Reflective Essay

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Colonialism Pages: 2 (443 words) Published: October 6, 2013

The discovery of America was one of the biggest and most important discoveries in history. European colonists opened up a new world with land and resources and many groups of indigenous people. The discovery of this new land led to the deaths of many people and would eventually lead to the creation of a new world superpower.

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of early American history is the number of people who were murdered by colonizers. As children, we are taught that Columbus was a great explorer who made friends with the native Americans. He is completely glorified when we first learn of him. In reality, Columbus was terribly cruel to the natives. European explorers massacred thousands of Indians and virtually eliminated entire races. People commonly say that things like this, though terrible, are necessary for the growth of civilization. I can see where these people are coming from, but I'm not sure I entirely agree. It seems that that statement is most commonly used to justify horrible acts committed by our own country, such as the killing of native Americans or dropping of the atomic bomb. It makes me wonder whether it was really necessary, or whether Americans just don't want to feel as if their country could do something so terrible.

It's interesting how much information is left out when we are taught American history in elementary in middle school. As a kid, you are never really shown how complex the Indian tribes really were. I think many people think of the colonists being much more civilized and advanced than the natives, and in a way that is true. But the colonists really came to a land that was already very diverse. It also seems that the issues of slavery and racism never really come up until the Civil War, but when you look at the early American history, you can see the rise of slavery and racism. I knew that many colonists died because they couldn't survive the fall and winter seasons in the New World, but it was shocking to me that they...
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