The purpose for which government has been instituted, according to Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, is “because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.” In an effort to constrain men’s passions, nations and revolutionary groups have tried many forms of government. But the institution of a new government necessitates some form of revolution, either violent or peaceful. In many cases, the onset of this revolution begins with the subjugation of a people, often through the process of colonizing a land which is already inhabited.
The Rise of Colonialism in the Americas
Christopher Columbus’ only real claim to fame (other than, perhaps, one of the earliest perpetrators of genocide) is that he began a period of conquest and colonization in the Americas. Columbus made no secret of his plans for the first native peoples he encountered, the Arawak. He wrote to his patrons, “With fifty men all can be kept in subjection, and made to do whatever you desire” (Colbert, 1997, p.6).
During the following 250 years, European nations divided up the Americas among themselves, snatching up land for its gold and other resources, and establishing colonies to lay claim to those resources and establish religious and political freedoms. Both early explorers and colonists killed, enslaved, and forced Native peoples onto reservations. By 1517 anti-colonial Pedro de Cordoba warned the king of Spain that, under the tyranny of Columbus and his son, Arawaks were committing mass suicide and killing their own newborn children (Loewen, p. 53).
Perhaps inevitably, the Native Americans began rebelling. One of the most significant of these rebellions took place in 1675, ...
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...xtent Gandhi achieved a moral victory as well as a political one. For adherents of faiths that encourage peace, it is also a religious one.
Blaisdell, B. (Eds.). (2000). Great speeches by Native Americans. Mineola: Dover Thrift Editions.
Colbert, D. (1998). Eyewitness to America. (1st vintage edition ed.). New York: Vintage Books.
Dictionary.com. (2013). Random house dictionary. Retrieved from www.dictionary.com.
Francis, L. (1998). Native time, a historical time line of native America. New York: St Martins Press.
Loewen, J. W. (1995). Lies my teacher told me, everything your American history textbook got wrong. New York: New Press, The.
The West Film Project. (2001). Chief Joseph speaks, selected statements and speeches by the Nez Percé chief. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/ archives/six/jospeak.htm.
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