Justifying the Destruction of the Native Americans: The Ideology of Colonization
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The paper discusses how in order to justify the conquest and destruction of the Native American peoples and their culture, the Europeans claimed that they were spreading Christianity to heathen peoples, while what they really wanted was gold. The paper then looks at how David Stannard, in his book "American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World," describes how American colonists used any incident, no matter how small, as justification in order to take more land. Furthermore, the paper relates that during the 16th and 17th centuries, European diseases had decimated the Native population, resulting in the belief on the part of the Europeans that God had cleared the land for the settlers, and, Americans eventually justified their destruction of Native American peoples with the philosophy of "Manifest Destiny." The paper also discusses how European and American historians have chosen to focus their attention on the good parts of their history, while justifying, or even outright ignoring, the many atrocities committed in order to accomplish this good.
From the Paper:"When the Europeans first discovered America, they immediately saw it as a place to be exploited. And the New World was rich beyond imagination with resources and wealth. Unfortunately for the Europeans, there were people already living in the New World. In order to justify the conquest and destruction of these Native American peoples and their culture, the Europeans firstly claimed that they were spreading Christianity to heathen peoples. While what they really wanted was gold, they slaughtered the inhabitants of entire empires in the name of Christ. David Stannard, in his book "American Holocaust: Columbus and the conquest of the New World," begins chapter four with a disturbing tale of butchery and murderer perpetrated by a conquistador named Lope de Aguirre. In the year 1561 he destroyed an entire region of Venezuela in an expedition described by Spanish historians in terms such as "horror" and "mad rage." (Stannard 97)
"This level of destruction was not an aberration as the Europeans regularly used horrific atrocities as a tactic in warfare, demonstrated by Sir Humphrey Gilbert's campaign in Ireland where he decorated the entrance to his headquarters with the heads of his Irish enemies. (Canny 582) So when the Europeans discovered the native culture of the Americas, viewing it as primitive and heathen, they treated it with the contempt and violence they had demonstrated so often before. Early American colonists attacked and killed natives for food and other resources."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Canny, Nicholas P. "The Ideology of English Colonization: From Ireland to America." William and Mary Quarterly Third Series 30 (1973): 582. Print.
- Jennings, Francis. The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest. Chapel Hill: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture by the University of North Carolina, 1975. Print.
- Stannard, David E. American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World. New York: Oxford UP, 1992, Print.
Cite this Persuasive Essay:
Justifying the Destruction of the Native Americans: The Ideology of Colonization (2013, May 08) Retrieved September 22, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/persuasive-essay/justifying-the-destruction-of-the-native-americans-the-ideology-of-colonization-153234/
"Justifying the Destruction of the Native Americans: The Ideology of Colonization" 08 May 2013. Web. 22 September. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/persuasive-essay/justifying-the-destruction-of-the-native-americans-the-ideology-of-colonization-153234/>