Images of America – European Writers Constructed to Promote Colonization and Settlement

The Europeans were seeing America through the lens of lack of particular goods in Europe. This aspect of resource scarcity in Europe is what gave the different elements of the North American nature on their relative value when it was described in the Columbus letter of 1493 describing the trade with the Indians as “whether it is a thing of little worth or a thing of value, they are contented with which they get from it.” This was a remark not only on several notions of exchange between Europeans and Native Americans (this meant just to give someone something) but also varied perspective of value (Loewen 176). That is, what was considered valuable in America was defined as scarce in Europe (slavelabor, gold, warm climate for growing rare spices and sugar, land, timber). In contrary what was in abundance in Europe was perceived as of no value in America, for example, the glass beads.

Likewise, just as it was of great value to Europeans during the strive and scramble to colonizing America, natural resources like minerals (gold, timber) and even land, and friendly environmental conditions is how these resources have remained of great value to the society today. Therefore, to the Europeans, North America became a land of abundance and a society of easy living that nature was providing to the Indians (Rowlandson 72).

From another image of economic lens, the European looked at America through a folk heritage that was equating wilderness with slavery and the social disorder. This depicted Indians as living in the state of nature which meant they were associated with devil since the North Americas were eating lizards and snakes, which the Europeans had a belief over that a person would acquire the characteristics of the food they ate, and the different monsters from the European mythology included cannibals. They viewed Native Americans as people without government or religion, considered their ceremonies as devil worship, and they further perceived them as not conforming to biblical ideas on shame over nudity, among other aspects.

Lastly, the Europeans viewed America from the perspective of a Biblical heritage which saw the Garden of Eden’s redemption and loss through the European labor in the New World besides seeing a possibility for the redemption of the Native America through Christian conversion (Mann 387). Therefore imposing biblical injunction to “increase, conquer the earth, and have dominion over all the living things” (Genesis 1:23). This was a perception that reinforced ideas of power of the European’s over nature and their God-given right to the natural resources of the New World.

Get Your Custom Paper From Professional Writers. 100% Plagiarism Free, No AI Generated Content and Good Grade Guarantee. We Have Experts In All Subjects.

Place Your Order Now
Scroll to Top