Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and by Eliga H. Gould

By Eliga H. Gould

SHEAR ebook Prize (2013), Society for Historians of the Early American Republic
George Washington booklet Prize Finalist
(2013)
A Library Journal top publication of 2012

What does it suggest to be a treaty-worthy nation?  No query mattered extra to americans in 1776.  As Eliga Gould exhibits during this prize-winning publication, the necessity for overseas reputation touched every thing of the us' early background -- from the drafting of the structure, to family among settlers and Indians, to the looming debate over slavery. 

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Extra info for Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire

Sample text

As historians have noted many times before, this was so partly because Americans themselves had different visions of what they wanted their nation to be. Even when they agreed among themselves, however, Americans could go only so far in deciding such matters on their own. In keeping with the ethnogenic myths that still shape the way historians usually write American history, we like to see the revolution as the moment when the American people, however the term is defined, began to make their own history.

What the British and their European rivals refused to concede was that agreements with indigenous people in North America were comparable to the treaties that they made with each other in Europe. This was partly On the Margins of Europe 31 because Indians seemed to have so little regard for the moral sensibilities upon which European treaties depended. One oft-heard allegation involved native violations of European gender norms. ”59 Although there are almost no firsthand accounts of rapes, Indians were also charged with acts against European women that included physical dismemberment and ritual cannibalism.

Under such circumstances, Europeans claimed, war was the norm, and the peace that was the ordinary condition in relations between treaty-worthy nations in Europe became far more difficult to achieve. Unlike Indians, British and European colonists in America were theoretically accountable to the metropolitan governments that they served, and Europe’s colonial powers could—and did—hold each other responsible for perceived violations of European treaties and customs in the colonies that would have been considered violations in Europe.

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