I walked with my mother, Caramela and a melting frost down the street today. It was sunshine and a winter season that led the way and took up the rear as we walked down the street today - my mother, Caramela, a melting frost and myself...and the thoughts of this difficult history we are readiing, of tactics for dividing in order to conquer...

A majority of the first laws passed in the USA by the Virginia House of Burgesses were created to control and divide the natives, the blacks and the poor whites. They were passed to keep productivity high and to keep the disproportionate gains of that productivity in the hands of the wealthy merchants and land aristocrats who were the governing class.

"All through those early years, black and white slaves and servants ran away together, as shown both by the laws passed to stop this and the records of the courts...Blacks ran away to Indian villages and the Creeks and Cherokees harbored runaway slaves by the hundreds. Many of these were amalgamated into the Indian tribes, married, produced children...It was the potential combination of poor whites and blacks that caused the most fear among the wealthy white planters. If there had been the natural racial repugnance that some theorists have assumed, control would have been easier....

By the years of the Revolutionary Crisis, the 1760's, the wealthy elite that controlled the British colonies on the American mainland had 150 years of experience, had learned certain things about how to rule. They had various fears, but also had developed tactics to deal with what they feared. The Indians, they had found, were too unruly [and wise in their native lands] to keep as labor force, and remained an obstacle to expansion. Black slaves were easier to control, and their profitability for southern plantations was bringing an enormous increase in the importation of slaves, who were becoming a majority in some colonies and constituted one-fifth of the entire colonial population. But the blacks were not totally submissive, and as their numbers grew, the prospect of slave rebellion grew...

With the problem of Indian hostility, and the danger of slave revolts, the colonial elite had to consider the class anger of poor whites --servants, tenants, the city poor, the propertyless, the taxpayer, the soldier and sailor. As the colonies passe their hundredth year and went into the middle of the 1700's, as the gap between the rich and the poor widened, as violence and the threat of violence increased, the problem of control became more serious.

What if these different despised groups --the Indians, the slaves, the poor whites--should combine? Even before there were so many blacks in the seventeenth century, there was, as Abbot Smith puts it, "a lively fear that servants would join with Negroes or Indians to overcome the small number of masters.""

Zinn quotes Gary Nash: "Indian uprisings that punctuated the colonial period and a succession of slave uprisings and insurrectionary plots that were nipped in the bud kept South Carolinians sickeningly aware that only through the greatest vigilance and through policies designed to keep their enemies divided could they hope to remain in control of the situation."

Are there many things to be learned now from knowing the history of the United States once white settlers arrived to this land? I believe so, absolutely. But there is more. There must be so much more to be learned from what was happening here before European settlers arrived, the things we missed out on learning the first time around. The desire for native ways, the native life, by many of the earliest European settlers attests to that:

"Hector St. Jean Crevecoeur, the Frenchman who lived in America for almost twenty years, told, in Letters from an American Farmer, how children captured during the Seven Years' War and found by their parents, grown up and living with Indians, would refuse to leave their new families. "There must be in their social bond something singularly captivating, and far superior to anything to be boasted among us; for thousands of Europeans are Indians, and we have no examples of even one of those Aborigines having from choice become Europeans."



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