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Peacock, Hodgin

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Eric Peacock, Christopher Hodgin
Mrs. Bennett
Humanities 2-4
24 January 2016

Why the Europeans Caused Destruction in the Americas


From 1450-1650, the world saw a vast increase in intercontinental
migration and global colonization. Indubitably, this constant colonization, specifically in
the Americas, created a completely new world, both economically and socially. Due to
the plentiful fields peppering the Eastern Coast of North America, resources were
abundant, and European colonists simply could not resist attempting to invoke their own
culture upon the natives of this land of plenty. However, due to the Europeans
incessant endeavors to convert the natives to Christianity, tensions continuously rose
between the two cultures. Be that as it may, conversion was not the only change that the
colonists brought to the native people of North America. After contact with the Europeans
was made, the natives began to die in droves, primarily due to their lack of immunities to
diseases the Europeans brought with them to the Americas, and also because the
Europeans could not stand the fact that the Native Americans refused to convert to
Christianity. Therefore, although colonization resulted in never before seen levels of
commerce, and countless agricultural innovations, European invasion of the Americas
was inarguably destructive for the Native people, and the cause of violent tension and
warfare between the two societies.

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Throughout the late sixteenth century, the colonists and native people of America
constantly clashed in head to head confrontations over cultural beliefs and land. These
altercations occurred as a result of the Europeans acts of entitlement towards the
resources and riches of the New World. In fact, the Europeans even committed acts of
savagery to gain control, as they thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties
and of cutting slices of them to test the sharpness of their blades (Zinn 6). Furthermore,
the Europeans failure to convert the natives to Christianity came as a surprise. Centuries
before the European migration of America, European migrants around the globe
succeeded in converting the native peoples of conquered lands to Christianity. For
example, during the 11th century, a French priest named Peter the Hermit lead an attack
on Germany during the crusades of 1096. While there, his men started slaughtering the
Jews in Germany that refused to convert. When colonists got to America, they initially
attempted to convert the Native Americans peacefully. However as the natives showed a
great unwillingness to convert, the Spanish colonists invoked a policy, in which those
who did not convert to Christianity were killed for their lack of cooperation. As the
disregard for Indian life grew within the colonies, the Native Americans tried to escape
by running to the hills. Despite temporary success, the Europeans tracked the Native
Americans down to kill them, further proving the fact that the Europeans intentionally
caused violent warfare. Additionally, those Native Americans that were not killed by the
Europeans suffered and died in the mines and other labors in desperate silence, knowing
not a soul in the world to whom they could turn for help (Zinn 6). As a vast majority of
Native Americans met their inevitable demise, it is revealed that the Europeans truly did
bring chaos and hatred with them to the Americas.

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Not only did the Colonists brutally slaughter many Native Americans, but they
also took advantage of them. In the French colony near lake Huron, colonists used liquor
as a trade material for beaver skin pelts. Due to the natives ignorance of how liquor
affected the mind and body, alcohol hit Indian tribes with an explosive force (Stearns
687). Alcohol was the cause of devastation within the Indian economy and culture. The
Europeans cursed the Indians with binge drinking, violence, promiscuity, and addiction
through the production and distribution of alcohol to the native populous. The natives
slowly self-destructed from the presence of alcohol in their society. Iroquois leaders
believed that, if [the over-consumption of alcohol] be continued, [the Iroquois] would be
inevitably ruined (Stearns 688). This foreshadowed the eventual implosion of the Native
Americans society. As the tribes grew more and more addicted to the intoxicating
substance, the native economy was put under the colonists thumb. This destruction and
disunity within the Native American tribes allowed the Europeans to decimate the natives
in following skirmishes.
After all evidence has been produced and absorbed, is it not obvious that it was
the European influence on the Native Americans that caused the grievous wars between
the two societies? Can we not all agree that if it had not been for European aggravation of
the Natives, then the two could have lived peacefully, possibly even as beneficiaries? Yes,
the Europeans did cause substantial growth in Native American commerce but that
growth does not outweigh the deaths, chaos, and destruction that was caused in the
Native American tribes by the Europeans.

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