The Secret Behind the Arrowheads

January 31, 2010

Table of Contents

I.  Youth in Seneca Indian Country, Geneva (Kanadesaga), Finger Lakes Region of New York

     **What My Grandfather’s 1906 U.S. American History Textbook Said About The Indians

     **The White Male, Formally Educated Scholars Who Taught Us Our History

     **What My 1953-54 Seventh Grade New York History Textbook Said About the Iroquois Indians 

II.  The Long Context

     **The Fallacy of Race

     **Early Hominids/Humans

     **Modern Human Origins From Africa

     **Early Migrations of Modern Humans Out Of Africa Toward Asia, Europe, And Australia

     **The Origin of Modern Human Beings in the Western Hemisphere

 

III.  The Trauma of Civilization: 5,500 Years of Obedience to Vertical Power

(For this section alone sources are listed at the end of this section)

     **Post-Last Glacial Period

     **Invention “Civilization”

     **Psychological, Deep Root Causes of War: Millenium’s Worth of Insecurities

     **Structural Causes of War

     **Oligarchic “America”

     **Conclusion 

IV.  Western Hemisphere Population, Pre-Columbian 

V.  The Columbus Enterprise 

VI.  500 Years of Colonialism: A Small Eurocentric Minority Enriches Itself On Impoverishing The Majority Global Indigenous

     **First English Settlements in Western Hemisphere: A Century Later

     **Jamestown, Virginia 1607: A Commercial For-Profit, private benefit Corporate Enterprise Needing Private Property

     **Massachusetts 1620: Corporate Theocracy

        **The First Thanksgiving 

VII. The Growing Wars Between European Colonists and Indigenous Inhabitants

     **The French and Indian War

     **The Royal Proclamation of 1763 and Systematic Defiance by English Settlers

       ** Numerous Wars Between the Inhabitant Indigenous and the Intervening Europeans 

VIII. The Mighty Iroquois

     **The Revolutionary War and the Iroquois

     **The Profit Envisioned From Acquiring Indian Lands

     **Iroquois Attempt to Remain Neutral

     **Battle For Hearts and Minds: A Civil War Among the Iroquois

     **Battle at Oriskany

     **Battle at Wyoming, Pennsylvania

     **Rebel Colonialists in Revenge, Destroy the Indian Melting Pot Village of Oquaga

     **Indian Revenge at Cherry Valley, New York 

IX.  The Continental Army’s Plans for A Final Solution

     **Washington’s Orders to Launch The Sullivan Scorched Earth Campaign

     **Sullivan’s Report to Congress: “Not a Single Town Left”

     **Centennial Report on Sullivan’s Attack on Kanadesaga/Geneva

     **What happened to the Iroquois?

     **Kanadesaga Becomes Geneva

     ** Washington Lied: The Indians Lose Much of Their Reservation Land 

X. The “Indian Problem” Remains

     **The Whipple Committee to the Indians: Assimilation or Elimination!

     **The Everett Commission: The Indians Still Own New York State!

     **The Grand Theft of “America” 

XI.  What Historians Say 

XII.  The Nature of U.S. Cultural Ethos Revealed in Washington’s Orders, and Sullivan’s Campaign 

XIII.  The Empirical Pattern

     **Record of Overt Military Interventions

     **The U.S. Founding Process and Document

     **Washington as First President Dislikes, Distrusts “Democracy” 

XIV.  The Secret of the Arrowheads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I.  Youth in Seneca Indian Country, Geneva (Kanadesaga), Finger Lakes Region of New York

 

The circle of life in my early childhood in Geneva throughout the 1940s, in the heart of the glacially formed beautiful Finger Lakes region of Central New York State, mostly occurred within a mile radius of our home.  Our family lived in three different homes in nine-and-a-half years, but none were more than a mile-and-a-half from Geneva General Hospital where I was born.  A large Seneca Indian burial mound still sanctimoniously existed about a half-mile west of the hospital, in proximity to the New York State Agricultural Experimental Station that had become known for developing varieties of hardy fruit trees, including hybrids. 

 

This is ironical because I subsequently learned that 162 years before my birth, in 1779 during the Revolutionary War, George Washington ordered Generals Sullivan and Clinton to conduct an early version of a scorched earth campaign.  Virtually every fruit tree was cut or burned  – violently destroyed – in the entire Iroquois territory from the Hudson River in the east to Lake Erie in the west.  Kanadesaga, what Geneva was called then, had some of the most elaborate orchards of any of the Iroquois villages.  The variety of hearty fruit trees of the Seneca were destroyed on the very land where the Agricultural Experiment Station was constructed over a hundred years later in 1882, and has an expanded research facility today. 

 

Occasionally I would accompany my father on a Saturday when he went door-to-door in neighboring Seneca towns such as Canandaigua 15 miles away, selling, or trying to, the famous Fuller Brush line of products.  On special occasions our family would spend a Saturday afternoon at Seneca Lake State Park which was but 3 or 4 miles away on the east side of Seneca Lake just south of the city of Geneva, which 162 years earlier had been one of the last stops of Sullivan’s forces before entering Kanadesaga.

 

Cortland Street Elementary School was a short 3-block walk that included a shortcut through Jefferson Street city park that had a hole in its cyclone boundary fence large enough to crawl through.  The First Baptist Church where our family attended diligently every Sunday was a mile from our house.  My father was a deacon, my mother sang in the choir, and I attended Sunday School with Florence Baldridge as my teacher where at Christmas time I played carols on my clarinet.  The downtown movie theater was less than a mile from our home.  Our World War II Victory Garden was directly across busy Hamilton St (U.S. Route 20, NYS Route 5) which we shared with many neighbors, just west of the Hobart and William Smith College campus. A corner grocery store was just a three or four block walk.  Once a week I cycled the 6 or 7 blocks west on Hamilton Street to practice clarinet lessons at my teacher’s house.

 

Geneva was then a small city of about 17,000.  It had once served as a major Seneca Indian town, Kanadesaga, before the European “settlers” arrived.  As I played with my tough steel construction toys – bulldozer, boom crane, road grader, earthhauler, power shovel, and dump truck -  creating a small road system in our yard, I would be excited whenever I found a flintstone arrowhead.  When I started riding my older brother’s hand-me-down balloon-tired bike when about 6 years of age, my playing range extended from three blocks to about a mile or mile-and-a-half. This enabled me to cycle to the fascinating Seneca Burial Mound near the intersection of Castle and Pre-Emption Roads not far from the Hospital where I was born, and in the proximity of the Agricultural Experiment Station. There I would often discover during a one or two-hour scavenge a treasure trove of several arrowheads. Soon I had a box of arrowheads of various sizes from two-and-a-half inches long and one-and-a-half inches wide to as small as one-and-a-quarter inches long and three-quarters inch wide.  I kept that box well protected in my bedroom.  I would hold the arrowheads in my hand, feeling each one with my fingers, noting its texture, shape, weight, size and sharpness while enjoying the subtle color variations of dark-grey, blue and black, often with a glassy appearance.  Collecting Seneca arrowheads is one of the fondest memories of my early childhood.

 

Today there is a commemorative plaque at the site of the destruction of the houses: “Site of Kanadesaga Chief Castle of the Seneca Nation Destroyed Sept. 7, 1779, in Gen. John Sullivan’s Raid”.  A tombstone sits near the Seneca Burial Mound: KAN-A-DE-SA-GA Burial Mound of Seneca Indians Destroyed Sept. 7, 1779″.

 

I wondered what life had been like for this ancient civilization that had once lived and hunted on the very ground of my childhood play territory? At the time I knew little about the Seneca Nation, or the powerful Six-Nation Iroquois Confederacy of which they were a part – just that they had existed, and the assumption was that they were inferior to us Europeans.  In second grade I drew a crude picture revealing a large white man with halo around his head firing a rifle at close range directly at a young, small Indian boy with arrow just leaving his bow.  The rifle bullet trajectory is shown just as it is about to enter the young Indian’s head.  Another drawing pictured a fourth of July parade with men blowing trumpets in front of a fire truck, following a young man holding a flag at the head of the parade.  I suspect that in my mind I was carrying the flag.

 

In December 1950, at age nine-and-a-half, my parents took me out of fourth grade mid-year when my family moved 150 miles further west in New York State.  Instead of selling Fuller Brushes, my father took a door-to-door job selling insurance in an effort to lift our family out of its serious financial shortfall.  My parents purchased a run-down house, built around 1840, in a small farming community, Ashville, NY. (population 350) in Chautauqua County (Indian name meaning long bag tied in the middle, reflecting the shape of 17-mile long, 2-mile wide Chautauqua Lake with a narrow mid-point portion). When the moving truck arrived in early January 1951 there was more than three-feet of snow on the ground.  Most of the Seneca Indians that remained in New York by 1951 resided on two reservations not far from our new home.  So, it is like our family’s move followed the Seneca version of its own “Trail of Tears” of the late 1700s and early 1800s.

 

When in seventh grade in 1953-54 at age 12, our class at the four-room Ashville elementary school studied New York State history, including that of the Indians, in a hand-me-down 1942 textbook, Exploring New York State.  A portion of the text did describe Iroquois life, but our study reinforced my early assumptions that a superior group of Europeans had replaced the terrorizing Indians in order to build “the Empire State”.

 

Sixteen years later at age 28, in August 1969, I was returning from duty in Viet Nam in a personal state of (what I describe as) awareness shock.  I couldn’t believe what I had witnessed and experienced in the previous nine months of training for and then deployment to Southeast Asia.  I had witnessed behavior and policies that blew my mind, initially exceeding my ability to comprehend just how demonic and diabolical the war was.  My cognitive dissonance was astounding.  My conclusions about the war and my beliefs about my own society were at odds with everything I had been taught.  I couldn’t believe how ignorant I had been and felt ashamed that, with all my formal education, I knew so little about the world, about history, or even about myself.

 

Soon, I felt a passionate inquisitiveness for the first time to learn about a people’s (versus superficial, textbook) version of history.  One early curiosity that emerged was to re-study the real history of the land of my birth – literally the very ground upon which I played as a child, and the human cultures that must have once thrived there.  What was the story behind all those arrowheads I collected and admired as a kid in Geneva? 

 

What My Grandfather’s 1906 U.S. American History Textbook Said About The Indians

 

I re-visited my maternal grandfather’s history book that I had briefly perused as a small kid.  What were my grandparents learning and imparting onto their children, my parents, who in turn were teaching me?  The History of the United States by James Wilford Garner and Henry Cabot Lodge (Philadelphia: John D. Morris and Company, 1906), a major U.S. history book at the time, begins its first chapter, “Aboriginal America”, with the following two sentences: “The origin of the race which first peopled America is obscure in the darkness of prehistoric times, that is, prehistoric in America.  The earliest man everywhere was a savage and has left few records of his life save in the implements of his daily use” (p. 3).

 

At the conclusion of that same chapter, the authors state that “no reliable statistics are to be had regarding the number of Indians in America at the time of the discovery, but conservative estimates place the number east of the Mississippi at 200,000.  West of the river were many more……Whole tribes have become extinct….For this destruction the coming of the white man is chiefly responsible.  Neither in war nor in peace has the Indian been able to stand against or beside him.  “[B]ut history teaches that inferior people must yield to a superior civilization in one way or another. They must take on civilization or pass out. The negro was able to endure slavery while learning the rudiments of civilization; the Indian could not endure slavery, and, for centuries at least, he refused to be taught” (pp. 29-30). 

 

I was shocked to read this history with such certainty of the language and choice of words used by the authors in this formal textbook that now seemed so extraordinarily ignorant, racist, and ahistorical.  I wasn’t so sure that much of my family, and many of my acquaintances at the time would feel so shocked. 

 

The White Male, Formally Educated Scholars Who Taught Us Our History

 

[Who were these White Men who touted themselves as authors of "The" History of the United States?  James Wilford Garner was born in 1871 in Pike County, Mississippi, a graduate of both the University of Chicago and Columbia University (Ph.D., 1902) and was a political science professor.  Pike County was located in the southwest Mississippi frontier of slave plantations adjoining the Louisiana border, and later was the scene of some of the most violent episodes of the Civil Rights movement. It was the site of the first SNCC voter-registration office set up by Robert Moses in July 1961. It was the scene of so much violence that by 1964 it became known as the "Bombing Capitol of America" due to the high number of its church bombings.  This was the same year that President Johnson began secret bombings of Laos and North Vietnam. 

{"Bombing Capitol of America" - The Wellspring, Univ. of Mississippi, January 2006, Vol. 2, No. 2; "1964: The Beginning of the End of Nonviolence in the Mississippi Freedom Movement" by Akinyela K. Umoja, Radical History Review 85 (2003); History News Service, June 16, 2006, "'Operation Mississippi Freedom': When State-Sponsored Terrorism Was American" by Robert S. McElvaine}

     Henry Cabot Lodge, born 1850 in Boston, a graduate of both the undergraduate and law school at Harvard College, had served as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts from 1893 until his death in 1924.  Thus, he was a US Senator at the time of co-authoring the text.  He was a great grandson of George Cabot, born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1752, the latter of whom had served as one of the first U.S. Senators from Massachusetts, 1791-1796 (when Senators were appointed by state legislatures, not elected by the public).  He was the grandfather of Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. (1902-1985), born near Boston, also a graduate of Harvard, who similarly served in the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, 1937-1944, 1947-1953, and was US Ambassador to the United Nations, 1953-1960.  He served as President Johnson's Ambassador to South Vietnam, 1963-1967 when I first entered the military in 1966, and was privy to the U.S. secret bombings over Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia that had started in 1964-65.  In 1969, President Nixon appointed Lodge as chief U.S. negotiator at the Paris "peace" talks between the U.S. and North Vietnamese governments, the Saigon regime, and the NLF/VC, ongoing during my duty tour in Vietnam. 

     The Lodge family enjoyed presence in a long ancestry of upper class folks.  In the 1958-59 edition of Who's Who In America, eleven members of the Cabot family are listed].

 

What My 1953-54 Seventh Grade New York History Textbook Said About the Iroquois Indians

 

I decided it would be important to acquire a copy of the history book that my Seventh grade class studied, Exploring New York State by Bertrand M. Wainger of Union College in Schenectady, NY, and Edith Brooks Oagley, Director of Social Studies, Binghamton (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1942, 1946).  I purchased one in a used bookstore and started re-reading it.  Like reading my grandfather’s history book dated nearly a half century earlier, I was again shocked.  In Unit One, Chapter 2, “We See Why New York Is the Empire State” (emphasis added).  The text described George Washington’s trip through the state in 1783 when he suggested “that it might become the ‘seat of empire’” (p. 20). The authors unequivocally concluded that “Today everyone accepts it as an accurate description of New York”.  Wow, what a way to make us 12-year olds who happened to live in New York State feel really superior.  The authors then defined empire: “vast power and wealth”, “supreme or greatest”, “the first among many”, and “the leader”.  “These meanings of the word”, the authors concluded, “exactly describe the position of New York among the 48 states of the Union” (p. 20) (Emphasis added).  How lucky we were!

 

Unit Two, Chapter 1, “The Iroquois Were the Indian Masters of the State”, begins with the words, “Indians lived in nearly every part of New York for thousands of years before the first white man came to America”, and then described the Iroquois as “the most powerful Indian group in North America”.  Reading on, one learns from these authors that the Indians were “primitive”, possessing “no machinery of any kind”, that the entire area was covered with thick forests, unlike today (1940s) when “more than half the land is cleared for ploughing and pasture” (p. 39).

 

The chapter continues: “The coming of the white man changed the life of the Indian almost entirely…. During the Revolution which followed soon after the French wars ["French and Indian Wars", 1754-1763], four of the Iroquois nations sided with the English”, such that “the principal Iroquois villages were destroyed…and their power was gone forever”.  I noticed that Chapter 4 of the same Unit Two, “New York Played A Major Part in the Revolution”, reported, “The entire New York colony was a battlefield in the Revolutionary War. Almost one third of all the battles of the war were fought on New York soil”.  As I read on I noted that there were only three pages devoted to the “War on the Frontier” in which the text read, “To put an end to these destructive attacks on the frontier settlements, General George Washington decided to send an army to crush the Indians” (emphasis added).   In seven paragraphs describing the famous “Sullivan-Clinton Campaign”, using about 500 words, the authors describe the virtual total destruction of the Iroquois Confederacy from which they “never recovered” as “all their villages were destroyed, their fruit orchards, their growing crops, their stores of food”.

 

At this point, I realized the need to delve much more deeply to discover the secret behind the arrowheads.  What really happened, what was the long and short historical context, what was the nature of the clash of cultures with machines against those without, who discovered who, who was primitive or not, how were various European behaviors justified, etc.?   What might be revealed about the nature and behavior of the White European civilization that came to be called the United States of America within which I had felt so proud and historically privileged?

 

I discovered a number of scholarly sources, some old and out-of-print, but many which had been published long after my grade school teachings, even after exiting graduate school.  If one is earnest, much detail is available through study, and a reality versus rhetoric that seemed nonexistent when a child. 

 

 

II.  The Long Context

 

The Fallacy of Race

 

We know now that the human genetic code (genome) is 99.9 percent identical throughout the world.  What remains in that .1 percent are our individual differences.  One of the Twentieth Centuries most influential anthropologists, Ashley Montagu, pronounced in his classic study, Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race (NY: Oxford University Press, 1942), that the idea of “race” is one of our most dangerous myths.  He called it the witchcraft of our time, a myth impervious to rational thought, making critical thinking unnecessary.  The Greek rationalists even divided the world into themselves, the good people, from barbarians, and this pattern of ethnocentrism has been a feature of virtually every culture for millenniums. 

 

There are no races.  Everyone alive today derived from the same mitochondrial Eve and a Y chromosome Adam from as recently as 60,000 years ago in east central Africa.

 

Early Hominids/Humans

 

Our closest living relatives are three surviving hominid species of the ape: gorilla, common chimpanzee and pygmy chimpanzee (bonobo) in Africa.  Earliest stages of emergence of human evolution also occurred in Africa.  About 7 million years ago, Apes broke into several populations, one of which turned out to be humans.  These very early humans began walking upright 4 to 5 million years ago, and at 2.5 million years ago increased body and brain size as stone tools were beginning to be used. 

 

It should also be noted that there have been at least four distinct hominid human species, and that as recently as 40,000 years ago Homo sapiens were coexistent with them. The last of the four to have been one of the coexisting hominid humans was Homo Floresiensis to 18,000 years ago in Indonesia.  The others: Homo Erectus until 27,000 years ago in Asia, and Homo Neanderthalensis to 40,000 years ago in Europe.  The pruning of lineages through extinction forces has left modern Homo Sapiens the only extant hominid remaining today, perhaps an atypical moment in evolutionary history (“Homo Floresiensis and Human Equality: Enduring Lessons from Stephen Jay Gould”, Richard York, Monthly Review, March 2005).

 

Modern Human Origins From Africa

 

There seems to be a consensus among paleoanthropologists and geneticists that modern humans arose in Eastern or Southern Sub-Sahara Africa some 150,000 to 200,000 years ago sharing a fairly recent (in geological terms) common ancestor.  All living human beings today are genetically related to a real single woman, a “mitochondrial Eve”, who lived approximately 150,000 years ago in Africa. There were other women alive at the time, of course, but we evolved through an unbroken chain of mothers from this one “Eve”, who about 60,000 years ago was joined by a particular Y chromosome “Adam”.  Again there were other men alive at the time but “Adam” was unique because his descendants are the only ones to survive to the present day when examining DNA samples throughout the world (SEE “The Greatest Journey” by James Shreeve, National Geographic, March 2006, pp. 60-73; The Genographic Project of National Geographic, “Migration Routes” a project headed up by Spencer Wells, a Ph.D. trained geneticist and anthropologist, testing DNA from hundreds of thousands of people from around the world).

 

Early Migrations of Modern Humans Out Of Africa Toward Asia, Europe, And Australia

 

All various colored and shaped modern humans on earth today trace their ancestry to this mitochondrial Eve and Y chromosome Adam from among the African hunter-gatherers of some 60,000 years ago (3,000 generations).  Somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 years ago small groups of modern humans, perhaps no larger than a few hundred, began migrating north out of Africa, for various but still speculative reasons, to begin settling in other regions.  They migrated likely using at least two routes, one moving about 50,000 to 60,000 years ago into today’s Middle East area.  This route subsequently split, with one group slowly moving deeper into Central Asia about 40,000 years ago while a second traveled slowly west toward today’s Europe, arriving between 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.  It appears the second major route followed the coast along southern Asia, reaching Australia some 50,000 years ago. Some speculate the groups on the southern route, and those on the Central Asia route, ultimately found their way separately to what we call North America.

 

The Origin of Modern Human Beings in the Western Hemisphere

 

It is believed that the deep central Asian migration reached what we call the Bering Straight about 15,000 to 20,000 years ago when sea levels were low and land connected Siberia to Alaska.  The Meadowcroft Rock Shelter remnants near today’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania suggest modern humans could have lived in North America as long as 20,000 year ago, though the consensus seems to agree on 16,000 years.  Its various excavation layers indicate a long occupation period of over 11,000 years.  Other archaeologists have found evidence of successful, cooperative hunters who as long ago as 13,500 years roamed in the area of today’s Clovis, New Mexico, and that other communities thrived in Monte Verde in southern Chile 14,000 years ago.  The actual time of origins of modern humans settling on the North and South American continents remains for further evidence that could suggest earlier arrivals going back to 30,000 to 35,000 years.  Of the five habitable continents up to now, North and South America are considered possessing the shortest human pre-histories [Diamond, Jared. (1997,1999). Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., p. 50].

 

 

III.  The Trauma of Civilization: 5,500 Years of Obedience to Vertical Power

(For this section the sources are listed at the end of this section)

 

Post-Last Glacial Period

 

Since the Last Ice Age ended about 13,000 years ago, evidence suggests seeds of the first revolution that transformed the human economy – from efficient hunter-gatherers to beginnings of settled control over food supply through planting and cultivating, then domesticating animals. Archaeologist V. Gordon Childe described this as the Neolithic (New Stone Age) Agriculturalist Revolution, one that produced surplus in a peasant village economy, a new concept in the human experience, along with locational self-sufficiency. The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution occurred in the region of the Fertile Crescent (from Mesopotamia to Egypt) (Childe, 63-64; Childe, Glyn Daniel’s Foreward, p. xiii).  In Pre-Columbian America, there were a number of peasant village agricultural economies emerging as well from hunter-gatherers, 4,000 to 3,000 BC (Ibid. p. xvi).

 

Over several thousand years Childe argued that a second major shift took place, the Urban Revolution of city dwellers, that led to the creation of several ancient “civilizations” – in Egypt, Sumeria, Indus Valley, China, the eastern Mediterranean (Ibid., xiii) and in MesoAmerica with the Olmecs on the Gulf coast of Mexico, the Maya of Guatemala and Honduras, the Aztecs of Mexico, and the Incas of Peru (Ibid., xvi-xvii). Agriculture, metallurgy and urban civilizations, on a human evolutionary timeline, were rapidly emerging independently in different areas of the world.

 

Most striking of the consequences of the new concept of SURPLUS was emergence of the Urban Revolution. This quickly produced oligarchies comprised of king’s, priests, scribes and their relatives, and enforcement of a vast stratification system of workers that nourished a wealthy plutocracy controlling the surplus.  To increase wealth, a supply of large numbers of workers was necessary, so slavery provided the unlimited reserves of compliant labor, including capturing workers from other regions.  And as expansion exploded, a previous economics of relative self-sufficiency was no longer possible, requiring imports from far regions occupied by other emerging societies also exploiting surplus, whether they wanted to part with their resources or not. These early stages of war created the discovery that men as well as animals could be domesticated (Childe, 101).  The major contradiction being produced was, of course, the maintenance of an egregiously unjust social structure controlled by a few Haves oppressing the vast majority of Have-Nots, severely degrading the masses.  Thus, seeds were being sown for future unrest (Childe, 173) that would occur millenniums later.

 

Annexation of territory emerged as a necessity.  Plunder was becoming more common to feed the increasingly selfish oligarchy.  Civilization soon became empires, the first one being Sargon of the Dynasty of Agade (Akkad) in Babylonia, Mesopotamia around 2500 BC, which became the model for virtually all succeeding empires (Childe, 176).  Empires became tribute-collecting machines as accumulation of wealth became more and more obsessive.  The roots of preventive war were sown with the application of the principle, “the best defense is attack”! (Childe, 178).

 

Since in agriculture one acre can feed anywhere from 10 to 100 times more herders and farmers than hunter-gatherers, the strength of large numbers of warriors was seen as a great military advantage that food-producing tribes gained over hunter-gatherers (Diamond, p. 88).

 

The question is open: Did human societies first domesticate plants and animals as an adaptation to external pressures or as the result of changes in the social organization of the societies themselves?  Did agriculture grow out of necessity, or opportunity? [Bruce D. Smith. (1998). The Emergence of Agriculture. New York: Scientific American Library, pp. 208-09].

 

But one consequence of surplus that clearly grew out of domesticated agriculture was development of urban centers that quickly became city-states, then power center “civilizations”, which in turn became empires using war, slavery, organized destruction, and genocide in order to increase wealth and power.  The human price has been a nightmare – class-oriented societies, monopoly of land and economic and educational opportunity, terrible savagery of slavery and war, fears and obsessions and paranoid delusions of ruling classes, mass destruction and extermination of the ecosystem and human cultures, etc.

 

The psychological consequences are threatening to destroy the human condition.  Class produces invalidation, invalidation (shame) produces insecurity, insecurity produces anxiety, anxiety tends to produce tricky defense mechanisms as a way to not feel the anxiety.  Defense mechanisms are often terribly destructive as they manifest in distractions such as addictions (including shopping), racism, classism, sexism, nationalism, frenzied violence and war, patriotism, religious fundamentalism, political fundamentalism, science fundamentalism, etc.

 

“Invention” of “Civilization”

 

As we have now examined, humans “invented” urban “civilization” about 3500 BC (250-300 human generations ago) that mysteriously coincides with the advent of unprecedented patterns of systematic violence never previously known in the archaeological record or oral history.  Massive civil obedience, rigidly adhering to belief systems created by vertical authority structures that ushered in civilization, originally in the form of kings, has witnessed some 14,600 major wars (Hillman, 17) in 5,500 years.  Massive obedience has become a habit, generally void of memory of the autonomous freedom of pre-urban civilization small groups.

 

The new vertical power structures, overbearing in their presence, became and remains an abstraction as an end in itself, utilizing what cultural historian Lewis Mumford describes as the megamachine of statehood (kings and their elite team of priests and scribes) composed of all human parts. 

 

Virtually all civilizations up to the present have been traumatized. Mumford (186) summarizes its features:  “With Kingship, power as an abstraction, power as an end in itself, became the chief identifying mark of ‘civilization.’…I use the term ‘civilization’…to denote the group of institutions that first took form under kingship…:the centralization of political power, the separation of classes, the lifetime division of labor, the mechanization of production, the magnification of military power, the economic exploitation of the weak, and the universal introduction of slavery and forced labor for both industrial and military purposes”.

 

Centralization of control created elaborate bureaucracies (human machines) and hierarchy (class).  People were separated into classes that generally last a lifetime, emotionally if not materially.  Forced labor (chattel slavery) and supposed free labor (generally wage slavery) for industrial, agricultural, military purposes is required for the mechanization of massive production.  Power is magnified through military forces and violence for expanding control over adjacent territory to acquire additional free labor and resources.  Human sacrifice for the benefit of the king or other vertical authority structure is required in overt rituals of worship or disguised in widespread use of young people as cannon fodder in armies to assure expansion for profits.  Secrecy is universally used through reliance on specialists, technical experts, and computers that makes the rulers seem infallible, enabling errors and tyrannical decision making outside the view of  public scrutiny.

 

Lewis Mumford (204) has described the collective mental illness that accompanies machine civilizations. “With every increase of effective power, extravagantly sadistic and murderous impulses erupted out of the unconscious.  This is the trauma that has distorted the subsequent development of all ‘civilized’ societies.  And it is this fact that punctuates the entire history of mankind with outbursts of collective paranoia and tribal delusions of grandeur, mingled with malevolent suspicions, murderous hatreds, and atrociously inhumane acts” (p. 204).

 

Psychological, Deep Root Causes of War: Millenium’s Worth of Insecurities

 

Class and stratification ripped people from their millenniums of roots in small group tribal interaction with each other and the land.  This separation produces deep insecurities and fears which produces anxiety.  The latter is generally protected by what psychologists call defense mechanisms where authentic freedom is deferred to addictions and belief in authority structures, mythologies, ideologies, and obsessive controlling measures (De la Boetie, Eisler).  This contributes to a deep shame (invalidation), recognition of which is pre-empted by the newly coerced belief systems.

 

Many successive generations of shame-based child upbringing (invalidations, accepting routine put downs, experiencing physical or sexual violence, authoritarian versus nurturing) (Miller); shame-ethics leads to generations of patterns of violence unless the insecure authoritarian parenting/conditioning habit is interrupted by a more secure nurturing support milieu and village ethics (Gilligan).  Arrogance rather than humility, denial rather than awareness, became major “defense mechanisms” to override the deep insecurities. (Millburn and Conrad). These remain today.

 

Changes from hunter-gatherers to Neolithic and beyond, to urban “civilizations” over several thousands years removed people from their visceral oneness and experiential integration with Mother Earth. The new field of ecopyschology suggests that such removal has created a primordial breach resulting in severe trauma and insecurity in the human psyche that has manifested instead in consenting to deferral of freedom to vertical authority as a substitute (Roszak, Mumford, De la Boetie).

 

As a species we may be desperately yearning for the experience of deeper meanings of life that historically generally emanate from authentic collective efforts designed to achieve individual and community health and security.  Barbara Ehrenreich, a popular social critic, but trained as a physicist and cell biologist, suggests in Blood Rites that we possess an ancient memory, at least temporarily suppressed under ideology, of a “rush” derived from rallying collective defense to emergencies, i.e., a common enemy, originally large, wild animals.

 

Now such common enemy could be considered global warming, peak oil, peak soil, peak water, etc., provoking the kind of motivation required to make radical leaps in consciousness and behavior because we can see our survival is literally at risk.  However, since the vast majority of these threats derive from the American and Western Way Of Life, the enemy perhaps is ourselves, and the millenniums-worth of values and thinking that have separated us from the Earth’s processes.

 

War correspondent Chris Hedges suggests that we are fulfilling this void of cultural meaning through war, and his book, War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning has been a best seller.

 

The need to Believe in a mythology directly associated with a sense of felt well being keeps large numbers of people intact, since the ancient grounding experience of being integrated with the earth has been lost, at least for the moment; when belief collapses or is intentionally withheld, systems collapse.

 

The bottom line is that tyranny is inherent in concentration of political, social, economic power, whether achieved through elections, force of arms, or inheritance.  The method of ruling is essentially the same — achieving massive consent either through fear or propaganda/myth (De La Boetie).

 

Structural Causes of War

 

Political-economic systems, as a function of 5 millenniums worth of vertical authority structures, are routinely intended to preserve privilege and class through exploitation.  They actually require expansion (to acquire workers, resources, markets) for their “prosperity” which has been supported by the masses despite detrimental consequences to them.  The American Way Of Life (AWOL), with but 4.6% of the world’s population, consumes anywhere from 25% to nearly half the world’s resources.  This nonnegotiable Way Of Life, (Bush I), grotesquely unfair, is the mother of all structural problems.  It requires constant theft by force or its threat; AWOL resides within the context of 500 years of colonialism by Eurocentric powers enriching 20 percent on the enforced impoverishment of the remaining 80 percent.

 

Centralized vertical structures are similarly rooted in the origins of “America” during its first “bourgeois” revolution (called the American Revolution).  This Revolution initially “preserved inherited property over human rights as it destroyed inherited government” but was shrouded in language describing it as “republican”.  In fact, it was and remains oligarchic in nature, forcefully protecting privilege and what emerged as monopoly capitalism, but supported by the masses despite hurtful policies; the second “bourgeois” revolution (Civil War) enhanced property in factories and railroads as it abolished property in man” (Lynd, Staughton. (1982). Intellectual Origins of America Radicalism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, p. 3]. 

 

The granting to corporations the constitutional rights of legal persons has usurped the Bill of Rights (especially the 1st, 4th, and 14th Amendments), even as those provisions generally only protected the White middle and upper classes.  The military-industrial-intelligence-information-president/congressional complex makes huge sums of money on war and destruction, and rebuilding upon the destruction.  For the indicia of the phoney GNP (Gross National Product), every event is to be commodified into profit-making.

 

Oligarchic “America”

 

The U.S. “Founding Fathers” had a vision for an “empire of liberty” [Jefferson], “imperial republicanism” [Madison] and a mercantile, imperially expansive nation, the engine of the system [Williams, William Appleman. (1980). Empire As A Way Of Life. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 20], but NOT a vision of democracy.  George Washington in his second term as President declared that the emergence of “democratic societies” threatened the new republic [Beard, Charles. (1915, 1943). Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy. New York: The MacMillan Company, p. 259].  U.S. historian William Appleman Williams has described U.S. America  – “Empire As A Way of Life” – what author Derrick Jenson describes as “The Culture of Make Believe”.  In fact, the fantasy of “America” as the most noble experiment in human organizational history is built on 3 unrecognized, incomprehensible holocausts that stole land, labor and global resources at gun point, killing millions (billions?) with virtual total impunity.  Slovenian psychoanalyst Slavoj Zizek has described the U.S. has lived as if on a “holiday from history” [Zizek, Slavoj. Re-Constructions, "Interpretations: Welcome to the Desert of the Real", September 15, 2001, http://web.mit.edu/cms/reconstructions/interpretations/desertreal.html] as if it suffers from the convenience of virtual total amnesia.  Some call it the United States of Amnesia.  The United States has been built and sustained by behavior of TERRORISM.  And the people, believing in their “exceptionalism”, have paid for and allowed it, and often directly participated in it.  But the fact is that the unwillingness to live within our own means, primarily within our own original borders, is the basis of imperialism.

 

The 1787 Constitutional Convention held in secret, pre-empted the vision and values of the original U.S. American leaderless, spontaneous revolution of August 1774, emerging from farmers and small communities in Massachusetts seeking communal self-government, and who clearly did not seek nor want a strong central authority structure [Raphael,Ray. (2002). The First American Revolution. New York: The New Press, pp. 197-223].  That they were sexist and racist remained unaddressed in the Revolution.

 

Western cultures have become addicted to technology as it enables a more comfortable, convenient, and faster Western Way Of Life (WWOL).  Obsessive belief in the myth of progress through large (rather than small and local), capital (rather than labor) intensive, violent (versus nonviolent), complex (versus simple) technologies, has pre-empted utilization of intermediate technology and local ingenuity and preservation of regional economic and cultural sufficiency essentially independent from far-away external inputs (Schumacher, Illich).

 

This structural formation and maintenance of the “American” civilization has, I believe, created a substantial additional psychological basis for continued war: (1) There exists a terrifying fear that we will discover our real civilization history founded on three nearly incomprehensible, demonic holocausts, stealing virtually everything we possess materially, acquired through theft at gunpoint killing millions for which we continue to enjoy virtual total impunity; (2) That this truth will protrude through, then explode in our faces, causing overwhelming anxiety and accelerated neurosis; (3) The immediate fallout of this exposure of our rhetoric of “exceptionalism” will collapse our fragile make-believe political-economic system based on historical lies, mythology, and fantasy; and (4) That in striving to repress the awareness of this truth, AWOL is driven to ever more addictive qualities to keep the truth at bay, thereby continuing business and war as usual.

 

Conclusion

AWOL/WWOL during 500 years of colonialism has produced a spoiled rotten 20 percent while impoverishing 80 percent, rationalized with a racist ideology and Eurocentric arrogance living in a bubble of make-believe.  The “American” society is habituated to obedience to vertical authority structures (the oxymoron “representative democracy”) and is now literally addicted to a Way Of Life enabled by the short-term blip of an oil-based economy.  We must recover other archetypal characteristics of empathy, equity and humility enabling participation in smaller mutual aid, sustainable communities of local autonomy, the social organization that our human memory has known for more than 99.9 percent of our Hominid evolutionary journey.  Embracing the truth of our dark history rather than hiding behind its fanciful rhetoric make it possible to liberate us to become authentic beings living in mutual respect and cooperation.

 

References

 

Bush, George Herbert Walker. In June 1992, the Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where 153 countries, Including the U.S., signed treaties to curb the damage to the environment from human economic activities. U.S. President George H. W. Bush, resisted efforts to make deep and lasting changes that could ensure protection of the world on which all nations depend. His reasoning? “The American way of life is not negotiable”.

 

Childe, V. Gordon. (1936, 1983). Man Makes Himself. New York: New American Library.

 

De La Boetie, Etienne. (1553, 1997). The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude. Montreal: Black Rose Books.

 

Diamond, Jared. (1999). Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W.W. Norton.

 

Ehrenreich, Barbara. (1997). Blood Rites: The History of Origins and Passions of War. New York: Henry Holt.

 

Eisler, Riane. (1987). The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

 

Gilligan, James. (1997). Violence: Reflections On A National Epidemic. New York: Vintage.

 

Hedges, Chris. (2002). WAR Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning. New York: Public Affairs.

 

Hillman, James. (2004). A Terrible Love of War. New York: Penguin Press, pp. 17-18, identifying 14,600 recorded wars, not counting “thousands of indecisive ones.”

 

Illich, Ivan. (1973). Tools For Conviviality. New York: Harper & Row.

 

Milburn, Michael A., and Sheree D. Conrad. (1996). The Politics of Denial. Cambridge, MA: MIT.

 

Miller, Alice. (1983). For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

 

Montagu, Ashley, Ed. (1978). Learning Non-Aggression: The Experience of Non-Literate Societies. Oxford: Oxford University Press. “Why are some people aggressive and others gentle?…The answer lies primarily in child-rearing, particularly in the treatment of infants…..”  Central Theme: “That non-aggression rests on a foundation of loving maternal care.  In each non-aggressive society, infants’ basic needs are continuously satisfied without obstacle, and young children learn without punishment to cope with angers, fears, and hostilities.”  “The peaceful component in human nature is as strong as the aggressive impulses and that it only awaits the proper set of cultural conditions to flower into a way of life for people everywhere.”  “Non-aggression is culturally taught in these seven studied non-literate societies.”

 

Mumford, Lewis. (1966). The Myth of the Machine: Technics and Human Development. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.

 

Raphael, Ray. (2002). The First American Revolution: Before Lexington and Concord. New York: The New Press.

 

Roszak, Theodore, Gomes, Mary E., and Kanner, Allen D. (1995). Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind. San Francisco: Sierra Club.

 

Schumacher, E.F. (1973). Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered.   New York: Harper & Row.

 

Williams, William Appleman. (1980, 1982). Empire As A Way Of Life. New York: Oxford University Press.

 

Zizek, Slavoj. September 15, 2001). “Welcome to the Desert of the Real”. Re: Construction, http://web.mit.edu/cms/reconstructions/interpretations/desertreal.html, a website launched by members of the MIT Comparative Media Studies community following September 11, 2001. 

 

 

IV.  Western Hemisphere Population, Pre-Columbian

 

The more recent estimates of pre-Columbian numbers of human beings living in the Western Hemisphere number as many as 145,000,000, with an estimated 18,000,000 (12.4 %) living in today’s continental United States and Canada.  The people living in the Americas spoke at least 1500 to 2000 languages derived from a cluster of about 150 language groups inhabiting probably at least 600 complex autonomous societies [David E. Stannard.  (1992). American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 263, 267-68; Arlene Hirschfelder. (2000). Native Americans. New York: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc., pp. 28-29].

 

Around 1500 AD, the populations in other parts of the world, i.e., the Eastern Hemisphere, were estimated at: Europe, 60,000,000 to 70,000,000; Russia, 10,000,000 to 18,000,000; Africa, 36,000,000 to 72,000,000; Oceania, 1,000,000 to 2,000,000; Asia total, 225,000,000 to 380,000,000.  Thus, the estimated total Eastern Hemisphere population was 332,000,000 to 687,000,000.  With the Western Hemisphere population estimated at 145,000,000, the total world population was in the range of 477,000,000 to 832,000,000.  Using these best estimates, then, Western Hemisphere (New World) population at the time of Columbus’ intervention comprised some 21 to 30 percent of the world’s total population [John D. Durland, "Historical Estimates of World population: An Evaluation". Population and Development Review, 3:253-96, 259 (1977)].

 

 

V.  The Columbus Enterprise

 

Cristoforo Colombo, a Genoan, financed by Italian bankers, and sailing under the sponsorship of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, discussed his westward voyage in religious terms.  He wanted to convert the Asian heathens to Catholicism, and/or to use their gold and other riches for the re-conquest of the Holy Land from the Moslems [Hans Koning. (1976. 1991). Columbus: His Enterprise, Exploding the Myth. New York: Monthly Review Press, p. 35].  On October 12, 1492, after a long oceanic voyage of three ships, Christopher Columbus came ashore on an island now called Watlings, or San Salvador, in the Caribbean Bahamas.  He announced he was taking possession of those lands for the King and Queen of Spain (Castile).  The resident Arawak (Taino) Indians were friendly and welcoming. They inhabited the entire Bahama region.  In Columbus’ log he wrote: “…They do not bear arms…They would make fine servants, and they are intelligent…I believe they could easily be made Christians…These people are totally unskilled in arms…With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want” (Ibid., pp. 52-3).

 

In 1493, Columbus made a second voyage with an invasion force of 17 ships as he set up operations on the large island of Espanola (Haiti and Dominican Republic), announced himself as viceroy and governor with the sanctioning of the Spanish crown, and instituted policies of slavery.  When Columbus departed in 1500, 8 years later, the original 8 million Indians had been reduced to just 100,000.  By 1514 the Spanish census revealed about 22,000 Taino.  In 1542, only 200 were recorded, considered virtually extinct [Ward Churchill. (1997). A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present. San Francisco: City Light Books, p. 86, citing footnotes on page 95).  

 

This was the result of the Columbus Enterprise!  Prosperity is sought through expansion using whatever means are necessary, including exploiting, enslaving, assimilating, or eliminating any group that is perceived either in the way or to be used.  It is based on a racist and religious ideology, one group feeling superior to another, with search for gold and riches being a major "cognitive" feature.  Hierarchical structures are immediately instituted, meaning that class stratification must be adhered to as an alternative to murder.  This is the Columbus enterprise!

 

Author Hans Koning concludes that "What sets the West apart is its persistence, its capacity to stop at nothing (emphasis in original) [Koning, op. cit., p. 116].  This is echoed by cultural historian Lewis Mumford who declared, “Wherever Western man went, slavery, land robbery, lawlessness, culture-wrecking, and the outright extermination of both wild beasts and tame men went with him” [Lewis Mumford. (1964, 1970). The Myth of the Machine: The Pentagon of Power. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., p. 9]

 

 

VI.  500 Years of Colonialism: A Small Eurocentric Minority Enriches Itself On Impoverishing The Majority Global Indigenous

 

The six primary imperialist powers of Europe in 1500 had estimated populations as follows: France, 15,000,000; Spain, 6,500,000 to 10,000,000; Italy, 10,000,000; British Isles, 5,000,000; Portugal, 1,250,000, and the Netherlands, 1,000,000.  Thus the imperial powers of Europe comprised 38,750,000 to 42,250,000, or a bit over 60 percent of Europe’s total population, but only about 6 to 8 percent of the world’s population at the time.  Thus, began the beginning of conquest, the long 500-year period of colonialization of the Indigenous New World (and the known non-European Indigenous elsewhere as well).  Some 145,000,000 souls in the “Americas”, along with a range of some 270,000 to over 600,000 in the Eastern Hemisphere, i.e., the vast majority of the non-European population, were about to be impoverished, annihilated or assimilated by a small minority of 6 to 8 percent Eurocentric sailing invaders, and their investor-backers. [C. Clark, Population Growth and Land Use, 2nd Edition, MacMillan Press (1977), pp. 82-89; Colin McEvedy and Richard Jones, Atlas of World Population History, Facts on File (1978), pp. 49, 57, 65, 101, and 103; J.M. Blaut, The Colonizer's Model of the World: Geographical Diffusionism and Eurocentric History, New York: The Guilford Press (1993); and generally, Diamond, op. cit.].

 

First English Settlements in Western Hemisphere: A Century Later

 

The Columbus Enterprise funded by the Spanish crown was not looking for an empty continent to colonize, but a direct trade route to a populated Asia in which to foster prosperity for European investors/speculators, through discovery of gold and silver, as the Spanish had successfully done in Mexico and Latin America, or finding new trading opportunities.  The accidental bump into the “New World” produced a new kind of lucrative subsidy – exploitation of what Europeans determined as “empty” land.  The first post-Columbus attempts to establish relationships in the “unoccupied” New World (except by strange looking and acting “savages” not considered human) was to take possession of the newly found land in order to grow crops like tobacco and send them to England for immense profits.

 

Jamestown, Virginia 1607: A Commercial For Profit Corporate Enterprise Needing Private Property

 

After several failed attempts to colonize Virginia shore areas in 1570 (by the competing Spanish) and by the English in 1584 and 1606, the first permanent English settlement arrived May 14, 1607 with 104 “colonialists” at what is today’s Jamestown, Virginia on the southern edges of Chesapeake Bay.  These English “settlers” did not come seeking business or trade with “savages”.  They were in effect employees sponsored to become a Virginia colony on behalf of a private for-profit enterprise funded by English venture capitalists. Two interrelated groups of merchants from London and Plymouth, England petitioned the crown for land patents. Two Virginia companies were established – the London (or South Virginia) Company, and Plymouth (or North Virginia) Company [Richard B. Morris and Jeffrey B. Morris, Eds. (1953, 1976). Encyclopedia of American History, Bicentennial Edition. New York: Harper & Row, p. 31].  Investors bought shares of stock in the Virginia Company of London, formed in 1606, designed to expand English trade with intention of reaping quick financial profits in the New World (National Geographic, “America, Found & Lost”, Charles C. Mann, May 2007, p. 52).  Thus, the first settlement was a commercial, corporate enterprise of a stock-holding company with employees, or indentured servants, who were expected to do the grunt work of planting crops, harvesting them, and sending them onto England to satisfy the investors needs for expanded profits.

 

Among the first settlers was John Smith, an investor with the Virginia Company who took pride in his previous military adventurism in Europe, including Ireland, prior to becoming involved in the Company and a member of the Jamestown Council (The Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth Ed., p. 2542).  He made and published maps of the Chesapeake which were shared with the Stuart kings who in turn used them to distribute land grants to many generations of colonists/investors (Smithsonian, “Beyond Jamestown”, Terence Smith, May 2007, p. 58).  Gold and silver was to be mined if found; otherwise land was to be claimed as private property, used for growing crops such as labor-intensive tobacco which was in high demand, and fenced for livestock in order to generate maximum profits for distant speculators.  From 1607 to 1624, at least 6,000 more employees came from England to take advantage of this “opportunity” (i.e., a subsidy of “free” land) even as the risks of dying from malnourishment or disease was high.  Three-quarters of them perished in a short period of time.  Though the Jamestown settlement was initially virtually defenseless, the 15,000 Powhatan Indians did not attack, though it is speculated that they believed the English would soon die off and be out of their hair.  Ironically, it wasn’t long before the reverse occurred.

 

The friendly Powhatan Indians lived in more than a hundred small communities along the various creeks and rivers of the watershed, each village surrounded by unfenced fields of corn or those laying fallow waiting for future plantings.  They did not have domesticated farm animals but the English colonialists quickly brought livestock, including pigs.  The Europeans carried diseases not known to the Powhatans and soon the latter were falling like flies, as the colonialists were taking over more and more land and enclosing it.  To the English, the Indians were not utilizing land unless it was fenced, signifying “ownership”.  Historian Alfred Crosby describes this attitude and practice as the first stage of arrogant intervention – “ecological imperialism” (Mann, op. cit., p. 44). Consequently the colonialists wore out land quickly, moving to new areas where deforestation continued in order to plant more tobacco to supply the insatiable English demand (Ibid., p. 45). 

 

Colonial leaders like John Smith used intimidation to assure cooperation from their sometimes hesitant hosts.  Knowing that the Indians families were very close in affection, and suffered severe grief when separated from their offspring, Smith practiced kidnapping and holding hostage Indian children when seeking compliance from Powhatan village elders.  When English colonialists decided they wanted to spend time with the Indians, sometimes even living with them, the White settlers were hunted down and executed (Stannard, op.cit., pp. 104-05). Referring to Indians, John Smith described them as “subanimals, more unnatural brutishness than beasts” (Richard Drinnon. (1980). Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, p. 52).

 

Peace in Virginia quickly eroded into attacks by colonialists, and retaliatory attacks by the Indians.  Physical elimination of Indian villages, massacres of non-combatants, and destruction of food had soon become the preferred English response to dealing with Native people.  The colonialists became explicit in their desire to “exterminate” the Indians, “rooted out from being longer a people upon the face of the earth” (Stannard, op. cit., p. 106).

 

In 1619, another corporate tobacco plantation, Berkeley Hundred, was formed by thirty-eight new employee/servants, 30 miles west of Jamestown.  This was representative of the emerging and spreading labor-intensive tobacco plantations that were rapidly running out of a sufficient labor pool of settlers/indentured servants.  It was also the year the first Africans were introduced into Jamestown, the first known use of slaves in the colonies. There is still controversy as to just who brought the new free supply of African workers to Jamestown – the English, Dutch, or Portuguese.  But slavery is another tragic story.

 

Massachusetts 1620: Corporate Theocracy Funded by the Virginia Company of London

 

While the Indians in Virginia were well on their way to decimation through disease, starvation, and massacres, a second major English invasion comprised of 102 desirous colonialists, called separatists (from the church of England), or pilgrims, left Plymouth, England on the Mayflower in mid-September 1620.  Like the Jamestown settlers, they were funded by the similar Virginia Company (of Plymouth), a joint-stock enterprise, which possessed land rights to much of the Atlantic seaboard of the New World.  The Company provided maps created by the same John Smith of Jamestown with a designated destination being the northern portions of the Virginia territory, actually the area of today’s lower Hudson River and Manhattan in New York.  Apparently knocked off course by storms, they landed on December 21, 1620 at what came to be called Plymouth, north of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, 500 miles to the northeast of Jamestown, Virginia, but only 200 miles from their New York destination.  Plymouth had been the site of a Wampanoag Indian village at Patuxet but a terrible plague in 1618 brought by earlier European traders, likely smallpox, had virtually wiped out the entire tribe.  Thus, the first pilgrim settlers initially were not greeted by any of the inhabiting Indians.

 

Let us look at some of their famous leaders.

 

Miles Standish, one of the Mayflower Pilgrims, served as a primary military leader of the Plymouth Colony. In 1623, after Captain Standish had slaughtered eight friendly Indians at Wessagusset, the colonists’ failure to resolve this dilemma in practice led to the famous lament of their former pastor John Robinson: “Oh, how happy a thing it had been, if you had converted some before you had killed any!”  Despite denying that “Indians are truly men,” and claiming that America was “unpeopled”, Mayflower Pilgrim William Bradford, selected Plymouth Governor in 1621, believed that Christians shouldered the responsibility of bringing the Gospel to the “savage and brutish men which range up and down, little otherwise than the wild beasts of the same”. (Drinnon, op. cit., p. 49)

 

John Endicott led one of the first groups of the more severe Puritans to arrive in Massachusetts Bay in 1628.  He managed a plantation near Salem, MA where he was governor and established an independent Puritan church.  Endicott served as assistant Governor to Winthrop, and in 1636 participated in the violent war against the Pequot Indians in Connecticut and Rhode Island, in what became the Pequot War (1636-37).  He was zealous in persecuting the Quakers.  Endicott had been ordered “to put to death the men of Block Island, but to spare the women and children, and to bring them away, and to take possession of the island; and from thence to go to the Pequots to demand the murderers of Captain Stone and other English, and one thousand fathom of wompom for damages, etc., and some of their children as hostages…” [Drinnon, op. cit., pp. 34, 35].

 

John Winthrop was a Puritan lawyer who became governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company, recipient of a land patent from the English Crown in 1629 prior to his arrival in Massachusetts with the first large group of Puritans in 1630.  He then served as governor off and on until 1649, and helped shape the theocratic policy of the Colony, opposed popular government, and created the foundation of the Bible Commonwealth. He ranked with Endicott as among the severist of all Puritans. (Morris, op. cit., p.p. 1187-88; Columbia Encyclopedia, p. 2986).

 

The most important Puritan settlement at Plymouth was headed by Winthrop. In contrast to the Pilgrim Separatists, the Puritans claimed they remained members of the Church of England. They were not fleeing persecution nor were they seeking religious liberty so much as a fanatical passion “for the redemption of the world for and through their Lord, Jesus Christ.”  Winthrop stated it was God’s intention that “every man might have need of other, and from hence they might all be knit more nearly together in the bonds of brotherly affection.” Believing they were God’s chosen people (“He has taken us to be His after a most strict and peculiar manner”).  “We shall find that the God of Israel is among us… For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill.  The eyes of all people are upon us…” [Page Smith. (1976). A New Age Now Begins. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 19-20].  Winthrop’s orders to Endicott in 1636: “to put to death the men of Block island.” (Drinnon, op. cit., p. 34);

 

John Underhill was a Puritan military commander, in 1630 accompanying Winthrop to the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  In 1637 he was commander with John Mason in the Pequot War, of which he wrote an account in Newes from America (1638).  Later in New Netherland (NY), 1644, he commanded a mercenary force for the Dutch against the Algonquin Indians. (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 5th Edition, 1993, p. 2820); “we burnt and spoiled both houses and corn…burning and spoiling the island” (Drinnon, op. cit., pp. 36-37); [Pequots] “were burnt in the fort, both men, women, and children. Others who were forced out…our soldiers received and entertained with the point of the sword.  Down fell men, women, and children” (Drinnon, op. cit., p. 42); Underhill explained his actions, referring to the Scriptures for killing women and children: “When a people is grown to such a height of blood, and sin against God and man, and all the confederates in the action, there he hath no respect to persons, but harrows them, and saws them, and puts them to the sword, and the most terriblest death that may be…We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings.” (Drinnon, op. cit., p. 43)

 

John Mason was another Puritan military commander who served with John Underhill to virtually eliminate the Pequot Indians in 1637.  They killed 600-700 Pequot inhabitants [Hirschfelder, op. cit., p. 33). Mason wrote A Brief History of the Pequot War (Columbia Encyclopedia, p. 1713). 

A Century later Mason's editor (Reverend Tom Prince) compared his temperament with that of Captain Miles Standish, "who spread a Terror over all the Tribes of Indians about him".  However, Mason became "the equal Dread of the more numerous Nations from Narragansett to Hudson's River.  They were Both the Instrumental Saviors of this Country in the most critical Conjunctures."  Mason shared the conviction of Endicott and other Saints that they were the chosen as recipients of God's special endowment: "The Lord was as it were pleased to say unto us, The Land of Canaan will I give unto thee though but few and Strangers in it."  He also related the prophecy of Reverend Thomas Hooker as they prepared to attack the Pequots, "that they should be Bread for us" (Drinnon, op. cit., pp.  41-42).

 

This record of sentiments and behavior of our European ancestors in the United States, in this case the more northern version, is instructive to better understand the religious, arrogant, racist and violent nature of our ancestors, and of our cultural ethos.

 

The First Thanksgiving

 

According to a Penobscot anthropologist, William B. Newell, the first official Thanksgiving wasn't a festive gathering of Indians and Pilgrims, but in fact a celebration of the massacre of 700 Pequot men, women and children during the Pequot War, 1636-37.  Newell was formerly the chair of the anthropology department at the University of Connecticut. 

 

According to Newell, "Thanksgiving Day was first officially proclaimed by the Governor (Winthrop) of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 men, women and children who were celebrating their annual green core dance - Thanksgiving Day to them - in their own house.  Gathered in this place of meeting they were attacked by mercenaries and Dutch and English. The Indians were ordered from the building and as they came forth they were shot down. The rest were burned alive in the building".

 

Newell's research is based on Holland Land Documents and the 13 volume Colonial Documentary History, materials written from colonial officials to their superiors and the king in England, and the private papers of Sir William Johnson, British Indian agent for the New York colony for 30 years in the mid-1600s.  He said the image of Indians and Pilgrims sitting around a large table to celebrate Thanksgiving Day was "fictitious" although Indians did share food with the first settlers [From the Community Endeavor News, Grass Valley, CA, November, 1995, as reprinted in Healing Global Wounds, Fall, 1996, C/O Jennifer Viereck, P.O. Box 13, Boulder Creek, CA 95006; (408) 338-0147].

 

 

VII. The Growing Wars Between European Colonists and Indigenous Inhabitants

 

Let us look at the words of the U.S. Eleventh Census report in 1890:

“Since the advent of the European in the present United States there have been almost constant wars between whites and Indians, outbreaks, or massacres, beginning on the Pacific side in 1539 and on the Atlantic side after 1600.  The wars and outbreaks arose from various causes: from resistance by the Indian to the white man’s occupation of his land; from the white man’s murder of Indians; from the Indian’s murderous disposition; from national neglect and failure to keep treaties and solemn promises; from starvation, and so on.  Within the past 100 years the Indians’ chief complaint was against the acts of individuals; when the reservation system became general the complaints ranged from charges against settlers to charges of breach of faith against the United States, many of which in the past 20 years have been confirmed by investigation. Prior to the organization of the government of the United States in 1789 individual companies of adventurers, various European governments, and the colonies were engaged in almost constant bloodshed with the Indians”  [Report on Indians Taxed and Indians Not Taxed In the United States (Except Alaska) at the Eleventh Census: 1890, p. 641].

 

Though the official jargon calls them “Indian Wars” they were in fact wars of aggression against Native inhabitants, waged by European invaders, not just English, but German, Irish, Scotch, etc., no less than those waged by the U.S. against millions of peoples in dozens and dozens of countries in the “Third World” during the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries.  U.S. aggressions continue to this day in Iraq and Afghanistan, and elsewhere.  The Eleventh U.S. Census, chapter entitled, “Indian Wars, Their Cost, and Civil Expenditures,” with section entitled, ‘Wars Between the United States and Indians’ (p. 637), itemizes at least 45 wars between 1789 and 1890.  However the Report declares “actions between regular troops and Indians from 1866 to 1891 is 1,065″, a period of only 25 years (emphasis mine), an average of 43 battles a year. It is worth noting that actions were in fact military battles, even if not prolonged wars.  But as many American Indigenous decry, they in fact have been targeted in a 500-year prolonged war against their people and cultures.

 

The French and Indian War

 

The French and Indian War to most U.S. Americans, the War of Conquest to most Canadians, the Seven Years War to most Europeans, was the First World War.  It was a war between the world’s two superpowers of the time in a huge struggle for global dominion  It was actually waged for nine, not seven years, between 1754 and 1763.  Elsewhere, it was being fought in Europe, Asia, Africa, the West Indies, and on the high seas, as well as in North America [William M. Fowler, Jr. (2005). Empires At War: The French and Indian War and the Struggle for North America, 1754-1763. New York: Walker & Company, p. 1].  English settlers in North America along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Georgia, creeping slowly west inland, numbered nearly one million in the early 1700s.  The vast majority were White Protestant farmers (Ibid., p. 2).

 

The Iroquois Confederacy that lived in the key territory south of two of the Great Lakes, Erie and Ontario, were in a position of controlling important waterways that included those lakes along with the St. Lawrence River, and the Mohawk, Hudson, and Susquehanna Rivers in eastern New York and Pennsylvania.  The French claimed western portions of this region, and initially supported the Iroquois presence as a block to their British competitor for fur and other commodity trading.  Although the Iroquois Confederacy tolerated the strong British presence in New York, they never considered these traders as anything but temporary guests.  Iroquois lands and their sphere of influence had been active for a number of centuries and were certainly the strongest pre-European military and trading alliance in North America, impacting areas to the west as far as Illinois country, and to the south as far as the Carolinas.

 

Already there were a number of investors in land in the Appalachian and Allegheny Mountains in Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, for example, and regions to their west in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and even further.  There were investment companies, with many investors, many of whom became what we call our Founding Fathers.

 

In Virginia, British-oriented Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie and his wealthy friends had for years been speculating in land and fur trading.  Presence of the French in the Ohio region posed serious competition to their future profits, and even threats of huge losses on their longtime investments.  In 1749, the Ohio Company was formed when the King awarded a charter of huge tracts of land to Virginia that included the Ohio region (Ibid., p. 33).

 

George Washington, the son of a wealthy planter and iron foundry owner, had become a surveyor in the Shenandoah Valley in his teens after his father’s death.  In 1752 he inherited rights to the Mount Vernon slave-holding plantation upon the death of his half-brother Lawrence.  As a well-to-do young male Virginian, the Royal governor appointed him in 1753 as a Major in the militia [http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/P/gw1/about/washingt.htm, a website of "From Revolution to Reconstruction", A study of American History from the Colonial Period until Modern Times, Department of Humanities Computing, University of Groningen, The Netherlands).

 

In October 1753, Dinwiddie dispatched the recently appointed twenty-two year old militia Major (read paramilitary officer) with six men to deliver a letter to the French commander of military forces in the Ohio area, warning him to vacate the extended Virginia tracts of land.  This meeting occurred at Fort Le Boeuf, Pennsylvania (present day Waterford only 35 miles from my second boyhood home in Ashville, New York) in the Ohio River Valley watershed (Fowler, op. cit., pp. 34, 35). 

 

Washington returned with his report to Dinwiddie identifying additional French forts at Presque Isle on Lake Erie (near today's Erie, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles from my second boyhood home in Ashville, New York), and at Venango, and that the French were moving further west in order to strategically control the entire Mississippi River system (Ibid., p. 36).

 

Dinwiddie ordered Washington, now promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, to raise a force of armed men to head into the Ohio region and complete construction of a fort earlier begun by the Ohio Company in order to protect the interests of its speculators (in land), among them being Washington and Dinwiddie (Ibid., p. 37).  Because of difficulty in recruiting sufficient numbers of men for the difficult expedition, Dinwiddie offered 200,000 acres (over 300 square miles) as signing bounties which induced 132 "motley" men to be part of the 200-mile journey.  Dinwiddie and Washington also recruited warriors from the Seneca Nation of Iroquois who felt threatened by French incursions into their fur trade.  Seneca Chief Tanaghrisson and a few of his warriors joined the mission. 

 

On April 23, 1754, Washington convened a council of war with 180 men.  In May, Tanaghrisson's and Washington's combined forces surprise attacked a 30-man French diplomatic patrol at dawn and killed 10 sleeping soldiers while taking the remainder as prisoners.  The French patrol ironically had been on a mission to meet with the known approaching Virginia/English forces to discuss control of the Ohio territory.  This massacre occurred at Jumonville Glen (near Uniontown in southwestern Pennsylvania).  It was considered diplomatically provocative because at the time France and England were still at peace (Ibid., pp. 42-43).  Commander Washington reported to the Virginia Governor, "I heard the bullets whistle, and, believe me there is something charming to the sound" (Ibid., p. 42).  Dinwiddie was furious, fearing that Washington may have "set the world on fire", reported to the King that it was Seneca Tanaghrisson's forces that committed the massacre (Ibid., p. 43). This was Washington's first experience in combat.  Fearing French retaliation, Washington fortified his encampment ten miles from the Jumonville massacre at Great Meadows/Fort Necessity (near Farmington, 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).

 

The Six Nations council at Onondaga, New York, concerned that one of its chiefs, Tanagrhisson, had joined Washington in the military expedition against the French, sent word that the Iroquois would remain neutral "in this quarrel between the white men" (Ibid., p. 44).  On July 3, 1754, the French retaliated with forces that outnumbered Washington's men by two to one at Great Meadows/Fort Necessity, causing many casualties. Tanaghrisson and his Seneca men slipped away and quietly returned to their home villages.  On July 4, Washington surrendered in humiliation, undermining both English and Iroquois authority (Ibid., p. 47).  Tanaghrisson was disgraced among the Seneca, and a few weeks later died at his village near Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

It was this set of skirmishes that contributed to the French and Indian War, though it wasn't until May 18, 1756, that the English declared war on France, despite having surrendered in the battle at Fort Necessity to the French nearly two years earlier. 

 

Washington's massacre of sleeping French forces at Jumonville Glen in disputed territory was equivalent to a paramilitary force of a virtual private company sanctioned by the British attacking a formal patrol on a diplomatic mission from another nation when no war had been declared.  It triggered a chain of events that led to war for empire.  Washington, as with Dinwiddie and others, was protecting his and others' interests in future profits expected from sale of frontier lands.  They would benefit from lands safely in English control.   Washington, already wealthy at a young age, even bought up the land claims given his militia by Dinwiddie in lieu of salary for the Ohio expedition, adding to his personal land "ownership".  He possessed investments in other enterprises as well, such as the Mississippi and Great Dismal Swamp Companies ("Empire - American As Apple Pie", A. Kent MacDougall, Monthly Review, May 2005, Vol. 57, No. 1, pp. 56-59).

 

Ironically, though Washington actively recruited Seneca warriors to aid his military expedition against the French in 1754, twenty-five years later, when serving as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, he ordered the total extermination of the Seneca and the other Iroquois Nations.  This was to assure that English and other European settlers could safely develop the land, assuring profits for investors in the various land companies.

 

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 and Systematic Defiance by English Settlers

 

It is important to recognize that hordes of frontier settlers, speculators, surveyors and other opportunists were establishing permanent settlements as they moved westward from the line of colonies hugging the Atlantic coast, especially in the years following the cessation of the "French and Indian War".  The Royal Proclamation of October 1763 established a rough line along the Appalachian Mountains running from Georgia northeast into much of what is today's Pennsylvania, eastern New York and much of New England.  The area west of this line was reserved for Indians only, colonial expansion and settlement was to be strictly prohibited.  But, in fact, the English triumph of 1763 contained the seeds of Revolution, and later empire.

 

A desire for good land that in the settler's minds was inhabited only by subhuman "savages", meant that the Proclamation line only enraged ever more the colonialists' motivations to keep settling in defiance of the Crown's orders.  Throughout the late 1760s and 1770s, while the U.S. American Revolution was being hatched by farmers in town meetings in Massachusetts, armed men were roaming through regions such as Kentucky and along the Ohio, surveying likely "development" sites for eastern speculators such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, et al., provoking increasingly violent retaliation by Indigenous societies who had long inhabited the lands.  [Wallace, Anthony F.C. (1999). Jefferson and the Indians. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, p.p. 6-7].  Between 1775 and 1891, 5,000 whites were killed in individual “affairs” with Indians while killing 8,500 Indians, for a total of 13,500 total deaths [Report on Indians Taxed and Indians Not Taxed In the United States (Except Alaska) at the Eleventh Census: 1890, p. 637].  Many of those deaths are almost certainly attributed to settlers and investors/speculators engaged in activities the equivalent of today’s paramilitary or death squads operating outside of “official” channels.  Such operatives commonly work for the rich against the impoverished, functioning in a manner that avoids being noted in any public record.  It seems ironic that this behavior was occurring on the eve of the American Revolution that promised to usher in a new freedom.  But freedom for whom?

 

Numerous Wars Between the Inhabitant Indigenous and the Intervening Europeans

 

The following wars were some of the more notable fought by Native Americans defending themselves from European colonizers in what was to later become territory of the United States: Beaver Wars (17th century); Pequot War (1637); Dutch-Indian War (1643); King Philip’s War 1675-1676); Pueblo Rebellion (1680); French and Indian Wars (4):[King William's War (1689-1697), Queen Anne's War (1702-1713), King George's War (1748), Seven Years War (1756-1763)]; Tuscarora War (1711-1715); Dummer’s War (1724-1725); Pontiac’s Rebellion (1763-1766); and Lord Dunmore’s War (1774).

 

 

VIII. The Mighty Iroquois

 

The Iroquois and the Crown were so concerned about the settler encroachments on Indian lands in defiance of the 1763 Royal Proclamation, a new Treaty was signed at Fort Stanwix (present day Rome, NY) in November 1768, adjusting the earlier boundary line between Indian lands and White settlements.  The Iroquois hoped a line further west might hold back White colonial expansion, and thus agreed, to a very controversial compromise by caving into the inevitability of continued White expansion.  They ceded for money to the English all their lands east and south of the Ohio River in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, much to the chagrin of the Delaware, Shawnee, Cherokee and Mongo Indians living in that region.  At the same time, the Iroquois extended north and east the boundary in portions of New York in efforts to provide extra protection of Iroquois lands.  Results: Further irritation of White settlers and land speculators who immediately opened up new frontiers everywhere, increasing tensions to boiling points [Colin G. Calloway. (1995). The American Revolution in Indian Country: Crisis and Diversity in Native American Communities. New York: Cambridge University Press, p. 22].

 

The pre-Columbian population of the areas along the wooded areas south of the Great Lakes was estimated at 4,000,000, and of the Atlantic coastal plain from Florida to Massachusetts another 2,000,000.  Some scholars date the founding of the Five Nation Iroquois Confederacy in what is today much of New York State to the mid-1400s, composed of independent Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca peoples (David Stannard, American Holocaust, pp. 31, 28). 

 

However, scholars Barbara Mann and Jerry Fields of Toledo University, Ohio, claim the mid-1400 date is far later than the true origin of the Iroquois Confederacy [the Haudenosauneee ("People of the Longhouse")].  Using a combination of documentary sources, solar eclipse data, and Iroquois oral history, they claim that 1142 was the year of formation.  The Seneca, the last of the Five Nations to ratify the Confederacy body of law, did so at a council ceremony on August 31, 1142, convened at a site that is now a football field in Victor, New York. The location is called Gonandaga by the Seneca and there is a historic commemorative site there to this day.  Victor is about 20 miles south of Rochester, and 24 miles west of northwest of Geneva.  August 31, 1142 was the date of a major solar eclipse, and Seneca oral history mentions their adoption of the Iroquois Great Law of Peace shortly after a total eclipse of the sun.  The circumstances of another eclipse in 1451 was determined not to comply with the criteria when the scholars studied Seneca oral history (“Dating the Iroquois Confederacy” by Bruce E. Johansen, Akwesasne Notes, Fall – Oct/Nov/Dec 1995, Vol. 1, #s 3,4, pp. 62-63).

 

The Revolutionary War and the Iroquois

 

Since the early 1700s the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy had become the Six Nations, with the addition of the Tuscaroras who had emigrated from North Carolina after being devastated in what was called the Tuscarora War.  Thus, the now Six Nation Confederacy of the Iroquois lived in what was New York State from the Hudson River in the east to Lake Erie in the west.  The manner in which this happened merely continued the pattern of arrogant aggression by Europeans against Indigenous that had begun in the early 1600s.  Even during the Seven Years War, independent-minded European frontiersmen were surveying lands in and west of the Appalachian Mountains, which only escalated after the conclusion of the Treaty of Paris in February 1763.  For the Iroquois, the soon-to-be Revolutionary War not only divided them among themselves, in effect causing a Civil War, but ended forever the Iroquois Confederacy.  The story is a tragic one

 

The Profit Envisioned From Acquiring Indian Lands

 

Encroachments on Indian land was exacerbated by the amount of profit that was envisioned in acquiring this phenomenal resource.  The Ohio Company was formed in 1749 when the King granted the Virginia governors huge tracts of land that extended into the Ohio region.  Many of the White men we call members of our “Founding Fathers” such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Morris, Patrick Henry, and Benjamin Franklin, were early speculators/investors collectively in hundreds of thousands of acres of land in association with a number of land companies. They hoped to profit from their many illegal private purchases from the Indians in defiance of the Proclamation of 1763 [Anthony F. C. Wallace. (1999). Jefferson and the Indians: The Tragic Fate of the First Americans. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, p. 47].  And in the period from the Proclamation in 1763 to the Revolution, settlers and investors in land were increasingly irritated with the British Crown for seeming more interested in maintaining peace with the Indians than in serving the expansionist desires of the European colonists [Ibid., p. 40].

 

In addition to the Ohio Company there were others such as the Potomac Company, the James River Company, the Mississippi Company, the Loyal Company, the Vandalia Company, the Indiana Company, the Walpole Company, the Greenbrier Company, and the Great Dismal Swamp Company [See generally, Anthony F. C. Wallace. (1999). Jefferson and the Indians: The Tragic Fate of the First Americans. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, Chapter One, "The Land Companies", pp. 21-49].

 

Pressure to control vast tracts of land inhabited by the Indians came from two other sources in addition to the profit involved in selling agricultural and timber lands as well as mill sites and trading locations to thousands of eager settlers and entrepreneurs.  The colonies desperately needed funds to finance the Revolutionary War which they planned to do by selling the lands to settlers.  The other force was the revenge possessed by early illegal settlers who had unsuccessfully treaded on Indian lands, losing their possessions, and sometimes their lives [[Anthony F.C. Wallace. (1972). The Death and Rebirth of the Seneca. New York: Vintage Books, p. 150].

 

Iroquois Attempt to Remain Neutral

 

When the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, the Iroquois, at the time having a collective population of about 15,000, proclaimed their neutrality.  They set certain conditions on their remaining neutrality, such as confining Continental military activities to the coast regions, allowing free passage of Iroquois hunters between trading posts within their large country, and resolving their generation-old land claims against New York State.  However, the colonialists were not about to tolerate a neutrality that legitimized the status quo of Indian land holdings [Wallace, 1972, op. cit., pp. 28, 127-28, 129-30; Calloway. op. cit., p. 33].  However the constant movement of settlers everywhere greatly alarmed the Iroquois, as well as Indians everywhere.  The Indians were filing formal complaints, all in vain, to colonial governing authorities about the many trespassers in their communities and the various schemes to claim ownership of their land [Ibid., pp. 22-23].

 

Meanwhile, the new colonies were rapidly organizing themselves.  The First Continental Congress met September 5 – October 26, 1774, in Philadelphia.  It was comprised of 56 selected delegates of wealthy White men from 12 colonies.  In early May 1775, the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia, and a month later the Department of a Continental Army was formed with George Washington, the wealthiest colonial figure at the time, appointed as Commander-in- Chief.  In October the Department of Navy was established, in November the U.S. Marine Corps.  The Continental Congress in December 1775 called upon the Indians for help “in case of real necessity” (Calloway, op. cit., p. 29).   On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence from England was signed, identifying the Indians as “savages”.

 

Battle For Hearts and Minds: A Civil War Among the Iroquois

 

There was a fierce battle going on for the hearts and minds of the Iroquois.  Tory Colonel John Butler, a leader of the infamous “Butler’s Rangers”, was friends with many of the Iroquois Indian communities.  Understandably, he was hated by the rebel colonialists. He worked feverishly to obtain the loyalty of the Iroquois who after all had been treated with virtual total contempt by English settlers even as the colonial Crown administration was claiming to protect them from the encroachers.  Butler warned that the “colonialists intention is to take all your lands from you and destroy your people, for they are all mad, foolish, crazy and full of deceit” [Robert M. Utley and Wilcomb E. Washburn. (1977). The American Heritage History of the Indian Wars. New York: American Heritage Publishing Company, p.  117].   The Iroquois preferred to stay neutral.  But their unity was beginning to break down after hundreds of years of cohesion.  The Mohawks, Cayugas, Senecas, and Onondagas were leaning toward the British, i.e., the Tories.  The Oneidas and Tuscaroras favored the rebel colonialists. 

 

The four in favor of the British met at a Congress held in early summer 1777 to seal their agreement, with Butler present (Ibid., p. 117; Wallace, Death, op. cit., p. 132).  Soon, one of the bloodiest battles of the Revolutionary War occurred at Oriskany in the Mohawk Valley of central New York located between the towns of Utica and Rome.  On August 6, 1777, only a month after the four Iroquois nations agreed to fight with the Tory-British against the rebel colonialists, Continental Brigadier General Nicholas Herkimer with a force of 900 rebel militia and Oneida and Tuscarora Indian soldiers, marched to assist the rebel outpost at Fort Stanwix in Rome, New York beleaguered by British forces.  He was hoping to destroy the main force of Indians and their British Tory supporters.  At Oriskany, however, a few miles from the Fort, Herkimer’s forces were ambushed by a large group of Seneca, Mohawk, Cayuga, and Onondaga warriors under the leadership of Joseph Brant, and a number of New York loyalists led by Colonel Butler. A bloody, hand-to-hand combat contest endured for many hours, with many lives lost.  From 200-400 of Herkimer’s men, including Oneidas and Tuscaroras, were killed, several hundred others wounded.  Herkimer himself died from his wounds a few days later.  It is estimated that 100 Seneca, Mohawk, Onondaga, and Cayuga warriors were killed, and perhaps another 100 Tory loyalists (Wallace, Death, op. cit., p. 135).  Here is where the Iroquois civil war broke out in its most bloody dimensions.  Literally, Iroquois were now fighting against Iroquois, killing and wounding one another.

 

Battle at Oriskany

 

On November 15, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the thirteen Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. Though the winter of 1777-78 was relatively quiet, the Continental Congress was alarmed at the strength of the alliance between the four Iroquois Nations and the British and their loyalist Tories, especially after the Battle of Oriskany.  On March 1, 1778, the Congress ordered its Board of War to actively recruit Indians into the Continental Army.  The Colonial Secretary in London, England sent the Carlisle Commission to meet with colonial officials to offer a home rule formula which the Congress summarily rejected, since it was interpreted to offer less than complete independence at the time the Franco-American Alliance was agreed to (George Washington Papers at Library of Congress, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gwhtml/1778.html). 

 

Meanwhile, Joseph Brant’s Iroquois raiding parties, chiefly destructive of property against the increasing numbers and range of rebel settlements in the Mohawk Valley, continued in the spring and summer of 1778 (Wallace, Death, op. cit., p. 137).  On June 11, 1778, the Continental Congress allotted nearly $933,000 to fund a military expedition to end Indian raids and provide frontier defense [Calloway, op. cit., p. 46; Sullivan/Clinton Campaign, Then and Now, http://sullivanclinton.com/texts/facts/].

 

Battle at Wyoming, Pennsylvania

 

The first major battle of the 1778 fighting season occurred when several hundred Tories under Colonel Butler, and most of the Seneca warriors, on July 3-4, raided the Forty Fort rebel center in the Valley of Wyoming on the eastern branch of the Susquehanna River near today’s Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.  About 400 rebel militia and Continental Army regulars emerged from the Fort to battle the Indians and their Tory allies in a traditional skirmish line.  The colonialists, however, quickly retreated as about 340 of their 400 numbers were killed.  The Seneca reported losing only 5 men.  The Fort surrendered.  Settlements in Wyoming Valley were burned and looted, with most of the inhabitants fleeing into nearby mountains.  Prisoners were later turned over to the British at Fort Niagara.  There was no massacre or torture of prisoners or of civilians, though the fleeing survivors claimed details of atrocities.  Wyoming became a symbol of egregious Indian savagery and heightened the call for annihilation of the Indians (Wallace, Death, op. cit., pp. 137-138).  This was eleven months after the earlier battle at Oriskany where the Iroquois joined had first with Tory and British troops in strictly military combats.  Colonial settlements in Pennsylvania and New York that were increasingly encroaching on Iroquois communities and lands were, the Iroquois hoped, to stop.

 

Popular Mohawk Joseph Brant, an educated warrior who was thought highly by the British, had lobbied British Colonial Secretary George Germain to investigate the Iroquois grievances of encroachment on their lands, echoed by other Indians, accusing the settlers of contravening the Treaty at Ft. Stanwix: “Some of your people have of late made encroachments upon our lands, by surveying our hunting-grounds close up to our habitations” (Calloway, op. cit., p.p. 121-22).  Brant had converted the Indian village at Oquaga (along the Susquehanna River near Windsor, New York just above the Pennsylvania line) as a major center for planning and conducting raiding parties against the settlers.  Oquaga had been a melting pot for the Six Nations, Tories, and other Indians.  It was protected by the new separation line created by the Fort Stanwix Treaty of 1768, but since the settlers/rebels had not honored the boundary, the Iroquois were not certain they were safe there either.  However, Oquaga had a reputation as a cosmopolitan center since the 1750s that included Christian missionaries, and a place for restoration from the wars.  It was thought to be safe. And Oquaga had supported the English, not the French, in the Seven years War, and expected the British to earnestly protect it, especially after the Fort Stanwix Treaty of 1768.

 

Rebel Colonialists in Revenge, Destroy the Indian Melting Pot Village of Oquaga

 

Perhaps for just such reason, the alarmed colonialists from Cherry Valley, a major rebel settlement 70 miles northeast of Oquaga, near Otsego Lake, the headwaters of the Susquehanna River, began sending out patrols looking for Indians, and issuing threats to castrate Joseph Brant.  After the Wyoming military humiliation, Congress escalated its plans to defeat the Six Nations (Wallace, Death, op. cit., p. 138).  There were reports that 400 to 600 Indians under Brant’s command were living in the area of the cluster of villages at Oquaga.  New York Governor George Clinton said in September 1778 that there would be no prospect for “peace” on the frontier “until the Straggling Indians & Tories who infest it are exterminated and drove back & their settlements destroyed” (Calloway, op. cit., p. 124).  In early October, Governor Clinton communicated to Continental Army Commander-in-Chief that destruction of Oquaga was necessary because it was “the principal Place of rendezvous for the Enemy” (Ibid., p. 124).  Washington ordered Continental Army officers Colonel Philip Van Cortlandt and Lieutenant Colonel William Butler to attack the town. 

 

Learning of the impending attacks, the Indians fled the Oquaga area before the military expedition entered the village on October 8, 1778, destroying over a period of two days the entire town and all its buildings.  Forty solid houses were burned along with the only gristmill and sawmill on the upper Susquehanna, and 2,000 bushels of corn were destroyed.  A veteran of the expedition later admitted that “when they were mowing the corn they found several small children hid there, and he boasted very much, what cruel deaths they put them to, by running them through with bayonets and holding them up to see how they would twist and turn”.  A nearby Indian village, Unadilla, suffered the same fate (Ibid., pp. 124-25; Wallace, Death, op. cit., p. 138).

 

Indian Revenge at Cherry Valley, New York

 

Violence leads to more violence and the Indians exacted revenge.  Cherry Valley, founded as an English settlement in 1739, and from where many rebels staged attacks against Indians, was the target in revenge.  On November 11, barely a month after the Continental Army and rebel militia destroyed Oquaga, 100 Butler Rangers and 200 Iroquois attacked the settlement, killing some thirty civilian settlers.  Atrocity stories exaggerated the already tragic violence [Ibid., p. 139; Wainger, op. cit., p. 88; Ian Barnes. (2000). The Historical Atlas of The American Revolution. New York: Routledge, p. 140, reported 46 killed].  More revenge was called for by the settlers.

 

 

IX.  The Continental Army’s Plans for A Final Solution

 

On February 25, 1779, Commander-in-Chief George Washington submitted to the Continental Congress plans for a major Indian expedition, which the Congress authorized [Sullivan/Clinton Campaign, Then and Now, http://sullivanclinton.com].  The first of four major military invasions, one little known, against the Iroquois occurred in April when Colonel Goose Van Schaick with more than 500 soldiers moved against the Onondaga settlements in east central New York State, “laying waste their towns and crops, slaughtering their cattle and horses, and carrying off thirty-three prisoners” (Calloway, op. cit., p. 51; Wallace, op. cit., pp. 141-42).

 

Planning for the remaining invasions from three different directions were outlined, all converging on central and western New York in the heart of Iroquois country, especially the Seneca.  General John Sullivan, overall in charge, with 2,500 forces, was to ready his forces at Easton, Pennsylvania in late April to move north upon orders.  General James Clinton with 1,500 men, was to begin in Schenectady, New York and move south on the Unadilla and Susquehanna Rivers to later join Sullivan’s forces in Tioga, Pennsylvania, just south of the border with central New York not far from Elmira.  Colonel Brodhead with 600 men, was to start out at Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) and move up the Allegheny River toward western New York.

 

Previously, Washington did not have the manpower to adequately fortify the frontier, but in 1779 the British began to concentrate their military efforts on the southern colonies.  This became an “opportunity” to launch an offensive towards Fort Niagara on the Canadian border in western New York.

 

Washington’s Orders to Launch The Sullivan Scorched Earth Campaign

 

From his New Jersey military headquarters, George Washington, who considered the Indians as if wolves, “beasts of prey” [Richard Drinnon. (1980). Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, p. 65], issued his orders to launch the invasions on May 31, 1779.  Read carefully.

     The Expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the Six Nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more.

     I would recommend, that some post in the center of the Indian Country, should be occupied with all expedition, with a sufficient quantity of provisions whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed.

        But you will not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements is effected. Our future security will be in their inability to injure us and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them.

[Wikipedia, Sullivan Expedition; John C. Fitzpatrick, Ed. (1936). Writings of George Washington. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, XV, pp. 189-93; Drinnon, op. cit., p. 331]

 

In June, Clinton began his march from Schenectady southwest to Otsego Lake, the head of the Susquehanna River.  On August 9, with 1,500 men and 220 flatboats floating on the crest of a frontal wave formed by creating, then breaking, a dam at the river’s mouth, they were carried to Tioga, Pennsylvania where they arrived on August 22.  Similarly, Sullivan marched west from Easton to Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, then marched up the Susquehanna and Wyoming valley toward Tioga (Athens, Pennsylvania) where he arrived on August 11, to await Clinton.  Meanwhile Brodhead was moving north up the Allegheny River valley to Fort Venango then onto Conewango in western New York (Wallace, Death, op. cit., p. 142).

 

When Sullivan’s and Clinton’s forces merged with more than 4,000 men on August 22, they began preparations for their scorched earth campaign into the heart of Iroquois country, first into New York’s southern tier, then Finger Lakes region.  At Newtown along the Chemung River near Elmira, New York, the Sullivan-Clinton forces armed with artillery overwhelmed 500 Indians under the direction of Brant and 250 Tory rangers.  The Indians and Tories fled in an attempt to regroup 70 miles further to the northwest at Genesee.  As it turned out Sullivan’s forces were so numerous and overpowering this was the only major battle that took place during this month-long expedition.  By September 7, the Continental Army forces had moved up the east side of 40-mile long Seneca Lake and had arrived in the village where I was to be born nearly 162 years later in Geneva, then called Kanadesaga (Ibid., pp. 142-43).

 

Even the rebel soldiers were impressed with the exceptionally well-built towns and houses, the beautiful orchards of apple and peach trees, and extensive corn, beans and squash crops, the Iroquois staples.  In Indian town after town, the new “American” army destroyed everything – all homes, crops and fruit trees.  Even graves were plundered as soldiers looked for possible burial items of value.  Soldiers committed gruesome acts like skinning bodies “from the hips down for bootlegs” (Calloway, op. cit., p. 51).  Virtually all Cayuga, Mohawk, Onondaga, and Seneca towns had been totally destroyed (Wallace, Deaths, op. cit., pp. 143-44).

 

After the conclusion of the Revolutionary war in 1783, the emerging United Sates government, still under the Articles of Confederation, began dictating treaties with the defeated tribes, exacting land cessions as a price for the end of aggression.  The Fort Stanwix Treaty of 1784 formally ceded all lands west of the Niagara River to the United States.

 

Sullivan’s Report to Congress: “Not a Single Town Left”

 

When the expedition was completed at the end of September, Sullivan issued a report to the Continental Congress.

     “The loss of the enemy was much greater that was at first apprehended.   [A]t Newtown…I suppose them to have been 1500 (p. 298).  [S]aw… Indians, killed and scalped (p. 300). The number of towns destroyed by this army amounted to 40 besides scattering houses.  The quantity of corn destroyed, at a moderate computation, must amount to 160,000 bushels, with a vast quantity of vegetables of every kind.   Every creek and river has been traced, and the whole country explored in search of Indian settlements, and I am well persuaded that, except one town situated near the Allegana (sic), about 50 miles from Chinesee (sic), there is not a single town left in the country of the Five nations.  It is with pleasure I inform Congress that this army has not suffered the loss of forty men in action…”(Italics added), (p. 303).

[Major Gen. Sullivan's Official Report written at Teaogo, NY, September 30, 1779, submitted to the (unicameral) Continental Congress, presided over by John Jay; Re-published from a reprint of the Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, Tuesday, October 19, 1779, in turn published in Journals of the Military Expedition of Major General John Sullivan Against the Six Nations of Indians in 1779 prepared pursuant to Chapter 361, Laws of the State of New York, of 1885, by Frederick Cook, Secretary of State; Freeport, NY: Books For Libraries Press, 1887; Amory, T.C. (1868, reprod. 1968), The Military Services and Public Life of Major General John Sullivan. Boston, Mass.: Wiggin & Lunt, 130, &c.; Norton, A.T. (1879). History of Sullivan's Campaign Against the Iroquois. Lima, NY: A.T. Norton].

 

Centennial Report on Sullivan’s Attack on Kanadesaga/Geneva

 

On the centennial of the Sullivan scorched earth campaign, Reverend Craft, a Presbyterian minister at Wyalusing, Bradford County, Pennsylvania (between Wyoming and Tioga), delivered the following address that celebrated the devastation.  The portion of Sullivan’s exploits in Kanadesaga are presented:

[...P. 364] Early in the morning of the 7th [September 1779], the army again struck tents, and after marching about eight miles, came to the foot of Seneca lake, about five miles from Kanadesaga, where expecting an attack, the army halted and reconnoitered the ground. Finding no enemy they proceeded keeping close to the bank of the lake on account of a bad marsh on their [p. 365] right. In about half a mile they came to the outlet, a rapid running stream from twenty to thirty yards wide and knee deep. Fording this the army re-formed on the high ground on the left bank and marched about half a mile with a narrow marsh between them and the lake; they then came to a large morass or quagmire, now known as the “soap mine” and were compelled to pass a narrow and dangerous defile along the lake shore, which was flooded at intervals. Emerging from this, they encountered another morass now known as Marsh Creek, thence by a narrow path along the beach they came to a cornfield and Butler’s buildings, consisting of four or five houses at the north-west corner of the lake near the present canal bridge in Geneva. The path then lay along the north side of Castle Brook to Kanadesaga, an important Seneca town, of about fifty houses, surrounded by orchards and cornfields, distant nearly two miles in a westerly or north-westerly direction from the foot of Seneca Lake, General Maxwell’s Brigade going to the right and General Hands’ to the left to gain the rear and surround the town.

     Kanadesaga was a large and important town, consisting of fifty houses with thirty more in the immediate vicinity, and being the capitol of the nation was frequently called the “Seneca Castle.” Its site was on the present Castle road, a mile-and-a-half west from  [p. 366] Geneva. The town was divided by Kanadesaga or Castle Creek. It was regularly laid out, enclosing a large green plot, on which, during the “Old French War” in 1756, Sir William Johnson had erected a stockade fort, the remains of which were plainly visible to our army, and spoken of in a number of the journals. Orchards of apple, peach and mulberry trees surrounded the town. Fine gardens with onions, peas, beans, squashes, potatoes, turnips, cabbages, cucumbers, water melons, carrots and parsnips, abounded; and large cornfields were to the north and northeast of the town. All were destroyed on the 8th of September.

[JOURNALS OF THE MILITARY EXPEDITION OF MAJOR GENERAL JOHN SULLIVAN AGAINST THE SIX NATIONS OF INDIANS IN 1779 WITH RECORDS OF CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS, Prepared Pursuant to Chapter 361, Laws of the State of New York, of 1885. By Frederick Cook, Secretary of State, Auburn, N.Y. Knapp, Peck & Thompson Printers, 1887].

 

Because Washington’s scorched earth directives to Sullivan were keyed on use of terror, I looked up the word “terror” in my maternal grandfather’s Webster’s 1892 dictionary that sits preserved in my own library to this day: “extreme fear, fear that agitates body and mind”; “terrorism”: “the act of

terrorizing”; “terrorist” is “one who governs by terrorism or intimidation.” The terrorist actor could be other than a person. It could be a government, even a citizen-supported government.

 

What happened to the Iroquois

 

Seneca and other Iroquois Indian survivors fled to Fort Niagara on the New York border with Canada where many starved and froze to death during the winter of 1779-80, one of the worst in anyone’s memory.  All their villages, homes, food, burial places were destroyed.  Their land had been taken from them by force, though title to those lands would not be resolved for decades.  The powerful Iroquois Confederacy was destroyed!

 

Within two decades most Iroquois Indians were confined to Reservations, having lost their hunting grounds as the Whites who surrounded them awaited the former’s agreement to become civilized.  The Iroquois, whose numbers had significantly declined due to the war, hunger, disease, and freezing, were even more seriously afflicted by loss of their spirits.  They did not do well being forced to succumb to the white man’s civilization.  They had lost their way of life, their land, and their health.  They had been deraced.  They had lost confidence and self-respect.  They were now considered “slums in the wilderness”, suffering from poverty, alcoholism, violence, loss of confidence in their future, shock from dispossession, social pathology, and lack of unity (Wallace, Death, op. cit., Chapter 7, “Slums in the Wilderness”; Calloway, op. cit., p. 290).

 

Meanwhile, the Seneca and other Iroquois were gradually losing virtually all their lands.  As military losers in the Revolutionary War, and having sided with the British, the Iroquois (even the two Nations who did side with the British, the Tuscaroras and Oneidas) were eventually forced to cede their lands to the United States in a series of treaties, except for small Reservation plots. 

 

The October 22, 1784, Fort Stanwix Treaty with the Six Nations offered peace to the Iroquois if they would cede all lands west of the Niagara River and Pennsylvania over to the Ohio River, promising that they shall be secured in the peaceful possession of the lands they inhabit”.

 

On November 11, 1794, in the Canandaigua Treaty (Pickering Treaty), the President of the new republic, George Washington, established boundaries for each of the Six Nations and acknowledged all the land within such boundaries for each of the Nation and promised that “the United States will never claim the same, nor disturb the Seneca Nation, nor any of the Six Nations, or of their Indian friends residing thereon and united with them, in the free use and enjoyment thereof; but it shall remain theirs, until they choose to sell the same to the people of the United State, who have the right to purchase”  Furthermore, the treaty continues, “In consideration of the peace and friendship hereby established, and…because the United States, with humanity and kindness, to contribute to their comfortable support; and to render the peace and friendship hereby established strong and perpetual, the United States now deliver to the Six Nations…a quantity of goods of the value of ten thousand dollars”.

 

On September 15, 1797, the Treaty of Big Tree, near Genesee, New York, the Senecas ceded more lands to Revolutionary War financier Robert Morris in a complicated scheme, and with a few Reservations now designated as “secure”, all remaining Iroquois territory in New York had been sold.  The 42 square mile Allegheny Reservation was established near Salamanca, New York.

 

The United States made 415 Treaties with Indian Tribes in the ninety-year period, September 17, 1778 through August 13, 1868.  Between 1872 and 1909, the United States signed 97 Agreements with Indian Tribes [(1973). A Chronological List of Treaties and Agreements Made By Indian Tribes With the United States. Washington, D.C.: The Institute For the Development of Indian Law].  The United States of America has yet to keep one Indian Treaty of agreement (Vine DeLoria, Jr. (1969). Custer Died For Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. New York: Avon Books, p. 35].

 

Kanadesaga Becomes Geneva

 

Within nine years of their rout, in 1788, Kanadesaga was first being settled by White Europeans.  Some may have been soldiers who had participated in the extermination in 1779 since they had been paid with land claims since the Continental Congress lacked sufficient funds to pay them.  The new settlers renamed the town, Geneva, since some described its elevated view of Seneca Lake similar to that of Geneva, Switzerland.  It was as if nothing had happened.  They considered the land a deserved reward as superior people who had conquered the savages.  Remember, the 1776 Declaration of Independence describes the Indians as “merciless savages”.

 

Streets were laid out in 1793, as the city rapidly increased in population. Geneva’s first big year was 1796 when it established many firsts for central New York: the Geneva Academy (forerunner of Hobart College) was founded, the Geneva Hotel opened, the Geneva post office with postmaster was established, the Ontario Gazette, a newspaper which served all of western New York began printing, and the sloop “Alexander,” carrying commercial trade on Seneca Lake, was launched [www.nysaes.cornell.edu/about/geneva_history.html]

 

It was incorporated in 1806, the first official village in western New York. By then It had the first dedicated church building, a Community Chest, a YMCA, a water company, a glass factory, and a free public library. It was also the first place in western New York to be served by the completed New York State Barge Canal. Geneva College (now Hobart & William Smith Colleges) holds the distinction of being the first institution in the United States to grant a medical degree to a woman in 1849.[ http://www.geneva.ny.us/index].

 

Washington Lied: The Indians Lose Much of Their Reservation Land

 

The large Seneca Indian Reservation along the Allegany River in southwestern New York State lost a third of its land to the Federal Government when the latter took over 9,000 acres and removed 130 Indian families for construction of the Kinzua Dam, 1956-1966.  Another 20 percent has been taken by a combination of 4-lane highway expressway, several railroad lines, and six “Congressional Villages” carved out of the Reservation in 1875 for White residents.  Another third has been leased to non-Indians in various schemes induced by deceit, bribery, whiskey, threat of force [Kinzua Dam - Laurence M. Hauptman. (1986). The Iroquois Struggle for Survival: World War II to Red Power. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, Chapter 6, "Interiors"; Expressway - Laurence M. Hauptman. (1988). Formulating American Indian Policy in New York State, 1970-1986. Albany: State University of New York Press, pp. 95-103; Congressional Villages - Survey of Conditions of Indians in United States, "Allegany Reservation Leases", p. 4935, 70th Congress, 1st Session, 1929; Congressional Villages; Leases to Non-Indians - Christopher Vecsey and William A Starna, Eds. (1988). Iroquois Land Claims. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, pp. 101-103]. 

 

So George Washington turned out to be a liar, as the Indians had always said.  In the 1794 Canandaigua Treaty he had promised that “the United States will never claim the same, nor disturb the Seneca Nation, nor any of the Six Nations, or of their Indian friends residing thereon and united with them, in the free use and enjoyment thereof”.  The destruction wracked by the Sullivan campaign earned Washington the name of “Town Destroyer” (Wallace, Death, op. cit., p. 143).

 

 

X. The “Indian Problem” Remains

 

The Whipple Committee to the Indians: Assimilation or Elimination

 

One hundred years later there had been no resolution.  In 1888, the New York State Assembly appointed a Special Committee “To Investigate the Indian Problem”, known as the “Whipple Committee” for its Chair.  The text of the report includes the question, “What can be done for the good of the Indian”?, citing a common cliché of the time, “Exterminate the tribe and preserve the individual” (68).  During its hearing Chancellor Sims of Syracuse University answered the same question: “Obliterate the whole tribe; make them citizens; divide all the lands…It is the merest farce …to treat them as a nation” (68).  Mr. William A. Duncan, Congregational Sunday School Field Secretary from Syracuse declared: “The Indian will never be civilized until he ceases to be a communist. This tribal relationship is the bane of civilization, the strongest ally of savagery” (69).  The Secretary of the Interior under President Grover Cleveland, L. Q. C. Lamar, a graduate of Emory College and Macon Law, testified that “the only alternative now presented to the American Indian race is speedy entrance into the pale of American civilization or absolute extinction” (72). Rev. Frank M. Tripp, missionary to the Senecas on their Allegany Reservation, and a member of the Presbytery of the district comprising Erie, Chautauqua, and Cattaraugus Counties in Western New York, affirmed that Indian rights should be protected with exact justice, “but whenever any conditions of existing treaties stand in the way of their welfare and progress, such conditions should be set aside” (73).   The Committee Report concludes that the Indians “be educated to be men, not Indians” and closes with the following words: “when the Indians of the State are absorbed into the great mass of the American people, then, and not before, will the ‘Indian problem’ be solved” (79).

 

The Everett Commission: The Indians Still Own New York State

 

In 1919, the New York State legislature established the New York State Indian Commission, partially due to reports of filthy and unsanitary conditions on the two Seneca reservations in western New York.  Edward Everett, a Republican Assemblyman and lawyer from Potsdam in rural St. Lawrence County, was elected chair of the 13-man commission, all White.  A number of meetings were held in the State from December 1919 to February 1922, though few of its members ever attended [See, Helen M. Upton. (1980). The Everett Report in Historical Perspective: The Indians of New York. Albany: New York State American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, Chapter 4, "The Everett Commission (1919-22)]. 

 

One of the issues discussed was “whether the whole of New York State belonged to the Indians and whether they should be compensated for it” (Ibid., p. 83).  Everett was sympathetic to the Indians and proclaimed “that if you did own this country when it was discovered (sic) by the white men and it was taken from you without proper and legal and just compensation, it should be returned to you” Ibid., p. 84).

 

One Indian witness, an Oneida, resented being termed an alien and testified thus: “You can call me a Bolshevist or whatever you want; but I am an American. I live in the same land my father and forefathers were born in and possessed thousands of years ago”. He said the Indians were a “separate government” surrounded by the United States (Ibid., p. 85).

 

Testimony described how the Indians had been terribly gouged of their land by Whites,  In an 1838 Treaty the Tonawandas had sold their lands to the Ogden Land Company for about 1 cent an acre and by the Treaty of 1842, paid $20 an acres to get it back (Ibid., P. 88).

 

Everett shockingly agreed that the lands, particularly of the Seneca nation, could not be considered a part of the state of New York (Ibid., p. 96)!  He cited international law elaborating that there are only two ways to take a country away from a people possessing it – purchase or conquest (Ibid., p. 99).  Everett suggested the Indians owned 6 million acres, about 20 percent of the State, and should recover them (Ibid., p. 100). 

 

Everett wrote the final report in February-March 1922, with very a very specific Findings: “The said Indians of the State of New York, as a nation, are still the owners of the fee simple title to the territory ceded to them by the Treaty of 1784″.  Everett signed it and sought the signatures of the other twelve Commissioners.  None signed it.  Everett presented the report to the new York State legislature on March 17, 1922 but it refused to accept it for filing (Ibid., p. 103).  

 

The Grand Theft of “America”

 

The United States of America created itself by stealing its land from other inhabitants through the “legal” forum of treaty making and legislation, at the point of a gun or its threat, and imposed starvation.  It “purchased” 95 percent of its domain of nearly 2.4 billion acres for nearly $800 million, or 34 cents an acre [Imre Sutton, Ed. (1985). Irredeemable America: The Indians' Estate and Land Claims. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, pp. 36-37 - CHECK THIS STATISTIC!]

 

The purchase of the Louisiana territory of nearly 525 million acres from France in 1803 (but occupied by Indigenous who had inhabited the and land for thousands of years) cost the United States $15 million, or 3 cents an acre.

 

The purchase of Alaska of nearly 425 million acres from Russia in 1867 (but occupied by Indigenous for thousands of years), comprising one-fifth of the continental United States land area, cost the United States $7.2 million, or 1.7 cents an acre.

 

The United States does not now possess, nor has it ever possessed, a legitimate right to occupancy of at least half the territory that it claims it owns on the continental United States [Ward Churchill. (1993). Struggle For The Land. Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, p. 61].

 

U.S. Supreme Court summarized the European mind set on Indian land and title to it, in this 1974 case:

“It very early became accepted doctrine in this Court that although fee title to lands occupied by Indians when the colonists arrived became vested in the sovereign – first the discovering European nation and later the original states and the United States – a right of occupancy in the Indian tribes was nevertheless recognized. That right, sometimes called Indian Title and good against all but the sovereign, could be terminated only by sovereign act. Once the United States was organized and the Constitution adopted, these tribal rights to Indian lands became the exclusive province of the federal law. Indian title, recognized to be only a right of occupancy, was extinguishable only by the United States”. [Oneida Indian Nation v. County of Oneida , 414 U.S. 661, 667 (1974)].

 

 

XI.  What Historians Say

 

Historian Richard Drinnon had this to say: “Sullivan’s scouring of the countryside…with ‘axe and torch soon transformed the whole of that beautiful region from the character of a garden to a scene of drear and sickening desolation’ – …that might have been a description of the graveyard into which General Smith had turned Samar [Philippines in 1900]…’the Indians were hunted like wild beasts’ [Drinnon, op. cit., p. 332].

 

Humboldt County, California, historian Ray Raphael: “Sullivan’s military campaign against the Iroquois Indians in New York State was the only major battle conducted by the Continental Army in 1779.  The Continental Congress had ordered the training and equipping of Sullivan’s 4,500 soldiers to get control of the area of what is upstate New York.  This was more than one-quarter of the Continental Army soldiers at the time.  It was nothing short of a terrorist campaign against a civilian population, a scorched-earth campaign ordered and sanctioned by the Continental Congress.  Forty well-established Seneca towns were totally destroyed, with the dwellings looted and torched, the cornfields and fruit orchards burned.  Where women and children were discovered they were slaughtered [Ray Raphael. (2004). Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past. New York: The New Press, pp. 235-238].

 

Historian Page Smith: “Sullivan’s campaign was the most ruthless application of a scorched-earth policy in American history. It bears comparison with Sherman’s march to the sea or the search-and-destroy missions of American soldiers in the Vietnam war. The Iroquois Confederacy was the most advanced Indian federation in the New World.  It had made a territory that embraced the central quarter of New York State into an area of flourishing farms with well-cultivated fields and orchards and sturdy houses. Indeed, I believe it could be argued that the Iroquois had carried cooperative agriculture far beyond anything the white settlers had achieved.  In a little more than a month all of this had been wiped out” [(1976). A New Age Now Begins. New York: McGraw-Hill, p. 1172].

 

 

XII.  The Nature of U.S. Cultural Ethos Revealed in Washington’s Orders, and Sullivan’s Campaign

 

I repeat herein George Washington’s orders of May 31, 1779:

     The Expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the Six Nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more.

     I would recommend, that some post in the center of the Indian Country, should be occupied with all expedition, with a sufficient quantity of provisions whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed.

        But you will not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements is effected. Our future security will be in their inability to injure us and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them.

 

Though the orders prescribe behavior that has been conducted by empires immemorial, these words happen to describe behavior dutifully carried out brutally destroying my hometown 162 years before my birth.  This is harsh Karma.

 

1.  Lay waste all settlements. Overrun and destroy everything.  Total destruction, devastation, and ruin.  This is scorched earth with no masks.  This is extermination.  Civilians were directly targeted with no distinction between combatants and non-combatants.  Forced removal, displacement, dispossession, starvation, theft of land with total impunity.

 

2.  Since the orders were directed against an entire people they fit the modern definition of genocide: Articles II of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide:

     1) the mental element, meaning the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”, and

     2) the physical element which includes any of five acts described in sections a, b, c, d and e.  A crime must include both elements to be called “genocide.”

 

Article II: genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

 (a) Killing members of the group;

 (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

 (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

 (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

 (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

 

3.  Ruin their crops. Prevent further planting.  Forced starvation, part of genocide.

 

4.  Do not listen to any overtures of peace.  Arrogant, imperial barbarism, opposed to peace because honoring the rights and resources of independent people would interfere with European expansion motivated by increasing profits.

 

5.  Our future security will be in their inability to injure us. This is preventive war.

 

6.  Explicit use of terror.  Our civilization was founded in and has been continually maintained by terror, a deliberate policy to induce fear.  It is intrinsic in our cultural origins and character.

 

7.  Use of pretexts without context.  This is rationalization and cover for committing acts against conscience.

 

8.  The motive of achieving prosperity through expansion of territory, eliminating any group or other force that is perceived as an impediment of that prosperity through expansion, is our cultural Weltanschauung, i. e., “our look onto the world”.  This is what historian William Appleman Williams calls the tragedy of American diplomacy [William Appleman Williams. (1959). The Tragedy of American Diplomacy. New York: Norton]. 

 

9.  Only grotesque arrogance of European ethnocentrism, and toxic racism could even entertain the idea of dispossessing, destroying and murdering others while stealing their land.

 

 

XIII.  The Empirical Pattern

 

When I was ordered to Viet Nam I had virtually no idea of the historical context.  Implicitly I felt part of a good, even superior (“exceptional”) culture.  In general, I only knew what most of my peers and elders knew or had told me.  I was being asked to sacrifice, along with millions of other young “Americans”, in a military effort to protect good people promoting “democracy” who were being threatened by global “Communism”, which conflict at that point in history was erupting in Southeast Asia.

 

Certainly my country knew what it was doing or it would not be expending billions of dollars over many years on militarily pulverizing the people of tiny Viet Nam and its neighbors, Laos and Cambodia, while sending and positioning hundreds of thousands of troops there such as myself.

 

But I did not know my history, nor did I know the cultural characteristics of my own society that were well established in its own origins, and repeated over and over so many times right up to the moment I was landing at Binh Thuy on March 8, 1969.  In fiction, there had been a social myth most of us were enthusiastically wrapped up in – we were part of an exceptional society committed to democracy and justice for all.  In fact, we had been part of a White Male oligarchy committed to prosperity for a minority through expansion and exploitation, but conveniently disguised as a Constitutional democracy.  I, and most everyone I knew, were believers in the fictional myth.

 

Independence and autonomy from our cultural notions of “civilization” are generally perceived as threats to our deserved “manifest destiny”, whether those threats come from within (serious dissenters and labor unions, for example), or from without (such as the Vietnamese movement for independence, and hundreds of other examples).  Our national prosperity, more honestly termed our “national security”, requires obedience at home while expansion, and more expansion, is conducted elsewhere to control access to resources, markets, labor, and people’s minds.  This occurs in geographical space, outer space, and our inner space.

 

Record of Overt Military Interventions

 

The overwhelming empirical evidence reveals a national ethos dependent upon various forms of imperialism. Let us look at the pattern of U.S. military overt interventions.

A.  Congressional Research Service (CRS) (Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division). (February 5, 2002). Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2001. Washington, D.C.: CRS Report for Congress. 

Annotation: 167 interventions from “1798-1800″ (undeclared naval war with France) to 1941-45 (WWII) plus 132 interventions from 1945 (China) to 2001 (Yugoslavia/Kosovo).

Total: 299 interventions, 1798-2001

 

B.  Blechman, B.M., and Kaplan, S.S. (1978).  Force Without War: U.S. Armed Forces as a Political Instrument, Appendix B. Wash., D.C.: The Brookings Institution.

Annotation: This study covers the period from Jan. 1, 1946, through Dec. 31, 1975 where the U.S. used its armed forces “as a political instrument” on 218 occasions.  Of these 218 occasions, 22 are already included in the CRS report of 299 interventions, leaving 196 additional distinct interventions. Thus the combined distinct interventions recorded by CRS and Blechman is 299 + 196 = 495. 

     The Blechman “political” incidents varied widely in the size & composition of US military forces which became involved, ranging from a visit to a foreign port by a single warship to the development of major ground, air & naval units against a backdrop including the mobilization of reserves & the placing on alert of strategic nuclear forces.  They varied in their political context. Sometimes they were tense int’l confrontations; at other times minor disturbances in int’l relations, and at times there was no conflict but the forces were utilized to strengthen ties between the U.S. and other nations in the larger political, hostile context.  Many of these uses of military forces are not listed elsewhere. 

 

C.  Collins, J.M. (1991). America’s Small Wars: Lessons for the Future. Washington: Brassey’s (US), Inc. 

Annotation: Figure 4 on page 14 lists sixty (60) “Foremost U.S. LICs (Low Intensity Conflicts) from 1899 to 1990.  Of these 60, thirty-seven (37) are not included in the 299 instances identified in CRS 2002 (thus are additional).  Of these 37 not included in CRS, three (3) however are included in Blechman’s list of 218.  Thus, from these sources one can identify: 299 (CRS) + 196 (Blechman minus overlap with CRS) + 34 (Collins minus overlap with CRS and Blechman) = 529 US overt military interventions between 1798 – 2001.

 

D.  Gerson, J. and Birchard, B., eds. (1991). The Sun Never Sets…. Boston: South End Press, 12.  Annotation: Quote: “By one count, 70 nations hosted U.S. bases and installations immediately following World War II….While U.S.-Soviet conflicts in this period were limited to nuclear threats and proxy wars, the global network of U.S. foreign military bases was employed to support more than 200 U.S. military interventions in the Third World by the United States” (italics in original), 1945-1991. Millions have been killed in these proxy “Cold Wars.”

 

E.  Gerson, J. and Birchard, B., eds. (1991). The Sun never Sets…Boston: South End press, 360-61.  Annotation: Citing Discriminate Deterrence, Report of the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy (Wash., D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1988, p. 14, Gerson and Birchard quote the report: “In the past forty years all the wars in which the United States has been involved have occurred in the Third World” (emphasis and italics added), again with millions killed. 

 

F.  Barnaby, F., ed. (1988). The Gaia peace Atlas.  New York: Doubleday, 56-57. 

Annotation: Chart lists 60 countries that have been a victim of at least one major war since 1945 with estimated casualty figures (120 wars in which deaths have averaged more than 1,000 per year).  In these major wars at least “twenty million people have died.”   Altogether there have been about 200 proxy, “undeclared” wars in period following WWII through the late 1980s.  The territory of some 80 countries and the armed forces of about 90 states have been involved.

 

G. The U.S. Guano Island Acts, 1856 (under President Franklin Pierce), authorized expeditions of U.S. citizens that had been undergoing long before 1856, and for another 50 years thereafter, engaged in the guano trade (seeking rich fertilizer from bird droppings found on many Pacific Islands).  This was commercially important and financially lucrative due to the rapid depletion of soil nutrients in the United States from industrialized capitalist agriculture that increasingly robbed fertility without returning it to the local soils.  Under authority of the Guano Acts, the U.S. sent out ships searching for Guano deposits, and between 1856 and 1903 U.S. American entrepreneurs explored 103 locations, of which ninety-four islands, rocks, and keys were claimed/seized.  Of these, sixty-six in the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean were at least temporarily recognized by the U.S. State Department as U.S. American legal properties. However, fewer than two-dozen were ever mined. 

     Today, nine of these locations remain U.S. Possessions: Baker Island – 1857 – by U.S. and British Companies; Howland Island – 1857 – by U.S. and British Companies; Jarvis Island – 1858 by the U.S., United Kingdom after 1889, U.S. again after 1935; Johnston Atoll – 1858 – U.S. and Kingdom of Hawaii; Kingman Reef – 1922 – U.S. military purposes (Island of Palmyra Copra Co., Ltd., landed on May 10, 1922 and took formal possession of this island, called Kingman Reef, on behalf of the United States); Midway Atoll Islands – 1867 – U.S lays Trans-Pacific cable; Palmyra Atoll – 1859 – American Guano Company, Kingdom of Hawaii, U.S. after 1898; Wake Island – 1899 – U.S. Cable Station; Navassa Island, 1857 – in Caribbean, Peter Duncan of Navassa Phospahte Company/Baltimore Fertilizer Company, disputed with Haiti.

[Jimmy M. Skaggs. (1994). The Great Guano Rush: Entrepreneurs and American Overseas Expansion. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, pp. 200-236; John  Bellamy Foster, "The Ecology of Destruction," pp. 9-10, Monthly Review, Vol. 58, No. 9, February 2007].

 

H. Between 1869 and 1897, U.S. sent warships into Latin American ports a nearly unbelievable 5,980 times (average 206 U.S. warship calls to Latin America ports per year, or about one every other day for 29 years) [William Appleman Williams. (1980). Empire As A Way Of Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 122, citing: S.S. Roberts, "An Indicator of Informal Empire: Patterns of U.S. Navy Cruising on Overseas Stations, 1869-1897," available at the Center for naval Analysis, Alexandria, Virginia].

 

Conclusion: A total of 529 overt U.S. military interventions, 1798- 2001.  At least 170 interventions occurred between 1798 and the end of WWII in 1945 (167 in CRS and 3 in Collins).  Post-WWII to 1990, all US military interventions have been in the “Third World,” of which, according to each of Gerson’s and Barnaby’s essays, there have been 200.  But looking at total post-WWII interventions: CRS (132 interventions post-WWII to 2001) and Blechman (196 additional between 1946 and 1975) and Collins (31 additional between 1945 and 1990) = 359 overt US military interventions occurred since the end of WWII to 2001 with at least 20 million killed.

     This does NOT count several thousand military uses of U.S. Naval ships to intimidate various nations in the Pacific, Caribbean, and Latin America.  And it does not include thousands of covert operations since 1947 since the CIA was created, both major and minor, in more than 100 countries that have  killed at least 6 million, while overthrowing governments, sabotaging independence movements, throwing elections to suit U.S. interests, creating false stories, etc.

 

The U.S. Founding Process and Document

 

The particular United States “American” political ethos legitimizing a central government had its origins, of course, in the attitudes and behavior exhibited by those Europeans directly involved in formally creating our Republic, at the convention in 1787, and in its first election in 1789.  The Constitutional convention, was held in secret for 116 days, May 25 – September 17, 1787, conducted by 55 White men who had not been publicly selected.  They created a document that articulated a strong national government that could assure western expansion of White Europeans protected by a national army from Indian resistance. This would assuredly benefit financially the many land speculators, including many of the Delegates, after the western lands were “opened” or “developed”.

 

More than half the delegates, none of whom were popularly selected, were educated lawyers. The remaining were planters, merchants, physicians, and college professors.  Not one member represented in his immediate personal economic interests small farming or mechanic classes (Charles Beard. (1913, 1943). An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. New York: The MacMillan Company, pp. 149-151).  Most believed that their property rights were adversely affected by the relatively “weak” government under the Articles of Confederation and were highly motivated economically to reconstruct the system (Ibid., p. 73).

 

Prior to the start of the convention, in the period August 1786-February 1787, Shays’ Rebellion of about 1,000 debt-ridden farmers who had not been paid for their Revolutionary War service and could not get credit to resume farming, conducted a series of armed raids in western Massachusetts.  Shays was from Pelham, Massachusetts, not far from Petersham, Orange, and Greenfield.  The revolt was fueled by the injustices of regressive taxation and a conservative state government thought no better than British colonial rule.  This had the effect of instilling fear in the hearts and minds of the gentlemanly “Founding Father” elite at the time, and built support for a strong central government that could quell rebellions.

 

Less than halfway through the secret deliberations of the Convention, on July 13, 1787, the Continental Congress of the Confederation tipped its hand with adoption of its greatest achievement – The Northwest Ordinance.  This was designed to civilize the “uncivilized frontier” north of the Ohio River, much of today’s Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, i.e., facilitate vast expansion beyond the original colony boundaries (Anthony C. Wallace. (1999). Jefferson and the Indians: The Tragic Fate of the First Americans. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, pp. 161-166; Morris, op. cit., p. 139).  This policy formally recognized the lands west of the Appalachian Mountains, and created mechanisms whereby the fledgling, and debt-ridden United States would assure “peaceful” expanded settlement. The intractable problems of endless war with Indian tribes, of dealing with ornery frontier settlers, and feeling the intense pressure of speculative land companies (cp. developers) to form new protected states of settlers, was now going to be placed in the hands of a governor and judiciary for the purposes of selling lands and managing the expanded population in the northwest.  This provided more encouragement for the Delegates to expand the powers of government to assure future prosperity.

 

Noted historian Charles Beard described the Delegate members as being “immediately, directly, and personally interested in the outcome” as economic beneficiaries of the Convention, identifying five interest categories: (1) Forty-one Delegates owned “Public security interests” (holding loans/notes making them public creditors hoping to be compensated); (2) Fourteen Delegates owned “Personalty invested in lands for speculation”; (3) Twenty-four Delegates owned “Personalty in the form of money loaned at interest”; (4) Eleven Delegates owned “Personalty in mercantile, manufacturing, and shipping”; and (5) Fifteen Delegates owned “Personalty in slaves”.  Twenty-nine percent, or 16 members, of the original 55 selected Delegates refused to sign the final document (Beard, op. cit., p 150-51).

 

Of the 39 signers, George Washington was one of only two (the other was Fitsimmons) who possessed substantial interests in as many as four of the five identified categories.  Clearly our Founding Father had a lot at stake.

 

Washington as First President Dislikes, Distrusts “Democracy”

 

In 1791, the new Congress, needing to raise money but, not wanting to tax land, passed a very unpopular excise tax on the manufacture of distilled liquors.  It led to what history books describe as “The Whiskey Rebellion” in July-November 1794, of several thousand backwoods farmers in southwestern Pennsylvanian discontent over enforcement of the law.  Other sections of the country were also opposed to the law.  President Washington personally accompanied Alexander Hamilton, his Secretary of the Treasury, with nearly 13,000 government troops in September to quell the “uprising” but none of the Whiskey farmers showed up for battle (Morris op. cit., pp. 148-152).

 

The “Democratic Societies” that had been created in many towns rejected the excise tax, and Washington began to understand how widespread the dissent was and feared stability of the young federal government.  He believed that the emergence and organizing activities of the Democratic Societies planned to seriously impact the federal system.  On September 25, 1794, Washington, in his second term as President, said “The insurrection may be considered as the first ripe fruits of the Democratic Societies. I did not, I must confess, expect it would come to maturity so soon….[C]an anything be more absurd, more arrogant, or more pernicious to the peace of society, than for self-created bodies, forming themselves into permanent censors, and under the shade of night in a conclave resolving that acts of Congress, which have undergone the most deliberate and solemn discussion by the representatives of the people, chosen for the express purpose and bringing with them from the different parts of the Union the sense of their constituents….” [Charles Beard. (1915, 1943). Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy. New York: The MacMillan Company, p. 259].  So much for the idea of democracy.  The power elite were already insulated from the people but could not grasp that reality shrouded by their own arrogance.

 

His fear of the Democratic Societies which came to life during his second administration made Washington increasingly claim that criticism of the government was equivalent to sedition. (Beard, Constitution, op. cit., p. 215).  It convinced him of the necessity to destroy or at least harshly condemn the Democratic Societies which he believed were attacking and undermining the policies of his Presidency (Beard, Jeffersonian, op. cit., p. 260).

 

It seemed not to occur to the White male “Founding Fathers” that there was nothing democratic about their fledgling oligarchy they apparently deeply believed in.  Whether a Constitutional Convention should be held was never submitted to a popular vote. The oligarchic members of colonial state legislatures chose delegates to the Convention. The Constitutional convention was held in the strictest of secrecy.  The Constitution was not submitted to popular ratification.  Since no direct popular vote was even attempted regarding acceptance of the Constitution, it is impossible to know what the popular sentiment was.  And a considerable proportion of the adult white male population was prohibited from participating in the election of delegates to the ratifying state conventions due to property qualifications for voting.  Historian Beard conjectures that of the estimated 160,000 who voted in the election of delegates for the various state ratifying (or not) conventions, not more than 100,000 favored adoption of the Constitution (Beard, Constitution, op. cit., p. 250).  And of course, women, African slaves, the original Indigenous inhabitants, and un-propertied White adult male, and White males under 21 had no vote at all.

 

So, it cannot be said that the Constitution was “an expression of the clear and deliberate will of the whole people”, nor of a majority of the adult males, nor at the outside, of one-fifth of them (Ibid., pp. 250-51).  In essence, debtors, the poor and un-influential, the overwhelming majority of all human beings living in the thirteen states of the Union at the time, were either opposed to the Constitution or were not allowed to register a formal, legal opinion.

 

In December 1792, with 15 states now voting in the new country, the Electoral College once again chose Washington unanimously. John Adams was again elected Vice President as the runner-up, this time getting the vote of a majority of electors. In the Popular vote, there were nearly 9,500 cast (71 percent) for Federalist Electors, over 3,800 (about 29 percent) for Democratic-Republican Electors, for a total of over 13,000 votes [Source: U.S. President National Vote. Our Campaigns. (February 11, 2006)]. 

 

But it is instructive to note that only 6 of the 15 states chose their “electors” by any form of popular vote. And those states that did choose electors by popular vote had widely varying restrictions on suffrage due to property requirements. One report indicates that less than 1% (about 29,000) of the “free” population voted for the unopposed Washington [http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=59541].  But popular votes were not formally tabulated until the 1824 election when John Quincy Adams was elected president.  The 1790 Census counted a total United States population of 3.93 million with 3.2 million free population and nearly 700,000 slaves.  But of the 3.2 million “free” persons, women, Indians (not even counted in the Census at that time), and un-propertied White males, were prohibited from voting.  Remember, George Washington complained about opposition to his policies from Democratic Societies thwarting the laws passed by acts of Congress, “which have undergone the most deliberate and solemn discussion by the representatives of the people, chosen for the express purpose and bringing with them from the different parts of the Union the sense of their constituents….”. 

 

Referring to the “representatives of the people” was a rhetorical slip, meaning representatives of a few, propertied White Males.

 

 

XIV.  The Secret of the Arrowheads

 

By learning what happened to the Seneca Indians on September 7, 1779, I learned about the history of 5,500 years of “civilization”, and the trauma it has inflicted on the human, about the real story of Columbus, the origins of Eurocentric civilizations in the Western Hemisphere, and the well-established patterns of hierarchical power that shaped my own country as well.  Our species has been on a 300-generation-long fantasy ride, the price of which has been the infliction of incredible misery on the vast majority of human beings in the world, and on the Planet Herself.  And yet, generation after generation, we continue to act in dumbed-down obedience to our various authority figures.

 

“Civilization” has been the history of a select group of mostly White Males believing themselves of “exceptional” or superior worth, striving to expand their domains to pursue profits, power (ego) and prosperity.  They will do anything to eliminate obstacles – whether persons, groups, nations, Mother Nature, etc. – that are perceived to impede their pursuit of prosperity and power.  Autonomy and independence are the most feared threat to their domain. Obedience is absolutely required or their authority would rapidly collapse. Their violent and arrogant behavior has always been rationalized in some version of good versus evil, or superiority pre-empting inferiority. This hierarchical pyramid of power has been sustained by the obedience of the vast majority of the people to legitimize the position of those at the top.  They could not exist without our bodily and mental cooperation.  We legitimize them – with our taxes, our votes, and with our silence.

 

The United States of America, from its origins in the 1600s, has been similarly dominated by White Male Europeans and their descendants who believed themselves superior to the original Indigenous inhabitants, the African Indigenous slaves, and virtually every person and culture outside the European oligarchic structure.  Their initial expansion to the “free lands” of the North American continent in order to enrich themselves – so-called “manifest destiny” – has never stopped.  Our civilization has been built on three holocausts: stealing land at gunpoint killing millions with virtual total impunity, stealing labor at gunpoint killing millions with impunity, and stealing resources from around the world at gunpoint killing millions with virtual total impunity.  Thus, its mantra has been exploitation through violence or the threat of violence.  Its goal has been to subsidize its insatiable drive for riches and the American Way Of Life.  We grew up in the myth of its exceptionalism -a super democracy committed to justice for all.  It’s secret all along has been that it was and remains an oligarchy and plutocracy committed to exploitation of the majority to enrich the few.

 

Viet Nam was not a mistake, nor a misjudgment. It was not misguided idealism, nor was it mere elite conspiracy.  Rather it was the inevitable result of deeply rooted bipartisan assumptions about U.S. American “exceptionalism”, and the belief that continued prosperity requires endless expansion. We believe that our prosperity is considered synonymous with “democracy” and “civilization”. This ethos is in our very roots as a culture. Ordinary U.S. Americans like myself have assumed that our “leaders” don’t lie about their real motives, and that the problems really are “out there”. A moving frontier, always rationalized in noble terms, enables us to externalize and postpone an honest reckoning with our own shadow. Our deepest shadow, I believe, is the shame deeply hidden in our souls from our original sin of racism exacerbated by classism.

 

The arrowheads that I collected and carefully examined as a child contained this story. But no one told it to me.  And I did not inquire.  I lived in “America”.  Everything was beautiful.  But it was all a lie.  It has taken me a long time to understand that. It took me going to Viet Nam to once again look at those arrowheads, and to listen to the story they told.

 

As Cultural historian Lewis Mumford said, “The past never leaves us and the future is already here”.

 

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