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Contributions to America Early American society was

comprised of many different elements. The biggest

contributions to the society was the American Indians,

Africans, and, of course, the English, the biggest of the

three. Their relationship together was far different than what

we have today. You wouldn?t just see some African and

view him as just another American. It also didn?t have a

triangular connection, where everyone interacted in some

way with everyone else. Instead it was more along the lines

of the Africans relationship with the English, and the Indians

relationship with the English, not the Africans and Indians

relationship together. To take a closer look at this we need

to first look at each people separately. Native Americans

weren?t the same as a whole. There were hundreds, if not

thousands, of different tribes. These tribes had different

ways of living than others. They were hunters, agriculturists,

hunter-gatherers, or fishers, and each one had some

different and some similar views. All of them had sexual of

their labor, but in different ways. The hunters had the men

do the hunting and the women do the food processing and

clothing production. Such a sexual division is not always

common, however. In certain agricultural societies the men

were responsible for the agricultural labor. In others, the

men did the clearing of land, women did the rest of the

work, and the men did the hunting. It doesn?t seem like any

one sex had more power than the other did. Many of these

societies had their extended family defined matrilineally, or

through a female line of descent. This didn?t mean that it

was a matriarchal society, or power by women, just a

means of reckoning kinship. Some tribes had, instead of

this, their lineage defined patrilineally. Their political

structure was much of a government. Most tribes just had a

village council, which was the highest political authority.

There wasn?t much of a hierarchy. The Iroquois, by

contrast, had an elaborate political hierarchy that linked

?villages into nations and nations into a widespread

confederation.?1 Women?s political position varied from

tribe to tribe. In the agricultural peoples, women were more

likely to assume leadership positions than among the

nomadic hunters. Their religious views differed, but they

were all polytheistic (worship or believe in more than one

god). Their rituals and their gods would then relate to the

type of people that they were: hunters, gatherers, etc.

Some differences between the Indian and English culture

caused misunderstandings. They were both hierarchical, but

they their nature differed considerably. The English?s

hierarchy was inherited through their father. But the

authority of the some of the Indian leaders rested on

consensus. So when the English tried to negotiate treaties,

?they overestimated to ability of chiefs to make

independent decisions for their people.? They also had

different views on the holdings of land. The Indian believed

that know one owned the land, it was just for everyone to

work on. The English, however, was the exact opposite.

They insisted on having their own farms, and buying and

selling land. Basically, above all, ?the English settlers

believed unwaveringly in the superiority of their civilization.?

Because of this belief of superiority, the English settlers felt

that they could do anything they wanted to the land or the

inferior Indians on it. They expanded and expanded to the

point that the Indians felt in danger. Because of this they

would occasionally fight back. Opechancanough, a tribal

and war leader, launched several coordinated attacks on

the settlers. By the end of the day, about one-quarter, or

347, lay dead. They only stayed alive because of a warning

by two Christian converts. The encroachment of the

Indians land is the primary cause of this war.3 Another

major race that contributed to the early American society

was the Africans. They may not have been from the same

culture, but the black Africans were not viewed as cultural

people. The English didn?t think anything on the lines of

them being regular people like the rest of them. The English

were smarter, more advanced as far technology and

education, and they were white. These three things put

them far ahead of the Africans. The English settlers also

had money. With this they could by the slaves that they

needed. The African nations enslaved their own people or

people captured in war. Because these countries were

extremely poor and they needed any money they could get,

they would sell their own slaves to the English (American).

The slaves view of the world was usually just being a slave,

because they were slaves nearly all their life, that was the

only thing the knew of. When they were taken aboard the

ships, they thought the white men were Gods, and also that

they were being punished. Some of the younger ones had

no idea of what was going on, but the older ones had heard

that they were just being taken to some other land, and that

they were just going to become slaves their. Because that

was the only thing they had ever known, the scared

Africans minds were eased. One young slave stated, ?I

inquired of these what was to be done with us; they gave

me to understand we were to be carried to these white

people?s country to work for them. I then was a little

revived, and thought, if it were no worse than working, my

situation was not so desperate.? This was how it generally

was with most the slaves. They didn?t seem to mind at first.

Later when they saw that freedom was an option, if you

weren?t black, they wanted it. The English and the Africans

didn?t get along to well, but there wasn?t a lot of fighting

like there were the Indians. They just viewed them as

objects that could be bought and sold. They also expected

them to be as ?English? as they would allow. For Example,

the English tried convert them to Christianity. They

succeeded with some, but not all. Even though they

allowed them to be Christian, they still wouldn?t allow them

to marry or do other things that Christians do. These three

races of people didn?t exactly blend well together. This is

partly because the English thought of themselves as the

best, and with their advancements over their counterparts,

the Africans and Indians, they were able to prove to them

that they were better.


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