HIS332 Southern New Hampshire University Conflict and Religion Discussion Using the attached sources answer the following discussion prompt : (12 pt times

HIS332 Southern New Hampshire University Conflict and Religion Discussion Using the attached sources answer the following discussion prompt : (12 pt times new roman, double spaced, 300-400 words, cite all sources)

By and large, European conflicts of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries triggered a proxy conflict on the American continent, and often these American wars possessed an extra wrinkle shaped by the very real religious and cultural differences that existed between natives and Englishmen. Discuss the nature of conflict between the English and the natives in colonial New England. What characterized the violence that existed between the two groups of people? What role did religion play in the conflict of the age?

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(other sources attached) Interracial Warfare and Population Decline among the New England Indians
Author(s): Sherburne F. Cook
Source: Ethnohistory, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Winter, 1973), pp. 1-24
Published by: Duke University Press
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/481423
Accessed: 18-09-2019 21:02 UTC
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Ethnohistory
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INTERRACIAL WARFARE AND POPULATION DECLINE
AMONG THE NEW ENGLAND INDIANS
by
Sherburne F. Cook
University of California, Berkeley
ABSTRACT
A study of the documentary sources makes it possible to arrive at an
approximate assessment of the demographic damage suffered by the native
population during the Indian wars of the seventeenth century in New
England. There were three periods of intense military effort, the Pequot
War, 1634, the Dutch War, 1643, and King Philip’s War, 1675-1676. The
number of Indians killed on the field of battle is estimated as 2,950, or
close to eight percent of the total population loss suffered by the tribes
concerned during the period from 1620 to 1750. If those who died of
wounds are added the casualties become 3,745, or eleven percent of the
population decline. Indirect losses were incurred through capture and
slavery, exposure and starvation during periods of active operations, and
the permanent removal of refugees. These factors are calculated to account
for 6,000 persons during King Philip’s War alone, and bring the total to
9,745. This is roughly one quarter of the 36,000 Indians who, according to
Mooney (1928), inhabited New England and southeastern New York, and
who were effectively extinct by 1 750. The destruction of the other three
quarters must be ascribed to disease and to social causes.
The tremendous decline in numbers suffered by the North American
Indians in the early days of European colonization may be ascribed to a
number of factors. Among these is disease introduced by the whites, which
accounted certainly for more than half the population loss. Also of
outstanding significance was warfare, which, apart from battle casualties.
contributed to profound social and economic disruption.
The effect of warfare has usually been discussed in very general terms.
and where specific cases are mentioned, there has been little attempt to
analyze them in terms of the number of persons involved. It is therefore of
interest to examine the role of warfare in the fortunes of the native
population in a limited region and during a restricted period. For this pur
ETHNOHISTORY 20/1 (Winter 1973)
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2
SHERBURNE
an
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COOK
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i
together with the New England states, exclusive of Maine. The time is the
approximate half century between 1620 and 1677.
In one of his essays, Kroeber (1934) discusses the interaction of
agriculture and warfare in the society of the northeastern United States prior
to the advent of the white man. He says (pages 10-1 1): “It was warfare that
was insane, unending, continuously attritional, from our point of view . . . .”
He then goes on: “This warfare, with its attendant unsettlement, confusion,
destruction, and famines, was probably the most potent cause of population
remaining low in the east. It kept agriculture in the role of being a
contributor to subsistence instead of its basis.”
Kroeber’s thesis regarding aboriginal agriculture is subject to argument,
but there can be little doubt concerning his assessment of the destructiveness
of perpetual minor, and occasional major internecine hostility. In New
England, for the centuries before 1600, we have no record of individual
conflict upon which we could base numerical estimates of population,
although broad movements of large aggregates can be traced by the
techniques of archaeology, linguistics, and folklore. Not until the white man
arrived in force on the Atlantic coast were any written reports produced, and
even these are scanty.
At about the time of the settlement of New York, Plymouth, and
Massachusetts Bay, there appear to have been already in existence two foci of
chronic trouble. One of these involved the Long Island tribes. Both Wood
(1828) and Thompson (1839), in their histories of the area, comment upon
the fact that the native population had recently much diminished. Both
authors blame the reduction on wars. Thompson ascribes the cause to local,
intertribal struggles. Wood refers it to the Mohawks, “who destroyed the
whole tribe (Canarse) except a few who happened to be from home.” Neither
author adduces any specific evidence concerning losses.
The second serious conflict involved the inhabitants of the central
Maine coast, an Algonkian group known as the Etechemin. Gorges (1837)
places a great war just prior to 161 6-1618: “.. . for that war had consumed
the Bashaba and most of the great sagamores .. . and those that remained
were sore afflicted with the plague (of 1617) so that the country was in a
manner left void of inhabitants.” Lescarbot (1907-14) is more explicit. He
sailed down the coast in 1606. past the Penobscot, Kennebec, and Saco
Rivers. The latter was the home of the chief Olchemin, “and where in the
following year ( 1607) the war was carried on between the Souriquois and the
Etcchemins.” He subsequently reports (1907-14:IV:325) that the chiefs
Olchemin and Marchin have been killed in battle. In their place was chosen “a
certain Bessabes,” who was later killed by the English. (The participation of
the English is doubtful.)
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Interracial Warfare and Population Decline 3
The whole affair has been recently restudied by Hoffman (1955). He
thinks that the Etechemin were largely exterminated by serious wars and by
the plague. He explains: “In John Smith’s time the Tarratines, or Micmac
were separated from the New England tribes by the Etechemin; after 1617
this barrier or buffer no longer existed and the New England tribes suffered
heavily from Micmac raids.”
There is some question whether the obliteration of these people was
due to war or to epidemic. Nevertheless, as Williamson (1839) pointed out,
the great Sagamore, or Bashaba, held in dominion the valleys of the
Penobscot, Pemaquid, Kennebec, and Saco. He was undoubtedly killed,
together with most of his subordinate chiefs, the villages were destroyed, and
the survivors subjected to famine. All this happened, according to Gorges,
prior to the plague which finished them off, and indicates extraordinary
devastation. It will be noted that we have here no exact estimates of the
number of lives lost. On the other hand, the evidence is strong that there w
almost total destruction.
Both the Long Island and the Maine cases support Kroeber’s contention
insofar as sudden, intense, but local damage is concerned. At the same time
all authorities agree that low grade, chronic raiding was continuous and
universal. For example, after the extirpation of the Etechemin, the Micmac
moved into the vacant territory from the east and the Abnaki from the west
and northwest. As a result, as Hoffman (1955) puts it: “. . . a constant state
of war existed between the Almouchiquois (New Hampshire and Massachusetts tribes) and the Micmac and their allies.”
The most notorious instance of perpetual raiding is that provided by
the Iroquois, especially by the Mohawks. At the time of first English
settlement in southern New England, and probably for some years previously,
the Mohawks had been running small war parties into the valleys of the
Connecticut and the Merrimac, killing the people and burning the villages of
the indigenous tribes. The complete terror which they inspired not only in
their victims, but throughout the northeast, was one of the basic facts of
Algonkian life during the entire seventeenth century.
When the Europeans arrived there followed a reorientation of objectives. The hostility of all Indians became directed predominantly against the
whites rather than against one another. Although intertribal warfare did not
cease, nevertheless direct action more and more frequently was exerted
against the invading enemy. Thus the Indian-white conflict rapidly came to
supersede the ancient Indian versus Indian antagonism. From the standpoint
of population change this redirection of forces vastly accelerated the
demographic disintegration of Indian society, a disintegration which, to be
sure, would have occurred in any case because of other factors, such as
disease, malnutrition, and acute social debasement. The problem then
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4
SHERBURNE
F.
COOK
becomes one of assessing the relative weight of warfare among the total
complex of factors which brought about the virtual extinction of the red race
in New England.
If this assessment is to be of quantitative significance it should be
expressed in numerical terms. However, the parameter associated with Indian
warfare which is most susceptible to such rigid analysis is the number of
persons actually killed in combat or who died as the immediate result of
military operations. A figure thus computed cannot take into direct account
the deaths due to the exposure, starvation, and debilitation which inevitably
followed the armed conflict. Nevertheless, the battle casualties may be
employed as a yardstick wich which to gauge the intensity of the struggle and
therefore the relative effect upon the population.
The casualties inflicted by the English and Dutch upon the natives
occurred almost exclusively in the course of set engagements. Small raids.and
skirmishes which went unrecorded undoubtedly took place, but the losses
which resulted to the Indians during such bushwhacking were trivial. It was a
characteristic of the well organized European colonial system that conflicts of
any magnitude were reported somewhere, and at some time. The meticulous
scrutiny of later historians has overlooked very few of these, and has brought
substantially all of them to print.
It is also true that active hostilities between whites and Indians at this
stage of our history were concentrated in a few full-scale campaigns, one or
several of which constituted a so-called war. Between these wars, despite
mutual dislike and suspicion, there was very little physical combat. Hence, if
these periods of quiescence are ignored, few violent battles are omitted.
Indeed, the intervals of actual conflict during the first sixty years of
European settlement of New England may be limited to three, the Pequot
War, 1634-1635, the Dutch War, 1643-1645, and King Philip’s War,
1675-1676. However, before these are discussed in detail, the problem of
sources must be considered briefly.
Information concerning casualties, as contrasted with description of
operations and discussions of cause and effect, must be derived ultimately
from on-the-spot observation. The dead are buried, the wounded are
removed. Nothing remains after a few days or weeks, except physical detritus.
We depend, therefore, upon the reports of those who were at the scene of the
struggle, or who visited it immediately afterward. For most modern wars both
sides contribute counts or estimates. If these disagree sharply, some type of
compromise may be effected by impartial judges in later years. With the early
American Indian wars this bilateral provision of evidence does not exist.
Particularly for the seventeenth century no contemporary accounts
originating with the Indians are known. All we possess are data derived from
the colonists directly, or from the Indians indirectly through the records of
the colonists.
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Interracial Warfare and Population Decline 5
Concerning the losses suffered by the settl
amazingly complete and accurate. The numbers
standards. Furthermore, the Indian troubles h
general and local historians who have dug out every conceivable item of
interest and have embodied these in hundreds of volumes. We can list today
by name nearly every participant and casualty in King Philip’s War.
For the Indians no such effort has been expended. Our knowledge of
their losses comes both from estimates made by the colonists at the time and
from statements made at the time or afterward by the Indians themselves.
The figures given by white participants are subject to careful examination. In
the first place the type of operation was important. Hit-and-run raids on
outlying settlements and small villages with the killing of civilians and the
destruction of property usually resulted in very low Indian casualties, if any
at all. Pitched battles which involved ambushes of English troops, even
though the fights were desperate, caused relatively light Indian losses. On the
other hand, when the Indians were trapped in large numbers and massacred,
their casualties were relatively great. There are three examples of this type of
contest: the Pequot fort in 1645, the Weckquaesgeek castle in 1635, and the
Narragansett fort in 1675.
In the second place it is an undoubted fact that troops under the stress
of battle cannot accurately judge their own or their enemy’s casualties.
Moreover, the individual is prone to magnify the opponent’s losses and to
underestimate his own. Such exaggeration is unavoidable. Less pardonable is
the tendency of most military and administrative authorities to exaggerate
enemy losses deliberately in order to bolster morale in the home population.
How much of this is seen in the Colonial letters and contemporary histories is
difficult to determine. There can be no doubt that during a desperate struggle
like King Philip’s War, the temptation was present to inflate Indian losses. On
the other hand, whatever may be said of the Puritan settlers, they did not
display a completely cynical disregard for veracity.
A third factor in evaluating casualties is possession of the field. Under
many circumstances the victor can count the dead. In Indian wars this was
not always possible. In fact, with the exception of the massacres already
mentioned, the whites were frequently worsted or forced to retire. When they
were able to return to the field, they found only their own dead. The Indian
dead had been removed.
The custom of the Indians of carrying off their dead whenever possible
is commented upon too frequently by too many writers of the period not to
have constituted a real impediment to the determination of casualties. Only
when they were cornered and cut down in masses did they fail to remove
their dead at the moment, or as soon thereafter as they could do so. An
extreme case of the sort is ascribed to the unsuccessful attack on Hatfield in
1675. The anonymous writer of that portion of the Old Indian Chronicle
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6
SHERBURNE
F.
COOK
(1867:319) says that English “killed about an hundred of them, sixty of
whose dead Bodies the Indians carried with them on Horses etc. (for they had
several Horses amongst them).” Even if we allow a great exaggeration, the
device was effective for concealing the losses.
A great many of the Indian casualty figures cited by the commentators
of the late seventeenth century, as well as by those submitting official
reports, are derived from statements of Indians themselves. The latter, almost
universally, were captives taken subsequent to an engagement, or noncombatants who surrendered. The prevailing opinion among many historians
has been that these figures were deliberately inflated for the purpose of
deceiving the English. For example, Hubbard (1865:1:151) describes the
comments of the Narragansett Indian Potock, who was executed in Boston.
Potock claimed that 1,000 Indian men had been killed at the Fort battle on
December 19, 1675, plus an “uncounted” number of women and children.
This statement, which was obviously pleasing to the English, is manifestly
absurd. For smaller actions many similar instances occurred, and there can be
little doubt that the Indians told some pretty tall tales.
A strong contrary argument runs that it is difficult to conceive of an
organized conspiracy to magnify losses so as to delude the English. The highly
discrepant accounts given by Indians concerning their loss at the Narragansett
fort are evidence that no concerted effort was made to promote acceptance
of any particular figure. Statements by captives follow no set pattern. They
may cite high losses if they feel that such a course will win favor with their
captors. On the other hand they may report low casualties if they think that
this deception will further their cause. If any general policy was being
followed in the New England Indian wars it was one of minimizing losses and
was manifested in the widespread habit, already mentioned, of removing the
dead from the field of battle.
In the end, the solution becomes a matter of personal judgment, and
that judgment must be exercised in each case, independently of all other
cases. The type of engagement, the source of the estimates, the probability of
bias on the part of the informant, all must be given due weight. The final
result must be reached with a minimum of personal prejudice, particularly
with respect to a struggle which has generated passionate devotion to and
hatred of each protagonist.
The Pequot War
The attack on the Pequots of Connecticut culminated in two sharp
battles, one at the fort on the Mystic River, the other in the swamp at
Fairfield. The destruction of the fort has been described by three groups of
writers. First are the observers on the scene, Captain John Underhill, whose
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Interracial Warfare and Population Decline 7
account appeared in 1638, and Captain John Mas
first published by a descendent in 1736. Both t
Both were subject to the confusion attending a
actually saw the encounter.
The second group consists of several authors
the time of the events concerned. They may als
prone to exaggeration, but they were close enoug
familiar with the main participants and with t
contribute facts from first hand knowledge. Her
Bradford (1901), Vincent (1837), and Gardener (1833). The third group
includes the later historians, all of whom were removed from the actual
operations by the span of at least a century. Here we may mention, among
many others, Benjamin Trumbull (1924), Henry Trumbull (1846), Stone
(1842), Drake (1851), and Sylvester (1910). They clearly had to depend
upon the writings of those who had gone before. Hence their command of the
facts is no better than that of any other student who reads the contemporary
documents.
The Pequot Fort was attacked by the English and in the course of the
battle was set afire. Almost all …
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