England Essay, Research Paper
Europeans in Pursuit of Capitalism in New England
Indian and European people had many cultural differences causing both cultures to clash. The two cultures also had different beliefs in terms of land usage and commodities. The European arrival had an enormous impact on the ecosystem, which as well affected the lives of the Indians. The Indians were used to being mobile in terms of their way of living as opposed to the European colonists, they were used to settling in one place and were also very materialistic. On the other hand, the Indians only possessed what they needed and did not have luxuries like the colonists.
The Indians of New England did not believe in land ownership because they moved from one location to another, depending on seasonal changes. The Indians were not greedy over the land; they just planted crops and hunted animals for survival. Cronon points out that “Indian villages moved from habitat to habitat to find maximum abundance through minimal work, and so reduce their impact on the land, the English believed in and required permanent settlements.” (p.53) Once the land in which they cultivated their crops lost its fertility they migrated to another location seeking land with fertile soil because the Indians wouldn’t overwhelm the land. New England had an abundance of natural resources such as timber, animals, crops, water, and fish. Thus, they did not misuse or waste their resources; they used everything wisely. They hunted only as needed or depending on how well the hunting season went, but they never accumulated the animals. Indians traded animal furs for knives, hooks, and other metal goods with the Europeans.
European colonists’ arrival had a tremendous impact on the ecology of New England. When the Europeans arrived to New England they saw the abundance of natural resources that there was and began exaggerating when reporting back to their people, they would say that there was an infinite amount of resources to encourage more people to come to New England. Europeans were amazed by the abundance that there was and began overwhelming the land and hunting in excess to their needs, and destroying the forests for agricultural use. Europeans also believed that if they stayed in a piece of land for a certain amount of time they became the owners of it and since the Indians depended much on mobility the Europeans began to take over the land. The colonists created fences as borders between landscapes modernizing the land with industrialism. Cronon also implies that, “There are problems with animals eating crops which is solved partly by fences.” They also used fences to prevent animals from trespassing to another owner’s land.
Cronon’s implications are that “by integrating New England ecosystems an ultimately global capitalist economy, colonists and Indians together began a dynamic change which had in no way ended by the 1800s. We live their legacy today.” (p. 170) By this Cronon implies that the people (no matter what group) have changed and modernized the land in which we live in. Also, no matter in what era we are in, there will always be changes, but these changes of industrialism have brought us many consequences such as: diseases, air pollution, water pollution, ozone layer depletion, global warming, and over-developed populations in certain areas. These consequences have been of result from the numerous alterations done to the land.
It is for a fact that the European people got what they wanted, a capitalistic and industrialized economy. But the accomplishments of having capitalism have caused much chaos and destruction to this land. There has been so much over usage and abuse to the resources we have that they are now scarce and will soon be very limited. We must be careful and wise of how we use our resources because of the alterations that we have made to the land throughout the years have caused severe damage to its ecosystem. Thus, we must do something about these things or we will be nothing left of the land in 100 years; nothing lasts forever!
Changes in the land, William Cronon