American identity has been created by many events throughout the course of history. This country was founded on the clashing and mixing of many different cultures and lifestyles. One of the most important periods of time for this country was during the period of conflict between Americans and Native Americans over land rights. Americans had an idea of manifest destiny and that this land was theirs for the taking. The Americans were going to walk through anyone who opposed them in this quest for land. The treatment of the Indians during this time period was harsh, cruel, and violent to say the least. It is in this treatment that Americans came to view the Indians as a "racialized other" and where race began to matter. This early thinking is what created our American identity which is based on race.
In the early settling of this country, when the English first encountered the Indians they viewed them as uncivilized beasts. "The first English colonizers in the New World found that the Indians reminded them of the Irish" (Takaki, 28). To the English the Irish represented a lower and uncivilized class of people, a group that the English considered to be beneath them. This association was the beginning of creating an "Indian Race." The Indians were different then Irish in they had a reddish tint to their skin. This was important because this lead further to their separation by their color. The Indians were further looked at as savages based on their culture. "They were seen as incapable of becoming civilized because of their race" (Takaki, 36). This thinking lead to the belief that the Indians were worthless and simply impeding the spreading of a civilized culture. Indians from this point began to be dehumanized even further. Due to the color of their skin they were associated with the Devil. The settlers believed that Indians must be removed in order to progress in the settling of our land. "God was making room for the colonists and hath hereby...
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