Saturday, November 26, 2022

Thanksgiving: Can the Élites' Contempt for American History and for the Voters' Desires in the 21st Century Be Traced All the Way Back to the Jamestown and Plymouth Colonies?


Could it be that the 2020 and 2022 elections, as well as the teaching (sic) of history in American schools, are somehow linked all the way back to the first Thanksgiving and, more to the point, to the differences between the Virginia colonists and the Plymouth pilgrims?

Offhand, it may sound far-fetched, but don't be too quick to dismiss the idea.

In the videos How The English Civil War Caused The American Thanksgiving and How Thanksgiving Sowed The Seeds For The American Civil War, Dick Morris explains how "America was founded in two installments" with the founding of Jamestown in the South of British North America in 1607 and the landing of the pilgrims in the North in 1620. 

Dick Morris makes the case that the two groups were to a great extent natural opposites, the "people devoted to class system, wealth, and privilege" landing in Virginia, and the common people — "the average person, the merchants, the traders" — making landfall in Massachusetts. 

The two groups would proceed to engage in civil wars, first between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads in England in the 1640s and, over two centuries later, between the South and the North (or between the Democrats and the Republicans) in the (dis-)United States. 

The first time I heard about this general line of thought, by the way, was while reading the History of the American People (with the Palmetto State substituting for the Old Dominion), in which Paul Johnson wrote that

it must be noted that [John Quincy] Adams came from Massachusetts and [John] Calhoun from South Carolina, the two extremist states.  Many Americans believed — General Grant was one — that, when the Civil War finally came, these two states bore the chief responsibility for it; that, without them, it could have been avoided.   
However much that might or might not be the case, four centuries later, don't the differences between the anointed élites (with their plantations) and the common people persist?

Over at Breitbart, which has been instrumental in debunking the 1619 Project, Rebecca Mansour treats us to a more detailed account (not least a fateful meeting between members of the two colonies) in the True History of the Pilgrim Fathers and Our Founding Myth.

If you want to undo a nation, you start by falsifying its history until no one remembers anything but the “endless present.” Thus, every Thanksgiving it seems like fewer Americans know the true history of this national holiday commemorating our nation’s founding myth. Few even understand the concept of a founding myth.

 … the left-wing revisionism does not come from a place of love. It’s driven by hatred and ignorance; and, therefore, it requires a full refutation.

The Pilgrims’ Progress from Heroes to Villains

The same wokesters who have been busy toppling statues are also unfairly maligning our Pilgrim fathers and reframing the history of the nation they founded in 1620.

The most radical and effective effort at this revisionism is the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which commemorates the year that the first ship arrived in the Virginia colony carrying African slaves. Recognizing the significance of the beginning of American slavery is certainly worthwhile, but the 1619 Project’s authors went beyond recognition and sought to “reframe” all of American history around the events of 1619. For this, they have been roundly criticized by historians who decry their many inaccuracies and revisionist interpretations (including, for example, their claim that the American Revolution was fought in order to preserve slavery in the colonies). [Among the denunciations, see No Pasarán's very own The 1619 Project Summarized in One Single Sentence.]

Most of the criticism has focused on the Project’s controversial claim (which was later scrubbed from the New York Times’ website) that 1619 is the year of “our true founding,” not 1620 when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth and planted the seed of our democracy that ripened in 1776.

 … In other words, they think Abraham Lincoln got it wrong when he said our nation was “conceived in Liberty.” They think it was conceived in racism.

 … All of this is malicious nonsense. Shame on any educator spewing this garbage.

We know who the Pilgrims are and what they did because they meticulously documented their history for posterity.

Our Founding Myth

Our knowledge of the Pilgrims comes from two primary sources. The earliest account is from Edward Winslow, whose report on the founding of the Plymouth settlement was published in London in 1622, just two years after the Pilgrims arrived in the New World.

The more detailed and authoritative account comes from the Pilgrims’ second governor, William Bradford, whose poignant and eloquent history Of Plymouth Plantation, written between 1630 and 1651, tells the story of the community from their formation in England to their exile in Holland and their eventual founding of the Plymouth Colony.

 … There is a reason why we chose the Pilgrims and their establishment of the Plymouth Colony in 1620 as our origin myth, not the Virginians who settled in Jamestown over a decade before that date. Our reasoning had everything to do with the Pilgrims’ lack of racism. Americans have always aspired to be on the right side of history, and the Pilgrims were nothing if not righteous.

Their story embodies our most sacred American values. Like Aeneas fleeing the fall of Troy, the Pilgrims saw themselves as fleeing a cataclysmic conflagration about to engulf Europe. And like the Roman hero, they too hoped to forge a new civilization with a spark from the dying embers of the old one.

This is exactly how John Quincy Adams viewed the story of the Pilgrims. In a speech in 1802 commemorating the landing at Plymouth, Adams described the Pilgrims as America’s origin myth; but unlike other nations, the heroes of our founding myth were clearly known to us by their historical record, and they were defined by their virtue, not by their conquest.

“In reverting to the period of [their] origin, other nations have generally been compelled to plunge into the chaos of impenetrable antiquity, or to trace a lawless ancestry into the caverns of ravishers and robbers,” Adams told his American audience. “It is your peculiar privilege to commemorate, in this birthday of your nation, an event ascertained in its minutest details; an event of which the principal actors are known to you familiarly, as if belonging to your own age; an event of a magnitude before which imagination shrinks at the imperfection of her powers. It is your further happiness to behold, in those eminent characters, who were most conspicuous in accomplishing the settlement of your country, men upon whose virtue you can dwell with honest exultation.”

What’s more, Adams explained that the Pilgrims were the antithesis of cruel or racist conquers seeking to vanquish and plunder. Instead, they “were illustrious by their intrepid valor no less than by their Christian graces … Their glory has not been wafted over oceans of blood to the remotest regions of the earth. They have not erected to themselves colossal statues upon pedestals of human bones, to provoke and insult the tardy hand of heavenly retribution. But theirs was ‘the better fortitude of patience and heroic martyrdom.’ Theirs was the gentle temper of Christian kindness; the rigorous observance of reciprocal justice; the unconquerable soul of conscious integrity.”

Who were these heroes who engendered such praise?

And why should this small group of English settlers be revered by Americans today who aren’t directly descended from them?

After all, unlike John Quincy Adams, I have no personal family connection to the Pilgrims. My family didn’t arrive on the Mayflower in 1620. They came from Lebanon on an ocean liner in 1913.

So why should Americans — diverse as we are today — call these English settlers our “Pilgrim Fathers and Mothers”? Why should we feel a kinship to them as if we were their children, when most of us don’t have a drop of their blood in our veins?

Let me tell you their story in their own words. You will see that we are all their children — whether we arrived on these shores in 1619, 1913, or were here all along.

And you will see why we chose their arrival as the date of “our true founding” and why that decision says everything about our progress as a nation.

Their story tells us who we were, who we are, and who we aspire to be.

Saints and Strangers

The Pilgrims were devout Christians, and much like evangelical Christians today, these Englishmen and women sought to live by a simpler Biblical-based faith modeled after the early church of the Apostles.

They wanted to live as a community that worshipped and worked together, but England and its established Church enacted laws that forbade religious gatherings in private houses. These laws basically thwarted the Pilgrims’ ability to practice their faith as a community. So, in 1608, faced with the threat of imprisonment for their faith, the small community fled England and settled in Holland, which was known as a refuge for Protestant dissenters.

But after living a decade among the Dutch, they realized it was time to leave the Old World altogether. In 1618, Europe was on the cusp of one of the most violent periods in its history. The conflict, which became known as the Thirty Years War, would pit Protestant and Catholic European powers against each other. For the Pilgrims, the impending cataclysm seemed like the beginning of Armageddon. They felt that the best course of action was to leave the Old World behind and try to establish some holy remnant in the new one.

Getting there was the hard part. The small community was not wealthy. They were humble working class folks. They were pious husbands and wives with children seeking a place where they could worship in peace, not adventurers seeking treasure and conquest on behalf of a monarch. Nevertheless, the congregation pooled its resources and obtained a land patent from the Plymouth Company to settle in an area at the northernmost tip of the Virginia Company’s colony. They would eventually receive financing from London bankers who offered to back their venture with the understanding that the Pilgrims would repay these debts with their labors in the New World.

 … After 65 days—and two deaths—at sea, the Mayflower made landfall on November 9, 1620.

“Having found a good haven and being brought safely in sight of land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries of it, again to set their feet upon the firm and stable earth, their proper element,” Bradford wrote of that moment.

But the jubilation was short lived. They soon discovered they were over 200 miles off-course. They were nowhere near Virginia. And what’s worse, it was almost winter—in Massachusetts.

“Having thus passed the vast ocean, and that sea of troubles,” the Pilgrims “had no friends to welcome them, nor inns to entertain and refresh their weather-beaten bodies, nor houses — much less towns — to repair to,” Bradford wrote …

The Kernel of Our Democracy

A new conflict arose before they could even get started. They had no governing agreement binding them. Their charter was for Virginia, not wherever this place was.

The “Strangers”—who weren’t especially civil or pious—felt no allegiance to the Pilgrims or to each other. They figured it was every man for himself. (If anybody in this tale were libertarians, it was the “Strangers.”) But with winter setting in and with dangerously few provisions to speak of, the Pilgrims knew that if they didn’t all stick together, they would all die.

Edward Winslow explained what happened next:

This day before we came to harbor, observing some not well affected to unity and concord, but gave some appearance of faction, it was thought good there should be an association and agreement that we should combine together in one body, and to submit to such government and governors as we should by common consent agree to make and choose, and set our hands to this that follows word for word.

Thus, they wrote out and signed what became known as the Mayflower Compact, the first governing document of the Plymouth Colony—and the first document to establish self-governance in the New World.

 … It was clear to them that the only thing binding them to this governing document was their own consent to be governed by it.

“What they did was enact social compact theory that had been sort of kicked around in Europe, especially in Britain, for a while,” University of Oklahoma historian and author Professor Wilfred McClay told Breitbart News. “They created a body politic out of the consent of those who were aboard the ship, and they had the foresight to realize they should and could do that.”

The Mayflower Compact wasn’t an elaborate political and legal charter establishing a system of government, like our Constitution. Nor was it a treatise establishing a governing philosophy, like our Declaration of Independence. It was little more than a paragraph. But within that paragraph we have the kernel of our democracy.

This true historical event, taking place nearly two centuries before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, embodied a fundamental American value: the belief that government is based on the consent of the governed.

Our First Dark Winter

Having signed a governing agreement, the Plymouth settlers then elected their first governor, John Carver. During their first forays ashore, the settlers discovered that the area was largely desolate.

In the years prior to their arrival, the population of the local Indian tribes had been decimated by civil wars and by a plague brought by European fisherman. The disease had wiped out whole villages, where the settlers found only scattered bones, left to the elements because no one survived to bury them.

 … So, finally on December 18, 1620, with the Mayflower anchored a mile offshore, the Pilgrims came ashore in the bitter cold, with rain and sleet pouring down on them, to build their settlement.

Is it any wonder that they lost over half their numbers that winter?

They were ill-equipped. The weather was impossible. Many of them didn’t even leave the Mayflower, and eventually the ship was turned into a makeshift hospital for the sick and dying. Those who settled in the village lived in constant fear of being attacked by hostile Indian tribes.

During the course of the winter months, so many members of the Plymouth Colony died that they were afraid to bury their dead lest the Indians realize how thinned out their numbers had become. At one point, they propped up the corpses against the trees surrounding the settlement and placed muskets in their arms to disguise the dead to look like sentries guarding the perimeter of the colony.

By the time March came around, the settlers were barely holding on, but the captain and crew of the Mayflower were ready to leave for the return voyage to England. This was a make-or-break moment for the Plymouth Colony. Would they survive on their own with their last tie to England gone and no hope of return?

Samoset and Squanto

At that providential moment, an Indian named Samoset of the Wampanoag Tribe walked into the Plymouth camp and astonished the Pilgrims by greeting them in English, which he had learned from his encounters with settlers from the Virginia Colony.

 … Six days later, Samoset returned to the village with the Wampanoag leader Massasoit. After entertaining their visitors with food and sport, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags negotiated a mutually beneficial agreement. They would defend each other in the event of an attack by the hostile tribes. And later on, they would establish trade with each other. To help the settlers survive the next winter, an Indian by the name of Tisquantum, or Squanto, stayed with the settlers to show them how to plant their spring crops.

Massachusetts and Virginia

Squanto’s story offers us a good opportunity to explain the difference between the Plymouth and Virginia colonies.

Squanto spoke English because in 1614, six years before the Pilgrims arrived, an expedition from the Virginia Colony led by Captain John Smith (of Pocahontas fame) charted the area around Cape Cod and Massachusetts Bay.

One of the commanders with Smith, a man named Thomas Hunt, decided to make extra money by kidnapping Indians and selling them into slavery. Squanto was among the victims Hunt trafficked to England, which is how he learned English. He eventually regained his freedom after his final captor, an English explorer named John Dermer, died during an expedition to the Wampanoag territory.

The tragic irony is that, had Squanto not been taken against his will across the ocean, he would have died with the rest of his village when Patuxet was wiped out by the plague. You see, Squanto was the sole survivor of the Patuxets—the people whose deserted village the Pilgrims had built their settlement upon.

And yet this man, who had so many reasons to curse the English, worked side by side with the Pilgrims that spring of 1621, showing them how to plant crops and assisting them in establishing trade with the surrounding tribes. Without his help, the Plymouth Colony would have failed.

From their encounters with Squanto and the other Indians, the men and women of Plymouth came to respect the Native people and feel shame for the treatment they had endured at the hands of other Englishmen.

 … Before they left England, the Pilgrims were looking for a military commander for their settlement. By far the most qualified man for the job was Captain John Smith (again, of Pocahontas fame). No one knew the whole region better than Smith. He literally drew the map of it. But the Pilgrims didn’t like him. They found him arrogant and too worldly and figured they could just make do with his maps without hiring the map-maker.

The dislike was mutual; Smith despised the Pilgrim’s piety and later mocked their refusal to hire him. He dismissively described them as “humorists” (meaning religious fanatics)

 … Nearly two centuries later, John Quincy Adams would state that “no European settlement ever formed upon this continent has been more distinguished for undeviating kindness and equity toward” the Native Americans than the Pilgrims at Plymouth.

And that brings us to the Thanksgiving story.

Our First — and Most Expensive — Thanksgiving 

With the help of Squanto, the Pilgrims had a successful harvest in the fall of 1621. They had come through the first winter, after losing 60 percent of their group. But rather than mourn the 60 percent lost, they rejoiced that 40 percent still lived and gave thanks to God. …

Why Lincoln Chose 1620 to Rebuke 1619

So why did Abraham Lincoln choose to make this account of Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863?

Our origin myth was still a matter of some debate up until that time. Throughout the early nineteenth century, Americans hotly debated whether the nation’s founding should be celebrated as the Jamestown Colony in Virginia or the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. The decision to favor Plymouth was helped along by the rediscovery of Bradford’s beautiful diary, Of Plymouth Plantation.

Bradford’s manuscript had disappeared from the New World in 1777 when the last royal governor of the colony took it from the Old South Church in Boston and carted it across the Atlantic to England … But in 1856 the British allowed a special edition of Bradford’s journal to be published, and that inspired a renewed appreciation for the Pilgrims and their history.

The publication came right at a time when our nation was on the cusp of a great conflagration as bloody and catastrophic for us as the war that caused the Pilgrims to flee Europe. It was a fight over our most basic and sacred values: the right of all men—not just Englishmen—to live in freedom and enjoy the fruits of self-governance.

So, is it any wonder that in the midst of the bloodiest year of our Civil War—just one month before he delivered his Gettysburg Address—Abraham Lincoln decided once and for all that our nation’s founding should harken to Plymouth, not Virginia?

Of course, Lincoln chose to honor the ancestors of the New England abolitionists, not the rebellious slaveowners of Virginia.

On October 3, 1863, our 16th president declared that Thanksgiving would be commemorated as a national holiday every year on the last week in November in honor of the Pilgrim fathers.

In this sense, Lincoln chose the events of 1620 as our true founding in order to repudiate the events of 1619.

We chose the Pilgrims as our founding myth because they embodied our most cherished ideals. They were the best of us.

They endured despite the odds; and through trial and error, they established the principles of self-governance, private property, a common defense, and peaceful commerce as a means of coexistence. They even established the practice of religious tolerance and pluralism with the “Strangers” among them, who became friends.

What’s more, the decision to embrace the Pilgrims as our true founders was made at a time when Americans were most keenly aware of the scourge of slavery because they were fighting a bloody Civil War to eradicate it. These Americans understood that slavery was not just a moral blight; it was a deadly contradiction that we couldn’t live with and still pretend to uphold the self-evident truth that all men are created equal. The generation that suffered the most to abolish slavery chose the Pilgrims as our founders because the Pilgrims embodied the ideals that inspired them to free the slaves. They wanted us to know that our nation was founded on God-given freedom, not racism.

This sentiment was made clear in the speech Massachusetts Gov. Roger Wolcott delivered in 1897 at the official ceremony to accept the return of Bradford’s manuscript by England to its rightful owners in America.

Related: • The 1619 Project Summarized in One Single Sentence

• Thanksgiving — it is worth revisiting the Pilgrim’s five significant achievements, writes FrontPage's , which created The Seminal Story of America

Friday, November 25, 2022

Is Thanksgiving a "Myth" or a "Problematic Holiday"? What Nobody Tells You About Indians and Other Native Americans


Every time I hear about the tragedy (the tragedies) suffered by the Indians of North America (whether at Thanksgiving or at any other time), I bring up some variant of the following questions:

Do the calamities also include the theft of the lands of the Apaches? Does the genocide, real or alleged, of the Native Americans also concern the extermination of the Huron tribe (Huronia)?

This type of question usually boondoggles the leftist, whose eyes grow like saucers and who waffles trying to reply, since in his eagerness to sum up American and world history by meting out simplified explanations in one-sentence platitudes (that conveniently, and invariably, happen to be damning towards Americans, i.e., white Americans), he has neither had nor taken the time to think any details through as he attempts to display his alleged expertise as a modern-day genius. The most intelligent leftists will be — rightly — suspecting that the questions are in some way or another some form of trap…

The problem, of course, is that the lands of the Apaches were stolen by the Comanches.

While the Hurons were wiped out by the Iroquois. 

Or, as Allan W Eckert put it regarding another neighboring tribe of the Iroquois (aka the League of the Six Nations of the Iroquois), this one from northwesternmost Pennsylvania,

the Six Nations annihilated [the Erighs or the Eries] — every man, woman, and child being slain, the tribe was wiped out of existence.

But apart from that — apart from those tiny and utterly inconsequential details that we can posthaste proceed to forget and ignore — it is surely indisputable to posit that all "Native Americans" are, and were, spiritual peacemakers in harmony with nature and with the Earth, as well as something akin to Tibet's Buddhist monks. (And with that said, let's turn off the sarcasm faucet…) Update: Hooka Hey to my white brothers Ed Driscoll and Glenn Reynolds and to my white sister Sarah Hoyt.

After conquering the Aztec and the Inca empires, in addition to large parts of South America as well as all of Central America, why did the Spanish armies not march further into North America (where the English had remained along the Atlantic coast while the French were focused on Québec and had barely crossed West across the Mississippi)? 

The answer is the Comanche tribe, which was (I am prepared to apologize for the upcoming un-PC term beforehand) the bloodthirstiest people the Spanish superpower had ever encountered, and which brought the Spaniards' advance to an abrupt halt in Tejas (in Texas).

Indeed, in his position as a military historian and a professor at the Sandhurst Military Academy, John Keegan described the Comanches as the fiercest warriors the planet has ever known. 

Incidentally, what do the names of the Indian tribes mean, anyway? They all mean the same thing (albeit in their respective languages) — the "people." And what was most tribes' names (again, in their respective languages) for their neighbors? The "enemy."

A few examples: The tribe which was called the Navajo by their neighbors (and thus by their enemies) called them selves the Diné, while the Iroquois (the "atrocious people" or the "murderers" — see the paragraph about the Huron tribe above for an explanation thereof) called themselves the Haudenosaunee (the "house builders"). As far as the Comanches are concerned (who call themselves the Nʉmʉnʉʉ), the name is derived from a Ute expression meaning “anyone who wants to fight me all the time” (i.e., the enemy). 

As a brief aside, history recalls most of the tribes' names from what they were called by their neighbors, for the simple reason that white explorers and pathfinders would encounter the neighbors first and ask them the name of the tribe that they would meet when continuing their travels ahead.

Before we continue: here emerges an interesting question — cannot we say that the Native Americans show the extent of their indisputable humanity, as they seem to be quite familiar with that good ol' expression, the (wait for it) "enemy of the people" — just like "civilized" people did and do in Europe and the rest of the developed world (not least with Communists, Nazis, and similar bloodthirsty — please excuse the expression again — groups)?

In that perspective, this provides a response to the common question, isn't it sad that the Indians (such as famous chiefs like Sitting Bull or Crazy Horse or Geronimo) never managed to unite against their white oppressors. The answer is that the quote that is often attributed to Philip Sheridan — "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" (what the general actually said was somewhat different) — would better describe the tribes' description of one another (The only good Sioux is a dead Sioux, etc…) When a group of warriors happened upon a group of enemies (not excluding women out berry-picking), they would kill them all (see also the Little Bighorn) and scalp them all (unless, in some cases, there happened to be young children who could be integrated into the tribe). This explains the "intolerant" attitude of White settlers, explains Time-Life's The Frontiersmen. In the 18th century,

frontiersmen, who had seen the bodies of pregnant women slit open by war parties and the fetuses of unborn babies left impaled on poles beside them, were not inclined to ponder the political attitudes of any Indian if granted opportunity for revenge.
On one memorable occasion, a group of Iroquois marched for days on end to raid another village while the latter's warriors were away (probably on their own raid). They launched their raid, and escaped with booty including a group of young boys as prisoners. When the raided camp's warriors came home a day or so later, the fathers, overcome with grief, immediately set upon chasing down the raiders on their own return home with their young prisoners boasting perhaps 24 hours' advance time. Every time they came to the remains of a camp where the Iroquois had bivouacked, they discovered to their horrors a thick pointed branch stuck into the ground upon which the Iroquois had in turn stuck… the decapitated head of one of the children. Cruelty? Sadism? Simply a form of cultural diversity? You decide…

Did the Indians really kill all of their enemies? No, that is not entirely correct.

Who doesn't know the “trail of tears and death," when Andrew Jackson expelled tens of thousands of Indians from East side of the Mississippi? During one 1,200-mile trek, "thousands … died from exposure, malnutrition, and disease" and the grounds were littered with the bodies of "red-skins" and "Negroes." Wait a minute, what did you say? "Negroes"? Blacks? What do you mean by that?! Oh, you didn't know? The Cherokees, who are often presented as one of prime examples that Indians were, or could be, civilized (they had their own alphabet and newspapers), practiced slavery. Yes sir. And do not forget that a number of these Indians enlisted during the Civil War — on the side of the Confederacy. For sure, this was one of the “Five Civilized Tribes” (besides the Cherokee, the Chickasaw, the Creek, the Seminole, and the Choctaw) and, as it happens, one of the main slavery rebellions and escape attempts of the 19th century was a slave revolt against the cruelty of one particularly nasty Cherokee slave-owner.

Leftists grow giddy over the Cherokees' written constitution, with the National Geographic gushing that America's 1787 document might be based on theirs, but the monthly neglected to write that it gave the vote to "all free male citizens" over 18, except "those of African descent." In his History of the American People, Paul Johnson adds that

White opinion — and black for that matter:  the blacks found the Indians harsher masters than anyone — were virtually united in wanting to integrate the Indians or kick them west, preferably far west
Yup. I know, I know: I'm sorry I brought it up — slavery, as we all know, is only a shameful activity — everything is only a shameful activity — when practiced by Whites and (in the modern era) by capitalists, and never by "Reds" or Blacks (not excluding on the African continent) or for that matter, communists (also Reds, in a way) in China or the Soviet Union, with their slave-based laogais and gulags.

Those are historical facts liberals and Europeans don't know about and do not like to focus on, because if they can't depict the Indians (Edward Curtis' portraits) as harmless, Buddhist-monk-like beings interested in nothing but peace and harmony with the Earth and with the forces of nature — as angelic and innocent victims — it becomes much harder to depict (white) Americans as monstrous beings and their policies (past as well as present) as of a criminal nature beyond any iota of redemption.

The funny thing — which also answers the question regarding Indian unification — is that the various Indian tribes were better treated by the whites than by their "red" neighbors. You can say what you want about Wounded Knee or Sand Creek, or reservations, as well as Indian schools that took their kids away, they were better (or, if you prefer, less badly) treated than what their Indian foes had in store for them.

Thus it was natural that "Injuns" enlisted as scouts in the U.S. Cavalry to serve against their archenemies. In any case, it was such a warrior culture that made whites "reluctant," to say the least, to show "respect" for the Indians and their civilization (or lack thereof?) and which earned the latter, not entirely unreasonable, the moniker of "savages."

Finally: how exactly were the Indians' lands "stolen"? Even today, when a European decides to spend a holiday for a road trip through a country (or parts thereof) with 330 million inhabitants, he is amazed about how large and empty that nation is (even on the East Coast — try driving from the greatest metropolis on the continent, New York City, to Niagara Falls). In the book Under Bjælken about Denmark's Crown Prince and future King, Jens Andersen writes that "that which Frederik and his friend Holger Foss best remember [from their 1993 road trip through the U.S. in a red Cadillac Eldorado Convertible], besides the numerous encounters with helpful and hospitable Americans, was the colossal monotony — mile after mile."

Related: Beginning in the early 19th century, why did one tenth of the Danish population, one quarter of the Swedish population, and one third of the Norwegian population emigrate to the United States? Because so many these "white privileged" blondes with blue eyes were so dirt-poor that they did not want to live in, and did not want their children "to grow up in, slavery."
How, then, would it have been 150 or 250 years ago, when an Irish or German family in a chariot rolled slowly across a territory with 100 times fewer people? Most Indians were nomads and had never established cities or villages. Even for those who could be described differently, such as the Haudenosaunees (the long "house builders," that is, the Iroquois), it was necessary, due to a cultivation practice which ended up destroying the land, to uproot the village after at most 21 years and move it dozens of miles away. (So much for the "image of a Native American environmental ethic [which], however appealing, is more myth than reality.") 

Indeed, back in 1756, Bougainville wrote in his diary that "It is a shame that so fine a countryside should be without cultivation." Many years earlier, the chief agent of the Penn family, James Logan, had heard complaints that "it was against the laws of God and nature that so much land should be idle while Christians wanted it to labor on and raise their bread."

Whether it is Bedouins, Gypsies, or those whom Alexis de Tocqueville called "the wandering race of aborigines," it has always been extremely difficult for nomads to live side by side with settlers. For instance, Indians, Gypsies (or Roma), or Bedouins are, or were, uniformly depicted as thieves. Today, this is automatically considered racist (ain't everything?!), but the universality of the charge should make you pause to think… And then you might come to this conclusion: when you have no permanent neighbors, a cavalier attitude towards those whom you rarely (and only briefly) encounter and towards their possessions — which they happen to have plenty of, precisely due to their not being nomads — then theft might in fact not a wholly illogical by-product of one's way of life. 

From Roman times, at least, it has been a reasonable rule (no, not a white/European rule; an entirely common-sense rule) that you cannot claim land as your own unless you devote a minimum of time inhabiting it and tending to it.

Let us imagine a wagon slowly pulled by oxen in the vast no-man's land. What does the family from Scotland or Sweden encounter day after day, week after week, other than dense virgin forests or monotonous prairies? At one time, the family finds a spot, maybe by a creek, upon which it decides to settle down. Then, perhaps after five or six months after their cabin has been built and their fields plowed without their ever seeing another soul, white or otherwise, is it strange, when a single solitary warrior, perhaps two or three, appear one day and claim that this land belongs to their tribe, that they answer, "But we have done so much to cultivate these plots — can't you just ride around them?"

To this must be added another remark: that it can also sound strange (if not an outright showcase for double standards) that it should be sinful to "steal" and to build upon the (untouched) lands that "belong to" the "noble" Indians, while it feels completely natural to confiscate the developed property (fields, gardens, buildings, mansions, castles, etc) of the white world's yucky "noblemen," and in general try to milk the rich with one tax after another.

Finally, an apology. Or, rather, two apologies. I wish to apologize for the fact that I believe in facts and the truth, and I wish to apologize for the fact that I do not believe in the leftists' hysterical fairy tales.

Let us end this post with quotes from two books. In his History of the American People, Paul Johnson speaks about some of the events leading to the Trail of Tears:

The 15,000 Indians of this settled community [a self-declared Cherokee republic located in New Echota in Georgia] owned 20,000 cattle and 1,500 slaves, like any other 'civilized' Georgians. But its very existence, and still more its constitution, violated both state and federal law, and in 1827 Georgia petitioned the federal government to 'remove' the Indians forthwith. The discovery of gold brought in a rush of white prospectors and provided a further economic motive. The election of General Jackson at the end of 1828 sealed the community's fate. In his inaugural address he insisted that the integrity of the state of Georgia, and the Constitution of the United States, came before Indian interests, however meritorious. 

A man who was prepared to wage war against his own people, the South Carolinians [chief among them John Calhoun], for the sake of constitutional principles, was not going to let a 'utopia of savages' form an anomaly within a vast and growing nation united in a single system of law and government. And, of course, with hindsight, Jackson was absolutely right. A series of independent Indian republics in the midst of the United States would, by the end of the 20th century, have turned America into chaos, with representation at the United Nations, independent foreign policies, endless attempts to overthrow earlier Indian treaties and territorial demands on all their white neighbors.

 … In material and moral terms, assimilation was always the best option for indigenous peoples confronted with the fact of white dominance.  That is the conclusion reached by the historian who studies the fate not only of the American Indians but of the aborigines of Australia and the Maoris of New Zealand.  To be preserved in amber as tribal societies with special 'rights' and 'claims' is merely a formula for continuing friction, extravagant expectations, and new forms of exploitation by white radical intellectuals

The final quote of this post comes from a long passage in John Keegan's Warpaths, which starts with the military historian's remarks on the Indians' incapability "to defend what they held dearest, their freedom to roam as nomads inside territories they did not claim to own but nevertheless sought to use and enjoy by exclusive right":

Little wonder that the European immigrants who made their way onto the Great Plains in the nineteenth century, Slavs of Eastern Europe, Russians from the Steppe, peoples whose history was suffused with memories of oppression by galloping, sword-wielding, slaven, Magyar, Mongol, and Turkish nomads, should have felt so little pity in their hearts for those other Mongoloid nomads whose interest in life seemed to subsist in hunting, pillage, and war.

 … There is much that is tragic in the story of native America's conflict with the European interlopers, particularly in the treatment of the Indians of the temperate forest lands east of the Mississippi by the young republic …

 … Yet the pretensions of the Plains Indians to exclusive rights over the heartland of the continent cannot, it seems to me, stand. Their claim, the claim of less than a million people, to possess territories capable of supporting not only millions more directly settled, but of still more millions outside America waiting to be fed by those territories' product, is the claim not of oppressed primitives but of the selfish rich,

The Plains Indians were indeed primitives; but their primitivism was of the "hard," not "soft," variety. Here were not shy, self-effacing marginalists, like the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, the Semai of the Philippine jungles, or the pygmies of the African rainforests, but proud, warrior nomads, who had taken from the Europeans what they coveted as a means to support their way of life, the horse and the gun, and then refused Europeans any share of the lands which horse and gun equipped them … to exploit. 

Related:
• If leftists (U.S. as well as foreign) can't depict the Indians as Buddhist-monk-like beings interested in only peace and harmony, it becomes much harder to depict (white) Americans as monsters
• Sound Familiar? Over Two Centuries Old, and Still Running Strong

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