Essay 2-revision-2

Essay 2-revision-2 - 1 Dr Wyman Honors English Intellectual...

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1 Dr. Wyman Honors English 11/28/06 Intellectual Evolution - Revision When European settlers landed in North America, they encountered Native Americans. Their skin pigment was different, their language was different, their customs were different, even their clothing was considered outlandish. This difference in cultures caused many confrontations over basic needs, such as hunting grounds. As this new “American” country laid its foundation, the interactions between the Euros and Native Americans began to happen more frequently as the white immigration pushed further inland. An almost natural progression of thought regarding the natives is seen as William Bradford first demonizes the natives, which is then questioned by a later Roger Williams, which is completely invalidated by Benjamin Franklin. To understand these writers’ points of view, one has to evaluate the time from which they came and analyze what influenced them. Following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire due to internal strife and invasions, Europe was plunged into a feudal dark age for the better part of a thousand years. Invading barbarians would shape the land as no true world power emerged after Rome. The intellectual and philosophical discoveries and theories developed were forgotten as tribes of barbarians joined together and overthrew the civilized world (Levack 202). As monarchies started to emerge in Europe from the fragments of the once great empire, they needed a reason for the commoners to follow their lead. Without a strong unifying power, it would have been extremely hard if not thoroughly impossible for any crown to hold sway over the masses without huge police-force type armies. Thus, Christianity became a tool of the crafty leaders.
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2 In what would be known as the emerging Age of Faith, the church and monarchs used divine providence to explain and justify their rule, and to explain the mysterious happenings of the world. Why did the sun set? God wanted it to be night. Why do the tides recede? God wants them to recede. Why did a plague break out? God is punishing you. Why did my child die? God’s will. Anything and everything was controlled by God, he was omnipresent and all- powerful. This rationale lead the monarchs to use the fact that since God controls everything, they are on the throne because God wills it; a rationale known as the divine right of kings (Levack 479). This caused the commoners to look for all answers from either the clergy, or from God’s representatives, the crown. After some of the Church’s corruption and policies had come into question, the Protestant Reformation took place. Different Christian denominations began evolving and radically changing traditional religious ideals and practices. Some wanted to change the church, others wanted to break away. One such sect was Puritanism, and one of its most well known leaders was William Bradford. After being persecuted for their radical ideas, Bradford and his group of Pilgrims (even more radical Puritans who advocated separating from the church), set out to the
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Essay 2-revision-2 - 1 Dr Wyman Honors English Intellectual...

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