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251 12/8/08 Mon/Wed History 7:30-8:45 Great Britain and the United States' Immoral History (Essay #5) Great Britain and the United States have a disdained history leading back to their roles in the massive slaughtering of the Native Americans and the involvement of the African Slave Trade. If these countries were brought before the world criminal court, they would be judged guilty of genocide. According to the 1948 Protocol on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of genocide, Article 2 defines genocide as the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group, such as: (a) killing members of the group, (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to the 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 (Carlson's Lecture). In the book, A People's History of the United States, author Howard Zinn agrees that both Great Britain and the United States are responsible and guilty of genocide for the slaughtering and ill treatment towards the Native Americans and Africans. Zinn does an excellent job in portraying the inhumane treatment that these minorities had to face. The African slave trade with Europe began during the 1400s. Africans later became a huge commodity to the uprising economies of Europe and the United States. Slave trade accumulated a lot of profit and played a huge role in agriculture. The numerous slaves worked on the massive plantations producing many raw materials with very minimal pay, lived under gruesome conditions, and were violently punished if they did wrong in the eyes of their master. As Zinn explains, The system was psychological and physical at the same time. The slaves were taught discipline, were impressed again and again with the idea of their own inferiority to 'know their place,' to see blackness as a sign of subordination, to be awed by the power of the master, to merge their interest with the master's, destroying their own individual needs. To accomplish this there was the discipline of hard labor, the breakup of the slave family, the lulling effects of religion, the creation of disunity among slaves by separating them into field slaves and more privileged house slaves, and finally the power of law and the immediate power of the overseer to invoke whipping, burning, mutilation, and death (Zinn 35). This passage by Zinn fulfills the first three definitions of genocide that the United States committed. I find it ironic that in the United States Constitution, it states that all men are created equal, but the white men continued to treat the black people with inferiority. Zinn goes into further detail of the cruel treatment towards the Africans. The marches to the coast, sometimes for 1,000 miles, with people shackled around the neck, under whip and gun, were death marches, in which two of every five blacks died. On the coast, they were kept in cages until they were picked and sold (Zinn 28). On one occasion, hearing a great noise from belowdecks where the blacks were chained together, the sailors opened the hatches and found the slaves in different stages of suffocation, many dead, some having killed others in desperate attempts to breathe. To one observer a slave-deck was 'so covered with blood and mucus that it resembled a slaughter house' (Zinn 29). These images are cruel and difficult to process. The white people treated the Africans like animals whose lives had no meaning. During these journeys overseas, numerous Africans would get violently attacked and beaten by the crew and captains of the ship. Many people think that the genocide that Hitler committed was terrible. However, the cruel acts that Great Britain and the United States were involved in should be included under the same category. In Richard Worrell's First Protest Against Slavery, he mentions, But to bring men hither, or to rob and sell them against their will, we stand against. In Europe there are many oppressed for conscience sake; and here there are those opposed who are of a black colour. And we who know that men must not commit some adultery do commit adultery, in others, separating wives from their husbands and giving them to others; and some sell the children of these poor creatures to other men (Worrell 1). This passage of Worrell's protest against slavery fulfills the last two definitions of genocide that the United States committed. This shows the inhumane treatment that many of the Africans experienced in early Europe and the United States. I feel that no person should be removed from his or her family against their will. Many of these white men did not feel any guilt or sympathy towards the Africans, because they did not perceive them as human beings but more like animals. Other than being separated from their husbands, many of these slave women were raped. As I discover more about the conditions of the slave trade, I begin to perceive these white slaveowners as the animals. By 1800, 10 to 15 million blacks had been transported as slaves to the Americas, representing perhaps one-third of those originally seized in Africa. It is roughly estimated that Africa lost 50 million human beings to death and slavery in those centuries we call the beginnings of modern Western civilization, at the hands of slave traders and plantation owners in Western Europe and America, the countries deemed the most advanced in the world (Zinn 29). Sometimes, I find it difficult to be proud of my home country (United States) with their disdained history. It is hard to believe that slaves were the ones who fueled the economy during that period. During the 1700s and 1800s, most American leaders wanted to terminate the Native Americans. With their idea of the Manifest Destiny, the Americans wanted to take control of the West. Andrew Jackson, the former United States President, disliked the Indians and treated them as a hostile nation and not as a sovereign one. The Americans would remove tribes from their settlements, most of the time with force. General Philip Sheridan perceived any Indian resister as a savage and be killed immediately (Wellman 1). The Indians had a connection and a sense of peace and harmony with the land they settled. The land meant more than just territory. It was the means of prosperity and life with their good use of agriculture. By exterminating them from their land, the Americans deliberately inflicted on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. This shows that the Americans are guilty of genocide. I found it very ironic that genocide and slavery took place during a period where Christianity and Catholicism was the foundation of many of these Europeans and Americans. It is ironic that many religious leaders became involved with these immoral acts without feeling any guilt. In a letter written in 1610, Brother Luis Brandaon replies to Father Sandoval, who questions the legality of slavery according to church doctrine, We have been here ourselves for forty years and there have been among us very learned Fathers... never did they consider the trade as illicit. Therefore we and the Fathers of Brazil buy these slaves for our service without any scruple... (Zinn 30). According to Zinn and his portrayal of Great Britain and America's cruel treatment towards the Native Americans and the Africans, Great Britain and America should be found guilty for their crime of genocide. Through evidence supported by Zinn's, A People's History of the United States, Great Britain and the United States are guilty of genocide by all five definitions given in the 1948 Protocol on the Prevention and Punishment of crime of genocide. Their cruel treatment towards the Native Americans and Africans will remain a horrible memory of history that can never be repaid by reparations or forgiven by apology. Works Cited Carlson, Lecture. Wellman, Jack. "Ovi Magazine : Native American Indian Policy: Removal or Genocide? 2/3 by Jack Wellman." Ovi Magazine : Finland's English Online Magazine. 18 Oct. 2007. 1 Dec. 2008 < HYPERLINK "http://www.ovimagazine.com/art/2198"http://www.ovimagazine.com/art/2198> Worrell, Richard. First Protest Against Slavery. 18 April 1688. Zinn, Howard. A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present. New York: Harper Collins, 2003. ... View Full Document

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