Early Virginia

1775 Words 8 Pages
However, these findings also cast doubt on several widely held theories within the field. First, according to Blanton this extreme drought drastically reduced local corn production, beginning the year before the settlement of Jamestown. The resistance of local Native Americans to consistently trade corn with the newly arrived English, the main catalyst for hostilities, was likely an effect of this reduced harvest and not an attempt by indigenous people to drive up prices or starve out the colonists. Moreover the end of the drought in 1613 correlated with the period of temporary recovery in the colony. Blanton theorizes that the increased food production, facilitated by improved environmental conditions, reduced hostilities between the two groups. …show more content…
In order to view subjects in a new light, historians have to approach existing sources from creative angles. Although the legal system was not the primary focus of her study, Rebecca Goetz comes closer than any other scholar to addressing early-Virginia’s legal system by analyzing its laws through an original methodology. In The Baptism of Early Virginia: How Christianity Created Race, she argues against the majority opinion within traditional historiography which claims that Virginia was a secular place. To the contrary, Goetz believes that religion was as important to the colonists of Virginia as it was to the Puritans of New England. The Christian belief in the unity of mankind heavily influenced the colonial leader’s Indian policy during the first decade of settlement. Once the Virginia colonists determined that widespread conversion of Native Americans was unlikely, they manipulated their image of Christianity into something English, white, and free. Conversely, free planters restricted baptism in order to redefine Native Americans and also African slaves after 1650, with hereditary heathenism, or being incapable and unworthy of Christianity. Goetz brings to the forefront of the debate an issue which has yet to be raised by the scholars discussed so far, the extent to which authorities in Virginia evolved their Christian beliefs to justify the subjugation of Native Americans and African

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