U.S. History I (H) - Period 2
2 October 2013
Conflicting Conceptions of Ownership
Throughout the age of exploration, Europeans found themselves in conflict with the native peoples of the Americas. This was no exception to the English. When the English first arrived in the New World, they needed to overcome the obstacle of cohabitating with the Native American "savages". The Native Americans, the original owners of the land, were forced to share their property with the European foreigners. The English used military force and sometimes, "negotiations" to gain land from the natives. Violence and conflict often broke out between the two groups over the areas in which each group had possession of. The Native American and English differences in beliefs over the uses of land caused them to conceive of property rights differently and ultimately, caused conflict between the two groups in the 17th century New World.
The Native Americans and the English used land in different ways. The Native Americans were mobile and therefore, moved across the land seasonally. This allowed them to take advantage of their land's diversity and aided them in avoiding surplus property. It was easy for natives to be mobile because they had little possessions. It was not difficult to find either a place to store it, or a person to carry it. Also, the Indians used the slash-and-burn technique to fertilize and make use of the soil to grow domesticated crops. This was a successful technique that worked well for the Native Americans because it provided them with enough area for crops to sustain themselves and their village. The English, on the other hand, did not believe this was an effective use of land. They believed that the only way to use land effectively was to improve it. And...