Summary Of Changes In The Land By William Cronon

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In the book titled Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England, William Cronon examines the history of the land we now call America. Cronon does so by using historical texts to discuss how the Indians used and lived off the land, what the land looked like when the first English settlers arrived, how the English settlers formed and permanently changed the land to better suit their needs and finally, how their transformation of the land impacted the future life of both Americans and Indians here in America. In his thesis, Cronon claims that, "the shift from Indian to European dominance in New England entailed important changes-well known to historians-in the ways these peoples organized their lives, but it also involved …show more content…
Cronon explained how the Indians believed in territorial rights and that “people owned what they made with their own hands.” (Cronon 66) While on the opposite end of the spectrum the Europeans believed in land ownership. This mix of ideals led to the Europeans making reasons to justify their taking of Indian Territory. Cronon shows how with the constant movement across the land and sometimes into the Europeans claimed land, and the temporary abandonment of certain areas throughout the year by the Indians, the English had every right to claim ownership of the land. The New Englanders land greed was also fuelled by the English crown granting settlers the already occupied land that they had not seen before or knew anything about. With all of the Indian movement and New England land grabbing going on Cronon explains how trade between the two cultures increased significantly. Unfortunately this introduced European disease into the Indian society. This proved devastating to the Indians in New England since they did not have the immune system strong enough to fight off minor diseases. According to Cronon, this outbreak of disease in the Indian society caused a significant change on the environment. Seeing as how the once nomadic people were slowed down by the sickness they started to become less mobile which in turn caused them to live off of one area of land for an extended period of time. This caused the degradation of the land, which is exactly what the Indians did not want and sole reason for their seasonal migration. Once the Indians stopped moving around and started to settle in prompted the New Englanders conquest of all of New England truly

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