Re: The unenviable fates of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence

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Posted by Zapata on July 27, 2000 at 12:58:53:

In Reply to: Re: The unenviable fates of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence posted by Kathleen on July 27, 2000 at 12:06:13:

I was pleasantly surprised to see such a great response to the both the "...unenviable fates..." piece. When I stumbled onto this site yesterday and wrote my (Zapata) response, I wondered if it would still be up today given the warning about "revisionist history."

Having said that, I disagree with Kathleen's or Vita's (I'm not sure who wrote this response)belief that the signers of the DOI were not personally repsonsible for what eventually happened to the Lands of Native Americans. Thomas Jefferson himself was a proponent of the belief that it was the destiny and god-given right of the United States to expand from ocean to ocean. The Louisiana Purchase and the War with Mexico were all steps towards that end.

I also disagree with the contention that the "warlords" of the the peoples who inhabited much of the territory that lay to the west of the original colonies would have be as apt to go out and conquer other people just to have more land. We have to understand that the Europeans had a very different view of property and "lebensraum" than many Native Americans. Native Americans did not have the same "the-one-who-has-the-most-toys-wins" view of the world. In fact, many of these peoples lived on the bear necessities given that they had to move around a lot and simply could not take so many things with them. (Read "The Changing Land" for more on the changes that occured to both the landscape and the peoples of what is now the US as a result of the arrival of the Europeans.)

That's not to say that they were not warriors nor that they themselves did not engage in warfare with each other for hunting ground. I'm not trying to idealize them and outright demonize the writers of the DOI. This is just the "other" side of the story that is often neglected, forgotten, or outright denied.

Finally, human life, human existence, this thing we call human history IS about cause and effect. And if we ignore this simply for the sake of the idea of "can't we all just get along?" then we are doomed to failure. Those who do not know--or act upon--history, are destined to repeat it.


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