8 Primary Source Documents
The Starving Time (1609)
The author of this excerpt is Captain John Smith writing the events second hand from a witness’ view on October 4, 1609. The context explains the conditions that the English settlers went through involving the brutal attack against and from the savages [Indians]. The British people did not assist their own people who were living in America leaving them starving and harmed by the dangerous effects of The Starving Time. Leaving the English settlers desperate and in misery, the British allies were known to be counter-productive. The audience of this passage is the people who had no idea of the time and how badly it was affecting the English Americans. The key idea is that the British allowed their settlers in America to suffer starvation for a dreadful amount of time. So What?
The purpose is to show how the British thought that they were helping out by sending provisions but according to this person’s perspective, they gave no help to the people who were in dire need of food and protection. The style was written in an informative way which involved a realistic narrative tone. The bias is that the British seemed that they were on our side but didn’t help the way they settlers expected and hoped. This lack of assistance to their own fellow people led to attacks against the Indians causing mayhem. Assumptions are that the people were left hungry and the leaders did not take sufficient action to make sure that the people were ok to survive in such conditions. This is from the point of view of a witness or victim of the starving time and the historical significance marks a period when the British were counter-productive in helping their own people.
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