Washington, Montcalm and the bigger picture

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Posted by Victoria on April 28, 2000 at 13:54:26:

One of the reasons that Mann's LOTM and his Magua(and of course Studi's) was so great was that for once you had a sense that there was more going on than just the events depicted on screen. It's about time that the bigger picture was presented, or at least more than has been.

I have not seen the film that shows Washington at Fort Necessity/The Meadows but will take a guess that it focuses, as usual, on virile, patriotic men in colorful uniforms and frontier attire (oh, yeah). It leaves out more than it includes. It leaves out the multi-cultural make up of their party. Alequippa was there. ("Just because theyíve got something extra in their pants SURE doesnít mean their brains work any better.") Tanachrisson was there. ("These white guys are stupider than I thought.") A Jewish trader was there. ("Now I KNOW Iíll never get my trade goods back that the French stole.") Washington probably brought one of his African servants along. ("What am I doing HERE?") {All prior quotes are my feeble attempt at interjecting humor.} We donít find out Washington had learned to lie by then. "A Mingo had heard the English would destroy all the Indians who did not join them." Washington told them "The only motive of our conduct," Ďhe assured the Indians wasí "to put you again in possession of your lands , and to take care of your wives and children, to dispossess the French, to maintain your rights and to secure the whole country for you; for these very ends are the English arms now employed.í" F. Jennings, Empire of Fortune (p. 66) quoting from the Diaries of George Washington, J.C. Fitzpatrick, ed. Yeah, right. We donít see the complete reason Washington and Gist were there. What were Virginians doing in Pennsylvaniaís future back yard anyway? Besides intercolonial machinations they were also using their uniforms as a front for their interest in the Ohio Company (see Darlingtonís bio of Gist) because the Indians would catch on to their real purposes.

I have a quote for a reply to the discussion about Montcalm and Magua, but I have to get to the library for itís attribution. Suffice it, for now, to say both sides were using economic blackmail on the Indians by threatening to cut off trade goods, and taking certain ritualistic traditions of war and inflating them for their own uses. Each side sang the "War Song", promising that their side would be the one to ensure possession of the Indianís lands, and used scalps as practically the only way for the Indians could receive payment for fighting. Washington, Croghan, Johnson and most of the English players at the Easton conferences had vested interests in those very lands they denied being interested in. Bouquet also told the Indians they would leave the minute those mean old French were driven out.

Thereís a lot more to it than this, but Iím getting ready to plant my tomatos and donít really wish to lock The Board up, or chase away Many Flags and amigos, or anybody else.

Carry on, PLEASE,

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