Christian Hegemony During The 19th Century Essays

2443 Words Nov 14th, 2016 10 Pages
Christian Hegemony During the 19th Century During the beginning of the 17th century, a great dichotomy existed in North America between the incoming European colonists and the local Native Americans. The rippling effects of this clash of cultures are still evident today, serving as a clear demonstration of how each culture was drastically impacted by the discovery of one another. The painting Baptism of Pocahontas, painted by John Gadsby Chapman in 1839, is shown as Figure 1. Chapman captured underlying attitudes expressed by the European colonists towards the Native Americans in Pocahontas’s time through his detailed depiction of her baptism in the colony of Jamestown, Virginia in 1616. Simultaneously, his portrayal of the natives of the New World in the painting exposes similar attitudes that existed in the 19th century.
The baptism itself represented the colonists’ ideal conversion and behavior of a Native American, that is one who leaves the savage and uncivilized life in order to embrace the righteous path of Jesus and the civilized world. In the background and the bottom left corner of the painting, we see armor-covered soldiers grasping spears in preparation to defend the ceremony if needed from the unarmed family of Pocahontas, whose rejection of Christianity was enough to warrant such violent and defensive behavior. These depictions of the Native Americans exposes the harsh attitudes of the Americans towards the natives of the continent during the 19th century,…

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