AmericanHistory between 1492 and 1790
AmericanHistory between 1492 and 1790
TheSpanish and English populace were powerful in the period between 1492and 1790. They were superior regarding social, economic, demographic,political, technological, and cultural aspects. The other states wereunable to compete with these two nations regarding the above aspects.As such, this paper will dwell on the cultural aspects that preventedthe countries from working together. Apart from that, it willelaborate on why the nations could not bring their grievancestogether to respond to the Spanish and English dominance.
Oneof the reasons that prevented the countries from cooperating is theethical dimensions. Ethnicity is described in terms of the language,national origin, religion, and race. These aspects affect economicdevelopment, public policies, and social relations [ CITATION Jam10 l 1033 ].The countries could not come together due to the disparitiesemanating from ethnicity. For instance, the Africans had their way ofdoing things and so did the French. Language barriers also influencedthe decisions, and as such, these states could not beunified. During this era, the countries were more concerned withtheir territorial boundaries. Interactions were hard, and they wouldmainly lead to wars. During this time, racism was quite high.Therefore, it was more difficult for Africans to interact with thewhites to improve the lifestyles. The blacks were mostly consideredas slaves. Even though the countries lacked sufficient resources,they would rely on the blacks to provide labor, causing disharmonyamong them. There was no sense of uniting, yet Africans could providethe required workforce [ CITATION Mae11 l 1033 ].
Languagebarriers were detrimental to the unity of all these nations. Forexample, working together mandated the populace to write treaties. Inthat case, they needed translators. Nevertheless, joining all thesenations to sign the treaty would be hard. Therefore, the Spanish andEnglish continued to strengthen as a single entity without thehindrance of the other countries. All the nations had their differentagendas. Apart from that, they also had similar agendas that couldonly be attained as a single country. For instance, they wanted togain more territorial boundaries. In other words, each country wantedto be a superpower regarding weaponry, resources, and land. Sinceeach nation wanted to be dominant, it became harder for them to workin unity against the English and Spanish. One of the commonestreasons nations migrated was to look for valuable resources such asgold. As such, they could not work together to find gold and othervaluable commodities, yet they all had their interests [ CITATION Mae11 l 1033 ].
Thegreat famine that was experienced in America in the years 1315 to1317 and 1321 left many people dead. The farmers could not sustainthe population as their crops and animals died. As such, thepopulation of Native Americans subsided considerably. Apart fromthat, diseases spread killing many people in the process. It was thesame case for European settlers within the region. These aspectscould not allow them to work as a unit to challenge the Spanish andEnglish. The population was small with limited equipment to challengethe other two nations. In the earlier years, the English won amajority of the wars and managed to expand their territories. In oneinstance, an English King claimed that France should be part ofEngland. This resulted in 100 years of war that was won by theEnglish. As such, they increased their territorial boundaries. Theyalso improved economically. Therefore, even with the combination ofthe other nations, they could match the strength of the English [ CITATION Mae11 l 1033 ].
Disunityalso emanated from religious backgrounds. In other words, all thenations deferred concerning religious beliefs. For instance, RomanCatholic was dominant among some nations while France and Germany hadseveral Protestant churches. Reformist such as Martin Luther hadchanged the philosophical thinking of many Native Americans. In hisphilosophical teaching, Luther believed people could be saved viafaith alone and not necessarily by their actions. He refuted theconcomitant Catholic activities of trading indulgences terming themreceipts for an individual’s fee toward salvation. According tohim, Christians could buy salvation. Instead, having faith in theLord and trusting only on his word could lead anyone towardssalvation. In that regard, the religious tensions could not allow thenations to work together in limiting the English and Spanishstrength. In fact, it created a wedge between the nations and wouldoccasionally lead into wars. The nations could not unite, yet theyhad different ideologies pertaining religion [ CITATION Jam10 l 1033 ].
TheEnglish and Spanish could not be challenged since they occupiedproductive areas. The Spanish had large sugar plantations enough tosupply their homeland. On the other hand, the Native Americansoccupied the arid desert southwest. They would only flourish in aperiod of wet conditions. The foreigners also had enough slaves towork in the plantations. The slaves were mainly blacks from Africa.As such, the English and Spanish continued to excel in the continualsupply of slaves from Africa. On the other hand, the Native Americanscould not match these aspects. Though the French showed significantprogress, they still did not match the super powers i.e. English andSpanish. Native Americans were a composition of different races,namely whites and blacks. Nevertheless, they could not live inharmony due to racism. Compounded by racism, the Native Americanscould not form a formidable group to challenge the stronger nations.They fought against one another to show superiority. The blacks wereconsidered slaves who were under the control of whites. It becameharder to link the minor nations to challenge the Spanish and English[ CITATION Jam10 l 1033 ].
Between1580 and 1763, the English, Spanish, and French became the mostdominant forces. They all had similar as well as contradictingimperial goals that propelled them to superiority. They all wanted totake the commerce and wealth provided by the New World. These statesused imperialism to heighten their territory, influence, andauthority of their respective country. However, they also differedregarding the imperialistic goals, particularly concerning religion.As the British championed asylum, the Spanish and French wanted toacquire converts. Furthermore, the relations these nations sought toform with the natives varied drastically. Though the French seemed tochallenge Britain, continuous wars weakened them. The battlesincluded War of the Spanish Succession (1702 – 1713), War of theAustralian Succession (1744 – 1748), War of the League of Augsburg(1689 – 1697), and War of Jenkins’s Ear (1739 – 1748) among others.The Native Americans, Dutch, and Germans, were feeble and could notjoin the wars. They had no strength to take part in the wars [ CITATION Jam10 l 1033 ].
Allthese countries looked to capture commerce and wealth in NorthAmerica. Britain’s goal was to use North America as a way ofacquiring raw materials like lumber to be refined into goods back inEngland. The Spanish, on the other hand, obtained valuable mineralslike gold and silver. The English utilized their colonies totransport their cash crops like tobacco and wheat to England.Likewise, the Spanish through their colonies established largeplantations for the production of cotton, rice, and sugar that weretransported to Europe. These activities further strengthened themwhile weakening their colonies. As such, the less significant nationscould not form a formidable team to counter the superior ones. Inmany instances, the English isolated themselves from the natives onlyusing them as slaves. The Spanish, on the other hand, exploited thenatives, making them work and even die in the plantations. In thatregard, they maintained their wealth while weakening their colonies[ CITATION Mae11 l 1033 ].
Inconclusion, the Native Americans, Africans, Jews, French, and Dutchwere unable to form a formidable group to challenge the Spanish andEnglish. The two countries were superior in all aspects includingpolitical, demographic, technological, and cultural dominance amongothers. The difference in culture particularly religion was a majorsetback to the unity of these countries. The protestant movement waspopular during this time and led to the disintegration of the RomanCatholic Church. Apart from the religious differences, the lessernations occupied small areas that were not fertile enough tochallenge the superior powers regarding produce. As such, the Spanishand English continued to strengthen at the expense of the lessercountries.
Languagebarriers and diseases also contributed to the disunity of thesecountries. In general, the English and Spanish continued to dominateduring this period due to the extensive territorial boundaries inwealthy regions. The continuous supply of slaves also propelled theiragenda to be superpowers. On the other hand, the smaller nationsincluding Native Americans could not unite to challenge the superiorcountries due to their interests. In other words, they all hadsimilar goals of gaining more territorial boundaries.
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Gjerde, Mae M. Ngai and Jon. Major Problems in American Immigration History: Documents and Essays, 2nd Edition (Major Problems in American History). Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011.