A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror

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Overview

For at least thirty years, high school and college students have been taught to be embarrassed by American history. Required readings have become skewed toward a relentless focus on our country’s darkest moments, from slavery to McCarthyism. As a result, many history books devote more space to Harriet Tubman than to Abraham Lincoln; more to My Lai than to the American Revolution; more to the internment of
Japanese Americans than to the liberation of Europe in World War II.

Now, finally, there is an antidote to this biased approach to our history. Two veteran history professors have written a sweeping, well-researched book that puts the spotlight back on America’s role as a beacon of liberty to the rest of the world. Schweikart and Allen are careful to tell their story straight, from Columbus’s voyage to the capture of Saddam Hussein. They do not ignore America’s mistakes through the years, but they put them back in their proper perspective. And they conclude that America’s place as a world leader derived largely from the virtues of our own leaders—the men and women who cleared the wilderness, abolished slavery, and rid the world of fascism and communism.

The authors write in a clear and enjoyable style that makes history a pleasure, not just for students but also for adults who want to learn what their teachers skipped over.

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Editorial Reviews

The Wall Street Journal
A fluid account of America from the discovery of the continent up to the present day.
National Review
A welcome, refreshing, and solid contribution to relearning what we have forgotten and remembering why this nation is good, and worth defending.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595230010
  • Publisher: Sentinel HC
  • Publication date: 12/29/2004
  • Pages: 960
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 1.85 (d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE:

The City on the Hill, 1492-1707

The Age of European Discovery
God, Glory, and gold-not necessarily in that order-took post-Renaissance Europeans to parts of the globe they had never before seen. The opportunity to gain materially while bringing the Gospel to non- Christians offered powerful incentives to explorers from Portugal, Spain, England, and France to embark on dangerous voyages of discovery in the 1400s. Certainly they were not the first to sail to the Western Hemisphere: Norse sailors reached the coasts of Iceland in 874 and Greenland a century later, and legends recorded Leif Erickson's establishment of a colony in Vinland, somewhere on the northern Canadian coast.1 Whatever the fate of Vinland, its historical impact was minimal, and significant voyages of discovery did not occur for more than five hundred years, when trade with the Orient beckoned.

Marco Polo and other travelers to Cathay (China) had brought exaggerated tales of wealth in the East and returned with unusual spices, dyes, rugs, silks, and other goods. But this was a difficult, long journey. Land routes crossed dangerous territories, including imposing mountains and vast deserts of modern-day Afghanistan, northern India, Iran, and Iraq, and required expensive and well-protected caravans to reach Europe from Asia. Merchants encountered bandits who threatened transportation lanes, kings and potentates who demanded tribute, and bloodthirsty killers who pillaged for pleasure. Trade routes from Bombay and Goa reached Europe via Persia or Arabia, crossing the Ottoman Empire with its internal taxes. Cargo had to be unloaded at seaports, then reloaded at Alexandria or Antioch for water transport across the Mediterranean, or continued on land before crossing the Dardanelles Strait into modern-day Bulgaria to the Danube River. European demand for such goods seemed endless, enticing merchants and their investors to engage in a relentless search for lower costs brought by safer and cheaper routes. Gradually, Europeans concluded that more direct water routes to the Far East must exist.

The search for Cathay's treasure coincided with three factors that made long ocean voyages possible. First, sailing and shipbuilding technology had advanced rapidly after the ninth century, thanks in part to the Arabs' development of the astrolabe, a device with a pivoted limb that established the sun's altitude above the horizon. By the late tenth century, astrolabe technology had made its way to Spain.2 Farther north, Vikings pioneered new methods of hull construction, among them the use of overlapping planks for internal support that enabled vessels to withstand violent ocean storms. Sailors of the Hanseatic League states on the Baltic coast experimented with larger ship designs that incorporated sternpost rudders for better control. Yet improved ships alone were not enough: explorers needed the accurate maps generated by Italian seamen and sparked by the new inquisitive impulse of the Renaissance. Thus a wide range of technologies coalesced to encourage long-range voyages of discovery.

Political changes, a second factor giving birth to the age of discovery, resulted from the efforts of several ambitious European monarchs to consolidate their possessions into larger, cohesive dynastic states. This unification of lands, which increased the taxable base within the kingdoms, greatly increased the funding available to expeditions and provided better military protection (in the form of warships) at no cost to investors. By the time a combined Venetian-Spanish fleet defeated a much larger Ottoman force at Lepanto in 1571, the vessels of Christian nations could essentially sail with impunity anywhere in the Mediterranean. Then, in control of the Mediterranean, Europeans could consider voyages of much longer duration (and cost) than they ever had in the past. A new generation of explorers found that monarchs could support even more expensive undertakings that integrated the monarch's interests with the merchantsÆ.

Third, the Protestant Reformation of 1517 fostered a fierce and bloody competition for power and territory between Catholic and Protestant nations that reinforced national concerns. England competed for land with Spain, not merely for economic and political reasons, but because the English feared the possibility that Spain might catholicize numbers of non-Christians in new lands, whereas Catholics trembled at the thought of subjecting natives to Protestant heresies. Therefore, even when economic or political gains for discovery and colonization may have been marginal, monarchs had strong religious incentives to open their royal treasuries to support such missions.

Time Line
1492-1504: Columbus's four voyages
1519-21: CortTs conquers Mexico
1585-87: Roanoke Island (Carolinas) colony fails
1607: Jamestown, Virginia, founded
1619: First Africans arrive in Virginia
1619: Virginia House of Burgesses formed
1620: Pilgrims found Plymouth, Massachusetts
1630: Puritan migration to Massachusetts
1634: Calverts found Maryland
1635-36: Pequot Indian War (Massachusetts)
1638: Anne Hutchinson convicted of heresy
1639: Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
1642-48: English Civil War
1650: First Navigation Act (mercantilism)
1664: English conquer New Netherlands (New York)
1675-76: King Philip's (Metacomet's) War (Massachusetts)
1676: Bacon's Rebellion (Virginia)
1682: Pennsylvania settled
1688-89: English Glorious Revolution and Bill of Rights
1691: Massachusetts becomes royal colony
1692: Salem witch hunts

Portugal and Spain: The Explorers
Ironically, one of the smallest of the new monarchical states, Portugal, became the first to subsidize extensive exploration in the fifteenth century. The most famous of the Portuguese explorers, Prince Henry, dubbed the Navigator, was the brother of King Edward of Portugal. Henry (1394-1460) had earned a reputation as a tenacious fighter in North Africa against the Moors, and he hoped to roll back the Muslim invaders and reclaim from them trade routes and territory.

A true Renaissance man, Henry immersed himself in mapmaking and exploration from a coastal center he established at Sagres, on the southern point of Portugal. There he trained navigators and mapmakers, dispatched ships to probe the African coast, and evaluated the reports of sailors who returned from the Azores.4 Portuguese captains made contact with Arabs and Africans in coastal areas and established trading centers, from which they brought ivory and gold to Portugal, then transported slaves to a variety of Mediterranean estates. This early slave trade was conducted through Arab middlemen or African traders who carried out slaving expeditions in the interior and exchanged captive men, women, and children for fish, wine, or salt on the coast.

Henry saw these relatively small trading outposts as only the first step in developing reliable water routes to the East. Daring sailors trained at Henry's school soon pushed farther southward, finally rounding the Cape of Storms in l486, when Bartholomeu Dias was blown off course by fantastic winds. King John II eventually changed the name of the cape to the Cape of Good Hope, reflecting the promise of a new route to India offered by Dias's discovery. That promise became reality in 1498, after Vasco de Gama sailed to Calicut, India. An abrupt decline in Portuguese fortunes led to her eclipse by the larger Spain, reducing the resources available for investment in exploration and limiting Portuguese voyages to the Indian Ocean to an occasional "boatload of convicts."5 Moreover, the prize for which Portuguese explorers had risked so much now seemed small in comparison to that discovered by their rivals the Spanish under the bold seamanship of Christopher Columbus, a man the king of Portugal had once refused to fund.

Columbus departed from Spain in August 1492, laying in a course due west and ultimately in a direct line to Japan, although he never mentioned Cathay prior to 1493.6 A native of Genoa, Columbus embodied the best of the new generation of navigators: resilient, courageous, and confident. To be sure, Columbus wanted glory, and a motivation born of desperation fueled his vision. At the same time, Columbus was "earnestly desirous of taking Christianity to heathen lands."7 He did not, as is popularly believed, originate the idea that the earth is round. As early as 1480, for example, he read works proclaiming the sphericity of the planet. But knowing intellectually that the earth is round and demonstrating it physically are two different things.

Columbus's fleet consisted of only three vessels, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, and a crew of ninety men. Leaving port in August 1492, the expedition eventually passed the point where the sailors expected to find Japan, generating no small degree of anxiety, whereupon Columbus used every managerial skill he possessed to maintain discipline and encourage hope. The voyage had stretched to ten weeks when the crew bordered on mutiny, and only the captain's reassurance and exhortations persuaded the sailors to continue a few more days. Finally, on October 11, 1492, they started to see signs of land: pieces of wood loaded with barnacles, green bulrushes, and other vegetation.8 A lookout spotted land, and on October 12, 1492, the courageous band waded ashore on Watling Island in the Bahamas, where his men begged his pardon for doubting him.

Columbus continued to Cuba, which he called Hispaniola. At the time he thought he had reached the Far East, and referred to the dark-skinned people he found in Hispaniola as Indians. He found these Indians "very well formed, with handsome bodies and good faces," and hoped to convert them "to our Holy Faith by love rather than by force" by giving them red caps and glass beads "and many other things of small value."10 Dispatching emissaries into the interior to contact the Great Khan, Columbus's scouts returned with no reports of the spices, jewels, silks, or other evidence of Cathay; nor did the khan send his regards. Nevertheless, Columbus returned to Spain confident he had found an ocean passage to the Orient.

Reality gradually forced Columbus to a new conclusion: he had not reached India or China, and after a second voyage in 1493-still convinced he was in the Pacific Ocean-Columbus admitted he had stumbled on a new land mass, perhaps even a new continent of astounding natural resources and wealth. In February 1493, he wrote his Spanish patrons that Hispaniola and other islands like it were "fertile to a limitless degree," possessing mountains covered by "trees of a thousand kinds and tall, so that they seem to touch the sky."12 He confidently promised gold, cotton, spices-as much as Their Highnesses should command-in return for only minimal continued support. Meanwhile, he continued to probe the Mundus Novus south and west. After returning to Spain yet again, Columbus made two more voyages to the New World in 1498 and 1502.

Whether Columbus had found parts of the Far East or an entirely new land was irrelevant to most Europeans at the time. Political distractions abounded in Europe. Spain had barely evicted the Muslims after the long Reconquista, and England's Wars of the Roses had scarcely ended. News of Columbus's discoveries excited only a few merchants, explorers, and dreamers. Still, the prospect of finding a waterway to Asia infatuated sailors; and in 1501 a Florentine passenger on a Portuguese voyage, Amerigo Vespucci, wrote letters to his friends in which he described the New World. His self-promoting dispatches circulated sooner than Columbus's own written accounts, and as a result the term "America" soon was attached by geographers to the continents in the Western Hemisphere that should by right have been named Columbia. But if Columbus did not receive the honor of having the New World named for him, and if he acquired only temporary wealth and fame in Spain (receiving from the Crown the title Admiral of the Ocean Sea), his place in history was never in doubt. Historian Samuel Eliot Morison, a worthy seaman in his own right who reenacted the Columbian voyages in 1939 and 1940, described Columbus as "the sign and symbol [the] new age of hope, glory and accomplishment."

Once Columbus blazed the trail, other Spanish explorers had less trouble obtaining financial backing for expeditions. Vasco Núñez de Balboa (1513) crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean (as he named it). Ferdinand Magellan (1519-22) circumnavigated the globe, lending his name to the Strait of Magellan. Other expeditions explored the interior of the newly discovered lands. Juan Ponce de Le=n, traversing an area along the Florida's coast, attempted unsuccessfully to plant a colony there. Pßnfilo de Narvßez's subsequent expedition to conquer Tampa Bay proved even more disastrous. Narvßez himself drowned, and natives killed members of his expedition until only four of them reached a Spanish settlement in Mexico.

Spaniards traversed modern-day Mexico, probing interior areas under Hernando CortTs, who in 1518 led a force of 1,000 soldiers to Tenochtitlßn, the site of present-day Mexico City. CortTs encountered powerful Indians called Aztecs, led by their emperor Montezuma. The Aztecs had established a brutal regime that oppressed other natives of the region, capturing large numbers of them for ritual sacrifices in which Aztec priests cut out the beating hearts of living victims. Such barbarity enabled the Spanish to easily enlist other tribes, especially the Tlaxcalans, in their efforts to defeat the Aztecs.

Tenochtitlßn sat on an island in the middle of a lake, connected to the outlying areas by three huge causeways. It was a monstrously large city (for the time) of at least 200,000, rigidly divided into nobles and commoner groups.14 Aztec culture created impressive pyramid-shaped temple structures, but Aztec science lacked the simple wheel and the wide range of pulleys and gears that it enabled. But it was sacrifice, not science, that defined Aztec society, whose pyramids, after all, were execution sites. A four-day sacrifice in 1487 by the Aztec king Ahuitzotl involved the butchery of 80,400 prisoners by shifts of priests working four at a time at convex killing tables who kicked lifeless, heartless bodies down the side of the pyramid temple. This worked out to a "killing rate of fourteen victims a minute over the ninety-six-hour bloodbath."15 In addition to the abominable sacrifice system, crime and street carnage were commonplace. More intriguing to the Spanish than the buildings, or even the sacrifices, however, were the legends of gold, silver, and other riches Tenochtitlßn contained, protected by the powerful Aztec army.

CortTs first attempted a direct assault on the city and fell back with heavy losses, narrowly escaping extermination. Desperate Spanish fought their way out on Noche Triste (the Sad Night), when hundreds of them fell on the causeway. CortTs's men piled human bodies-Aztec and European alike-in heaps to block Aztec pursuers, then staggered back to Vera Cruz. In 1521 Cortez returned with a new Spanish army, supported by more than 75,000 Indian allies.16 This time, he found a weakened enemy who had been ravaged by smallpox, or as the Aztecs called it, "the great leprosy." Starvation killed those Aztecs whom the disease did not: "They died in heaps, like bedbugs," wrote one historian.17 Even so, neither disease nor starvation accounted for the Spaniards' stunning victory over the vastly larger Aztec forces, which can be credited to the Spanish use of European-style disciplined shock combat and the employment of modern firepower. Severing the causeways, stationing huge units to guard each, Cortez assaulted the city walls from thirteen brigantines the Spaniards had hauled overland, sealing off the city. These brigantines proved "far more ingeniously engineered for fighting on the Aztecs' native waters than any boat constructed in Mexico during the entire history of its civilization."18 When it came to the final battle, it was not the brigantines, but CortTs's use of cannons, muskets, harquebuses, crossbows, and pikes in deadly discipline, firing in order, and standing in mass against a murderous mass of Aztecs who fought as individuals rather than a cohesive force that proved decisive.

Spanish technology, including the wheel-related ratchet gears on muskets, constituted only one element of European military superiority. They fought as other European land armies fought, in formation, with their officers open to new ideas based on practicality, not theology. Where no Aztec would dare approach the godlike Montezuma with a military strategy, CortTs debated tactics with his lieutenants routinely, and the European way of war endowed each Castilian soldier with a sense of individual rights, civic duty, and personal freedom nonexistent in the Aztec kingdom. Moreover, the Europeans sought to kill their enemy and force his permanent surrender, not forge an arrangement for a steady supply of sacrifice victims. Thus CortTs captured the Aztec capital in 1521 at a cost of more than 100,000 Aztec dead, many from disease resulting from CortTs's cutting the city's water supply.19 But not all diseases came from the Old World to the New, and syphilis appears to have been retransmitted back from Brazil to Portugal.

If Europeans resembled other cultures in their attitude toward conquest, they differed substantially in their practice and effectiveness. The Spanish, especially, proved adept at defeating native peoples for three reasons. First, they were mobile. Horses and ships endowed the Spanish with vast advantages in mobility over the natives. Second, the burgeoning economic power of Europe enabled quantum leaps over Middle Eastern, Asian, and Mesoamerican cultures. This economic wealth made possible the shipping and equipping of large, trained, well-armed forces. Nonmilitary technological advances such as the iron-tipped plow, the windmill, and the waterwheel all had spread through Europe and allowed monarchs to employ fewer resources in the farming sector and more in science, engineering, writing, and the military. A natural outgrowth of this economic wealth was improved military technology, including guns, which made any single Spanish soldier the equal of several poorly armed natives, offsetting the latter's numerical advantage. But these two factors were magnified by a third element-the glue that held it all together-which was a western way of combat that emphasized group cohesion of free citizens. Like the ancient Greeks and Romans, CortTs's Castilians fought from a long tradition of tactical adaptation based on individual freedom, civic rights, and a "preference for shock battle of heavy infantry" that "grew out of consensual government, equality among the middling classes," and other distinctly Western traits that gave numerically inferior European armies a decisive edge.21 That made it possible for tiny expeditions such as Ponce de Le=nÆs, with only 200 men and 50 horses, or Narvßez's, with a force of 600, including cooks, colonists, and women, to overcome native Mexican armies outnumbering them two, three, and even ten times at any particular time.

More to the point, no native culture could have conceived of maintaining expeditions of thousands of men in the field for months at a time. Virtually all of the natives lived off the land and took slaves back to their home, as opposed to colonizing new territory with their own settlers. Indeed, only the European industrial engine could have provided the material wherewithal to maintain such armies, and only the European political constructs of liberty, property rights, and nationalism kept men in combat for abstract political causes. European combat style produced yet another advantage in that firearms showed no favoritism on the battlefield. Spanish gunfire destroyed the hierarchy of the enemy, including the aristocratic dominant political class. Aztec chiefs and Moor sultans alike were completely vulnerable to massed firepower, yet without the legal framework of republicanism and civic virtue like Europe's to replace its leadership cadre, a native army could be decapitated at the head with one volley, whereas the Spanish forces could see lieutenants fall and seamlessly replace them with sergeants.

Did Columbus Kill Most of the Indians?
The five-hundred-year anniversary of Columbus's discovery was marked by unusual and strident controversy. Rising up to challenge the intrepid voyager's courage and vision-as well as the establishment of European civilization in the New World-was a crescendo of damnation, which posited that the Genoese navigator was a mass murderer akin to Adolph Hitler. Even the establishment of European outposts was, according to the revisionist critique, a regrettable development. Although this division of interpretations no doubt confused and dampened many a Columbian festival in 1992, it also elicited a most intriguing historical debate: did the esteemed Admiral of the Ocean Sea kill almost all the Indians? A number of recent scholarly studies have dispelled or at least substantially modified many of the numbers generated by the anti-Columbus groups, although other new research has actually increased them. Why the sharp inconsistencies? One recent scholar, examining the major assessments of numbers, points to at least nine different measurement methods, including the time-worn favorite, guesstimates.

1. Pre-Columbian native population numbers are much smaller than critics have maintained. For example, one author claims "Approximately 56 million people died as a result of European exploration in the New World." For that to have occurred, however, one must start with early estimates for the population of the Western Hemisphere at nearly 100 million. Recent research suggests that that number is vastly inflated, and that the most reliable figure is nearer 53 million, and even that estimate falls with each new publication. Since 1976 alone, experts have lowered their estimates by 4 million. Some scholars have even seen those figures as wildly inflated, and several studies put the native population of North America alone within a range of 8.5 million (the highest) to a low estimate of 1.8 million. If the latter number is true, it means that the "holocaust" or "depopulation" that occurred was one fiftieth of the original estimates, or 800,000 Indians who died from disease and firearms. Although that number is a universe away from the estimates of 50 to 60 million deaths that some researchers have trumpeted, it still represented a destruction of half the native population.

Even then, the guesstimates involve such things as accounting for the effects of epidemics-which other researchers, using the same data, dispute ever occurred-or expanding the sample area to all of North and Central America. However, estimating the number of people alive in a region five hundred years ago has proven difficult, and recently several researchers have called into question most early estimates. For example, one method many scholars have used to arrive at population numbers-extrapolating from early explorers' estimates of populations they could count-has been challenged by archeological studies of the Amazon basin, where dense settlements once were thought to exist. Work in the area by Betty Meggers concludes that the early explorers' estimates were exaggerated and that no evidence of large populations in that region exists. N. D. Cook's demographic research on the Inca in Peru showed that the population could have been as high as 15 million or as low as 4 million, suggesting that the measurement mechanisms have a "plus or minus reliability factor" of 400 percent! Such "minor" exaggerations as the tendencies of some explorers to overestimate their opponents' numbers, which, when factored throughout numerous villages, then into entire populations, had led to overestimates of millions.

2. Native populations had epidemics long before Europeans arrived. A recent study of more than 12,500 skeletons from sixty-five sites found that native health was on a "downward trajectory long before Columbus arrived." Some suggest that Indians may have had a nonvenereal form of syphilis, and almost all agree that a variety of infections were widespread. Tuberculosis existed in Central and North America long before the Spanish appeared, as did herpes, polio, tick-borne fevers, giardiasis, and amebic dysentery. One admittedly controversial study by Henry Dobyns in Current Anthropology in 1966 later fleshed out over the years into his book, argued that extensive epidemics swept North America before Europeans arrived. As one authority summed up the research, "Though the Old World was to contribute to its diseases, the New World certainly was not the Garden of Eden some have depicted." As one might expect, others challenged Dobyns and the "early epidemic" school, but the point remains that experts are divided. Many now discount the notion that huge epidemics swept through Central and North America; smallpox, in particular, did not seem to spread as a pandemic.

3. There is little evidence available for estimating the numbers of people lost in warfare prior to the Europeans because in general natives did not keep written records. Later, when whites could document oral histories during the Indian wars on the western frontier, they found that different tribes exaggerated their accounts of battles in totally different ways, depending on tribal custom. Some, who preferred to emphasize bravery over brains, inflated casualty numbers. Others, viewing large body counts as a sign of weakness, de-emphasized their losses. What is certain is that vast numbers of natives were killed by other natives, and that only technological backwardness-the absence of guns, for example-prevented the numbers of natives killed by other natives from growing even higher.

4. Large areas of Mexico and the Southwest were depopulated more than a hundred years before the arrival of Columbus. According to a recent source, "The majority of Southwesternists ... believe that many areas of the Greater Southwest were abandoned or largely depopulated over a century before Columbus's fateful discovery, as a result of climatic shifts, warfare, resource mismanagement, and other causes." Indeed, a new generation of scholars puts more credence in early Spanish explorers' observations of widespread ruins and decaying "great houses" that they contended had been abandoned for years.

5. European scholars have long appreciated the dynamic of small-state diplomacy, such as was involved in the Italian or German small states in the nineteenth century. What has been missing from the discussions about native populations has been a recognition that in many ways the tribes resembled the small states in Europe: they concerned themselves more with traditional enemies (other tribes) than with new ones (whites).

Sources: The best single review of all the literature on Indian population numbers is John D. Daniels's "The Indian Population of North America in 1492," William and Mary Quarterly, April 1999, pp. 298-320. Among those who cite higher numbers are David Meltzer, "How Columbus Sickened the New World," The New Scientist, October 10, 1992, 38-41; Francis L. Black, "Why Did They Die?" Science, December 11, 1992, 139- 140; and Alfred W. Crosby Jr., Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986). Lower estimates come from the Smithsonian's Douglas Ubelaker, "North American Indian Population Size, A.D. 1500—1985," American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 77 (1988), 289-294; and William H. MacLeish, The Day Before America (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994). Henry F. Dobyns, American Historical Demography (Bloomington, Ind. : Indiana University Press, 1976), calculated a number somewhat in the middle, or about 40 million, then subsequently revisited the argument, with William R. Swagerty, in Their Number Become Thinned: Native American Population Dynamics in Eastern North America, Native American Historic Demography Series (Knoxville, Tennessee: University of Tennessee Press, 1983). But, as Nobelist David Cook's study of Incaic Peru reveals, weaknesses in the data remain; see Demographic Collapse: Indian Peru, 1520-1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981). Betty Meggers's "Prehistoric Population Density in the Amazon Basin" (in John W. Verano and Douglas H. Ubelaker, Disease and Demography in the Americas (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992), 197- 206, offers a lower-bound 3 million estimate for Amazonia (far lower than the higher-bound 10 million estimates). An excellent historiography of the debate appears in Daniel T. Reff, Disease, Depopulation, and Culture Change in Northwestern New Spain, 1518-1764 (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1991). He argues for a reconsideration of disease as the primary source of depopulation (istead of European cruelty or slavery), but does not support inflated numbers. A recent synthesis of several studies can be found in Michael R. Haines and Richard H. Steckel, A Population History of North America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). Also see Richard H. Steckel and Jerome C. Rose, eds., The Backbone of History: Health and Nutrition in the Western Hemisphere (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). The quotation referring to this study is from John Wilford, "Don't Blame Columbus for All the Indians' Ills," New York Times, October 29, 2002.

Technology and disease certainly played prominent roles in the conquest of Spanish America. But the oppressive nature of the Aztecs played no small role in their overthrow, and in both Peru and Mexico, "The structure of the Indian societies facilitated the Spanish conquest at ridiculously low cost."22 In addition, Montezuma's ruling hierarchical, strongly centralized structure, in which subjects devoted themselves and their labor to the needs of the state, made it easy for the Spanish to adapt the system to their own control. Once the Spanish had eliminated Aztec leadership, they replaced it with themselves at the top. The "common people" exchanged one group of despots for another, of a different skin color.

By the time the Aztecs fell, the news that silver existed in large quantities in Mexico had reached Spain, attracting still other conquistadores. Hernando de Soto explored Florida (1539-1541), succeeding where Juan Ponce de Le=n had failed, and ultimately crossed the Mississippi River, dying there in 1542. Meanwhile, marching northward from Mexico, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado pursued other Indian legends of riches in the Seven Cities of Cibola. Supposedly, gold and silver existed in abundance there, but Coronado's 270-man expedition found none of the fabled cities, and in 1541 he returned to Spain, having mapped much of the American Southwest. By the 1570s enough was known about Mexico and the Southwest to attract settlers, and some two hundred Spanish settlements existed, containing in all more than 160,000 Europeans.

Traveling with every expedition were priests and friars, and the first permanent building erected by Spaniards was often a church. Conquistadores genuinely believed that converting the heathen ranked near-or even above-the acquisition of riches. Even as the Dominican friar and Bishop of Chiapas, BartolomT de Las Casas, sharply criticized his countrymen in his writings for making "bloody, unjust, and cruel wars" against the Indians-the so-called Black Legend-a second army of mercy, Spanish missionaries, labored selflessly under harsh conditions to bring the Gospel to the Indians. In some cases, as with the Pueblo Indians, large numbers of Indians converted to Christianity, albeit a mixture of traditional Catholic teachings and their own religious practices, which, of course, the Roman Church deplored. Attempts to suppress such distortions led to uprisings such as the 1680 Pueblo revolt that killed twenty-one priests and hundreds of Spanish colonists, although even the rebellious Pueblos eventually rejoined the Spanish as allies.

Explorers had to receive from the king a license that entitled the grantee to large estates and a percentage of returns from the expedition. From the estates, explorers carved out ranches that provided an agricultural base and encouraged other settlers to immigrate. Then, after the colonists had founded a mission, the Spanish government established formal forts (presidios). The most prominent of the presidios dotted the California coast, with the largest at San Diego. Royal governors and local bureaucrats maintained the empire in Mexico and the Southwest with considerable autonomy from Spain. Distance alone made it difficult for the Crown to control activities in the New World.

A new culture accompanied the Spanish occupation. With intermarriage between Europeans and Indians, a large mestizo population (today, referred to as Mexican or Hispanic people) resulted. It generally adopted Spanish culture and values.

The Pirates of the Caribbean
Despite frantic activity and considerable promise, Spanish colonies grew slowly. Southwestern and Mexican Spanish settlements had a population of about 160,000 by the 1570s, when the territory under the control of the king included Caribbean islands, Mexico, the southwestern part of today's United States, large portions of the South American land mass, and an Indian population of more than 5 million. Yet when compared to the later rapid growth of the English colonies, the stagnation of Spain's outposts requires examination. Why did the Spanish colonies grow so slowly? One explanation involves the extensive influence in the Caribbean and on the high seas of pirates who spread terror among potential settlers and passengers. A less visible and much more costly effect on colonization resulted from the expense of outfitting ships to defend themselves, or constructing a navy of sufficient strength to patrol the sea-lanes. Pirates not only attacked ships en route, but they also brazenly invaded coastal areas, capturing entire cities. The famous English pirate Henry Morgan took Portobelo, the leading Spanish port on the American Atlantic coast in 1668, and Panama City fell to his marauders in 1670û71.25 Sir Francis Drake, the Master Thief of the unknown world, as the Spaniards called him, "became the terror of their ports and crews" and he and other "sea dogs" often acted as unofficial agents of the English Crown.

Other discouraging reports dampened Spanish excitement for settling in the New World. In 1591, twenty- nine of seventy-five ships in a single convoy went down trying to return to Spain from Cuba; in 1600 a sixty-ship fleet from Cßdiz to Mexico encountered two separate storms that sank seventeen ships and took down more than a thousand people; and in 1656 two galleons collided in the Bahamas, killing all but fifty- six of the seven hundred passengers. Such gloomy news combined with reports of piracy to cause more than a few potential Spanish settlers to reconsider their plans to relocate in Mexico.

Another factor that retarded Spain's success in the New World was its rigid adherence to mercantilism, an economic theory that had started to dominate Europe. Mercantilism held that wealth was fixed (because it consisted of gold and silver), and that for one nation to get richer, another must get poorer.

Spain thoroughly embraced the aspects of mercantilism that emphasized acquiring gold and silver. Spanish mines in the New World eventually turned out untold amounts of riches. Francisco Pizarro transported 13,000 pounds of gold and 26,000 pounds of silver in just his first shipment home. Total bullion shipped from Mexico and Peru between 1500 and 1650 exceeded 180 tons. Yet Spain did not view the New World as land to be developed, and rather than using the wealth as a base from which to create a thriving commercial sector, Spain allowed its gold to sit in royal vaults, unemployed in the formation of new capital.

Spanish attitudes weighed heavily upon the settlers of New Spain, who quickly were outpaced by the more commercially oriented English outposts.29 Put another way, Spain remained wedded to the simplest form of mercantilism, whereas the English and Dutch advanced in the direction of a freer and more lucrative system in which business was less subordinated to the needs of the state. Since the state lacked the information possessed by the collective buyers and sellers in the marketplace, governments inevitably were at a disadvantage in measuring supply and demand. England thus began to shoot ahead of Spain and Portugal, whose entrepreneurs found themselves increasingly in enmeshed in the snares of bureaucratic mercantilism.

France in the New World
France, the last of the major colonizing powers, abandoned mercantilism more quickly than the Spanish, but not as rapidly as the English. Although not eager to colonize North America, France feared leaving the New World to its European rivals. Following early expeditions along the coast of Newfoundland, the first serious voyages by a French captain into North America were conducted under Jacques Cartier in 1534. Searching for the fabled Northwest Passage, a northerly water route to the Pacific, he sailed up the St. Lawrence, reaching the present site of Montreal. It was another seventy years, however, before the French established a permanent settlement there.

Samuel de Champlain, a pious cartographer considered one of the greatest inland explorers of all time, searched for a series of lakes that would link the Atlantic and Pacific, and in 1608 established a fort on a rocky point called Quebec (from the Algonquin word "kebec," or "where the river narrows"). Roughly twenty years later, France chartered the Company of New France, a trading firm designed to populate French holdings in North America. Compared to English colonial efforts, however, New France was a disappointment, in no small part because one of the most enthusiastic French groups settled in the southeastern part of the United States, not Canada, placing them in direct contact with the powerful Spanish. The French government, starting a trend that continued to the time of the Puritans, answered requests by religious dissidents to plant a colony in the southernmost reaches of North America. Many dissenters born of the Protestant Reformation sought religious freedom from Catholic governments. These included French Protestants known as Huguenots. Violent anti-Protestant prejudices in France served as a powerful inducement for the Huguenots to emigrate.

Huguenots managed to land a handful of volunteers in Port Royal Sound (present-day South Carolina) in 1562, but the colony failed. Two years later, another expedition successfully settled at Fort Caroline in Florida, which came under attack from the Spanish, who slaughtered the unprepared inhabitants, ending French challenges to Spanish power in the southern parts of North America. From that point on, France concentrated its efforts on the northern reaches of North America-Canada-where Catholicism, not Protestantism, played a significant role in French Canadian expansion alongside the economics of the fur trade.

French colonization trailed that of the English for several reasons. Quebec was much colder than most of the English colonial sites, making it a much less attractive destination for emigrants. Also, the conditions of French peasants in the 1600s were better than that of their English counterparts, so they were less interested in leaving their mother country. Finally, the French government, concerned with maintaining a large base of domestic military recruits, did not encourage migration to New France. As a result, by 1700, English colonists in North America outnumbered French settlers six to one. Despite controlling the St. Lawrence and Mississippi rivers, New France, deprived by its inland character of many of the advantages available to the coastal English settlements, saw only a "meagre trickle" to the region.31 As few as twenty-seven thousand French came to Canada in 150 years, and two-thirds of those departed without leaving descendants there.

Even so, New France had substantial economic appeal. Explorers had not found gold or silver, but northern expeditions discovered riches of another sort: furs. Vast Canadian forests offered an abundance of highly valued deer, elk, rabbit, and beaver skins and pelts, harvested by an indigenous population eager to trade. Trapping required deep penetration into forests controlled by Indians, and the French found that they could obtain furs far more easily through barter than they could by deploying their own army of trappers with soldiers to protect them. Thus, French traders ventured deep into the interior of Canada to exchange knives, blankets, cups, and, when necessary, guns with the Indians for pelts. At the end of a trading journey, the coureurs de bois (runners of the woods) returned to Montreal, where they sold the furs to merchants who shipped them back to Europe. That strategy demanded that France limit the number of its colonists and discourage settlement, particularly in Indian territories. France attempted to deal with natives as friends and trading partners, but quickly realized that the Indians harbored as much enmity for each other as they did for the Europeans. If not careful, France could find itself on the wrong end of an alliance, so where possible, the French government restrained colonial intrusions into Indian land, with the exception of missionaries, such as Jacques Marquette (1673) and RenT de La Salle (1681).

The English Presence
Despite the voyages of John Cabot, English explorers trailed in the wake of the Portuguese, Spanish, and French. England, at the beginning of the sixteenth century "was backward in commerce, industry, and wealth, and therefore did not rank as one of the great European nations."33 When Queen Elizabeth took the throne in 1558, the situation changed: the nation developed a large navy with competent-often skilled— sailors. Moreover, profits from piracy and privateering provided strong incentives to bold seamen, especially "sea dogs" like John Hawkins and Francis Drake, to join in plundering the Spanish sea-lanes. By that time, the English reading public had become fascinated with the writings of Humphrey Gilbert, especially A Discourse to Prove a Passage by the North-West to Cathaia and the East Indies (1576), which closed with a challenge to Englishmen to discover that water route.

In 1578, Elizabeth granted him rights to plant an English colony in America, but he died in an attempt to colonize Newfoundland. Walter Raleigh, Gilbert's half brother, inherited the grant and sent vessels to explore the coast of North America before determining where to locate a settlement. That expedition reached North Carolina in the summer of 1584. After spending two months traversing the land, commenting on its vegetation and natural beauty, the explorers returned to England with glowing reports. Raleigh supported a second expedition in 1585, at which time one hundred settlers landed at Roanoke on the Carolina coast. When the transports had sailed for England, leaving the colony alone, it nearly starved, and only the fortunate arrival of Drake, fresh from new raiding, provided it with supplies. Raleigh, undeterred by the near disaster, planned another settlement for Roanoke, by which time Richard Haklupt's Discourse on Western Planting (1584) further ginned up enthusiasm for settling in the region.

Settlers received stock in Raleigh's company, which attracted 133 men and 17 women who set sail on three ships. They reached Roanoke Island in 1587, and a child born on that island, Virginia Dare, technically became the first European born in America. As with the previous English expedition, the ships, under the command of the governor, John White, returned to England for more supplies, only to arrive under the impending threat of a Spanish invasion of England-a failed invasion that would result in the spectacular defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, leaving England as the predominant sea power in the world. Delays prohibited the supply ships from returning to Roanoke until 1591, when John White found the Roanoke houses standing, but no settlers. A mysterious clue-the word croatoan carved on a tree-remains the only evidence of their fate. Croatoan Indians lived somewhat nearby, but they were considered friendly, and neither White nor generations of historians have solved the puzzle of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Whatever the fate of the Roanoke settlers, the result for England was that by 1600 there still were no permanent English colonies in America.

Foundations for English Success in the New World: A Hypothesis
England had laid the foundation for successful North American settlements well before the first permanent colony was planted at Jamestown in 1607. Although it seemed insignificant in comparison to the large empire already established by the Spanish, Virginia and subsequent English colonies in Massachusetts would eclipse the settlement of the Iberian nations and France. Why?

It is conceivable that English colonies prospered simply by luck, but the dominance of Europe in general and England in particular-a tiny island with few natural resources-suggests that specific factors can be identified as the reasons for the rise of an English-Atlantic civilization: the appearance of new business practices, a culture of technological inquisitiveness, and a climate receptive to political and economic risk taking.

One of the most obvious areas in which England surpassed other nations was in its business practices. English merchants had eclipsed their Spanish and French rivals in preparing for successful colonization through adoption of the joint-stock company as a form of business. One of the earliest of these joint-stock companies, the Company of the Staple, was founded in 1356 to secure control over the English wool trade from Italian competitors. By the 1500s, the Moscovy Company (1555), the Levant Company (1592), and the East India Company (1600) fused the exploration of distant regions with the pursuit of profit. Joint- stock companies had two important advantages over other businesses. One advantage was that the company did not dissolve with the death of the primary owner (and thus was permanent). Second, it featured limited liability, in which a stockholder could lose only what he invested, in contrast to previous business forms that held owners liable for all of a company's debts. Those two features made investing in an exciting venture in the New World attractive, especially when coupled with the exaggerated claims of the returning explorers. Equally important, however, the joint-stock feature allowed a rising group of middle-class merchants to support overseas ventures on an ever-expanding basis.

In an even more significant development, a climate receptive to risk taking and innovation, which had flourished throughout the West, reached its most advanced state in England. It is crucial to realize that key inventions or technologies appeared in non-Western countries first; yet they were seldom, if ever, employed in such a way as to change society dramatically until the Western societies applied them. The stirrup, for example, was known as early as a.d. 400-500 in the Middle East, but it took until 730, when Charles Martel's mounted knights adopted cavalry charges that combat changed on a permanent basis.35 Indeed, something other than invention was at work. As sociologist Jack Goldstone put it, "The West did not overtake the East merely by becoming more efficient at making bridles and stirrups, but by developing steam engines... [and] by taking unknown risks on novelty."36 Stability of the state, the rule of law, and a willingness to accept new or foreign ideas, rather than ruthlessly suppress them, proved vital to entrepreneurship, invention, technical creativity, and innovation. In societies dominated by the state, scientists risked their lives if they arrived at unacceptable answers.

Still another factor, little appreciated at the time, worked in favor of English ascendancy: labor scarcity ensured a greater respect for new immigrants, whatever their origins, than had existed in Europe. With the demand for labor came property rights, and with such property rights came political rights unheard of in Europe.

Indeed, the English respect for property rights soon eclipsed other factors accounting for England's New World dominance. Born out of the fierce struggles by English landowners to protect their estates from seizure by the state, by the 1600s, property rights had become so firmly established as a basis for English economic activities that its rules permeated even the lowest classes in society. English colonists found land so abundant that anyone could own it. When combined with freedom from royal retribution in science and technological fields, the right to retain the fruit of one's labor—even intellectual property-gave England a substantial advantage in the colonization process over rivals that had more than a century's head start.37 These advantages would be further enhanced by a growing religious toleration brought about by religious dissenters from the Church of England called Puritans.

The Colonial South
In 1606, James I granted a charter to the Virginia Company for land in the New World, authorizing two subsidiary companies: the London Company, based in Bristol, and the Plymouth Company, founded by Plymouth stockholders. A group of "certain Knights, Gentlemen, Merchants, and other Adventurers" made up the London Company, which was a joint-stock company in the same vein as the Company of the Staple and the Levant Company. The grant to the London Company, reaching from modern-day North Carolina to New York, received the name Virginia in honor of Queen Elizabeth (the "Virgin Queen"), whereas the Plymouth Company's grant encompassed New England. More than 600 individuals and fifty commercial firms invested in the Virginia Company, illustrating the fund-raising advantages available to a corporation. The London Company organized its expedition first, sending three ships out in 1607 with 144 boys and men to establish a trading colony designed to extract wealth for shipment back to England.

Seeking to "propagate the Christian religion" in the Chesapeake and to produce a profit for the investors, the London Company owned the land and appointed the governor. Colonists were considered "employees." However, as with Raleigh's employees, the colonists enjoyed, as the king proclaimed, "all Liberties, Franchises, and Immunities ... as if they had been abiding and born, within this our Realm of England."39 Most colonists lacked any concept of what awaited them: the company adopted a military model based on the Irish campaigns, and the migrants included few farmers or men skilled in construction trades. After a four-month voyage, in April 1607, twenty-six-year old Captain John Smith piloted ships fifty miles up the James River, well removed from eyesight of passing Spanish vessels. It was a site remarkable for its defensive position, but it sat on a malarial swamp surrounded by thick forests that would prove difficult to clear. Tiny triangle-shaped James Forte, as Jamestown was called, featured firing parapets at each comer and contained fewer than two dozen buildings. Whereas defending the fort might have appeared possible, stocking the fort with provisions proved more difficult: not many of the colonists wanted to work, and none found gold. Some discovered pitch, tar, lumber, and iron for export, but many of the emigrants were gentleman adventurers who disdained physical labor as had their Spanish counterparts to the Southwest. Smith implored the London Company to send "30 carpenters, husbandmen, gardeners, fishermen, blacksmiths, masons and diggers up of trees ... [instead of] a thousand of such as we have"40 Local Indians, such as the Monacan and Chickahominy, traded with the colonists, but the English could neither hire Indian laborers nor did Indian males express any interest in agriculture themselves. Reaping what they had (not) sown, the settlers of James Forte starved, with fewer than one third of the 120 colonists surviving a year. So few remained that the living, Smith noted, were scarcely able to bury the dead.ö

Disease also decimated the colony. Jamestown settlers were leveled by New World diseases for which they had no resistance. Malaria, in particular, proved a dreaded killer, and malnutrition lowered the immunity of the colonists. The brackish water at that point of the James River also fostered mosquitoes and parasites. Virginia was hardly a "disease-free paradise" before the arrival of the Jamestown English.41 New microbes transported by the Europeans generated a much higher level of infection than previously experienced by the Indians; then, in a vicious circle, warring Indian tribes spread the diseases among one another when they attacked enemy tribes and carried off infected prisoners.

Thanks to the efforts of Smith, who as council president simply assumed control in 1608, the colony was saved. Smith imposed military discipline and order and issued the famous biblical edict, "He who will not work will not eat." He stabilized the colony, and in the second winter, less than 15 percent of the population died, compared to the more than 60 percent who died just a year earlier. Smith also organized raids on Indian villages. These brought immediate returns of food and animals, but fostered long-term retribution from the natives, who harassed the colonists when they ventured outside their walls. But Smith was not anti-Indian per se, and even proposed a plan of placing white males in Indian villages to intermarry-hardly the suggestion of a racist. Subsequent settlers developed schools to educate Indians, including William and Mary. Smith ran the colony like an army unit until 1609, when confident of its survival, the colonists tired of his tyrannical methods and deposed him.

At that point he returned to England, whereupon the London Company (by then calling itself the Virginia Company) obtained a new charter from the king, and it sought to raise capital in England by selling stock and by offering additional stock to anyone willing to migrate to Virginia. The company provided free passage to Jamestown for indentures, or servants willing to work for the Virginia Company for seven years. A new fleet of nine ships containing six hundred men and some women left England in 1609. One of the ships sank in a hurricane, and another ran aground in Bermuda, where it remained until May 1610. The other vessels arrived at Jamestown only to experience the "starving time" in the winter of 1609-10. English colonists, barricaded within James Forte, ate dogs, cats, rats, toadstools, and horse hides- ultimately eating from the corpses of the dead. When the remnants of the fleet that had been stuck in Bermuda finally reached Virginia in the late spring of 1610, all the colonists boarded for a return to England. At the mouth of the James River, however, the ships encountered an English vessel bringing supplies. The settlers returned to James Forte, and shortly thereafter a new influx of settlers revived the colony.

Like Smith, subsequent governors, including the first official governor, Lord De La Warr, attempted to operate the colony on a socialist model: settlers worked in forced-labor gangs; shirkers were flogged and some even hanged. Still, negative incentives only went so far because ultimately the communal storehouse would sustain anyone in danger of starving, regardless of individual work effort. Administrators realized that personal incentives would succeed where force would not, and they permitted private ownership of land. The application of private enterprise, combined with the introduction of tobacco farming, helped Jamestown survive and prosper-an experience later replicated in Georgia.

During the early critical years, Indians were too divided to coordinate their attacks against the English. The powerful Chief Powhatan, who led a confederation of more than twenty tribes, enlisted the support of the Jamestown settlers-who he assumed were there for the express purpose of stealing Indian land-to defeat other enemy Indian tribes. Both sides played balance-of-power politics. Thomas Dale, the deputy governor, proved resourceful in keeping the Indians off balance, at one point kidnapping Powhatan's daughter, Pocahontas (Matoaka), and holding her captive at Jamestown. There she met and eventually married planter John Rolfe, in 1614. Their marriage made permanent the uneasy truce that existed between Powatan and Jamestown. Rolfe and Pocahontas returned to England, where the Indian princess, as a convert to Christianity, proved a popular dinner guest. She epitomized the view that Indians could be evangelized and "Europeanized."

Tobacco, Slaves, and Representative Government
Rolfe already had made another significant contribution to the success of the colony by curing tobacco in 1612. Characterized by King James I as a "vile and stinking ... custom," smoking tobacco had been promoted in England by Raleigh and had experienced widespread popularity. Columbus had reported Cuban natives rolling tobacco leaves, lighting them on fire, and sticking them in a nostril. By Rolfe's time the English had refined the custom by using a pipe or by smoking the tobacco directly with the mouth. England already imported more than ú200,000 worth of tobacco per year from Spanish colonies, which had a monopoly on nicotine until Rolfe's discovery. Tobacco was not the only substance to emerge from Virginia that would later be considered a vice-George Thorpe perfected a mash of Indian corn that provided a foundation for hard liquor-but tobacco had the greatest potential for profitable production.

Substantial change in the production of tobacco only occurred, however, after the Virginia Company allowed individual settlers to own land. In 1617, any freeman who migrated to Virginia could obtain a grant of one hundred acres of land. Grants were increased for most colonists through the headright policy, under which every head of a household could receive fifty acres for himself and an additional fifty acres for every adult family member or servant who came to America with him. The combination of available land and the growing popularity of tobacco in England resulted in a string of plantations stretching to Failing Creek, well up the James River and as far west as Dale's Gift on Cape Charles. Virtually all of the plantations had riverfronts, allowing ships' captains to dock directly at the plantation, and their influence extended as far as the lands of the Piedmont Indians, who traded with the planters.

Tobacco cultivation encouraged expansion. The crop demanded large areas of farmland, and the methods of cultivation depleted the soil quickly. Growers steadily moved to interior areas of Virginia, opening still more settlements and requiring additional forts. But the recurring problem in Virginia was obtaining labor, which headright could not provide-quite the contrary, it encouraged new tree farms. Instead, the colony placed new emphasis on indentures, including "20 and odd Negroes" brought to Virginia by a Dutch ship in 1619.

The status of the first blacks in the New World remains somewhat mysterious, and any thesis about the change in black status generates sharp controversy. Historian Edmund Morgan, in American Slavery, American Freedom, contended that the first blacks had the same legal status as white indentured servants.45 Other recent research confirms that the lines blurred between indentures of all colors and slaves, and that establishing clear definitions of exactly who was likely to become a slave proved difficult.46 At least some white colonists apparently did not distinguish blacks from other servants in their minds, and some early black indentured servants were released at the end of their indentures. Rather than viewing Africa as a source of unlimited labor, English colonists preferred European indentured servants well into the 1670s, even when they came from the ranks of criminals from English jails. But by the 1660s, the southern colonists had slowly altered their attitudes toward Africans. Increasingly, the southerners viewed them as permanent servants, and in 1664 some southern colonies declared slavery hereditary, as it had been in ancient Athens and still was throughout the Muslim world.

Perhaps the greatest irony surrounding the introduction of black servants was the timing-if the 1619 date is accurate. That year, the first elected legislative assembly convened at Jamestown. Members consisted of the governor and his council and representatives (or burgesses) from each of the eleven plantations. The assembly gradually split into an upper house, the governor and council, and the lower house, made up of the burgesses. This meant that the early forms of slavery and democracy in America were "twin-born at Jamestown, and in their infancy ... were rocked in the Cradle of the Republic."

Each of the colonists already had the rights of Englishmen, but the scarcity of labor forced the Virginia Company to grant new equal political rights within the colony to new migrants in the form of the privileges that land conferred. In that way, land and liberty became intertwined in the minds and attitudes of the Virginia founders. Virginia's founders may have believed in "natural law" concepts, but it was the cold reality of the endless labor shortages that put teeth in the colony's political rights. Still, the early colonial government was relatively inefficient and inept in carrying out its primary mission of turning a profit. London Company stockholders failed to resupply the colony adequately, and had instead placed their hope in sending ever-growing numbers of settlers to Jamestown. Adding to the colony's miseries, the new arrivals soon encroached on Indian lands, eliciting hostile reaction. Powhatan's death in 1618 resulted in leadership of the Chesapeake tribes falling to his brother, Opechancanough, who conceived a shrewd plan to destroy the English. Feigning friendship, the Indians encouraged a false sense of security among the careless colonists. Then, in 1622, Opechancanough's followers launched simultaneous attacks on the settlements surrounding Jamestown, killing more than three hundred settlers. The English retaliated by destroying Indian cornfields, a response that kept the Indians in check until 1644. Though blind, Opechancanough remained the chief and, still wanting vengeance, ordered a new wave of attacks that killed another three hundred English in two days. Again the settlers retaliated. They captured Opechancanough, shot him, and forced the Indians from the region between the York and James rivers.

By that time, the Virginia Company had attracted considerable attention in England, none of it good. The king appointed a committee to look into the company's affairs and its perceived mismanagement, reflecting the fact that English investors-by then experiencing the fruits of commercial success at home- expected even more substantial returns from their successful operations abroad than they had received. Opechancanough's raids seemed to reinforce the assessment that the London directors could not make prudent decisions about the colony's safety, and in 1624 the Court of King's Bench annulled the Virginia Company's charter and the king assumed control of the colony as a royal province.

Virginians became embroiled in English politics, particularly the struggle between the Cavaliers (supporters of the king) and the Puritans. In 1649 the Puritans executed Charles I, whose forces had surrendered three years earlier. When Charles was executed, Governor William Berkeley and the Assembly supported Charles II as the rightful ruler of England (earning for Virginia the nickname Old Dominion). Parliament, however, was in control in England, and dispatched warships to bring the rebellious pro- Charles Virginians in line. After flirting with resistance, Berkeley and his Cavalier supporters ultimately yielded to the Puritan English Parliamentarians. Then Parliament began to ignore the colony, allowing Virginia to assume a great deal of self-government.

The new king, Charles II, the son of the executed Charles I, rewarded Berkeley and the Virginia Cavaliers for their loyalty. Berkeley was reappointed governor in 1660, but when he returned to his position, he was out of touch with the people and the assembly, which had grown more irascible, and was more intolerant than ever of religious minorities, including Quakers. At the same time, the colony's population had risen to forty thousand, producing tensions with the governor that erupted in 1676 with the influx of settlers into territories reserved for the Indians. All that was needed for the underrepresented backcountry counties to rise against Berkeley and the tidewater gentry was a leader.

Bacon's Rebellion
Nathaniel Bacon Jr., an eloquent and educated resident in Charles City County, had only lived in Virginia fourteen months before he was named to the governor's council. A hero among commoners, Bacon nonetheless was an aristocrat who simmered over his lack of access to the governor's inner circle. His large farm in the west stood on the front line of frontier defense, and naturally Bacon favored an aggressive strategy against the Indians. But he was not alone. Many western Virginians, noting signs of unrest among the tribes, petitioned Berkeley for military protection. Bacon went further, offering to organize and lead his own expedition against the Indians. In June 1676 he demanded a commission "against the heathen," saying, "God damme my blood, I came for a commission, and a commission I will have before I goe!"50 Governor Berkeley, convinced that the colonists had exaggerated the threat, refused to send troops and rejected Bacon's suggestion to form an independent unit.

Meanwhile, small raids by both Indians and whites started to escalate into larger attacks. In 1676, Bacon, despite his lack of official approval, led a march to track hostiles. Instead, he encountered and killed friendly Indians, which threatened to drag the entire region into war. From a sense of betrayal, he then turned his 500 men on the government at Jamestown. Berkeley maneuvered to stave off a coup by Bacon when he appointed him general, in charge of the Indian campaign. Satisfied, Bacon departed, whereupon Berkeley rescinded his support and attempted to raise an army loyal to himself. Bacon returned, and finding the ragtag militia, scattered Berkeley's hastily organized force, whereupon Bacon burned most of the buildings at Jamestown.

No sooner had Bacon conquered Jamestown than he contracted a virus and died. Leaderless, Bacon's troops lacked the ability to resist Berkeley and his forces, who, bolstered by the arrival of 1,100 British troops, regained control of the colony. Berkeley promptly hanged 23 of the rebels and confiscated the property of others-actions that violated English property law and resulted in the governor's being summoned back to England to explain his behavior. Reprimanded by King Charles, Berkeley died before he could return to the colony.

The Maryland Experiment
Although Virginia was a Protestant (Anglican) colony-and it must be stated again that the London Company did not have a religious agenda per se-a second Chesapeake colony was planted in 1634 when George Calvert received a grant from James I. Calvert, who enjoyed strong personal support from the king despite his conversion to Catholicism in 1625, already had mounted an unsuccessful mission to plant a colony in Newfoundland. After returning from the aborted Newfoundland venture, Calvert worked to obtain a charter for the northern part of Chesapeake Bay. Shortly after he died, the Crown issued a charter in 1632, to Cecilius Calvert, George's son, naming George Calvert Lord Baltimore. The grant, named in honor of Charles I's sister, Queen Mary, gave Baltimore a vast expanse of land stretching from the Potomac River to the Atlantic Ocean.

Calvert's grant gave him full proprietary control over the land, freeing him from many of the constraints that had limited the Virginia Company. As proprietor, Calvert acted rex in abstentia (as the king in his absence), and as long as the proprietor acted in accordance with the laws of England, he spoke with the authority of the Crown. Calvert never visited his colony, though, governing the province through his brother, Leonard, who held the office of governor until 1647. Like Virginia, Maryland had an assembly (created in 1635) elected by all freeholders.

In March 1634 approximately three hundred passengers arrived at one of the eastern tributaries of the Potomac and established the village of St. Mary's. Located on a high cliff, St. Mary's had a good natural harbor, fresh water, and abundant vegetation. Father Andrew White, a priest who accompanied the settlers, observed of the region that "we cannot set down a foot without but tread on strawberries, raspberries, fallen mulberry vines, acorns, walnuts, [and] sassafras."52 The Maryland colony was planned better than Jamestown. It possessed a large proportion of laborers-and fewer adventurers, country gentlemen, and gold seekers-and the settlers planted corn as soon as they had cleared the fields.

Calvert, while not unaware of the monetary returns of a well-run colony, had another motive for creating a settlement in the New World. Catholics had faced severe persecution in England, and so Lord Baltimore expected that a large number of Catholics would welcome an opportunity to immigrate to Maryland, when he enacted the Toleration Act of 1649, which permitted any Christian faith to be practiced in the colony.53 The Act provided that "no person ... professing to believe in Jesus Christ, shall from henceforth be in any ways troubled, molested, or discountenanced."54 Yet the English Catholics simply did not respond the way Calvert hoped. Thus, he had to welcome Protestant immigrants at the outset. Once the news of religious toleration spread, other religious immigrants came from Virginia, including a group of persecuted Puritans who established Annapolis. The Puritans proved a thorn in Baltimore's side, however, especially after the English Civil War put the Puritans in control there and they suspended the Toleration Act. After a brief period in which the Calvert family was deprived of all rights to govern, Lord Baltimore was supported, ironically, by the Puritan Lord Protector of England, Oliver Cromwell, and he was reinstated as governor in 1657. Religious conflict had not disappeared, however; an early wave of Jesuits worked to convert all of the colonies, antagonizing the Protestant majority. Thus, in many ways, the attempt to permit religious toleration resulted in conflict and, frequently, bloodshed.

Nor did the immigration of Protestants into Maryland allay the nagging labor shortage. In 1640, Maryland established its own headright system, and still the demands for labor exceeded the supply. As in Virginia, Maryland planters solved the shortage through the use of indentured servants and, at the end of the 1600s, African slaves. Maryland enacted a law "concerning Negroes and Other Slaves" in 1664, which not only perpetuated the slave status of those already in bondage, but expanded slave status to "whosoever freeborn woman shall intermarry with any slave."55 Maryland, therefore, with its large estates and black slaves, looked very much like Virginia.

The Carolinas: Charles Town vs. Cracker Culture
Carolina, England's final seventeenth-century mainland slave society was established in 1663, when Charles II chartered the colony to eight wealthy proprietors. Their land grant encompassed the territories known today as North and South Carolina. Although Charles's aim was to create a strategic buffer zone between Spanish Florida and Virginia, Carolina's proprietors instead sought agricultural riches. Charles Town, now Charleston, South Carolina, founded in 1670, was populated largely by English Barbados planters and their slaves. Soon they turned portions of the sweltering Carolina seacoast into productive rice plantations; then, over the next century, indigo, a vegetable dye, became the planters' second most important cash crop thanks to the subsidies available in the mercantilist system.

From its outset, Carolina society was triracial: blacks eventually constituted a majority of Carolinians, followed by a mix of Indians and Europeans. White Carolinians allied with Cherokee Indians to soundly defeat the rival Yamasees and Creeks and pushed them westward. Planters failed in their attempts to enslave defeated Indians, turning instead to black slaves to cultivate the hot, humid rice fields. A 1712 South Carolina statute made slavery essentially permanent: "All negroes, mulattoes, mustizoes, or Indians, which at any time heretofore have been sold ... and their children, are hereby made and declared slaves."56 Slave life in the Carolinas differed from Virginia because the rice plantation system initially depended almost exclusively on an all-male workforce. Life in the rice and indigo fields was incredibly harsh, resembling the conditions in Barbados. The crops demanded full-time attention at harvest, requiring exhausting physical labor in the Carolina sun.

Yet colonial slave revolts (like the 1739 Stono revolt, which sent shock waves through the planter community) were exceptions because language barriers among the slaves, close and brutal supervision, a climate of repression, and a culture of subservience all combined to keep rebellions infrequent. The perceived threat of slave rebellions, nevertheless, hung over the southern coastal areas of Carolina, where slaves often outnumbered whites nine to one. Many planters literally removed themselves from the site of possible revolts by fleeing to the port cities in the summer. Charles Town soon became an island where planter families spent the "hot season" free from the plantations, swamps, and malaria of the lowlands. By mid-eighteenth century, Charles Town, with a population of eight thousand and major commercial connections, a lively social calendar of balls and cotillions, and even a paid symphony orchestra, was the leading city of the South.

Northern Carolinians differed socially, politically, economically, and culturally from their neighbors to the south. In 1729 disputes forced a split into two separate colonies. The northern part of the colonies was geographically and economically more isolated, and it developed more slowly than South Carolina. In the northeastern lowlands and Piedmont, North Carolina's economy turned immediately to tobacco, while a new ethnic and cultural wave trekked south from Pennsylvania into North Carolina via Virginia's Great Valley. German and Celtic (Scots-Irish) farmers added flavor to the Anglo and African stew of Carolina society. Germans who arrived were pious Quaker and Moravian farmers in search of opportunities to farm and market wood, leather, and iron handicrafts, whereas Celts (or Crackers, as they came to be known) were the wild and woolly frontiersmen who had fast worn out their welcome in the "civilized" areas of Pennsylvania and Virginia. Crackers answered their detractors by moving on, deeper and deeper into the forests of the Appalachian foothills and, eventually, the trans-Appalachian West. Such a jambalaya of humankind immediately made for political strife as eastern and western North Carolinians squared off time and again in disputes that often boiled down to planter-versus-small-farmer rivalries.

Life of the Common Colonials
By the mid-1700s, it was clear across the American colonies that the settlers had become increasingly less English. Travelers described Americans as coarse-looking country folk. Most colonials wore their hair long. Women and girls kept their hair covered with hats, hoods, and kerchiefs while men and boys tied their hair into queues until wigs came into vogue in the port cities. Colonials made their own clothes from linen (flax) and wool; every home had a spinning wheel and a loom, and women sewed and knitted constantly, since cotton cloth would not be readily available until the nineteenth century. Plentiful dyes like indigo, birch bark, and pokeberries made colorful shirts, pants, dresses, socks, and caps.

Americans grew their own food and ate a great deal of corn-roasted, boiled, and cooked into cornmeal bread and pancakes. Hearty vegetables like squash and beans joined apples, jam, and syrup on the dinner table. Men and boys hunted and fished; rabbit, squirrel, bear, and deer (venison) were common entrees. Pig raising became important, but beef cows (and milk) were scarce until the eighteenth century and beyond. Given the poor quality of water, many colonials drank cider, beer, and corn whiskey-even the children! As cities sprang up, the lack of convenient watering holes led owners to "water" their cattle with the runoff of breweries, yielding a disgusting variant of milk known as swill milk, which propagated childhood illnesses.

Even without swill milk, infant mortality was high, and any sickness usually meant suffering and, often, death. Colonials relied on folk medicine and Indian cures, including herbs, teas, honey, bark, and roots, supplemented with store-bought medicines. Doctors were few and far between. The American colonies had no medical school until the eve of the American Revolution, and veterinarians usually doubled as the town doctor, or vice versa. Into the vacuum of this absence of professional doctors stepped folk healers and midwives, "bone crackers" and bleeders. Going to a physician was usually the absolute last resort, since without anesthesia, any serious procedures would involve excruciating pain and extensive recovery. Women, especially, suffered during childbirth, and infants often had such high mortality rates that babies were not named until age two. Instead, mothers and fathers referred to the child as "the little visitor" or even "it." Despite the reality of this difficult life, it is worth noting that by 1774 American colonists already had attained a standard of living that far surpassed that found in most of the civilized parts of the modern world.

Far more than today, though, politics-and not the family-absorbed the attention of colonial men. Virtually anyone who either paid taxes or owned a minimum of property could vote for representation in both the upper and lower houses of the legislature, although in some colonies (Pennsylvania and New York) there was a higher property qualification required for the upper house than for the lower house. When it came to holding office, most districts required a candidate to have at least one hundred pounds in wealth or one hundred acres, but several colonies had no requirements for holding office. Put another way, American colonials took politics seriously and believed that virtually everyone could participate. Two colonies stand out as examples of the trends in North American politics by the late 1700s-Virginia and Maryland.

The growth and maturation of the societies in Virginia and Maryland established five important trends that would be repeated throughout much of America's colonial era. First, the sheer distance between the ruler and the governed-between the king and the colonies-made possible an extraordinary amount of independence among the Americans. In the case of Bacon's Rebellion, for example, the Virginia rebels acted on the principle that it is "easier to ask forgiveness than to seek permission," and were confident that the Crown would approve of their actions. Turmoil in England made communication even more difficult, and the instability in the English government-the temporary victory of Cromwell's Puritans, followed by the restoration of the Stuarts-merely made the colonial governments more self-reliant than ever.

Second, while the colonists gained a measure of independence through distance, they also gained political confidence and status through the acquisition of land. For immigrants who came from a nation where the scarcity of land marked those who owned it as gentlemen and placed them among the political elites, the abundance of soil in Virginia and Maryland made them the equals of the owners of manorial estates in England. It steadily but subtly became every citizen's job to ensure the protection of property rights for all citizens, undercutting from the outset the widespread and entrenched class system that characterized Europe. Although not universal-Virginia had a powerful "cousinocracy"ùnothing of the rigid French or English aristocracies constrained most Americans. To be sure, Virginia possessed a more pronounced social strata than Maryland (and certainly Massachusetts). Yet compared to Europe, there was more equality and less class distinction in America, even in the South.

Third, the precedent of rebellion against a government that did not carry out the most basic mandates- protecting life, property, and a certain degree of religious freedom (at least from the Church of England)ù was established and supported by large numbers, if not the vast majority, of colonists. That view was tempered by the assumption that, again, such rebellion would not be necessary against an informed government. This explains, in part, Thomas Jefferson's inclusion in the Declaration of Independence the references to the fact that the colonists had petitioned not only the king, but Parliament as well, to no avail. Fourth, a measure of religious toleration developed, although it was neither as broad as is often claimed nor did it originate in the charity of church leaders. Although Virginia Anglicans and Maryland Catholics built the skeleton of state-supported churches, labor problems forced each colony to abandon sectarian purity at an early stage to attract immigrants. Underlying presuppositions about religious freedom were narrowly focused on Christians and, in most colonies, usually Protestants. Had the colonists ever anticipated that Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, or members of other non-Christian groups would constitute even a small minority in their region, even the most fiercely independent Protestants would have agreed to the establishment of a state church, as Massachusetts did from 1630 to 1830.

America's vast size contributed to a tendency toward "Live and let live" when it came to religion.57 Dissidents always could move to uninhabited areas: certainly none of the denominations were open to evangelizing from their counterparts. Rather, the colonists embraced toleration, even if narrowly defined, because it affected a relatively cohesive group of Christian sects. Where differences that were potentially deeply divisive did exist, the separation caused by distance prevented one group from posing a threat to others.

Finally, the experiences in Virginia and Maryland foreshadowed events elsewhere when it came to interaction with the Indians. The survival of a poorly armed, ineptly organized colony in Jamestown surrounded by hostile natives requires more of an explanation than "white greed" provides. Just as Europeans practiced balance-of-power politics, so too the Indians found that the presence of several potential enemies on many sides required that they treat the whites as friends when necessary to balance the power of other Indians. To the Doeg Indians, for example, the English were no more of a threat than the Susquehannock. Likewise, English settlers had as much to fear from the French as they did the natives. Characterizing the struggle as one of whites versus Indians does not reflect the balance-of-power politics that every group in the New World struggled to maintain among its enemies.

New England's Pilgrims and Puritans
Whereas gold provided the motivation for the colonization of Virginia, the settlers who traveled to Plymouth came for much different reasons.59 The Puritans had witnessed a division in their ranks based on their approach to the Anglican Church. One group believed that not only should they remain in England, but that they also had a moral duty to purify the church from the inside. Others, however, had given up on Anglicanism. Labeled Separatists, they favored removing themselves from England entirely, and they defied the orders of the king by leaving for European Protestant nations. Their disobedience to royal decrees and British law often earned the Separatists persecution and even death.

In 1608 a group of 125 Separatists from Scrooby, in Nottinghamshire, slipped out of England for Holland. Among the most respected leaders of these "Pilgrims," as they later came to be known, was a sixteen-year- old boy named William Bradford. In Holland they faced no religious persecution, but as foreigners they found little work, and worse, Puritan children were exposed to the "great licentiousness" of Dutch youth. When few other English Separatists joined them, the prospects for establishing a strong Puritan community in Holland seemed remote. After receiving assurances from the king that they could exercise their religious views freely, they opened negotiations with one of the proprietors of the Virginia Company, Sir Edwin Sandys, about obtaining a grant in Virginia. Sandys cared little for Puritanism, but he needed colonists in the New World. Certainly the Pilgrims already had displayed courage and resourcefulness. He therefore allowed them a tract near the mouth of the Hudson River, which was located on the northernmost boundary of the Virginia grant. To raise capital, the Pilgrims employed the joint-stock company structure, which brought several non-Separatists into the original band of settlers. Sailing on the Mayflower, 35 of the original Pilgrims and 65 other colonists left the English harbor of Plymouth in September 1620, bound for the Hudson River. Blown off course, the Pilgrims reached the New World in November, some five hundred miles north of their intended location. They dropped anchor at Cape Cod Bay, at an area called Plymouth by John Smith.

Arriving at the wrong place, the colonists remained aboard their vessel while they considered their situation. They were not in Virginia, and had no charter to Plymouth. Any settlement could be perceived in England as defiance of the Crown. Bradford and the forty other adult men thus devised a document, before they even went ashore, to emphasize their allegiance to King James, to renounce any intention to create an independent republic, and to establish a civil government. It stated clearly that their purpose in sailing to Virginia was not for the purposes of rebellion but "for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country...."60 And while the Mayflower Compact provided for laws and the administration of the colony, it constituted more than a mere civil code. It pledged each of them "solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one another" to "covenant and combine ourselves under a civil Body Politick" under "just and equal laws ... [for the] furtherance of" the glory of God. To the Pilgrims, a just and equal society had to be grounded in religious faith. Developing along a parallel path to the concepts of government emerging in Virginia, the Mayflower Compact underscored the idea that government came from the governed-under God—and that the law treated all equally. But it also extended into civil affairs the concept of a church contact (or covenant), reinforcing the close connection between the role of the church and the state. Finally, it started to lay a foundation for future action against both the king of England and, eighty years after that, slavery by establishing basic principles in the contract. This constituted a critical development in an Anglo-European culture that increasingly emphasized written rights.

As one of the first acts of their new democracy, the colonists selected Bradford as governor. Then, having taken care of administrative matters, in late December 1620, the Pilgrims climbed out of their boats at Plymouth and settled at cleared land that may have been an Indian village years earlier. They had arrived too late in the year to plant, and like their countrymen farther south, the Pilgrims suffered during their first winter, with half the colony perishing. They survived with assistance from the local Indians, especially one named Squantoù"a spetiall instrument sent from God," as Bradford called him.61 For all this they gave thanks to God, establishing what would become a national tradition.

The Pilgrims, despite their fame in the traditional Thanksgiving celebration and their Mayflower Compact, never achieved the material success of the Virginia colonists or their Massachusetts successors at Massachusetts Bay. Indeed, the Plymouth colony's population stagnated. Since the Separatists' religious views continued to meet a poor reception in England, no new infusions of people or ideas came from the Old World. Having settled in a relatively poor region, and lacking the excellent natural harbor of Boston, the Pilgrims never developed the fishing or trading business of their counterparts. But the Pilgrims rightly hold a place of high esteem in America history, largely because unlike the Virginia settlers, the Separatists braved the dangers and uncertainties of the voyage and settlement in the New World solely in the name of their Christian faith.

Other Puritans, though certainly not all of them Separatists, saw opportunities to establish their own settlements. They had particular incentives to do so after the ascension to the throne of England of Charles I in 1625. He was determined to restore Catholicism and eradicate religious dissidents. By that time, the Puritans had emerged as a powerful merchant group in English society, with their economic power translating into seats in Parliament. Charles reacted by dissolving Parliament in 1629. Meanwhile, a group of Dorchester businessmen had provided the perfect vehicle for the Puritans to undertake an experiment in the New World.

In 1623 the Dorchester group established a small fishing post at Cape Ann, near present-day Gloucester, Massachusetts. After the colony proved a dismal economic failure, the few settlers who had lived at Cape Ann moved inland to Salem, and a new patent, granted in 1628, provided incentives for a new group of emigrants, including John Endicott, to settle in Salem. Ultimately, the New England Company, as it was called, obtained a royal charter in 1629. Stockholders in the company elected a General Court, which chose the governor and his eighteen assistants. Those prominent in founding the company saw the Salem and Cape Ann areas as opportunities for establishing Christian missions.

The 1629 charter did not require the company's headquarters to be in London, as the Virginia Company's had. Several Puritans, including John Winthrop, expressed their willingness to move to the trading colony if they could also move the colony's administration to Massachusetts. Stockholders unwilling to move to the New World resigned, and the Puritans gained control of the company, whereupon they chose John Winthrop as the governor.62 Called the Moses of the great Puritan exodus, Winthrop was Cambridge educated and, because he was an attorney, relatively wealthy. He was also deeply committed to the Puritan variant of Christianity. Winthrop suffered from the Puritan dilemma, in that he knew that all things came from God, and therefore had to be good. Therefore all things were made for man to enjoy, except that man could not enjoy things too much lest he risk putting material things above God. In short, Puritans had to be "in the world but not of it."

Puritans, far from wearing drab clothes and avoiding pleasure, enjoyed all things. Winthrop himself loved pipe smoking and shooting. Moreover, Puritan ministers "were the leaders in every field of intellectual advance in New England."63 Their moral codes in many ways were not far from modern standards.64 A substantial number of settlers joined Winthrop, with eleven ships leaving for Massachusetts that year. When the Puritans finally arrived, Winthrop delivered a sermon before the colonists disembarked. It resounded with many of the sentiments of the Plymouth Pilgrims: "Wee must Consider that wee shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us." Winthrop wanted the Puritans to see themselves as examples and, somewhat typical of his day, made dire predictions of their fate if they failed to live up to God's standard.

The Massachusetts Bay colony benefited from changes in the religious situation in England, where a new policy of forcing Puritans to comply with Anglican ceremonies was in effect. Many Puritans decided to leave England rather than tolerate such persecution, and they emigrated to Massachusetts in what was called the Great Migration, pulled by reports of "a store of blessings."65 This constant arrival of new groups of relatively prosperous colonists kept the colony well funded and its labor force full (unlike the southern colonies). By 1640, the population of Massachusetts Bay and its inland settlements numbered more than ten thousand.

Puritan migrants brought with them an antipathy and distrust of the Stuart monarchy (and governmental power in general) that would have great impact in both the long and short term. Government in the colony, as elsewhere in most of English America, assumed a democratic bent. Originally, the General Court, created as Massachusetts Bay's first governing body, was limited to freemen, but after 1629, when only the Puritan stockholders remained, that meant Puritan male church members. Clergymen were not allowed to hold public office, but through the voting of the church members, the clergy gained exceptional influence. A Puritan hierarchy ran the administrative posts, and although non-Puritan immigrant freemen obtained property and other rights, only the church members received voting privileges. In 1632, however, the increasing pressure of additional settlers forced changes in the minority-run General Court. The right to elect the governor and deputy governor was expanded to all freemen, turning the governor and his assistants into a colonial parliament.

Political tensions in Massachusetts reflected the close interrelationship Puritans felt between civil and religious life. Rigorous tests existed for admission to a Puritan church congregation: individuals had to show evidence of a changed life, relate in an interview process their conversion experience, and display knowledge of scripture. On the surface, this appeared to place extraordinary power in the hands of the authorities, giving them (if one was a believer) the final word on who was, and was not, saved. But in reality, church bodies proved extremely lenient in accepting members. After all, who could deny another's face-to-face meeting with the Almighty? Local records showed a wide range of opinions on the answer.67 One solution, the "Halfway Covenant," allowed third-generation Puritan children to be baptized if their parents were baptized.

Before long, of course, many insincere or more worldly colonists had gained membership, and with the expansion of church membership, the right to participate in the polity soon spread, and by 1640 almost all families could count one adult male church member (and therefore a voter) in their number. The very fact that so many people came, however tangentially, under the rubric of local-but not centralized-church authority reinforced civic behavior with a Christian moral code, although increasingly the laity tended to be more spiritually conservative than the clergy.

Local autonomy of churches was maintained through the congregational system of organization. Each church constituted the ultimate authority in scriptural doctrine. That occasionally led to unorthodox or even heretical positions developing, but usually the doctrinal agreement between Puritans on big issues was so widespread that few serious problems arose. When troublemakers did appear, as when Roger Williams arrived in Massachusetts in 1631, or when Anne Hutchinson challenged the hierarchy in 1636, Winthrop and the General Court usually dispatched them in short order.70 Moreover, the very toleration often (though certainly not universally) exhibited by the Puritans served to reinforce and confirm "the colonists in their belief that New England was a place apart, a bastion of consistency."

There were limits to toleration, of course. In 1692, when several young Salem girls displayed physical "fits" and complained of being hexed by witches, Salem village was thrown into an uproar. A special court convened to try the witches. Although the girls initially accused only one as a witch (Tituba, a black slave woman), the accusations and charges multiplied, with 150 Salemites eventually standing accused. Finally, religious and secular leaders expressed objections, and the trials ceased as quickly as they had begun. Historians have subsequently ascribed the hysteria of the Salem witch trials to sexism, religious rigidity, and even the fungus of a local plant, but few have admitted that to the Puritans of Massachusetts, the devil and witchcraft were quite real, and physical manifestations of evil spirits were viewed as commonplace occurrences.

The Pequot War and American Militia System
The Puritan's religious views did not exempt them from conflict with the Indians, particularly the Pequot Indians of coastal New England. Puritan/Pequot interactions followed a cyclical pattern that would typify the next 250 years of Indian-white relations, in the process giving birth to the American militia system, a form of warfare quite unlike that found in Europe.

Initial contacts led to cross-acculturation and exchange, but struggles over land ensued, ending in extermination, extirpation, or assimilation of the Indians. Sparked by the murder of a trader, the Pequot War commenced in July of 1636. In the assault on the Pequot fort on the Mystic River in 1637, troops from Connecticut and Massachusetts, along with Mohican and Narragansett Indian allies, attacked and destroyed a stronghold surrounded by a wooden palisade, killing some four hundred Pequots in what was, to that time, one of the most stunning victories of English settlers over Indians ever witnessed.

One important result of the Pequot War was the Indians' realization that, in the future, they would have to unify to fight the Englishmen. This would ultimately culminate in the 1675-76 war led by Metacomet- known in New England history as King Philip's War—which resulted in a staggering defeat for northeastern coastal tribes. A far-reaching result of these conflicts was the creation of the New England militia system.

The Puritan-indeed, English—distrust of the mighty Stuart kings manifested itself in a fear of standing armies. Under the colonial militia system, much of the population armed itself and prepared to fight on short notice. All men aged sixteen to sixty served without pay in village militia companies; they brought their own weapons and supplies and met irregularly to train and drill. One advantage of the militia companies was that some of their members were crack shots: As an eighteenth-century American later wrote a British friend,

In this country ... the great quantities of game, the many lands, and the great privileges of killing make the Americans the best marksmen in the world, and thousands support their families by the same, particularly the riflemen on the frontiers. ... In marching through the woods one thousand of these riflemen would cut to pieces ten thousand of your best troops.

But the American militia system also had many disadvantages. Insubordination was the inevitable result of trying to turn individualistic Americans into obedient soldiers. Militiamen did not want to fight anywhere but home. Some deserted in the middle of a campaign because of spring plowing or because their time was up. But the most serious shortcoming of the militia system was that it gave Americans a misguided impression that they did not need a large, well-trained standing army.

The American soldier was an amateur, an irregular combatant who despised the professional military. Even 140 years after the Pequot War, the Continental Congress still was suspicious of a professional military, "however necessary it may be, is always dangerous to the liberties of the people. ... Standing armies in time of peace are inconsistent with the principles of republican government."73

Where muskets and powder could handle-or, at least, suppress-most of the difficulties with Indians, there were other, more complex issues raised by a rogue minister and an independent-minded woman. Taken together, the threats posed by Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson may have presented as serious a menace to Massachusetts as the Pequots and other tribes put together.

"

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Table of Contents

A Patriots History of the United States Acknowledgments
Introduction

Chapter One: The City on the Hill, 1492-1707

Chapter Two: Colonial Adolescence, 1707-63

Chapter Three: Colonies No More, 1763-83

Chapter Four: A Nation of Law, 1776-89

Chapter Five: Small Republic, Big Shoulders, 1789-1815

Chapter Six: The First Era of Big Central Government, 1815-36

Chapter Seven: Red Foxes and Bear Flags, 1836-48

Chapter Eight: The House Dividing, 1848-60

Chapter Nine: The Crisis of the Union, 1860-65

Chapter Ten: Ideals and Realities of Reconstruction, 1865-76

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First Chapter

A Patriots History Of The United States

From Columbus's Great Discovery To The War On Terror
By Larry Schweikart Michael Patrick Allen

Sentinel

ISBN: 1-59523-001-7


Chapter One

The City on the Hill, 1492-1707

The Age of European Discovery

God, Glory, and gold-not necessarily in that order-took post-Renaissance Europeans to parts of the globe they had never before seen. The opportunity to gain materially while bringing the Gospel to non-Christians offered powerful incentives to explorers from Portugal, Spain, England, and France to embark on dangerous voyages of discovery in the 1400s. Certainly they were not the first to sail to the Western Hemisphere: Norse sailors reached the coasts of Iceland in 874 and Greenland a century later, and legends recorded Leif Erickson's establishment of a colony in Vinland, somewhere on the northern Canadian coast. Whatever the fate of Vinland, its historical impact was minimal, and significant voyages of discovery did not occur for more than five hundred years, when trade with the Orient beckoned.

Marco Polo and other travelers to Cathay (China) had brought exaggerated tales of wealth in the East and returned with unusual spices, dyes, rugs, silks, and other goods. But this was a difficult, long journey. Land routes crossed dangerous territories, including imposing mountains and vast deserts of modern-day Afghanistan, northern India, Iran, and Iraq, and required expensive and well-protected caravans toreach Europe from Asia. Merchants encountered bandits who threatened transportation lanes, kings and potentates who demanded tribute, and bloodthirsty killers who pillaged for pleasure. Trade routes from Bombay and Goa reached Europe via Persia or Arabia, crossing the Ottoman Empire with its internal taxes. Cargo had to be unloaded at seaports, then reloaded at Alexandria or Antioch for water transport across the Mediterranean, or continued on land before crossing the Dardanelles Strait into modern-day Bulgaria to the Danube River. European demand for such goods seemed endless, enticing merchants and their investors to engage in a relentless search for lower costs brought by safer and cheaper routes. Gradually, Europeans concluded that more direct water routes to the Far East must exist.

The search for Cathay's treasure coincided with three factors that made long ocean voyages possible. First, sailing and shipbuilding technology had advanced rapidly after the ninth century, thanks in part to the Arabs' development of the astrolabe, a device with a pivoted limb that established the sun's altitude above the horizon. By the late tenth century, astrolabe technology had made its way to Spain. Farther north, Vikings pioneered new methods of hull construction, among them the use of overlapping planks for internal support that enabled vessels to withstand violent ocean storms. Sailors of the Hanseatic League states on the Baltic coast experimented with larger ship designs that incorporated sternpost rudders for better control. Yet improved ships alone were not enough: explorers needed the accurate maps generated by Italian seamen and sparked by the new inquisitive impulse of the Renaissance. Thus a wide range of technologies coalesced to encourage long-range voyages of discovery.

Political changes, a second factor giving birth to the age of discovery, resulted from the efforts of several ambitious European monarchs to consolidate their possessions into larger, cohesive dynastic states. This unification of lands, which increased the taxable base within the kingdoms, greatly increased the funding available to expeditions and provided better military protection (in the form of warships) at no cost to investors. By the time a combined Venetian-Spanish fleet defeated a much larger Ottoman force at Lepanto in 1571, the vessels of Christian nations could essentially sail with impunity anywhere in the Mediterranean. Then, in control of the Mediterranean, Europeans could consider voyages of much longer duration (and cost) than they ever had in the past. A new generation of explorers found that monarchs could support even more expensive undertakings that integrated the monarch's interests with the merchants'.

Third, the Protestant Reformation of 1517 fostered a fierce and bloody competition for power and territory between Catholic and Protestant nations that reinforced national concerns. England competed for land with Spain, not merely for economic and political reasons, but because the English feared the possibility that Spain might catholicize numbers of non-Christians in new lands, whereas Catholics trembled at the thought of subjecting natives to Protestant heresies. Therefore, even when economic or political gains for discovery and colonization may have been marginal, monarchs had strong religious incentives to open their royal treasuries to support such missions.

Time Line

1492-1504: Columbus's four voyages 1519-21: Cortés conquers Mexico 1585-87: Roanoke Island (Carolinas) colony fails 1607: Jamestown, Virginia, founded 1619: First Africans arrive in Virginia 1619: Virginia House of Burgesses formed 1620: Pilgrims found Plymouth, Massachusetts 1630: Puritan migration to Massachusetts 1634: Calverts found Maryland 1635-36: Pequot Indian War (Massachusetts) 1638: Anne Hutchinson convicted of heresy 1639: Fundamental Orders of Connecticut 1642-48: English Civil War 1650: First Navigation Act (mercantilism) 1664: English conquer New Netherlands (New York) 1675-76: King Philip's (Metacomet's) War (Massachusetts) 1676: Bacon's Rebellion (Virginia) 1682: Pennsylvania settled 1688-89: English Glorious Revolution and Bill of Rights 1691: Massachusetts becomes royal colony 1692: Salem witch hunts

Portugal and Spain: The Explorers

Ironically, one of the smallest of the new monarchical states, Portugal, became the first to subsidize extensive exploration in the fifteenth century. The most famous of the Portuguese explorers, Prince Henry, dubbed the Navigator, was the brother of King Edward of Portugal. Henry (1394-1460) had earned a reputation as a tenacious fighter in North Africa against the Moors, and he hoped to roll back the Muslim invaders and reclaim from them trade routes and territory.

A true Renaissance man, Henry immersed himself in mapmaking and exploration from a coastal center he established at Sagres, on the southern point of Portugal. There he trained navigators and mapmakers, dispatched ships to probe the African coast, and evaluated the reports of sailors who returned from the Azores. Portuguese captains made contact with Arabs and Africans in coastal areas and established trading centers, from which they brought ivory and gold to Portugal, then transported slaves to a variety of Mediterranean estates. This early slave trade was conducted through Arab middlemen or African traders who carried out slaving expeditions in the interior and exchanged captive men, women, and children for fish, wine, or salt on the coast.

Henry saw these relatively small trading outposts as only the first step in developing reliable water routes to the East. Daring sailors trained at Henry's school soon pushed farther southward, finally rounding the Cape of Storms in l486, when Bartholomeu Dias was blown off course by fantastic winds. King John II eventually changed the name of the cape to the Cape of Good Hope, reflecting the promise of a new route to India offered by Dias's discovery. That promise became reality in 1498, after Vasco de Gama sailed to Calicut, India. An abrupt decline in Portuguese fortunes led to her eclipse by the larger Spain, reducing the resources available for investment in exploration and limiting Portuguese voyages to the Indian Ocean to an occasional "boatload of convicts." Moreover, the prize for which Portuguese explorers had risked so much now seemed small in comparison to that discovered by their rivals the Spanish under the bold seamanship of Christopher Columbus, a man the king of Portugal had once refused to fund.

Columbus departed from Spain in August 1492, laying in a course due west and ultimately in a direct line to Japan, although he never mentioned Cathay prior to 1493. A native of Genoa, Columbus embodied the best of the new generation of navigators: resilient, courageous, and confident. To be sure, Columbus wanted glory, and a motivation born of desperation fueled his vision. At the same time, Columbus was "earnestly desirous of taking Christianity to heathen lands." He did not, as is popularly believed, originate the idea that the earth is round. As early as 1480, for example, he read works proclaiming the sphericity of the planet. But knowing intellectually that the earth is round and demonstrating it physically are two different things.

Columbus's fleet consisted of only three vessels, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, and a crew of ninety men. Leaving port in August 1492, the expedition eventually passed the point where the sailors expected to find Japan, generating no small degree of anxiety, whereupon Columbus used every managerial skill he possessed to maintain discipline and encourage hope. The voyage had stretched to ten weeks when the crew bordered on mutiny, and only the captain's reassurance and exhortations persuaded the sailors to continue a few more days. Finally, on October 11, 1492, they started to see signs of land: pieces of wood loaded with barnacles, green bulrushes, and other vegetation. A lookout spotted land, and on October 12, 1492, the courageous band waded ashore on Watling Island in the Bahamas, where his men begged his pardon for doubting him.

Columbus continued to Cuba, which he called Hispaniola. At the time he thought he had reached the Far East, and referred to the dark-skinned people he found in Hispaniola as Indians. He found these Indians "very well formed, with handsome bodies and good faces," and hoped to convert them "to our Holy Faith by love rather than by force" by giving them red caps and glass beads "and many other things of small value." Dispatching emissaries into the interior to contact the Great Khan, Columbus's scouts returned with no reports of the spices, jewels, silks, or other evidence of Cathay; nor did the khan send his regards. Nevertheless, Columbus returned to Spain confident he had found an ocean passage to the Orient.

Reality gradually forced Columbus to a new conclusion: he had not reached India or China, and after a second voyage in 1493-still convinced he was in the Pacific Ocean-Columbus admitted he had stumbled on a new land mass, perhaps even a new continent of astounding natural resources and wealth. In February 1493, he wrote his Spanish patrons that Hispaniola and other islands like it were "fertile to a limitless degree," possessing mountains covered by "trees of a thousand kinds and tall, so that they seem to touch the sky." He confidently promised gold, cotton, spices-as much as Their Highnesses should command-in return for only minimal continued support. Meanwhile, he continued to probe the Mundus Novus south and west. After returning to Spain yet again, Columbus made two more voyages to the New World in 1498 and 1502.

Whether Columbus had found parts of the Far East or an entirely new land was irrelevant to most Europeans at the time. Political distractions abounded in Europe. Spain had barely evicted the Muslims after the long Reconquista, and England's Wars of the Roses had scarcely ended. News of Columbus's discoveries excited only a few merchants, explorers, and dreamers. Still, the prospect of finding a waterway to Asia infatuated sailors; and in 1501 a Florentine passenger on a Portuguese voyage, Amerigo Vespucci, wrote letters to his friends in which he described the New World. His self-promoting dispatches circulated sooner than Columbus's own written accounts, and as a result the term "America" soon was attached by geographers to the continents in the Western Hemisphere that should by right have been named Columbia. But if Columbus did not receive the honor of having the New World named for him, and if he acquired only temporary wealth and fame in Spain (receiving from the Crown the title Admiral of the Ocean Sea), his place in history was never in doubt. Historian Samuel Eliot Morison, a worthy seaman in his own right who reenacted the Columbian voyages in 1939 and 1940, described Columbus as "the sign and symbol [the] new age of hope, glory and accomplishment."

Once Columbus blazed the trail, other Spanish explorers had less trouble obtaining financial backing for expeditions. Vasco Núñez de Balboa (1513) crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean (as he named it). Ferdinand Magellan (1519-22) circumnavigated the globe, lending his name to the Strait of Magellan. Other expeditions explored the interior of the newly discovered lands. Juan Ponce de León, traversing an area along the Florida's coast, attempted unsuccessfully to plant a colony there. Pánfilo de Narváez's subsequent expedition to conquer Tampa Bay proved even more disastrous. Narváez himself drowned, and natives killed members of his expedition until only four of them reached a Spanish settlement in Mexico.

Spaniards traversed modern-day Mexico, probing interior areas under Hernando Cortés, who in 1518 led a force of 1,000 soldiers to Tenochtitlán, the site of present-day Mexico City. Cortés encountered powerful Indians called Aztecs, led by their emperor Montezuma. The Aztecs had established a brutal regime that oppressed other natives of the region, capturing large numbers of them for ritual sacrifices in which Aztec priests cut out the beating hearts of living victims. Such barbarity enabled the Spanish to easily enlist other tribes, especially the Tlaxcalans, in their efforts to defeat the Aztecs.

Tenochtitlán sat on an island in the middle of a lake, connected to the outlying areas by three huge causeways. It was a monstrously large city (for the time) of at least 200,000, rigidly divided into nobles and commoner groups. Aztec culture created impressive pyramid-shaped temple structures, but Aztec science lacked the simple wheel and the wide range of pulleys and gears that it enabled. But it was sacrifice, not science, that defined Aztec society, whose pyramids, after all, were execution sites. A four-day sacrifice in 1487 by the Aztec king Ahuitzotl involved the butchery of 80,400 prisoners by shifts of priests working four at a time at convex killing tables who kicked lifeless, heartless bodies down the side of the pyramid temple. This worked out to a "killing rate of fourteen victims a minute over the ninety-six-hour bloodbath." In addition to the abominable sacrifice system, crime and street carnage were commonplace. More intriguing to the Spanish than the buildings, or even the sacrifices, however, were the legends of gold, silver, and other riches Tenochtitlán contained, protected by the powerful Aztec army.

Cortés first attempted a direct assault on the city and fell back with heavy losses, narrowly escaping extermination.

Continues...


Excerpted from A Patriots History Of The United States by Larry Schweikart Michael Patrick Allen Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 317 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2005

    True to history and the ideals of the American poeple

    Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen have written a history of the United States that is tremendously broad in scope, and monumental in its approach in our modern times. It begins with Christopher Columbus and proceeds through to current events, including 9-11 and its aftermath, the War on Terror and the fights in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the re-election of George W. Bush.. The work covers over 510 years of history in 825 pages. There are over 70 pages of footnotes at the end of the book, detailing critical historical conditions and facts from each of the twenty-two chapters. <p> The best introduction to a review of this work that I could give regarding its approach the authors took, is from the mouths of the authors themselves in their own introduction: <p><i> 'Is America's past a tale of racism, sexism, and bigotry? Is it the story of the conquest and rape of a continent? Is U.S. history the story of white slave owners who perverted the electoral process for their own interests? Did America start with Columbus's killing all the Indians, leap to Jim Crow laws and Rockefeller crushing the workers , then finally save itself with Franklin Roosevelt¿s New Deal? The answers, of course, are no, no, no, and NO. <p> 'One might never know this, however, by looking at almost any mainstream U.S. history textbook. Having taught American history in one form or another for close to sixty years between us, we are aware that, unfortunately, many students are berated with tales of the Founders as self-interested politicians and slave-holders, of the icons of American industry as robber-barons, oppressors, and of every American foreign policy initiative as imperialistic and insensitive. At least Howard Zinn's, A People's History of the United States, honestly represents its Marxist biases in the title! <p> 'What is most amazing and refreshing is that the past usually speaks for itself. The evidence is their for telling the great story of the American past honestly-with flaws, absolutely; with shortcomings, most definitely. But we think that an honest evaluation of the history of the United States must begin and end with the recognition that, compared to any other nation, America's past is a bright and shining light. America was, and is, the city on a hill, the fountain of hope, the beacon of liberty. We utterly reject 'My country right or wrong'- what scholar wouldn't? But in the last thirty years, academics have taken an equally destructive approach, 'My country always wrong!' We reject that too. <p> 'Instead, we remain convinced that if the story of America's past is told fairly, the results cannot be anything but a deepened patriotism, a sense of awe at the obstacles overcome, the passion invested, the blood and tears spilled, and the nation that was built.' </i><p> The authors then proceed to do just that, to show that despite the errors, mistakes, and shortcomings along the way, the telling of American history ends up being a story of unequaled faith, character, virtue, and moral clarity. They demonstrate how through the faith and goodness of most of the principle characters involved, as well as the majority of the settlers, colonists, and then citizens, a liberty was allowed to develop that was based on moral constraint and founded in Christian heritage. That liberty then allowed America to become the envy of the world. Not due to arrogance, selfishness or shortsightedness, though there was some of that at times, but due to the intrinsic foundational moral principles that those people based their lives upon which produced and then maintained that freedom and that prosperity. <p> It is a marvelous work that I cannot recommend highly enough. Every student of American history, every parent wanting their child to understand what truly has made this nation great, every home schooling parent should place this book in their library and make it readily available to their children. Better y

    79 out of 90 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2010

    Judge for yourself and I think you will find that this is a provocative and thoughtful look at the American history that is not being taught in our schools.

    I am not sure which I enjoyed more, reading "A Patriot's History of the United States" or reading the reviews of so many obviously left leaning individuals that would have you believe that this book is strictly right wing drivel.

    I hope that most of you are wise enough to realize that facts can be neither left nor right leaning; they are simply facts.

    As a teacher I can categorically state that our children are not being provided a full, unbiased, and balanced, rendition of American history. I found "A Patriot's History of the United States" to be a well written book that presents many of the facts that have, over the years, been deleted from the textbooks. "A Patriot's History of the United States" is exactly the type of book that all Americans need to be reading to supplement the sad, watered down, version of American history that they have been exposed to through the education system.

    Biased? This book is only biased in that it presents historical facts that many wish would never come to light. To prove my point, consider the fact that this book was first released six years ago, in 2004. Why is it that this book has just now become so controversial? The answer is simple. The perceived, right leaning, comedian, Glenn Beck has recommended this book which, in turn, has the left wing in an uproar claiming that the book is biased. It also had the added effect of helping the book to become one of Amazon's #1 best seller so, someone besides me, seems to think the book is worth reading.

    Please judge the book for yourself not for what I, or others write here, In my opinion "A Patriot's History of the United States" is well worth a read, especially considering that it is only $14.99 a copy.

    Semper Fi

    J.M. Snyder
    Teacher & U.S.M.C. Retired

    41 out of 50 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is one of those hard-hitting history surveys that liberals hate. Not only do both Schweikart and Allen call out Bill Clinton for his poor leadership, but they debunk myths about the American Founding that has become truth in leftist academia. I highly recommend this text to anyone interested in seriously studying American history.

    38 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2010

    Tragic

    I understand the criticism of the left and why many conservatives view textbooks as being biased...yet why would creating a bias text that leans to the right be any more helpful? Is there any middle ground? This book suggests that tragically, no, you MUST be left or right.

    The author writes well - but it is too biased for my tastes.

    36 out of 103 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2007

    A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror

    I wish with all of my heart that the information in this book was a true representation of what really happened in American history, but unfortunately it's not. Most of this book is the stuff that they teach in public schools (Indians killed themselves, everyone who came to the new country was a religious zealot). It's a shame that some people can read this book and believe that it's true - when it is so obvious that it is not. I truly hope that no one believes that we are this angelic and wholesome, because any realistic history book will say otherwise.

    27 out of 92 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2010

    At least a book with a different point of view.

    While I found some problems with it, at least it was refreshing to hear about our history from a different point of view. I strongly believe some due must be paid to those who sacrificed and gave their lives so we could have the freedom we do. I wish the book had dealt more with those "common man" sacrifices but still adds light to a point that has to be made.
    Bottom line: one-sided accounts and school textbooks lead to ignorace. And to other reviewers: it's a free country. You may read whatever you like or not read whatever you don't like.

    25 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2006

    Hooray for America!

    The previous reviewer thinks that a perpective from the religious right is inherently wrong. Notice his choice for reading: A People's History of the United States, perceptive from godless Marxists. As an American history teacher, the textbooks from which I teach grieve my spirit. A Patriot's History is a hard to put down book that is reveals the greatness of America. This is your proud heritage. Walk ye in it.

    25 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2007

    A reviewer

    Jesus is the reason for the United States, God is the reason for our Constitution, the Indians wanted to be killed because they weren't Christians... ...if these sound like truths to you, then this book should appeal to your version of fact. If not, then aviod this hack-job and read a real history book.

    24 out of 87 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2005

    Finally a Real History Book

    Today our schools have 'history books' that give 30 pages to President Clinton and 1 page to George Washington. They don't give an accurate or fair reading of how our country was founded - they are clearly written with a left-bias. Today our children have no idea who our Founders were, what they stood for and the reasons for the American Revolution. Their taught that its against the Constitution to mention God in historical documents - but fail to bring out that 'seperation of Church and State' is NOT in the Constitution. The education system that uses dozens and dozens of history textbooks don't tell an accurate story of Ronald Reagan or to explain the damage done by the New Deal. Reading this book, will enlighten your mind, give you an education your kids are not getting in our schools - it outlines and details accurately what histry was - not rewritten to support any bias agenda - it tells an accurate tail. I highly recommend tossing out your high school 'history books' and replacing it with 'A Patriot's History of the United States.'

    24 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2007

    A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror

    The Patriot's History of the United States is a book of pure fancy, masquerading in Nationalism, and trying to appeal to the ignorant. The authors¿ use of religious justification for horrendous crimes, not to mention the blatant lies through misdirection and arbitrary financial explanations, somehow still don¿t eclipse the lapses in proven, factual, history. As a matter of fact, fact is not even relevant. You can tell that this book is propaganda by the people defending it by those who do nothing but personally attack those who disagree with its premise. I can see why this is now a barging book just about everywhere that it¿s being sold.

    23 out of 82 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2005

    America's enemies hate this book

    Tremendous book. America's enemies won't like it because it illustrates why America is the leader of the free world.

    22 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2005

    History re-energized

    It is refreshing to read accounts of the heroic commitments, high ideals, and purpose of mind that the earlier framers of the modern, Western world embodied, which resulted in a most prosperous culture enjoyed by many. This is an excellent read and study on many of the great individuals from man's history.

    22 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent

    I'm currently taking an early American History college course and it's textbook runs quite parallel to this. One big difference is this is a straight forward history without an agenda to propagate! Thanks Larry Schweikart, Michael Patrick Allen, and Michael Patrick Allen, Great work

    18 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Read this book to get another view of the history of the USA

    A Patriots History is a book that will give you another side of the history of the USA. Starting with the 15th century explorers from Europe to after 9/11 this heavily researched book will give you side of history that maybe you did not get in college or high school. It is covering almost 500 years in 850 pages so its history is not exhaustive.

    As I continue reading and absorbing this book I continue to be informed of the actions and the motives behind the people who made this land what it is. The author has worked to support his findings with plenty of endnotes so the reader can come away informed about the history of the USA. Through out the book the author has put in 1 page bios of certain people like Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone and "Did Roosevelt Have Advance Knowledge About the Pearl Harbor Attack?" to name a few. It does not shrink from talking about some of the most contriversial actions of the USA like slavery and civil rights.

    To the conservative thinker I say this book will give you plenty to think about. To the liberal minded I say try to put your preconcieved notiions aside and read this book. For both the conservative and liberal minded you will find a refreshing view of how great this country is and how great it can be in the future.

    17 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2010

    Forum for the haters

    Once again...a forum for the haters. I'll bet a majority of these bad reviews haven't even read the book. And as for "Huh?"....Columbus was NOT the first European to discover America. Any moron knows that!!

    17 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2005

    Best American History book I have ever read

    Every School in America should use this book as a standard, Now we get the real story and no cherry trees.

    17 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Definate Must Read

    I had bought this book; in hardcover; back in 2004. Enjoyed it greatly. When I saw it on Glenn Beck's tv show and then here on B&N's "10 Best Sellers" I was amazed. Mainly due to the book being out for five years. My copy had been passed around to some friends and family shortly after I finished it. Everybody who read it enjoyed it. It's a long read but worth it. Whether you're a history buff or just curious, I recommend "A Patriot's History."

    15 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2010

    A moment for the ages

    The popularity of books like this one are powerful evidence that America is in a lot of trouble. Our main competitors in the future, India and China, are growing smarter, while we continue to slide downwards. Forget global warming, I'm a lot more worried about our eager embrace of ignorance. Maybe we can swear Sarah Palin in as President the same day this book sells its billionth copy.

    15 out of 60 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2008

    Should've Been a Book Instead of a Comeback

    This book is obviously a comeback to Howard Zinn's version. I saw the title I was thinking 'Meehh this might be different from those other slanted books like 'An Incovenient Book' by Glenn Beck' I read the first sentence and couldn't help but laugh. It was just another pathetic comeback. All this book does is glorify the 'heroes' of history like Grant and Columbus. Ignored the fact of the common peoples struggles during the era of 1492 to present. I know Zinn's views are sometimes extreme but he offers a lot of good material to look at. Sure his book seems negative at points but what Zinn tries to do is look at our past mistakes and learn from it. The Patriot's History of the United States seeks to justify actions of our past mistakes like the Civil War and the Red Scare and seeks to glorify the few shameless capitalists of the time.

    15 out of 64 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2010

    A Patriot's History of the United States.......A Must READ!

    Another great read that will enlighten those who thought they had a proper education on American History. Another must read by all Americans.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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