Re: Back to the Movie: Part XIIV

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Posted by Bill R on February 28, 1998 at 15:59:05:

In Reply to: Re: Back to the Movie: Part XIIV posted by Katja on February 28, 1998 at 15:07:11:

I think what I am trying to say is that the French did not want to necessarily OWN the land the claimed....merely the rights to the resources; furs, lumber etc. The English, on the other hand, not only wanted to own as much as they could, but control all activities therein. The French exploited the native Americans to an extent also...certainly in persuading them to join with them against the English in a war that advanced COLONIAL not indian iterests, and certainly in trying to convert them to catholicism and "civilize" them....but not too much!! Their savagery against the English settlers was one of the greatest weapons the French had.

The English for the most part treated with the indians politely only in early days. Once a foothold had been gained....policy was one of removal or, if that proved difficult, extinction. Every English settler had one dream. Land. Of his or her own.
Many of the early settlers were peoples who had been defeated and/or dispossessed of their land in Ireland, Scotland and even in England (in the case of debt). The crown owned land. The people merely tended it at the crown's pleasure. These peoples were hungry to obtain land that they would hold to themselves and NOBODY would take from them. It was a hunger and a policy of treatment of the original inhabitants which would last until ALL land between the two oceans was finally owned..with the native American the loser.

Would things have been better for the native American had the French won the F&I War? Certainly for a time. Eventually the rich resources of this country would have become too tempting.
Somebody, if not the French themselves, would have wanted it all.

But at that time, as long as no threat was posed to French trading interests, they were tolerant of other cultures and other peoples to an extent. There was class distinction within the French leadership certainly. But the "bush runner" and the individual trader got along well with the native American. The English brought their class system with them. And those colonists who came often hoped to raise their class distinction through property. And REMAIN here.

That was the difference I feel which the rugged individual felt...the common man....the frontiersman soon found civilization encroaching....and with it the same old laws, class distinctions, and exploitation. The French counterpart was free from much of Quebec's influence once in the woods. Quebec made little attempt to grab land, clear it, plant it, and own it outside of what was necessary for defense and feeding of the few cities.

To the French, the indians were allies. To the English, the indians were to be used, removed, exploited and discarded but never to be trusted and rarely treated with dignity. English commanders made little attempt to win the hearts and minds of teh native american. The French needed to in order to do what they had been sent to do. And.....the English settlers being far more numerous than the French.....the French needed the indian allies in war as well as peace. The English only felt a need in peace the native american was a hindrence to their goals.

Were the French more just? Unlikely. But they DID treat the native American with more respect and fairness.

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