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Sound Bites -- Provocative excerpts from primary and secondary sources (some with audio commentary)


101-110 of 333 Sound Bites. [show all]

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101) Our fathers had plenty of deer and skins, our plains were full of deer, as also our woods, and of turkies, and our coves full of fish and fowl.  But these English have gotten our land, they with scythes cut down the grass, and with axes fell the trees; their cows and horses eat the grass, and their hogs spoil our clam banks, and we shall be starved. (from speech made by Miantonomi, Chief of the Narragansetts, made in 1642 at Montauk, qtd. from Ian K. Steele, Warpaths: Invasions of North America by Eric Kades, "The Dark Side of Efficiency: Johnson v. M'Intosh and the Expropriation of American Indian Lands."  U. of PA Law Review 148.1065 [April 2000]: 1065-1190.  Lexis-Nexis. 23 Sep. 03.)

102) While they [American Indians] are learning to do better on less land, our increasing numbers will be calling for more land, and thus a coincidence of interests will be produced between those who have land to spare, and want other necessities, and those who have such necessities to spare, and want land.  The commerce, then, will be good for both, and those who are friends to both ought to encourage it . . . . In truth, the ultimate point of rest and happiness for them is to let our settlements and theirs meet and blend together, to intermix, and become one people. (Thomas Jefferson, qtd. in Anthony F.C. Wallace, Jefferson and the Indians: The Tragic Fate of the First Americans. Belknap Press of the Harvard UP, 1999: 223.)

103) Religious motivation had never been the sole hallmark of medieval expansion.  From the first, economic and social motives were inextricably associated in a religious culture.  For example, Urban II saw in the crusades not only an opportunity to halt Moslem expansion, he also saw in them a means of giving employment to the restless younger sons of the European nobility who were engaging the fratricidal strife within Europe.  The crusades, like the American frontier in the nineteenth century, were to be a safety valve, drawing off those who were too aggressive for peaceful life at home.  Columbus may also have seen overseas expansion in the same terms. (James Muldoon, ed.,  The Expansion of Europe: The First Phase.  Philadelphia:  U of Pennsylvania P, 1977:  5. )

104) The place they had thoughts on was some of those vast and unpeopled countries of America, which are fruitful and fit for habitation, being devoid of all civil inhabitants, where there are only savages and brutish men, which range up and down, little otherwise then the wild beasts of the same.  This proposition being made public and coming to the scanning of all, it raised many variable opinions amongst men, and caused many fears and doubts amongst themselves. . . . It was answered, that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and must be both enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.  It was granted the dangers were great, but not desperate; the difficulties were many, but not invincible.  For though there were many of them likely, yet they were not certain; it might be sundry of the things feared might never befall; others by provident care and the use of good means, might in a great measure be prevented; and all of them, through the help of God, by fortitude and patience, might either be born, or overcome.  True it was, that such attempts were not to be made and undertaken without good ground and reason; not rashly or lightly as many have done for curiosity or hope of gain, etc.  But their condition was not ordinary; their ends were good and honorable; their calling lawful, and urgent; and therefore they might expect the blessing of God in their proceeding. (William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation. )

105) But the ethical sanction laid on the English was not merely the Old Testament command to increase and multiply; it was also the New Testament command to preach the gospel to all peoples – a theme which appears in travel literature from the beginning and which, because it accompanies, or is accompanied by, the profit motive, illustrates the complexity of the Tudor mind. (Howard Mumford Jones,  "The Colonial Impulse: An Analysis of the 'Promotion' Literature of Colonization."  Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 90.2 [1946]: 157. )

106) The settler makes history and is conscious of making it.  And because he constantly refers to the history of his mother country, he clearly indicates that he himself is the extension of that mother country.  Thus the history which he writes is not the history of the country which he plunders but the history of his own nation in regard to all that she skims off, all that she violates and starves.  The immobility to which the native is condemned can only be called in question if the native decides to put an end to the history of colonization—the history of pillage—the history of decolonization. (Frantz Fanon, qtd. in Robert A. Williams, Jr., The American Indian in Western Legal Thought: The Discourses of Conquest. New York: Oxford UP, 1990: i. )

107) [Gregory VII's] universalizing, hierarchical ordering logic easily absorbed opposing discourses and, depending on the political skills of the papal officeholder and on the combination of fortuitous circumstances, had proved itself capable of destabilizing any opposing secular political or legal structures. (Robert A. Williams, Jr., The American Indian in Western Legal Thought: The Discourses of Conquest.  New York: Oxford UP, 1990: 24. )

108) [D]ominium could only exist if it were exercised. [ . . .]  Any people who failed to fulfill that obligation could have no claim against other more industrious nations who occupied and cultivated its lands. (Anthony Pagden, Spanish Imperialism and the Political Imagination: Studies in European and Spanish-American Social and Political Theory 1513-1830.  New Haven: Yale UP, 1990: 29. )

109) If the Indians did not consent and permit the missionary fathers accompanying the conquistadors to preach to them, or if they "maliciously" delayed in doing so, the Spaniards, "with the help of God" would invade their country and make war against them. (Robert A. Williams, Jr., The American Indian in Western Legal Thought: The Discourses of Conquest. New York: Oxford UP, 1990:  92. )

110) [The Indians are] naturally lazy and vicious, melancholic, cowardly, and in general a lying, shiftless people.  Their marriages are not a sacrament but a sacrilege.  They are idolatrous, libidinous and commit sodomy.  Their chief desire is to eat, drink, worship heathen idols, and commit bestial obscenities.  What could one expect from a people whose skulls are so thick and hard that the Spaniards had to take care in fighting not to strike on the head lest their swords be blunted? (Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, qtd. in Lewis Hanke, The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of America.  Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1949: 11. )