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Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Question of Jamestown....

First, let me say that I was pleased with last week's blog post.  They were, for the most part, well thought out and well written (some of you wrote some AWESOME post!!!).  Not to mention that you cut down on the "love fest" responses... thank you.

Ok, this week we're going to look at Jamestown (not physically, but historically).  It has been said that "History is a series of judgments" (which is true and goes in line with my first rule of history).  Jamestown has a deep historical connection to the forming of this great nation, as I'm sure you know.  Yet, there is some controversy about how Jamestown, VA should be remembered.

We know that Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in the New World and is the birthplace of our modern form of democracy (the House of Burgesses), yet it also is responsible for introducing a health menace by developing high-quality tobacco to the Old World (and eventually the entire world), introducing slavery in the New World (1619) and the beginning of the act of driving off Native Americans from their land.

Therefore, this week's topic question is:

Should Jamestown be celebrated as the great birthplace of America, or should it be known for the negative impact that it had?  Can both viewpoints co-exist?  Defend your point-of-view.

60 comments:

  1. After several failed attempt of settlement upon the New World involving the “disappearing” Roanoke Island case led by Sea Dog Sir Walter Raleigh, Jamestown became the first permanent English settlement established by the chartered Virginia Company of London. The existence of Jamestown was somewhat a demonstration of America in a smaller scale due to its coexistence of two faces --- economic gains and great influences on the positive side, while those alongside victims (whether it be the servants, slaves, or indigenous people) on the negative side.
    Under the extreme oppression of cold weather, starvation, lack of labor force, and an unpredictable threat from the Powhatans, the first settlers came to Jamestown were undoubtedly suffered. However, as their savior, Captain John Smith with his effective saying “he who shall not work shall not eat” emerged, conditions started to progress in a rather ideal orientation. A brand new economic foundation of tobacco was soon perfected by John Rolfe, father of the tobacco industry. Although it was an undeniable truth that as the colonists hungered for more land to plant tobacco, soil was ruined, price was fluctuated, and a demand for more labors began to appear. Tobacco was undoubtedly the core of Jamestown’s spirit that enabled the colony to survive and become permanent over the course of centuries.
    In the aspect of politics and its government, the early actions taken by Jamestown were originated from Lord de la Warr, who imposed military regime and undertook aggressive action against Indians such as events like Anglo-Powhatan Wars. The brutal warfare ultimately led to the distinction of Powhatan people by 1685 and also increased a perpetual tension between the natives and the Europeans. Yet on the viewpoint of the English settlers, if this negative impact was not imposed, the colonists would not have been escaped from that fear facing the Indians while being reduced dramatically in their own population besides Old World diseases (ex: salt water poisoning, smallpox, measles). Eventually they were most likely to be driven away from the land or so shrank in number that they could no longer sustain themselves. Again, there would be no Jamestown as a permanent English settlement upon the New World. There were no preference to either side in this situation; nevertheless, neither perspective could be ignored.
    Later as the slave system was brought to Jamestown for those slaves to toil in the tobacco kingdom, and the general Assembly of Jamestown---House of Burgesses, was formally established, it once again depicted a two-sided situation. Both were a system formed to enforce colonial rules and make necessary advancement pursuing a better colony. The slave system tortured the innocent slaves which later on tied up generations of blacks and drew the indelible color line. But it also tremendously supported the economic atmosphere of the colony through the hands of slave-owners. The House of Burgesses, it essentially spread its positive effect and became the first of many miniature parliaments to flourish in America. Yet it was also distrusted by James I and being called a “seminary of sedition” when he grew more and more hostile to Virginia.
    The question itself, that whether Jamestown should be celebrated as the birthplace of America or should it be known as infamous, could actually be viewed as a paradox. If not for its notorious actions, a great birthplace could not stand and would soon crush in its own cradle. If Jamestown hadn’t been the great birthplace of America, in which all the systems were non-existent in aiding the colony; the negative impact would not have been progress along. The real solution---an ambiguous yet suitable word, coexistence, could perhaps define the real value of existence for Jamestown.

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    1. I like how you brought up that the judgment of Jamestown was a paradox. I've seen many people argue for one side or the other, but I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that one side actually can't exist without another. That is a very interesting viewpoint, and I think that many historians should really think to give it a shot when analyzing history, instead of just picking one side and ruthlessly attacking the other. Actually, I have a question: in the very last sentence of your post, when you say the word "coexistence" is suitable for Jamestown, do you mean coexistence of the two viewpoints, or coexistence of white Virginians, Native Americans, and African American slaves? I don't actually think that the latter should really be considered an example of coexisting, as the European-Americans tried very hard to make sure they would never have to coexist with the Indians.

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    2. Thanks Brandon. For coexistence, I actually meant the coexistence of the two viewpoints. But it was also worth a thought of the latter. Coexistence of whites, Indians, and blacks might not be considered to be suitable for Jamestown...well, it was however the inevitable outcome for Jamestown---referring back to the "one side can't exist without another" point. This inevitable coexistence may as well illustrates how something just HAD to be there although logically it better NOT to take place.

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  2. In 1607, a swampy, hostile, unattractive patch of land was "greeted" by a small group of English settlers. What they didn't realize as they stepped into the unknown was that they had sparked the genesis of a nation whose size was all but unimaginable. They named a nearby river the "James River," and their new colony "Jamestown" after their sovereign, King James I. However, it is inevitable that many people view this historic event much differently. While some look at it as the birthplace of this great nation, and as the beginning of democracy in said nation, some point out that Jamestown, Virginia is the birthplace of not only the USA, but also of tobacco, slavery in America, and the slaughter and exodus of thousands of Native Americans. However, in my opinion, it is futile to try and look at only one side of history, rather, you have to look at and consider both sides of a conflict; such an analysis would eliminate bias, and create a better view of history. Therefore, not only do I believe that they can coexist, I believe that both sides of the Jamestown story must coexist. Yes, the smoking of tobacco created horrifying health problems, and tied the Jamestown economy to a single, fluctuating crop. However, without tobacco, there wouldn't be a Jamestown economy to begin with. It can be argued that the Jamestown House of Burgesses only consisted of white men, and therefore shouldn't be considered a true democracy. While not a democracy by our 21st century eyes, it was about as close to democracy as the 17th century could get, and as Laozi, a Chinese philosopher from the 6th century BCE said, "Every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Also, the beginning of slavery in Jamestown sparked a colossal slave trade that went on strong well into the 1800's. However, remember this: it had well been proven that white indentured servants were too dangerous and likely to revolt, and Native Americans were too hard to contain (by that, I mean that they were in their homelands, and could escape and reach friendly tribal grounds easily). Once the Royal African Company's monopoly was abolished in 1698, black slaves, which had first been brought over to Jamestown (not necessarily as lifelong slaves) in 1619 by the Dutch "warship," had turned into the premier captive labor force of North America for 200 years. Sadly (and it pains me to say this), America might not have become the great nation that it is today if slavery had not financed it to such an extent as it did. Therefore, I don't think that we should look at history only for the bad in it, or the good that came out of it; rather, we have to take everything in, and condemn and praise it accordingly (often at the same time, as most historical events have a good and bad side to them). Had it not been for that fateful day in 1607, we might have became independent later, or have different customs, or even still be living in England. We take every event where someone suffered and mark it as a slaughter; doing this would only give you a false sense of history. Look at all of history, and judge as a scholar would judge.

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    1. Brandon, I strongly believe the validity of your point that if not for the existence of tobacco, Jamestown economy wouldn't even begin and so did the colony itself. For the House of Burgesses, franchise was only extended to freemen (people who were neither servants nor slaves) by 1646. Therefore it couldn't be considered as a true democracy, yet it was still a significant "footstep" as you quoted. Slavery, just as you mentioned, could be considered a necessity in a sense that it created an immense financial power in America. Like tobacco, although ruining the soil and harming people's health, it still brought upon a great nation under its extreme influences.

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    2. It was really interesting how you tried to support both sides. Not everyone may agree because everyone has different opinions, but I feel like you were able to support both sides and persuade me to look at both perspectives of what really happened in Jamestown. Your last sentence where you said, "Look at all of history, and judge as a scholar would judge," brings up a great point that not everyone looks at the big picture, only what they want to believe or what they were taught from the beginning, and it's now time people see the other side of the story, which is exactly what you brought to your blog.

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    3. You make a valid point when you say that it is only by looking at and analyzing both sides that one can create an unbiased view of history. I also like how you integrated a great Chinese philosopher's quote into your summary and opinion on the House of Burgesses. ('baby steps' is what we'd call them today). As you also pointed out, without the cruel treatment of millions of indentured servants and slaves, the colonies would not have prospered as they did, lacking as they were in labor. Another interesting thing about your post is that you also touch upon what Mr. Gehm would call 'what if' history, which makes one think about how radically different we would be today had it not been for those steady dominoes falling on one another centuries ago.

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    4. This is an AWESOME point of view. History has parts that may seem unjustified but it's necessary to think in there own mindset. Tobacco. May have been terrible for people yet it was able give significance for the new world. If the Americas just had the same type of crops that Europe had would it be necessary for there to be settlements there? Another interpretation would be the violence against the Native Americans. It seemed as if the English were scared of the Natives they knew the environment and can specialize in guerilla warfare. It's possible that the English striked first out of fear. It should be deemed necessary to look at the point of view of the people who take action and why they would do this. Every action has reason.

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    5. "Look at all of history, and judge as a scholar would judge." Words that could have come out of Confucius himself...

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  3. English made their first attempt to settle in the New World when they found Roanoke Island until it suddenly disappeared out of midair. They made numerous attempts before and after that and finally got settled in a little town right along the shore known as Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement. Nothing was able to replace that title, because that is what is was known for, whether people disagreed or not, it was a fact. Jamestown, eventually got that title after the English had settled there, and like every curious soul, they explored this unknown land they called the New World.
    Now, some may agree that once the colonists arrived they struggled to obtain food, build settlements, and survival in general. Diseases and starvation took a huge toll on the people of Jamestown and they weren't doing well with population; people were dropping like flies. Another major issue that they ran into were the Powhatan Indians, who were ready to strike any minute to wipe out the rest of their population. However, even though they struggled for the first few years and weren't confident in what was trying to be challenged, they never gave up.
    Everything that the people of Jamestown had gone through only made them stronger, more immune to the diseases, or more accustomed to the land and how to obtain food for their colonies. After the colonists became used to the way of living there and got help from the Indians, they were on their way to being introduced to the new things that only made them want more land, and more gold. With the determination that the colonists had they were anxious to find anything they can to bring back to the mother country, they just needed someone to lead them. With the right path and someone to take control, they were then on their way to greatness, which is eventually what it lead to after those tough hardships that they overcame when they first got there.
    After everything that they have gone through in the past few years, they soon began their own type of government, called the House of Burgesses, and soon enough started trading not only goods such as tobacco, but got into the business of buying and selling slaves. The slave trade was huge step in business for the small Virginia settlement that did everything they can to survive and attain what was best for them. Jamestown soon enough sparked with everything that they have ever hoped for, and finally got the freedom they needed from the mother country. It truly was the birthplace of the famous America. People can now look back and still tell the same story that their ancestors never gave up and kept pushing and fighting to achieve the greatest thing that was possible, back in the seventeenth century.

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    1. One point that you said that really stood out to me was "Everything that the people of Jamestown had gone through only made them stronger, more immune to the diseases, or more accustomed to the land and how to obtain food for their colonies." I strongly agree with this statement because we can not just sit around and obtain what we want. We need to actually try and while trying we run into trouble and make mistakes, just like the colonists did in Jamestown. They did not know that planting tobacco over and over again would just ruin the soil. Tobacco was their key for their economy. Each step they went through had just made them stronger.

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    2. Juliet, it's great how you narrate a sort of timeline history of Jamestown---from their very first settlement upon the landmass, to their combat with deadly diseases, to the growing economy and power, finally leading their way to Independence. However you concentrate your view point on the English---the conqueror, throughout your post, rather than putting words or evidences on both the conqueror and the conquered. The only things you mention about the Indians are Powhatan's determination to wipe out the English (well.. it was actually the English side, more specifically, Lord de la Warr who carried orders from England to fire their hostility upon the natives. Powhatan was really in an "indifferent" mood at first.), and how the colonists later got help from the Indians (if I'm not mistaken, English had declared a "perpetual war without peace or truce" during Second Anglo-Powhatan War). And your post seems to be bypassing around the topic. Your answer to it as "Jamestown was the birthplace of America by not giving up, pushing and fighting to make achievements" seems to be a little ambiguous. Since the Indians, the slaves, were as well pushing and fighting for their survival..

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    3. I like how you pointed out that, now matter how many people try to disagree with the effects of Jamestown, they can't disagree with the fact that it was the first permanent English settlement in North American, and where America and the "American" first started. However, I have a question. When you said "someone to lead them" were you talking about John Smith? That is automatically what I assume, considering that, without him, the first permanent English settlement in the area would have likely been Plymouth. Also, I like how you said that, even after the colonists had survived the "starving times," they still had their minds set on finding gold. You would think that someone would, at some point, get the idea "Hey, what if there's no gold here?"

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    4. I have to agree with Carrie on this one. Retelling the story in your own words is a great technique to introduce the main topic; however, your post did not fully utilize it. The majority of your post was actually concentrated on the events themselves and not really whether they push Jamestown towards fame or infamy. As Carrie previously pointed out, you concentrated mainly on the Europeans and their sufferings; you mentioned only briefly the suffering brought upon other non-Europeans. Going more in-depth on the effects on non-Europeans would have better pointed out if Jamestown deserved its title as America's birthplace. And wasn't it only at first that the colonists sought help from the Indians, after which they decided it was better to just annihilate the local native population? This 'help from Indians' was certainly before they 'got used to the way of living there.'

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    5. Juliet,
      The argument as a whole was somewhat strong because of support, but you should have elaborated on Native American and Englishmen interactions. This would have strengthened your argument because the argument then encompasses both viewpoints, from a Native and the English view. Another flaw in this post is that you seemed to omit the second part of the prompt, which asks you if both viewpoints can co-exist together. One part that I particularly liked was the fact that you mentioned the House of Burgesses, which definitely strengthens your argument that Jamestown if the birth of a nation, since most nations need a government.

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  4. Jamestown has always been a popular topic of conflict in many historical discussions. Some insist that it should be regarded, celebrated even, as America's birthplace while others say that the settlement's darker impacts should be highlighted instead. What many people do not realize is that they are looking at the opposite sides of the very same coin (one can even go so far as to say this applies to most, if not all, of history).
    The colonists, severely under pressure from the Virginia Company's stockholders, were desperate to find gold and find it fast. Jamestown, however, was an unforgiving swamp full of diseases, and not the hard metals they hoped for. Only through Captain John Smith's, and to an extent, Lord De La Warr's leadership skills did the fragile settlement manage to pull through. Finally, after a few years, they struck green gold: tobacco. However, though the plant became the foundation for Jamestown's economy, it essentially made the settlement dependent on the crop's frequently fluctuating prices. Smoking the health hazard became a popular hobby throughout the world, creating a global 'epidemic' that would be the cause of death of millions, even to this day. Tobacco also quickly exhausted the soil, which led to the colonists' hunger for more land, which, in turn, contributed to their taking of land from the Indians.
    Speaking of Indians, Jamestown unfortunately became a key part in the extinction of a whole people: the Powhatans. Lord De La Warr and eventually, the Virginia Company itself, ordered for "a perpetual war" against the same Indians who had once helped the settlement from dying out by trading foodstuffs and other necessary goods. The few who survived were promptly herded out of their motherland and shoved elsewhere, the origins of the reservation system.
    In 1619, the Virginia Company allowed the colonists to summon the first legislative assembly in America, unconsciously introducing the colonists to self-rule for the first time. In democracy, the colonists advanced, eager for a level of equality they could not get in an England ruled by absolute monarchs. However, irony strikes when one realizes that the same place where modern American democracy was born also gave birth to the infamous slave trade which spanned continents and centuries. Yet without the generations of Africans that suffered under whip and white superiority complex, Jamestown would never have economically flourished.
    Looking at all these wonderful and terrible things Jamestown conceived, the stark truth is revealed: history was not, is not, and will never be a simple fight between 'good' and 'evil.' Instead, the events, motives, and results blur together, creating the sides and the edge of one very complex coin.

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    1. Hannah, using a coin as an analogy for Jamestown is a great technique. We can not just look at it being America's birthplace, but we also need to look at the amount of people that dies and the harsh conditions that were created. We need to look at this issue from various stand points causing it to be coexistent. Would you agree that what the colonists went through had helped them become what they had?

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    2. Hannah, coin is absolutely a wonderful metaphor for the two-faced Jamestown! (I'm really trying to express the same thing but I never think about a symbol like the coin!) Each face leans against one another. They earn two separate values yet they're also one single integration. This reminds me of the Iroquois myth we read in English which the right-handed man is always fighting with the left-handed man but finally they become a complete world of day and night. Along with all these facts we are all able to obtain from textbook or online, your metaphor is truly a flash point that immediately strikes my attention!

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    3. Iqra, I absolutely agree that the colonists were shaped by their experiences. The 'starving time,' diseases, and Indians struck a terror in the colonists' hearts, which motivated them to raid Indian settlements for foodstuffs and annihilate the local Indian population. The fear and pressure put into them by the company stockholders who threatened to withdraw investments forced them to seek gold, which they found in tobacco. Because of the high death rate, there wasn't enough labor to work the fields, and this led to the sending of women (for breeding) and indentured servants (for labor) from England. As we all know, they eventually turned to and capitalized slavery when demand for tobacco grew. All these hardships they had to go through played crucial parts in shaping Jamestown's culture, economy, law, and governance.

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    4. While I know that Carrie and Iqra already brought this up, I really like how you compared Jamestown to a coin. It is also very interesting that you pointed out that the different opinions of history are often, as is this case, fused together. When you look at one side, it automatically draws you into the other side. Looking at the benefits of tobacco on Jamestown will lead you to lung cancer and soil depletion. Similarly, looking at the horrors of slavery shows you the benefits of the African slave trade, mainly creating a mostly stable labor force for the colonies, allowing large amounts of funding to flow throughout the colonies and to England. Lastly, I like how you pointed out that England "unconsciously" allowed the formation of the House of Burgesses, which eventually led to the independence of the thirteen North American colonies, the attempted independence of the Confederate States of America, and many, many other groups that followed the American model for freedom. It gives the feeling that England essentially shot itself in the foot, by giving its colonies the very sense of freedom that would cost England dearly.

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    5. As with the plethora of other comments on the coin analogy, I must begin by praising your word choice. That phrase stuck with me, and enriched the writing of your post. In your post, you reminded my on how fickle and fragile history truly is. Imagine if the Englishmen acted like good-mannered people and maintained good relationships with the natives. They entire history of the New World and America would have been drastically changed. As much as it pains me to say, I feel that it was absolutely necessary for the English to treat the natives terribly, for it, in consequence led to America to be a great, unmatched country in its prime.

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    6. Interesting view point and great analogy. Even though I believe that there could have been a way to avoid the crimes committed against the natives, you carefully worded that everything, whether it be good or bad would not have occurred as it did, we might not be where we are today.

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  5. Founded in Virginia in 1607, the first permanent English settlement, Jamestown was established by a group of pilgrims instructed to find gold and seek a water route to the Orient. King James I granted a charter to a group of London entrepreneurs, known as the Virginia Company to establish a settlement in the Chesapeake region of North America. This establishment is looked upon from two different perspectives. One being the birthplaces of our modern day form of democracy. Some look at this establishment as the origin of health menace because of the development of high quality tobacco to the Old World. This in return slavery was introduced and the act of driving Native Americans off their land. The positive and negative impacts had formed Jamestown and can be assumed somewhat of a “smaller scale” of our world today.
    Disease, famine and attacks of neighboring Algonquians immensely impacted the population of Jamestown. The settlers had become so desperate for food that there were times when they traded with the Powhatan for beads, copper and iron. The colony was now in danger but then came Captain John Smith. It seems as id his leadership had kept the colony from dissolving. The “starving time” effected the population in such a way that only 60 of the original 214 settlers had survived. John Rolfe had perfected the economy by tobacco growing. His contributions, like Captain John Smith’s prevented the colony from dissolving. The economy was in fluctuating but then cam along the other side. Excessive tobacco growing had ruined the soil preventing them from growing, prices increased and so did demand for labor.
    Now that the economy was somewhat stable, the first representative assembly on the New World was introduced. The general assembly met because of the orders from the Virginia Company; “to establish one equal and uniform government over all Virginia” This was later used as a basis for other colonies,
    Another event that had a crucial impact on Jamestown was the arrival of Africans in Jamestown. In the deepest South, slave life was especially severe. Native-born African Americans contributed to the growth of a stable and distinctive slave culture, a mixture of African American elements of speech, religion and folkways. Slavery had started to spread at a great rate.
    Yes, the Jamestown colony had brought forth negative impacts on the colony but it has also brought along the stability of the economy and most importantly the first representative assembly in the New World. The struggles the colonists went through had made them a stronger colony. The controversy on how Jamestown should be regarded is coexistent. We cannot look at history from only one perspective. As Howard Zinn’s explains in his book, “A People’s History of the United States”, historians distortion can have an impact on where you stand for an issue. Regarding Jamestown, looking at this issue from different sides can show the various views there are. The colonization of Jamestown was indeed coexistence; the issues they faced had just helped them build into a stronger colony.





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    1. Iqra, I liked the way you showed the impact on the English at Jamestown during the starving time and then showed the importance of Captain John Smith to the fragile colony. Your reference to Howard Zinn saying that historians account of a particular issue can be distorted depending on what side your standing on was a very good support for your take that they can co-exist.

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    2. I definitely agree with your blog, and it was similar to mine! I liked how you went into detail about both sides of the argument, but at the end went straight to the point and stood up for what side you believed in. It showed you were not biased which can be very important when choosing sides. I also liked how you brought Howard Zinn into your blog at the end, tying up everything that you wrote before that.

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    3. I agree with your post. You brought up some good points. I especially liked how you tied it together when you said, "Yes, the Jamestown colony had brought forth negative impacts on the colony but it has also brought along the stability of the economy and most importantly the first representative assembly in the New World."

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    4. I like how you try and look at it from multiple views. It shows key aspects and prevents from being bias. Every part of history has problem that could have gone a different way, but that's in hindsight. The main aspect would be cause and effect.

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    5. The multiple points of views really helped in conveying your point. The references you made to Zinn personally caused me to compare The American Pageant to other materials we have discussed. This highlighted the multiple interpretations of history.

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    6. I like your post the most of the one's i have read (didn't read all of them). you gave multiple view points from very reliable sources. you also gave both sides of the story, the good and the bad of jamestown. I personally, do not believe you fully answered to question directly, but answered it with all the detail you put in to support your argument, you make me want to rethink my argument.

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  6. Jamestown was founded in 1607 by a charter secured by the Virginia Company and was the first permanent settlement for the English in the New World. This was an important milestone for England at the time in regards to the English colonization of the Americas as a previous settlement on Roanoke island seemed to have mysteriously effaced itself from the surface of the earth.
    Nevertheless it was not easy to establish this settlement on the wooded and mosquito infested banks on James River. The original settlers were ill-equipped and were relying on the Native Americans to trade with them just to get food. The population of Jamestown dwindled. The "Gentlemen" refused to work as they said their job was to get gold and the mercenaries refused because they were only their to protect the settlement. Not only were they going hungry but they were also getting salt water poisoning from the James River.
    Jamestown seemed doomed until Captain John Smith took over in 1608, he whipped the colonists into shape and said, "He who shall not work shall not eat". Regarding tobacco I believe that this plant would have eventually been introduced into the Old World anyways so the only difference is that the people of Jamestown got a headstart in this lucrative business. The same can be said with the introduction of slavery into the New World and unfortunately but in all honesty the act of driving the Indians off their land, either by England or another European power that would try to colonize the Americas. Jamestown also created the "House of Burgesses" which is an earlier form of our modern democracy, so the answer is yes.
    These early years should be celebrated by Americans today as the original colonists overcame the hardships they faced, adopted a form of government which would be a model for our current government and against all the odds Jamestown became the first permanent settlement in a land which would become the U.S.A.


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    1. Rob, as i read your post i noticed how you displayed a conflict and then the resolution to that proble. That really caught my attention since it seemed like the conflicts the colonists went through in Jamestown was like a puzzle but then was put together to form "the first permanent settlement in a land which would become the U.S.A" Great writing technique!

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    2. It's interesting that you pointed out how inevitable Jamestown's contributions were. While many like to blame the capitalization of tobacco and slaves and the driving out of Indians on this remarkable little settlement, it's true that someone else would have eventually done that had Jamestown been a failure. Some other brilliant man living in some other settlement would have cultivated tobacco and some other gentlemen would have realized the servants' and slaves' capability to provide labor. It may have happened at a later time but it would still have happened; the only things that would change were the names and the settlement's location. I do believe that it would still be the English that started all this. As we already know, the French took more interest in hiring the Indians and the Spanish promoted intermarriage with the locals, unlike the English who believed only in the annihilation of whole peoples.

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    3. The way you had used details vital for your point and combined all of them to make your conclusion was an interesting a well-done piece of writing. However, while proving your point in the colonists viewpoint, you had completely disregarded the native's point of view of the subject. The natives were barely mentioned, if at all, and since how the natives reacted to the colonists is a major part of judging the positive and negative consequences of Jamestown. Due to you overlooking the native aspect of the topic, I feel your post is slightly flawed.

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    4. It's impressive that you go into flaws of Jamestown and how they eventually turned into success. Jamestown was basically a settlement of trial and error. It was impossicle for there NOT to be problems in Jamestown. If you put a pack wolves in a new environment they would at first suffer from not knowing there area. Eventually, the next generation would be adjusted from experience. The same situation goes for Jamestown.

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    5. Rob,
      This is a good, concise summary of the first years in Jamestown, but it does have a flaw. You should have talked more about how the English dealt with the Native Americans and vice versa. For example, you could mention the Anglo-Powhatan Wars for additional support of your argument. One good aspect of this post was how you described how Jamestown has changed and developed into a stronger settlement, which corresponds to your argument.

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    6. Robert, I felt that you narrated some of the history of Jamestown in your post, which ultimately made the understanding of your point much more clear.

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    7. Hannah, your wrote: "Some other brilliant man living in some other settlement would have cultivated tobacco and some other gentlemen would have realized the servants' and slaves' capability to provide labor. It may have happened at a later time but it would still have happened; the only things that would change were the names...," so I have a question for you. Would this apply to any event in history? Think about various points in history that we may point to to demonstrate an ill of society or mankind (i.e., the extermination of 6 million Jews) and evaluate if that statement would still hold true - "...It may have happened at a later time but it would still have happened..." Just food for thought.....

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  7. Jamestown was the first permanent settlement established in the New World. When the 200 hundred men arrived they expected to find gold and treasure, but most of them found their death. Some ask if this could have been avoidable. The first settlers were like a pack of animals put in a new environment, eventually they would adjust. Thanks to John Smith the English were able to undergo this change. He was able to take control by enforcing labor and establishing peace and trade with the Powathan.
    When the settlement was established it was deemed necessary to support their mother country England. John Rolfe was able to establish the first cultivations of tobacco. It was later found that tobacco was hazardous to people’s health. However, even if it was known when John Rolfe created these farms it was deemed necessary to find a source of profit for the Old World and the New World. It was also encouraged slavery since it worked so well with Spain. The Native Americans were eventually pushed off their land due to needed resources.
    Most of the actions of the settlers may have seen unjustified yet it was needed to survive. The settlements would trade with England in order to get their necessary needs to survive. It was somewhat evil how they pushed the Native Americans off their, but it was deemed necessary in order to survive and prevent any sort of new rebellion from the Natives Americans that would have destroyed the new established settlements. They seem to have acted out of the fear that they would be pushed off the land one way or another. They thought by acting first they would avoid this conflict.

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    1. Dylan, I honestly think that you failed to answer the prompt or you answered a different prompt. You gave a summary of Jamestown's history and analyzed a few things, but you did not defend or even bring up your point-of-view on whether Jamestown should be celebrated as the great birthplace of America, or if should it be known for the negative impact that it had.

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    2. Small point of clarification (this is not to be considered a response post), the harmful effects of tobacco were not scientifically proven until the 1980's, so the colonists would have no idea of the bad effects of this "green gold".

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    3. Dylan,
      This post does have a few issues with it. Firstly, you should center your argument to directly correspond with the question because at times you weren't answering or supprting the question. With that said you should try to write a topic sentence as well to clearly indicate which side you are supporting, in this case I am assuming you are supporting that Jamestown is the birthplace of America, but I would state that specifically next time. One aspect I liked about this post was that you mentioned how pushing Indians off their lands actually prevented conflict.

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    4. I was trying to get across that it was both negative and positive( a bit more negative).

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    5. Dylan, you didn't (in my point of view) answer the question. You did hit the positive and the negative of Jamestown, but failed to recognize the question of it being the birthplace of america. Not in one sentence did you agree with either side. even tho you did hit the pos. and neg., it doesn't escape the fact that you didn't answer the question.

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  8. Jamestown should be thought of as a negative aspect of human history because of its negative impact on on the Native Americans. Jamestown was the first permanent settlement which showed that the English was here to stay. Although it might be a happy occasion or occurrence for the English, I look at it from the Native Americans viewpoint. These were foreigners encroaching upon their sacred lands just because of the desire for gold and land. The Natives have heard of people like this from other southern groups of Natives, so the Natives didn't revere the Englishmen. After only a few years at Jamestown, the Powhatans and Englishmen fought 2 Anglo-Powhatan wars. When the second war was unsuccessful for the Natives, Powhatans could not avoid thwart colonization any longer. The Indians had to travel further and further west because of land hungry Europeans with a corrupt mindset. How can the fact that Indians were viciously murdered not be associated with negative impacts? Sure it was the birth of a nation, but that does not justify any actions caused by colonists. People argue that disease killed most of the Indians, which is true, but soon Englishmen started using that to their advantage. They would hand out blankets infected with smallpox to tribes in the area, which exterminated whole populations, so no one can argue that disease was "unintentional." Jamestown was essentially the foundation of decades of misery, which would have been centuries of misery if the Natives had lived longer. The Natives were constantly and forcefully moved westward that some had to join other tribes to have a chance at surviving. They had to leave their mother tribe and all of their traditions because of the Englishmen. Another major reason for the negative impact is because of the slavery that resulted from these events. Jamestown was a vital settlement for exponential growth of slavery to occur in the first place. When the land was rid of Indians, people like John Rolfe created a major industry in the New World. This industry was agriculture, which began with tobacco. Tobacco could be sold easily to the Old World and was easy to grow. This also created a problem as it created the need for labor. This labor came in the form of African slaves who were given no rights and were brutally punished. Their hardships have never seemed to cease, because of new laws that degraded them further and further. Laws like the Barbados slave code began to be implemented after they began to be sent to the New World in bulk. Think about people being treated like their not worth anything. How could positive aspects of Jamestown be thought of when Englishmen were cruel people as to let this sufferings from Africans and Indians occur. It is disheartening how Englishmen could be more interested in precious metals and land than innocent souls of people who are "savages." All of this hardship, began with Jamestown.
    Although Jamestown created many negative aspects, another point of view can exist. Some people can see the hardships caused by Jamestown while seeing how it created a new democratic nation. Personally, I only agree with the negative perspective of Jamestown, but I can respect the other viewpoint and see how people may see both viewpoints co-existing. Jamestown have planted the roots for a whole new system of government that started with the House of Burgesses in Virginia. Jamestown proved that settlers could inhabit the New World, so it did start immigration to this newly found settlement and it created other settlements to form as well. Overall, Jamestown had a negative impact on Indians along with Africans.

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    1. Although I agree with most aspects of your post, I think you have an overwhelming bias against the English, as you completely disregarded any argument that the English could have possibly had to justify their actions. For example, consider that the Paspahegh tribe of native Americans were the ones who attacked the Englishmen almost directly after they first took their first steps into what was to become Jamestown. If you look at it in this viewpoint, then the English's actions were justified. I am not saying that your point of view is wrong in any way, I just think that to make a better argument for the Native Americans, you must do what Mr. Gehm tells us to do on a writing assignment: mention the other point of view, and then discredit it.

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    2. OMG Vinit, you have got to stop using 1st person in your writing!

      I respect your Point-of-view, but would you agree that without all these hardships and negative aspects created by Jamestown, America would be different from what it is today?

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    3. Nirali,
      Evidently, America would be different from today had these hardships and negative aspects had not occurred, but the Englishmen's actions should not be justified, let alone applauded as the birth of a nation. It was definitely an important colony, and it shouldn't be undermined but it was not right morally to impose hardships on Africans and Indians purposefully.

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    4. Your blog was really good, i like how you decided to look at it from the Native American point of view, describing the Europeans as "foreigners" intruding on the land of the Native, the only thing was I'm not sure if you should have ended on showing the other point of view but overall it was good.

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    5. Narnia.... point of clarification - on blog post, you are permitted to use first person. You're not required to do so, but if you want, you can use 1st person.

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  9. I like how you tried to elaborate on talking about the actual Jamestown settlement, however you didn't really talk about the prompt and your opinion of what you thought Jamestown really was. I'm not sure if you agreed with both sides, or one side and didn't mention it. Next time you should make sure you clearly state what side you are on to make it less confusing to the reader.

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    1. That was a response to Dylan's post by the way.

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  10. Jamestown, being the first permanent settlement in the New World, should be considered the birthplace of America. It was where everything from slavery to democracy began. Sure, there were some negative aspects, such as the heath menace, tobacco, but they helped shape the world we know today. If none of it had happened, who knows what America would be like now? Jamestown could be considered the birthplace of America, but celebration should not be necessary due to the hardships and negative aspects it brought forth. Jamestown was not only the birthplace of America, but it was also the birthplace of our modern form of democracy. The development of the House of Burgesses allowed the New World to gain some independence from their motherland. This was the birth of America.

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    1. I am not sure if it is a literary piece of repetition but you had mentioned Jamestown to be the "birthplace of America" a total of four times in eight sentences. Do not take offence, but most of the sentences in your post were "beyond substantiation"

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    2. Wow, I didn't even realize. I'm sorry, I think I need sleep.

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    3. I think your right about the Jamestown being the birthplace of America, but the real birth of america came from it actually being there. just think if Jamestown was never there, how and when would america came to be, if it even would.

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  12. Some people believe that power corrupts men, however, that may not always be the case. In actuality, it is fear that induces the corruption. It creates an instability within the victim's mind and unhinges them with thoughts of failure. This can cause a war to erupt within the weak, the poor, the rich and the famous: in other words, anyone. This corruption may have been the reason that King James I became hungry for gold. Evidence of this monarch wanting to satisfy his hunger could be observed when he ordered sailors to go on expeditions for gold to be returned to the crown of England. First attempt was made in the Roanoke colony which mysteriously vanished off the face of the earth without a trace to follow. The second attempt was made in the New World. It became infamously known as Jamestown.

    Jamestown received its infamy due to the fact that it nourished the seed for the great nation of America to blossom. The very nation that would soon one day cast a shadow so wide, it would take on the title as hegemony of the world. Nevertheless, this all began in 1609 when a couple of colonists disembarked on the swamps of Virginia.

    The new settlers had a rough beginning when it came to executing their mission of finding riches. Their search caused social disturbances with the unknown natives that previously ruled the land before the white man. Additionally, a sense of order needed to be established amongst the men. Disease and malnutrition wiped them out within the blink of an eye. People broke out into riots.

    Reasons why both viewpoints can coexist, are many. To exemplify, they style of government the colonists established allowed for a new mindset to take hold. The idea of self government was not only tempting, if not, it was the only method of control for these gold lusting men. Its initial impact on the colony was harsh and resulted in vicious altercations between the natives, and the amongst the colonists themselves. Although, this opened the door to allow them to practice their control strategy and taught them how to work as unit.

    Next, the colonists created a base for the American economy. To overcome the economic and political upheaval, a system known as mercantile system was established. Since Britain left the majority of internal matters to be dealt with by the colonists, it worked quite simply. The Mercantile System was crucial to the self governing bodies since wealth and control went hand in hand. This later opened doors to trade routes and for new imports to be exchanged. Nevertheless, a strict downfall was the beginning to the new trading economy. Most of it began on the selling of slaves, or indentured servants, which caused a deep dent in the American history. Money and items began to flow, but the aspect of morality was not weighed.

    Another aspect which had a long lasting effect was the cultural diffusion within colonists. Not much was seen as in the previous colonies such as the Spanish, however, a few marriages were made between settlers and some natives. Overall, it was not drastic enough to make an impact on the new socities as a whole. The men became settled to the new land when women were brought overseas to mate and start families. Different peoples from various colonies throughout Europe joined the foundation of the New World. This led to budding of larger populations, which in turn opened up to more intricate styles of government, as well as more production in their economy.

    All aspects, whether they are a government of the people, ways to sustain one another in their economies or how the colonies mushroomed over a small period of time, gave way to the harvest to a new nation. Initially, the effects of a new way of life left its tragic imprint within time. Although, once the reality of actually being free set it, changed the whole course of the game. Therefore, in the end, Jamestown can be regarded towards it negative initial impact, but what occurred later, could not be forgotten.

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    1. You had a nice point about power not corrupting people but instead the fear that actually does the corrupting and i liked when you said that the events that happened after Jamestown were not negative so that it justifies the atrocities committed in Jamestown

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  13. When the Jamestown colonists arrived in 1607, they did not have an inkling of understanding of the vast, enormous, momentous, megalithic implications of what was to come. The first Jamestown colonists could perhaps be called some of the most influential people in all of history. However, the implications were not all good or all bad. As Lord Gehm had said, "History is not black or white; it always has a gray area." This could not be more true than with the opposing viewpoints on Jamestown, as a powerful argument for one side could easily be changed to an equally powerful case for the other side with only a change in perspective. Thus, we must remember the positive implications that Jamestown had for the future of our country, while also not condoning the English treatment of the natives.Both the natives and the English are equally to blame for the positive and negative implications of Jamestown.
    The English were excited and anxious for the prospect of gold and riches when arriving to the New World, as such did not adequately prepare for the coming hardships ahead of them. When, in the first few months, reality sunk in, and the colonists started panicking. The Powhatan people, after some initial problems between the colonists and the natives, helped the English with the support of Pocahontas, By giving the Englishmen the needs to survive by offering them food, they survived. They just could have easily ignored the English, and Jamestown would have been another failed plan at English colonization. However, the English repaid the (overall) kindness of the Powhatan people by brutally massacring hundreds of people in two one-sided wars. This mistreatment of the native people could be called one of the most despicable acts that have ever took place on American soil.
    Nevertheless, only through the harrowing acts inflicted upon the natives did America progress the way it did, and eventually become the great country it is today (except for the government shutdown and other "small" problems). A stolid person and most American textbooks reinforce the fact that the cruel mistreatment of not just the Native Americans, but of the indentured servants, African slaves, and later, the early immigrants, were for "the greater good", of America, and that their sacrifice was necessary for the betterment of American government and society. However, even if one had this mindset it is impossible to actually condone the mistreatment of millions of people just for the sake of America. It is for this reason that the the Jamestown colony and its implications are not just good or bad, but a mixture of both, and should be thought of as such.

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  14. I believe that jamestown should be the celebrated birthday of america for one reasons. It was the first PERMANENT settlement in america. Jamestown being the first permanent settlement was the foothold of what america has come to be. without jamestown, or if the jamestown settlement failed, it would have been a lot longer until Britain went back to america, and america would not have been the way it is if jamestown would have failed. And if jamestown would have failed, when would Britain go and try again, if they would try again. and if they did or didn't go back, what would have the spanish and the french accomplish. Without Jamestown, there would be no America.

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