The North American Indians are Civil

Essay by cindy_basham71College, UndergraduateA, August 2014

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The North American Indians are Civil

Cindy Basham

Everglades University

The North American Indians are Civil

Benjamin Franklin's "Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America", is a short story written in 1784 during the age of Enlightenment. Franklin uses the literary element of situational irony to persuade his audience. Franklin believes that he can make a difference in dealing with cultural and social problems through his persuasion in this essay. Ironically, the white people believe their culture is superior and the Indians are uncivilized "Savages", in the contrary, Indians display, through various situations, how they have more patience, manners, and civility than them "Savages we call them, because their manners differ from ours, which we think the perfection of civility; they think the same of theirs" (p.244).

In the following example, the white people display their beliefs that their civility is superior to that of the Indians, they offer to educate some of the Indians in hopes to teach them to be civil, just like them.

The Government of Virginia and the Six Nations of the Iroquois tribes met at the Treaty of Lancaster, in Pennsylvania of 1744. After all the business was over, the Government offered to the Indians, that if they would send to them, half a dozen of their young men, they would take care of their needs and the Indians would be "instructed in all the learning of the white people" (p.244), while attending college at Williamsburg. After taking a day to consider the offer (one of their rules of politeness) the Indians respectfully refused the offer, the Indian replies in the following quote:

for we know that you highly esteem the kind of learning taught in those Colleges and that the...