American Colonies: Synthesis of the reading
The author does a commendably good job chronologically sequencing events in the given publications, aiding the reader to comprehend the various real – time occurrences, which are suitably linked at some point in time. For instance, we, the audience (reader) are presented with the backdrop against which Pocahontas’ action of saving Smith from the wrath of her father Powhatan upon his capture (first story), later facilitated her fatefully crossing paths with John Rolfe, whom she was destined to wed. This timely union paved way for the peaceful eight-year era between the Indian tribe and the white settlers, not to mention how she taught her husband more favorable ways of growing and curing tobacco, an action largely instrumental in ensuring the development of trade in the crop with the rest of the western world, whereby Rolfe and company made booming business, hence opening up the proverbial shores of the once desolate Jamestown to become a thriving business centre.
The religious aspect is yet another linkage factor, characterized initially by the conversion of one Pocahontas into Christianity. In the second story, the author presents us with the mental picture of the evolution of religion as a powerful organizational tool; the emergence of Puritanism as a form of Christianity led up to its indoctrination into active political ideologies of the day, with mainly two categories of the same, namely those who believed in separating themselves from the ‘corrupted’ Church of England, and those advocating for radical reformation, as opposed to complete segregation, from the earlier Church system. The common factor among all puritans was their adherence to set Covenants, inclusive of those of Grace, Redemption and Works, principles which were later to be enshrined in the political guide-books, a state of being infamously referred to as the ‘New England Way’, outlining governance not only at Church, but also categorically along the home, town and the national spheres of existence.
The converse of Puritanism, called Antinomianism, is in reference to members of a religious organization who are under no direct obligation to obey any moral or ethical laws that may be stipulated. (Banner S., 2005).
Most of the modern – day industrial and trade exploits also lay credence to the enterprising nature of the early settlers, who, although having set out with different agendas in mind as they ventured into the unknown, ended up literally bumping into a cash-cow in the form of the successful tobacco crop. By extension, there emerged the prevalence of slave trade, necessitated by need for additional labor to tend the crop in the field. By buying the few African men and European women to aid in this bid, the stage was set for the materialization of this as a profitable undertaking in the tens of decades that were to follow. It should be noted that this was a very important juncture in the history of man, as events in the ensuing future were largely curved out – in one way or the other – by the same. However, the author here goes on to leave the reader to his own devices as concerns topical issues regarding whether or not slave trade, given its origins, can be justified in whichever way, or even if the extent to which the tenets of religion have expanded is still in line with the days of old, when the focal aim was to enable man to develop a relationship with God.
The issue of intermarriages and inter – cultural liaisons was also addressed, whereby the white settlers and the native Indians swapped their sons to act as interpreters. This fostered acceptance between the different facets of society, as people became aware of their interdependency. Man is now aware of the fact that in order to move forward in life, we all need each other, regardless of race, ethnicity or tribe, as evidenced by the recent United States Presidential Election, where one Barack Obama, a ‘man-of -color’, won in a landslide victory, despite his less than chequered cultural past.
In this way, these stories make for good, informative yet intellectually challenging reads, going all out to precisely follow the course of history and shed light on why some things are as they are today.
Banner, S. (2005). How the Indians lost their land: Law and Power on the Frontier. Cambridge;
Belknap – Harvard United Press.