Download After Columbus: Essays in the Ethnohistory of Colonial North by James Axtell PDF

By James Axtell

This quantity contains a brand new number of essays--four formerly unpublished--by James Axtell, writer of the acclaimed the ecu and the Indian and The Invasion inside: the competition of Cultures in Colonial North the USA, and the main modern authority on Indian-European family in Colonial North the USA. Arguing that ethical decisions have a sound position within the writing of background, Axtell scrutinizes the activities of varied ecu invaders--missionaries, investors, infantrymen, and traditional settlers--in the 16th century. targeting the interactions of Spanish, French, and English colonists with American Indians over the japanese half the us, he examines what the heritage of colonial the United States may have appeared like had the hot global really been a virgin land, without Indians.

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Additional info for After Columbus: Essays in the Ethnohistory of Colonial North America

Sample text

No tool is better designed for perceiving unconventional analogies between so-called "civilized" and "savage" cultures. The second device is humor, the perception of "the ludicrous, the comical, and the absurd in life or situations . . without bitterness" (Webster). Since life is often comical, even in tragedy, the historian should employ humor, if for no other reason, to give a fully rounded picture of the past. Again, the touch should be light but not frivolous or flippant, lest we show disrespect to our subjects.

The first problem is shared by all students of history: the tendency to apply our own limited range of modern meanings to words we share with the past but which may have meant different things to the historical 36 AFTER COLUMBUS actors who used them. Here the Oxford English Dictionary or its American equivalents are needed to clarify the usage of each age and to prevent anachronism. Francis Jennings is particularly adept at this kind of semantical sleuthing. 2 Neal Salisbury, on the other hand, was caught by a generally complimentary reviewer in the act of giving a seventeenth-century word a twentieth-century meaning.

21 Virtually any page of Trigger's work will reveal such judgments being made, not because he somehow failed to maintain his cool detachment but because he succeeded in using his personal human qualities to capture the objective reality of the past. Trigger worried that sympathy for one's subjects does not necessarily lead to understanding, without which respect is impossible. "22 Fortunately, Trigger was not led by his own misconception of moral judgments to divorce his full humanity from the search for understanding.

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