Colonial Era

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The Colonial Era

Myths & Misconceptions
-N. America not a sparsely populated virgin land, but rather it had millions of inhabitants -N. Americans were not hunters on horseback but rather farmers -First Americans were ones who crossed from Asia to develop many diverse cultures -N. Americans subsist through "primitive ways of living'' when they actually were sophisticated.

Native America on Eve of Contact
-7-12 million people lived in USA/Canada w/ 350 distinct groups & 250+ different languages w/ their own political structures, kinship sys, economies. -Downfall of these groups was trying to play each other off using the European colonizers -Many N. American groups fought each other --> Conflict led to weakness that let the colonists take them over -After many conflicts, the Iroquois finally decided to make a political alliance with 5 other tribes--> led to Iroquois council (w/ women having roles) --> Model for U.S.'s federal gov.

Impact of 1492 - Columbus's Voyage
-reshaping of diets by introduction of vegetation from both worlds -introduction of horses to New World
-Disruption of the ecosystem (overgrazing, weeds)
-European diseases wipeout 50-90% of N. American pop.
-After decimating the N. American pop., introduction of African slavery -developed
modern concept of progress and new ideals of a better future, as well as made Europeans challenge common beliefs -Thomas More + Utopia
View of a perfect society w/ no crime, poverty, injustice but justfied taking land from N. Americans and African slave labor

Varying Views of America
-Some viewed America as an "earthly paradise" due to the simple and free lives lived by natives -Others viewed America as a place of wilderness, human misery, and lack of Christianity -America as land of liberty, liberation, material wealth --> escape from corrupted European life Varying Views of America

-Some viewed America as an "earthly paradise" due to the simple and free lives...
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