Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed America Chapter Summaries Chapter 1: “Massacre at Mystic”
May 26, 1637 was a fateful day in the history of America. The actions of Major John Mason and his Puritan men set a precedent for the next two hundred years of European and Indian relations. On that clear May night near the Mystic River of New England, hundreds of Pequot Indians were killed by the Europeans and their allies, most of the victims being the elderly, women, and children. This massacre was a massive turning point in the Pequot War, effectively ruining the tribe. Already weakened by disease and by competing native tribes, the Pequot were quickly routed and by September 21, 1638 the war ended with the Treaty of Hartford. The treaty revoked the legal status of the Pequot nation and the few surviving tribe members were sold into slavery. Pequot lands were seized by the Puritans who thought that their struggle was finally over. However, the Massacre at Mystic and the Pequot War set off a chain of events that changed the course of American history.
The death and destruction of this event set in motion the happenings that turned into King Philip’s War. King Philip’s War was the final fight for European domination of New England. Almost a third of the native population was wiped out by the intense fighting. The war showed that there would be no assimilation of Indian culture, but that it would instead be crushed and replaced. The Puritans massive show of force on the May night at Mystic led them to realize that they had ultimate power over the natives of New England. In their eyes, they were doing God’s work by civilizing the brutal savages that they thought the Native Americans were. The attitude of the Puritans made a heavy impact on the rest of the colonies, and eventually the United States. The Europeans made sure to heavily differentiate themselves from the native people. This can be easily seen in the concept of Manifest Destiny. As America pushed its...
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