What would America look like if the native Indians had meet the pilgrims on equal footing

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justme
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What would America look like if the native Indians had meet the pilgrims on equal footing

Post by justme » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:35 pm

What would America look like if the native Indians had meet the pilgrims on equal footing and comparable technology

Would America have still developed into a single country or would it end up looking much the same as Europe with several sovereign Tribal countries within it's borders?

Would Slavery have been the institution it became with the influence of the native Indians mixing equally into our society as the European influences?

Would Christianity have saturated the country or would it be concentrated in the coastal areas of New England, with smatters of religious conclaves here and there?

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Politesse
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Post by Politesse » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:45 pm

America has several sovereign tribal nations within its borders now, in theory. But if you mean in terms of who actually has plenary rights over the land, I think we can look to other indigenous nations around the world for analogues - the idea of a nation-state is both seductive for its own reasons and the cost-of-entry for modern global politics, so I suspect nation-building would have occurred with or without colonialism, with more powerful entities gobbling up the neighbors.

I am less certain that "America" would exist, as its coherence as a nation is largely the result of the stolen land base and resources; whose army would create this "state" without the fruit of appropriated industries to back it up? The colonies would have had to remain colonies, without any independent wealth to fund their revolution.

Technology is often over-emphasized as a "reason" for the general trend of conquest. There were other reasons why things went the way they did.

I don't see how slavery would really have been prevented altogether, as it was a common practice in both cultural spheres long before they came into contact. There were somewhat different social rules though; for instance, I don't think slavery was an inherited caste anywhere in the pre-Columbian world, and marriage of slaves and non-slaves was encouraged rather than forbidden, so perhaps the practice would have been a bit gentler in execution during the period leading up to the Civil War.

Christianity is extremely popular, and likely would be regardless of how things played out, as missionization has proceeded just as rapidly in the post-colonial world. But we might have a lot more independent traditions on the continent without the legacy of the "boarding schools".
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Post by MattShizzle » Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:09 pm

In quite a few ways the Natives were better off than the pilgrims. The pilgrims likely would have starved or maybe some survivors would integrate into the local tribes had the Natives in the area not intervened. That's actually what the first Thanksgiving was about. When I was a child the revisionist version was taught - "The pilgrims invited the Indians to have a feast with them."

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Jobar
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Post by Jobar » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:17 am

[quote=""Politesse""]
Technology is often over-emphasized as a "reason" for the general trend of conquest. There were other reasons why things went the way they did.
[/quote]

In my view the conquest of the native Americans was carried out not by guns, but by germs. The number of virulent pathogens brought from Europe to which the natives of North and South America had no previous exposure or resistance was very large; I've read that as many as 90% of them died within a hundred years of Columbus' first landing. Whole islands and vast areas of the continents were depopulated. In fact the main reason the European settlers turned to Africa for slaves was that the native Americans were far too prone to die from exposure to pathogens which would cause no more than sniffles in those from Africa, Asia, or Europe.

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Post by Politesse » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:55 am

[quote=""Jobar""]
Politesse;680704 wrote: Technology is often over-emphasized as a "reason" for the general trend of conquest. There were other reasons why things went the way they did.
In my view the conquest of the native Americans was carried out not by guns, but by germs. The number of virulent pathogens brought from Europe to which the natives of North and South America had no previous exposure or resistance was very large; I've read that as many as 90% of them died within a hundred years of Columbus' first landing. Whole islands and vast areas of the continents were depopulated. In fact the main reason the European settlers turned to Africa for slaves was that the native Americans were far too prone to die from exposure to pathogens which would cause no more than sniffles in those from Africa, Asia, or Europe.[/QUOTE]

That's not your opinion so much as it is Jared Diamond's, and as far as I know there's no meaningful support for any specific number or percentage of dead, from whatever cause. Indeed, the pre-Columbian population of the New World is not known, nor is there any early documentation of causes of death. So any specific number is internet glurge that you have fallen for. There were epidemics, yes, and on both sides, and indeed this played a large role in weakening possible military resistance. This does not excuse the role of guns, and in general a lethal militarist policy that the New World had never before encountered and was not prepared to meet. Saying that the genocide was "not by guns" is tantamount to denying that there was a genocide at all, when there were in fact several genocidal campaigns over four hundred years, the later ones quite well-documented. Yes, with guns. Lots of guns. Colt designed its famous handguns specifically for the versatile needs of professional "Indian Fighters", a fact no one was the least bit ashamed of until recently. It is still called the "gun that won the West" in their own promotional literature. Populations can lose huge swaths of population to disease without "disappearing"; if a very bad epidemic occurs this does not require their neighbors to move in and murder and rape the survivors. Or kidnapping and brainwashing their children while raping the pretty ones and killing the brave ones in "schools" that resemble concentration camps more than places of learning. Or taking slaves, or awarding yourself land title that you have not won by any of the above means. No one is off the hook here.

I know you did not mean to excuse those activities, but think about what you are typing when you write things like "not by guns". There were plenty of guns. There are still plenty of guns. Your taxes pay for even more guns to point at even more Indians every single year:

Image

Standing Rock, last year. ^
Last edited by Politesse on Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:07 am, edited 3 times in total.
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MattShizzle
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Post by MattShizzle » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:45 am

Wasn't there a book called something like "guns, germs and horses?"

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Politesse
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Post by Politesse » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:53 am

That would be Jared Diamond's book "Guns, Germs, and Steel".
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Jobar
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Post by Jobar » Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:27 am

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, yes.

Although Stirling may have gotten the idea from Diamond, I got the argument for virgin-field plagues being most responsible for wiping out the Amerinds in S.M. Stirling's novel Conquistador:
Image

Though I've read a number of excerpts from it, I've never read all of Diamond's book.

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Post by MattShizzle » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:10 pm

There was one called "The Years of Rice and Salt" Where the Black Death wiped out 90% of Europe and the Chinese and Indians conquered the New World.

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Post by lpetrich » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:48 am

I had considered a scenario similar to the OP's scenario in HBO plans "Confederate", where the US South successfully seceded - Secular Café

Essentially, some people in the Lower Mississippi Valley domesticate bison some 5000 - 4000 years ago. They develop a much stronger and well-organized society than in our timeline, one that made it much easier for them to survive European diseases -- and also one that gave Europeans diseases like bison pox and bison rinderpest.

I concede that I had an interesting argument with Politesse about whether domesticating bison is worth doing. But it seemed to me that all his arguments against doing so also apply to aurochsen, the wild ancestors of domestic bovines. Lots of wild bison. Lots of wild aurochsen. Bison are difficult to tame. Aurochsen were difficult to tame. Bison don't give much milk. Aurochsen likely didn't give much either.

The only problem with this scenario is that aurochsen followed goats, sheep, and pigs, something that IMO makes it implausible for bison to be the first domestic herbivore. Goats and sheep are smaller, and thus more manageable.

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Politesse
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Post by Politesse » Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:57 pm

So here's something that bugs me about the "they just died off" trope. There's always a note of quiet, smug superiority about the Europeans, that they were somehow immune to the things which became raging epidemics here. But it seems to me that this ignores things that most people ought to be aware of; namely, that Europe of this era was disease-ridden and repeatedly, consistently, massively depopulated by epidemic plagues. If in one century their odds were somewhat better on the particular issue of this pathogen or that, it was because they were the survivors of the death mill in the previous century; said diseases were just as deadly when they made their European debuts. I sometimes think people imagine European society during colonization as though it were an analogy to modern European society, with modern medicine and hygiene and children who survive to adulthood etc. When in fact life was pretty brutal on both continents, a major reason why so many Europeans were so anxious to join colonial ventures. Most people died of disease in those days, most of them long before adulthood.

What they lacked was someone to sweep in and murder, impregnate, or indoctrinate the survivors, and even there, well... you did see that dynamic play out sometimes, during the age of Islamic expansion into Europe. But in the New World, the powers of Europe had the advantage of distance; the Turks had to be cautious about getting their allies caught in any firestorms they unleashed in Eastern Europe, but here in Turtle Island, Western European adventurers could attack with no real fear of reprisal or backlash, because even an entire lost colony (La Navidad, Roanoke, La Junta) was in the long run a replaceable and acceptable loss to the companies sponsoring the invasion, physically and conceptually distant from their own lives and interests, while their enemies/victims lost ground they could not get back.
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Post by dancer_rnb » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:24 am

One thing I've wondered: was measles and the like really that deadly over here? Or were recovering people dying because everyone else in their family or village was sick, since the previous generation had not had it twenty years before and were not now immune?
There is no such thing as "politically correct." It's code for liberalism. The whole idea of "political correctness" was a brief academic flash-in-the-pan in the early 1990's, but has been a good conservative bugaboo ever since.

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