American Spirit Chapter 1 Essay

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Indians vs. Europeans

When the Europeans first arrived in America they found an Indian culture completely different from their own. They viewed this culture as barbaric and animalistic. The European culture involved a strict hierarchy, and only people with white skin were accepted. Indian society was much more accepting, and they based their religious views on nature. When Cortes first came from Spain he was surprised by all the idols that the people were worshipping, and he eventually killed many of the Indians in Mexico where he first arrived. Montezuma, the Aztec leader, welcomed Cortes with open arms, but Cortes was displeased that they believed in more than once God. The Aztecs, meanwhile, believed that Cortes was fulfilling one of their prophecies. This resulted in a huge misunderstanding, which ended in the slaughtering of many Indians, and demonstrates the differences in culture. The Indians had a much different view of the world than the Indians did. They did not judge people based on looks like the Europeans did. It can clearly be seen by the way the Europeans judged the Indians compared to how the Indians judged the Europeans. The Indians saw land as something that belonged to everyone, whereas the Europeans felt that it must belong to a certain group of people. This resulted in many of the colonial conflicts between Europeans and Indians. When a Quaker settler described the Indians side of a conflict it was clear that the way Europeans claimed land hurt them a great deal. If these enormous changes in culture had not existed there may have been many less problems between the two groups.
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