James Axtell: The Impacts Of The Native American Contribution To American History

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The Contributions that Native Americans made on American history are well documented. But as James Axtell points out, a lot of times it’s more of the looking negatively on the history of the Indians, such as “obstacles to white settlement” or “victims of oppression.” (Axtell 981) To understand the true contributions made by the Indians, one would have to look at both the good and the bad, as in the help they provided to the settlers and the way they fought the conquerors. The Native Americans contributions affected more than just North America, the effects run through Europe, Africa, and Asia as well. It could have been from the shipping of goods in and out of the Americas, or the effects of the slave trade; or any other of the countless things …show more content…
This is an interesting point of view and the argument could easily be made for any situation or event in time. Axtell points to how different everything would be, even going so far as stating had Christopher Columbus not discovered the Natives when he arrived; “He would have regarded America as simply a huge impediment to his plan to mount an old-fashioned crusade…” (Axtell, 983) The Indigenous people of the Americas was present when Columbus arrived in America and they did great things to help the European settlers not only survive but also prosper in the new land. Looking at what they did both good and bad, is just as important, if not more important than assuming what would have been had they not been there. Nevertheless, expansion into the New World is very interesting the way Axtell writes it. By taking facts and turning them to a “what-if” scenario, makes a person think about the importance of the Indians on the history of America. I do agree with Axtell that to really understand history one must not only look at what actually happened with the Indians, but also what could have happened if the Indians were not present in North America. Expansion into the New World would have been hugely different without the presence of the Native Americans; however, a person could also say that without the …show more content…
With the Colonization of the New World came heart break and misery for the Natives. Europeans not only spread diseases, and subjected the Indians into slavery and forced labor; but also killed off many of them during their conquering of the New World. Talking about the dramatic decline in the Indian population, Foner pointed out that “Adam Smith did not fail to note the price paid by the indigenous population of the New World,” He also quoted him as saying “Benefits for some went hand and hand with the misfortunes of others.” (Foner, 1) The expansion west brought about the Indian Holocaust where over 100 million Indians were killed during the discovery period of 1500 to

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