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Early Treatment of Native Americans by Settlers

John Smith and William Bradford’s treatment towards the natives were obviously very different. This essay will discuss a couple of these differences in detail. John Smith’s treatment towards the natives is extremely bad. In fact, he gets captured and almost killed by them. William Bradford on the other hand treats them well and makes friends with the natives.

As John Smith lands on what is later known as Virginia, he fights with the natives and robs them of their crops and goods. It states in the text “So marching towards their houses, they might see great heaps of corn; much ado he had to restrain his hungry soldiers from the present taking of it, expecting as it happened that the savages would assault them, as not long after, they did with a most hideous noise”. (Smith, Pgs. 41-42) In contrast, Bradford, before he did anything, made a Mayflower Compact and made general laws that the natives and the Pilgrims were to abide by.

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His men and the natives made friends and exchanged cultural ideas. So, while Smith was being captured by the natives, Bradford was learning new things about the native’s culture. Another thing that made Smith’s treatment of the natives bad was that he treated them like they were kids. Smith gives them a compass, and he states that “Much they marvelled at the playing of the fly and needle which they could see so plainly and yet not touch it because of the glass that covered them” (Smith, Pg. 44). Also, Smith calls the natives savages every time he refers to them.

Bradford, however, treated the natives as human beings, as equals. He sets up laws with the natives, so everything would be peaceful. The Pilgrims and the natives exchanged ideas. Squanto, one of the natives, helped them greatly. “He directed them how to set their corn, where to take fish, and to procure other commodities, and was also their pilot to bring them to unknown places for their profit” (Bradford, Pg 99).

In conclusion, Smith’s treatment of the natives overlooked the possibility of harmony. Bradford’s treatment did exactly the opposite. It promoted harmony between the Pilgrims and the natives.

The reason why John Smith and William Bradford treated the natives differently was because of a couple of things. First, Smith was trained to kill beforehand. He was brought up as a soldier and with bad morals. Bradford was brought up as a farmer with good morals.

Another reason why they treated the natives differently was that Smith was there to find gold. He was sent there to get got by any means necessary. If he thought that the natives were holding back, then he would just kill them. Bradford and the Pilgrims were there for their religious freedom, so they had no reason to fight and kill the natives.

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Early Treatment of Native Americans by Settlers. (2021, Feb 14). Retrieved February 26, 2021, from https://essayscollector.com/essays/early-treatment-of-native-americans-by-settlers/