Baptism Of Pcahontas Analysis

2443 Words 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 …show more content…
Historian H.W Brands summarizes this argument in his book Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times when he asserts that given the “racist realities of the time, Jackson was almost certainly correct in contending that for the Cherokees to remain in Georgia risked their extinction.” (Pg. 493) This entire motivation, however appalling and unjustified it may seem to many modern day viewers, was perfectly acceptable and obvious to 19th century Americans viewing the painting in Figure 1. The Native Americans were placed separately from most of the other members of the ceremony, with the exception of Pocahontas and a few other men. The allowance of Pocahontas to be with the Americans was only permitted because of her acceptance of Christ. This connected with the reality of the time, as most people who came into contact with the natives were missionaries trying to preach their message. The other men who are seen with the natives in Figure 1 are armed and ready for the supposed savagery of their ways. This detail of the scene would also connect back with the viewers during the time, as whenever anybody else like government officials or traders would interact with the natives, they made sure to be armed and

Related Documents