will be calling for
more land.” (Jefferson) This excerpt shows that the more educated man is using his
intense vocabulary to tell the Indians his reasoning for taking some of their land. In
1492, European countries sent Christopher Columbus on a voyage across the
Atlantic to find another trade route to India and the Spice Islands and to find and
recover gold and other riches so they didn’t have to pay all the taxes on whatever
they would by because of how far it had to travel. And if by chance he did not come
home with anything to make their homeland rich, than he was probably going to be
killed or put in jail, so he was obligated to get whatever of value him and his crew
could find so they did not have to face the consequences of coming back empty

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handed. When they found land, with a primitive Native American population giving
them gold, they just took it no matter what the cost was, even if it meant killing or
enslaving a lesser race.

In conclusion, Native Americans were forced out of their land simply because
of their inferior technology, not being immune to the Europeans diseases and
mainly because of the Europeans enormous amount of greed. And because of this
mindset that our ancestors has put on us to forget about the Native Americans, we
have forgotten about them in the context of the simples question “What is an
American”.

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Works Cited

Jefferson, Thomas. Policy of Civilization and Assimilation. 1803. Print.
National Humanities Center. Settlement Resource Menu. 2006. Web. 9-19-13