Changes In The Land Cronon Analysis

1800 Words 8 Pages
In Changes in the Land, Cronon’s main thesis is that land and culture have a symbiotic relationship with one another. Culture ultimately shapes the land, so when changes in culture occur, then inevitably so do changes in the land. Specifically, Cronon goes into detail about the ecological shift of New England during the 1600’s: the time period of colonization of the land. Overall, Cronon argues that culture and the environment have an interdependent connection, saying “environment may initially shape the range of choices available to a people at a given moment, but then culture reshapes environment in responding to those choices” (Cronon 13).
In Part 1: Looking Backward, Cronon uses points from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden to argue that man
…show more content…
Their lack of understanding towards Native American culture lead to a complete disregard for the systems that were already put into place by the natives. After the colonists’ arrival, the land was quickly sectioned off. Large fences were put up, and ownership became a factor for the first time. Land ownership is one argument that Cronon uses for describing how European culture shaped and changed the land. In addition, Cronon discusses how the colonists were completely economically driven, and how this too lead to eventual changes in the land. They saw the land solely for its commodities, resources, and profit. The colonists were overwhelmed by the number wild animals and uninhibited forest growth, seeing as no such type of wild land was left in Europe. They quickly felt the need to claim it, cultivate it, and ship it back to Europe for profit. Cronon argues that their economically based views lead to drastic changes in the land such as endangerment of animals, and deforestation. The forests specifically were one of the settlers biggest economic endeavors: “Even more than furs, whose acquisition required an exchange of …show more content…
First, Native Americans did not practice land ownership. Instead, they had general areas where they hunted and planted based on the seasons. Rather than settling in one place and shaping the land specifically to their needs, Native Americans moved in accordance with nature’s harvests. They also believed in tribal territories rather than outright ownership of portions of the land. This lifestyle challenges the neoliberal philosophy of private property which states that each man owns his own plot of land and fixes that land according to his needs. Private property also embodies the concept that one’s land is not to be used by anyone else. The Native American lifestyle completely challenges this. Also, Native American’s lived in small, mobile tribes and shared their possessions and resources with one another. They collectively divided labor among men and women for hunting, gathering, and tool making. This challenges the neoliberal philosophy of egoistic behavior. Instead of the ‘every man for himself’ mentality demonstrated in neoliberalism philosophy, Native American’s equally shared labor and profits among their tribes. In addition, the Native Americans viewed the land for its resources, but did not completely exploit it for economic profit. Rather they took only what they needed from the land to survive in the moment, and

Related Documents