Contributions to America Early American society was comprised of many different elements. The biggest contributions to the society was the American Indians, Africans, and, of course, the English, the biggest of the three. Their relationship together was far different than what we have today. You wouldn't just see some African and view him as just another American. It also didn't have a triangular connection, where everyone interacted in someway with everyone else.
Instead it was more along the lines of the Africans relationship with the English, and the Indiansrelationship with the English, not the Africans and Indiansrelationship together. To take a closer look at this we need to first look at each people separately. Native Americansweren't the same as a whole. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of different tribes. These tribes had different ways of living than others. They were hunters, agriculturists, hunter-gatherers, or fishers, and each one had some different and some similar views.
All of them had sexual of their labor, but in different ways. The hunters had the men do the hunting and the women do the food processing and clothing production. Such a sexual division is not always common, however. In certain agricultural societies the men were responsible for the agricultural labor. In others, the men did the clearing of land, women did the rest of the work, and the men did the hunting.
It doesn't seem like anyone sex had more power than the other did. Many of these societies had their extended family defined matrilineally, or through a female line of descent. This didn't mean that it was a matriarchal society, or power by women, just a means of reckoning kinship. Some tribes had, instead of this, their lineage defined patrilineal ly. Their political structure was much of a government. Most tribes just had a village council, which was the highest political authority.
There wasn't much of a hierarchy. The Iroquois, by contrast, had an elaborate political hierarchy that linked " villages into nations and nations into a widespread confederation." 1 Women's political position varied from tribe to tribe. In the agricultural peoples, women were more likely to assume leadership positions than among the nomadic hunters. Their religious views differed, but they were all polytheistic (worship or believe in more than one god).
Their rituals and their gods would then relate to the type of people that they were: hunters, gatherers, etc. Some differences between the Indian and English culture caused misunderstandings. They were both hierarchical, but they their nature differed considerably. The English's hierarchy was inherited through their father. But the authority of the some of the Indian leaders rested on consensus.
So when the English tried to negotiate treaties," they overestimated to ability of chiefs to make independent decisions for their people." They also had different views on the holdings of land. The Indian believed that know one owned the land, it was just for everyone to work on. The English, however, was the exact opposite. They insisted on having their own farms, and buying and selling land. Basically, above all, "the English settlers believed unwaveringly in the superiority of their civilization." Because of this belief of superiority, the English settlers felt that they could do anything they wanted to the land or the inferior Indians on it. They expanded and expanded to the point that the Indians felt in danger.
Because of this they would occasionally fight back. Opechancanough, a tribal and war leader, launched several coordinated attacks on the settlers. By the end of the day, about one-quarter, or 347, lay dead. They only stayed alive because of a warning by two Christian converts. The encroachment of the Indians land is the primary cause of this war. 3 Another major race that contributed to the early American society was the Africans.
They may not have been from the same culture, but the black Africans were not viewed as cultural people. The English didn't think anything on the lines of them being regular people like the rest of them. The English were smarter, more advanced as far technology and education, and they were white. These three things put them far ahead of the Africans. The English settlers also had money. With this they could by the slaves that they needed.
The African nations enslaved their own people or people captured in war. Because these countries were extremely poor and they needed any money they could get, they would sell their own slaves to the English (American). The slaves view of the world was usually just being a slave, because they were slaves nearly all their life, that was the only thing the knew of. When they were taken aboard the ships, they thought the white men were Gods, and also that they were being punished. Some of the younger ones had no idea of what was going on, but the older ones had heard that they were just being taken to some other land, and that they were just going to become slaves their. Because that was the only thing they had ever known, the scared Africans minds were eased.
One young slave stated, "I inquired of these what was to be done with us; they gave me to understand we were to be carried to these white people's country to work for them. I then was a little revived, and thought, if it were no worse than working, my situation was not so desperate." This was how it generally was with most the slaves. They didn't seem to mind at first. Later when they saw that freedom was an option, if you weren't black, they wanted it.
The English and the Africansdidn't get along to well, but there wasn't a lot of fighting like there were the Indians. They just viewed them as objects that could be bought and sold. They also expected them to be as "English" as they would allow. For Example, the English tried convert them to Christianity.
They succeeded with some, but not all. Even though they allowed them to be Christian, they still wouldn't allow them to marry or do other things that Christians do. These three races of people didn't exactly blend well together. This is partly because the English thought of themselves as the best, and with their advancements over their counterparts, the Africans and Indians, they were able to prove to them that they were better.