King Phillip’s War Essays Examples
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This image of “King Phillip’s” or Metacom’s War, a clash between the British colonists and the indigenous peoples, presents a dichotomous understanding of the culture clashes that defined the initial moments of contact between them. It is unequivocal that the artist wanted to portray the natives as barbaric, primitive and closer to nature, as they don very little clothing. In contrast, the colonists are fully clothed in their typical western dress. It can be inferred then that the Native Americans were not Christian and were not guided by a moral canon that focused on sartorial patterns that fully covered the body. Nakedness indeed signaled primitivism, which is associated with indigenous cultures that from an ethnocentric point of view are inferior and uncivilized. Moreover, the artist juxtaposes the more primitive bow and arrows used by the Native Americans as their weapons with the superior muskets used by the colonists. Indeed, the colonists have a clear advantage in terms of more technologically advanced and destructive weaponry than those of their Native American counterparts. The advantage that the Natives Americans have over the colonists that is not visually articulated in the image is their empirical knowledge of the land because they have lived there for several generations. Thus, they know the contours and how to garner a military advantage through camouflage and other means.
The two accounts of the history of the Jamestown settlement reveal that there are always two sides to every story because personal accounts of events are mediated through one’s motives to shape a narrative favorable to him or her. Indeed, Smith’s letter to the Queen reveals that he is preoccupied with his own legacy of this settlement as a good and qualified leader. His absence from the settlement when he was captured by the “barbaric” and “savage” natives resulted in the settlement greatly suffering and deteriorating. It is unequivocal that Smith wanted to gained the queen’s favor, support, and praise for valiantly facing the savages as well as repairing the deteriorating settlement. By depicting the Algonquians as savages, he further elicited royal support for the venture by appealing to the European desire to civilize backwards peoples through proselytizing them and converting them to Christianity. From a different perspective, Chief Powhatan’s remarks to Smith depict Smith’s and the colonists’ settlement in a far more negative light. In his old age, Chief Powhatan feared that the colonists would usurp their power and dominate them through force if necessary. Powhatan underscores the fact that the colonists would not have survived without the help of the indigenous peoples in cultivate crops and bartering. He views the colonists as oppressors while Smith depicts them in a more pitiable light.
Biases, background, and historical contingencies account for various representations and reinterpretations of historical events. A modern example of this “there are two sides to every story” mantra is in the workplace when a male superior interacts and socializes with female employee who is his subordinate. While the male superior views the situation as being friendly in order to foment an amicable environment in the workplace in order to facilitate communication, the female subordinate may interpret his actions as sexual harassment. Both of their past experiences play a role in their different perceptions of the situation. The male superior had previously been told that his unfriendly and closed off demeanor hurt workplace productivity because his subordinates, especially those who were female, were afraid to voice their opinions. On the other hand, the female involved in the situation had been sexually assaulted by her male coworker when she thought he was just trying to be friendly to her when she would socialize with him in the workplace. Thus, past experiences undergirded their different interpretation of the situation.
"King Philip's War." King Philip's War. Web. 23 Jan. 2015. <http://media.pearsoncmg.com/ph/hss/SSA_SHARED
"Remarks by Chief Powhatan to John Smith (c. 1609)." Remarks by Chief Powhatan to John Smith (c. 1609). Web. 23 Jan. 2015. <http://media.pearsoncmg.com/ph/hss/SSA_SHARED
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