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Early America. Beginnings of the Western Culture. The American Ideal. Religious Autonomy Opportunities in Commerce Gold, Gold, and Gold Chimerical stories Fountains of Youth New “Eden” Religious Purpose. The New World. Pre-Exploration. Oral Tradition. No written literature

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Early america

Early America

Beginnings of the Western Culture

The american ideal
The American Ideal

  • Religious Autonomy

  • Opportunities in Commerce

  • Gold, Gold, and Gold

  • Chimerical stories

    • Fountains of Youth

    • New “Eden”

    • Religious Purpose

The new world

The New World


Oral tradition
Oral Tradition

  • No written literature

    • More than 500 different languages/cultures before first European settlers arrived

  • Early contribution comes from

    • Myths

    • Legends

    • Tales

    • Prayers

    • Songs


  • Worshipped

    • Gods

    • Animals

    • Plants

    • Sacred persons


  • Connection to higher power

  • God is in everything

  • Close to transcendentalism

  • No identifiable concept of One God belief

Chippewa song
Chippewa Song

“A loon I thought it was

But is was

My love’s

Splashing oar.”

Cherokee song
Cherokee Song

“Shake it, shake it, sha-sha, shake it, oh-oh

Shake it like a polaroid picture…”

The founding fathers a native american view
The Founding FathersA Native American View

First contact
First Contact

  • Probably about 10 million populating North America when Europeans first arrived.

  • Natives probably came to Americas by way of Bering Sound from Siberia

  • Likely DID NOT come from India

  • Columbus applied “Indian” name

  • Thought he was in Asia

Greetings white man
“Greetings, White Man…”

  • Europeans arrived in 16th-17th Century

  • For most part, welcomed by natives

  • Regarded as a bit of a marvel—beards, clothing, technology

  • First encounters were positive…

The pilgrims and the first thanksgiving
The Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving

  • Squanto was an Indian that had been to Europe and learned to speak English

  • Came upon the starving colonists and fed them through winter and taught to farm

  • Not just “friendly”—had already encountered white slave traders raiding their villages for hundreds of years

  • Providing for those in need was their “way”


  • Saw the Indians as heathens, of the Devil

  • Saw Squanto, not as equal, but as instrument of God to help them as chosen people

  • Real reason for Thanksgiving—Indian tribe signed treaty granting them rights to Plymouth

  • Natives provided a great deal for them…

What do i mean
What do I mean?

  • Within 20 yrs. European disease decimated the tribes

  • Came from domesticated animals

  • Spread through diseased blankets given as gifts

  • Some estimates say almost 90% of pop. Killed by disease

  • By 1623, Pilgrim leaders were giving thanks to God for destroying the heathen savages to make way for a better growth for his people

Difference in world view
Difference in World View

  • Whites appeared oblivious to spirit of nature

  • Thought of land as an obstacle, enemy, commodity

  • Viewed with measure of contempt

European view
European View

  • Forest was so many board feet of timber

  • Beaver colony was so many pelts

  • Herd of Buffalo was so many robes and furs

  • Even Indians were a resource—souls ripe for religious conversion

  • Europeans were culturally arrogant

Native americans rarely fought back with violence
Native Americans Rarely “Fought Back” with Violence

  • Often gave in to settlers, government peacefully.

  • Gave up rights to lands held by their ancestors for centuries.

  • Signed many treaties that were broken

  • Forced to live on reservations of government-appointed lands where hunting was restricted

Indian confrontations
Indian Confrontations

  • Wars broke out because of broken promises

  • Led to Indian Removal Act of 1830

    • Trail of Tears

    • 15,000 Cherokees forced to move

    • Almost half died making the trip

    • Battle of Wounded Knee was a Massacre

Who arrived first
Who arrived first?

  • US could have easily been Spanish, French

  • The first to visit continent were not English, Spanish, French

  • Probably Norsemen, Leif Eriksson in 11th Century (400 years before Europeans)

  • Likely off coast of Canada

Cont d

  • First Europeans to come and stay was Columbus

    • Italian Explorer

    • Funded by Spanish rulers


Early attempts a failure

1st colony: Roanoke, NC coast; 1585

Became known as “lost colony”

2nd colony: Jamestown, 1607

Endured starvation, brutality, misrule

Main record written by Capt. John Smith

“Incurable romantic”; likely embellished his stories

Told famous story of Pocahontas

Favorite daughter of King Powhatan saved Smith’s life when he was captured

Unsure as to fact or fiction


17 th century colonization
17th Century Colonization

  • Next group were pirates, adventurers, explorers

  • People seeking wealth, land, opportunity

  • Gives birth to idea of freedom, frontier, chance

  • Continent starts to look good

Who were they
Who were they?

  • Very educated

  • Larger percentage of university grads in New England than back home.

  • Interesting because intellectuals often high society; colonial life was far from easy living

Puritans cont d
Puritans, Cont’d

  • Why all this education?

    • To understand and execute God’s will more fully

    • Highly religious

    • Left England because wanted to “purify” or “separate” from church of England

Cont d1

  • Wanted to get back to “that old time religion”

    • No fancy-pants religious tradition, big hats, shiny robes, etc.

    • Bible was chief means of communication from God

    • No room for the “mess of religious tradition”

Some puritan beliefs
Some Puritan Beliefs

  • Life is a test

  • Failure=eternal damnation in fiery torment

  • Success=heavenly bliss

  • World was arena of constant battle of good vs. evil

  • Satan was real being; capable of many disguises

  • “Once saved, always saved” . No way!

  • No one but God himself knew who “made the cut”

  • Prayed and worked to achieve “grace”, a gift from God—not earned; given freely

  • Felt that earthly success was sign of divine blessing, approval

  • Interpreted all things and events as symbols w/spiritual meaning

  • Strong work ethic

  • Hard day’s work brought joy to a man’s heart

  • Bible shunned laziness (2 Thess. 3:10)

  • Gambling, dancing, veracious sexual appetite not condoned—works that lead to sin

  • Known most famously for part in Salem witch trials

Above all
Above All

  • The Bible was God’s expressed will and should be adhered to at all costs!!!