Clashing Views In United States History

posts must show clear evidence that you have read the selection and engage in the topic at hand. posts should be a clear statement of your position on the issue, rather than a simple response to another post.

MUST:

– have the textbook

– have simple citations eg (Madaras p 101)

– have 2 paragraphs per each Topic

Articles in the text:

issue 3

issue 5

issue 6

issue 10

issue 16

issue 17

FIFTEEN TH

ED ITIO

N

Madaras SoRelle

C la sh in g V iew

s in

Clashing Views in

United States History Volume 1

FIFTEENTH EDITION

Larry Madaras James M. SoRelle

CORRELATION GUIDE INSIDE. Instructor prep time just got easier! It’s easy to use this reader in conjunction with other best-selling McGraw-Hill titles. You’ll fi nd the helpful Correlation Guide following the Table of Contents.

www.mhhe.com/cls

DEBATES ON UNITED STATES HISTORY Colonial Society The Revolution Antebellum America and More!

Taking Sides: Clashing Views in United States History, Volume 1: The Colonial Period to Reconstruction, Fifteenth Edition, is a debate-style reader designed to introduce students to controversies in the history of the United States. The readings, which represent the arguments of leading historians, refl ect opposing positions and have been selected for their liveliness and substance and because of their value in a debate framework. Taking Sides Enhanced Pedagogy! For each issue, the editor provides an expanded introduction and a new section titled Exploring the Issue. The Introduction, now including alternate perspectives on the issue and Learning Outcomes, sets the stage for the debate. The Exploring the Issue section presents Critical Thinking and Refl ection questions to provoke further examination of the issue. This new section also features Is There Common Ground?—designed to explore the different perspectives of the issue— plus Additional Resources for readings or Web sites that further the debate. By requiring students to analyze contradictory positions and reach considered judgments, Taking Sides actively develops students’ critical thinking skills. It is this development of critical thinking skills that is the ultimate purpose of each of the volumes in the widely acclaimed Taking Sides program.

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U nited States H

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olonial Period to R econstruction

The Colonial Period to Reconstruction

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Clashing Views in

United States History, Volume 1, The Colonial

Period to Reconstruction

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Clashing Views in

United States History, Volume 1, The Colonial

Period to Reconstruction FIFTEENTH EDITION

Selected, Edited, and with Introductions by

Larry Madaras Howard Community College

and

James M. SoRelle Baylor University

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TAKING SIDES: CLASHING VIEWS IN UNITED STATES HISTORY, VOLUME 1, THE COLONIAL PERIOD TO RECONSTRUCTION, FIFTEENTH EDITION

Published by McGraw-Hill, a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. Copyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Previous editions © 2010, 2009, and 2007. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written consent of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., including, but not limited to, in any network or other electronic storage or transmission, or broadcast for distance learning.

Some ancillaries, including electronic and print components, may not be available to customers outside the United States.

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

Taking Sides® is a registered trademark of the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Taking Sides is published by the Contemporary Learning Series group within the McGraw-Hill Higher Education division.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 DOC/DOC 1 0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

MHID: 0-07-805031-6 ISBN: 978-0-07-805031-2 ISSN: 1091-8833 (print) ISSN: Pending (online)

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Compositor: MPS Limited, a Macmillan Company Cover Image: © Getty Images RF

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v

Robert Alderson Georgia Perimeter College

Steven Becker University of Dayton

Tomas R. Bennett Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences

Laurie Carlson Western Oregon University

Jianyue Chen Northeast Lakeview College

Kevin Dockerty Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Leon D. Fisher Rose State College

Michael Flores Cypress College

Stephen Gibson Allegany College of Maryland

Kevin R. C. Gutzman Western Connecticut State University

Timothy Hack Salem Community College

Kristin Hargrove Grossmont Community College

Russell Jones Eastern Michigan University

Paul Kahan Montgomery County Community College

Richard Kennedy Mount Olive College

Jason S. Lantzer IUPUI—Indianapolis

Helen Mccaffrey Atlantic Cape Community College

Debra Meyers Northern Kentucky University

Teresa Mushik Park University

M. Orizondo-Harding University of Central Florida

John Perkins Crowder College

Scott Potter Ohio State University—Marion

Emily Rader El Camino College

Carey Roberts Arkansas Tech University

Edward Robinson Abilene Christian University

Editors/Academic Advisory Board Members of the Academic Advisory Board are instrumental in the final selection of articles for each edition of TAKING SIDES. Their review of articles for content, level, and appropriateness provides critical direction to the editors and staff. We think that you will find their careful consideration well reflected in this volume.

TAKING SIDES: Clashing Views in UNITED STATES HISTORY, VOLUME 1, THE COLONIAL PERIOD TO RECONSTRUCTION Fifteenth Edition

EDITORS

Larry Madaras Howard Community College

and

James M. SoRelle Baylor University

ACADEMIC ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS

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vi

Karl Rodabaugh Winston-Salem State University

Sarah Roth Widener University

Bryan Seiling Cypress College

Marvin Seperson Nova Southeastern University

Thomas T. Taylor Wittenberg University

Irvin D. S. Winsboro Florida Gulf Coast University

Kristen Wood Florida International University

Editors/Academic Advisory Board continued

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vii

Since 1985, our aim has been to create an effective instrument to enhance class- room learning and to foster critical thinking in the subject area of United States history. Historical facts presented in a vacuum are of little value to the educational process. For students, whose search for historical truth often concentrates on when something happened rather than on why, and on specifi c events rather than on the signifi cance of those events, Taking Sides is designed to offer an interesting and valuable departure. The understanding arrived at based on the evidence that emerges from the clash of views encourages the reader to view history as an inter- pretive discipline, not one of rote memorization. The success of the past 14 edi- tions of Taking Sides: Clashing Views in United States History has encouraged us to remain faithful to its original objectives and methods, but previous users of this reader will notice several changes in the format of this new edition.

As in previous editions, the 17 issues and 34 essays that follow are arranged in chronological order and can be incorporated easily into any American history survey course. Each issue has an Introduction, which sets the stage for the debate that follows in the pro and con selections and provides historical and methodo- logical background to the problem that the issue examines. For this new edition, each introduction has been expanded to focus more intentionally on alternative perspectives that are applicable to the question at hand in order to demonstrate that these issues contain a level of complexity that cannot be addressed fully in a simple Yes/No format. Additionally, each introduction is accompanied by a set of student-focused Learning Outcomes which are designed to highlight what knowledge the reader should take away from reading and studying the issue.

The traditional Postscript from previous editions has been replaced by several new features. First, there are several questions that relate to the learn- ing outcomes and to the material in the preceding essays that are designed to stimulate Critical Thinking and Refl ection. Second, Is There Common Ground? attempts to encourage students to think more deeply about the issue by high- lighting points shared by scholars on the subject at hand and tying the read- ings to alternative perspectives within the debate. Third, Additional Resources offers a brief annotated bibliography of important books and essays relating to the issue. Also, Internet site addresses (URLs), which should prove useful as starting points for further research, have been provided on the Internet Refer- ences page that accompanies each unit opener.

Another new feature to this edition is the Topic Guide, a list of topics cov- ered in the issues comprising this volume. At the back of the book, as in previ- ous editions, is a listing of all the contributors to this volume with a brief biographical sketch of each of the authors whose views are debated here.

Changes to this edition In this edition, we have continued our efforts to maintain a balance between traditional political, diplomatic, and cultural

Preface

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viii PREFACE

issues and the new social history, which depicts a society that benefi ted from the presence of Native Americans, African Americans, women, and workers of various racial and ethnic backgrounds. With this in mind, we present six new issues: Was the Settlement of Jamestown a Fiasco? (Issue 2); Was Confl ict Between Europeans and Native Americans Inevitable? (Issue 3); Was the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria a Product of Women’s Search for Power? (Issue 4); Was the Constitution of the United States Written to Protect the Economic Interests of the Upper Classes? (Issue 7); Did Alexander Hamilton’s Policies Lay the Foun- dation for America’s Economic Growth in the Early National Period? (Issue 8); and Are Historians Wrong to Consider the War Between the States a “Total War”? (Issue 15).

A word to the instructor An Instructor’s Resource Guide with Test Questions (multiple-choice and essay) is available through the publisher for the instruc- tor using Taking Sides in the classroom. A general guidebook, Using Taking Sides in the Classroom, which discusses methods and techniques for integrating the pro-con approach into any classroom setting, is also available. An online ver- sion of Using Taking Sides in the Classroom and a correspondence service for Taking Sides adopters can be found at www.mhhe.com/cls.

Acknowledgments Many individuals have contributed to the successful completion of this edition. We appreciate the evaluations submitted to McGraw-Hill Contemporary Learning Series by those who have used Taking Sides in the classroom. Special thanks to those who responded with specifi c suggestions for past editions.

We are particularly indebted to Maggie Cullen, Cindy SoRelle, the late Barry Crouch, Virginia Kirk, Joseph and Helen Mitchell, and Jean Soto, who shared their ideas for changes, pointed us toward potentially useful historical works, and provided signifi cant editorial assistance. Lynn Wilder performed indispensable typing duties connected with this project. Ela Ciborowski, James Johnson, and Sharon Glover in the library at Howard Community College provided essential help in acquiring books and articles on interlibrary loan. Finally, we are sincerely grateful for the commitment, encouragement, advice, and patience provided in recent years by Jill Meloy, senior development editor for the Taking Sides series, and the entire staff of McGraw-Hill Contemporary Learning Series.

Larry Madaras Emeritus, Howard Community College

James M. SoRelle Baylor University

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ix

Contents in Brief

UNIT 1 Colonial Society 1 Issue 1. Did the Chinese Discover America? 2 Issue 2. Was the Settlement of Jamestown a Fiasco? 24 Issue 3. Was Confl ict Between Europeans and Native Americans

Inevitable? 50 Issue 4. Was the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria a Product

of Women’s Search for Power? 72 Issue 5. Was There a Great Awakening in Mid-Eighteenth-Century

America? 97

UNIT 2 Revolution and the New Nation 123 Issue 6. Was the American Revolution Largely a Product of

Market-Driven Consumer Forces? 124 Issue 7. Was the Constitution of the United States Written

to Protect the Economic Interests of the Upper Classes? 146 Issue 8. Did Alexander Hamilton’s Policies Lay the Foundation

for America’s Economic Growth in the Early National Period? 173 Issue 9. Did Andrew Jackson’s Removal Policy Benefi t Native

Americans? 202 Issue 10. Did the Industrial Revolution Provide More Economic

Opportunities for Women in the 1830s? 225

UNIT 3 Antebellum America 255 Issue 11. Was Antebellum Temperance Reform Motivated Primarily

by Religious Moralism? 256 Issue 12. Was the Mexican War an Exercise in American Imperialism? 278 Issue 13. Was John Brown an Irrational Terrorist? 308

UNIT 4 Confl ict and Resolution 329 Issue 14. Was Slavery the Key Issue in the Sectional Confl ict Leading

to the Civil War? 330 Issue 15. Are Historians Wrong to Consider the War Between

the States a “Total War”? 352 Issue 16. Was Abraham Lincoln America’s Greatest President? 382 Issue 17. Did Reconstruction Fail as a Result of Racism? 403

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x

Preface vii

Correlation Guide xvi

Topic Guide xix

Introduction xxi

UNIT 1 COLONIAL SOCIETY 1 Issue 1. Did the Chinese Discover America? 2

YES: Gavin Menzies, from 1421: The Year China Discovered America (William Morrow, 2003) 5

NO: Robert Finlay, from “How Not to (Re)Write World History: Gavin Menzies and the Chinese Discovery of America,” Journal of World History 15 ( June 2004, pp. 229–242) 14

Gavin Menzies surmises that between 1421 and 1423 a Chinese fl eet spent four months exploring the Pacifi c coastline of North America and leaving behind substantial evidence to support his contention that the Chinese discovered America long before the arrival of European explorers. Robert Finlay accuses Menzies of ignoring the basic rules of historical study and logic to concoct an implausible interpretation of Chinese discovery based upon a misreading of Chinese imperial policy, misrepresentation of sources, and conjecture that has no evidentiary base.

Issue 2. Was the Settlement of Jamestown a Fiasco? 24 YES: Edmund S. Morgan, from American Slavery, American Freedom

(W. W. Norton, 1975) 28 NO: Karen Ordahl Kupperman, from The Jamestown Project

(H arvard University Press, 2007) 37 Professor Edmund S. Morgan argues that Virginia’s fi rst decade as a colony was a complete “fi asco” because the settlers were too lazy to engage in the subsistence farming necessary for their survival and failed to abandon their own and the Virginia’s company’s expectations of establishing extractive industries such as mining, timber, and fi shing. Professor Karen Ordahl Kupperman argues that Jamestown was America’s fi rst successful colony because in its fi rst decade of trial and error “the ingredients for success—widespread ownership of land, control of taxation for public obligations through a representative assembly, the institution of a normal society through the inclusion of women, and development of a product that could be marketed profi tably to sustain the economy—were beginning to be put in place by 1618 and were in full operation by 1620, when the next successful colony, Plymouth, was planted.”

Issue 3. Was Confl ict Between Europeans and Native Americans Inevitable? 50

YES: Kevin Kenny, from Peaceable Kingdom Lost: The Paxton Boys and the Destruction of William Penn’s Holy Experiment (Oxford University Press, 2009) 54

Contents

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CONTENTS xi

NO: Cynthia J. Van Zandt, from Brothers Among Nations: The Pursuit of Intercultural Alliances in Early America, 1580–1660 (Oxford University Press, 2008) 60

Kevin Kenny argues that European colonists’ demands for privately owned land condemned William Penn’s vision of amicable relations with local Native Americans to failure and guaranteed hostilities that ultimately destroyed Indian culture and produced the extermination of even the most peaceful tribes in Pennsylvania. Cynthia J. Van Zandt claims that trade alliances between English colonists and Native Americans continued even despite military hostilities between the two groups and fell victim not to racial or cultural differences, but rather from confl icts among the various European nations vying for hegemony in the New World.

Issue 4. Was the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria a Product of Women’s Search for Power? 72

YES: Lyle Koehler, from A Search for Power: The “Weaker Sex” in Seventeenth-Century New England (University of Illinois, 1980) 75

NO: Laurie Winn Carlson, from A Fever in Salem: A New Interpretation of the New England Witch Trials (Ivan R. Dee, 1999) 84

Lyle Koehler argues that the Salem witchcraft hysteria is best understood from the perspective of differential relationships in a patriarchal Puritan society whereby the female accusers of “witches” exercised an unconscious search for power to overcome their own subordination in a rapidly hanging world. Laurie Winn Carlson believes that the witchcraft hysteria in Salem was the product of people’s responses to physical and neurological behaviors resulting from an unrecognized epidemic of encephalitis.

Issue 5. Was There a Great Awakening in Mid-Eighteenth- Century America? 97

YES: Thomas S. Kidd, from The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America (Yale University Press, 2007) 101

NO: Jon Butler, from “Enthusiasm Described and Decried: The Great Awakening as Interpretative Fiction,” Journal of American History (September 1982) 110

Thomas Kidd insists that preachers such as George Whitefi eld engineered a powerful series of revivals in the mid-eighteenth century that infl uenced all of the British North American colonies and gave birth to a spirit of evangelicalism that initiated a major alteration of global Christian history. Jon Butler claims that to describe the religious revival activities of the eighteenth century as the “Great Awakening” is to seriously exaggerate their extent, nature, and impact on prerevolutionary American society and politics.

UNIT 2 REVOLUTION AND THE NEW NATION 123 Issue 6. Was the American Revolution Largely a Product

of Market-Driven Consumer Forces? 124 YES: T. H. Breen, from The Marketplace of Revolution: How

Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence (Oxford University Press, 2004) 128

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xii CONTENTS

NO: Carl Degler, from Out of Our Past: The Forces That Shaped Modern America, 2nd ed. (Harper Collins Publishers, 1959, 1970) 137

Professor T. H. Breen maintains that “the colonists’ shared experiences as consumers provided them with the cultural resources needed to develop a bold new form of political protest”—the nonimportation agreements which provided “a necessary if not causal link” to the break with England. Professor Carl N. Degler argues that the American Revolution was a political rebellion led by a group of reluctant revolutionaries who opposed parliament’s attempt to impose taxes without the consent of the colonists.

Issue 7. Was the Constitution of the United States Written to Protect the Economic Interests of the Upper Classes? 146

YES: Howard Zinn, from A People’s History of the United States (Harper Collins, 1999) 150

NO: Gordon S. Wood, from “Democracy and the Constitution,” in Robert A. Goldwin and William A. Schambra, eds., How Democratic is the Constitution? (American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1980) 161

According to radical historian Howard Zinn, the Founding Fathers were an elite group of northern money interests and southern slaveholders who used Shays’ Rebellion in Massachusetts as a pretext to create a strong central government, which protected the property rights of the rich to the exclusion of slaves, Indians, and non-property-holding whites. Professor of history Gordon S. Wood views the struggle for a new constitution in 1787–1788 as a social confl ict between upper-class Federalists who desired a stronger central government and the “humbler” Anti-Federalists who controlled the state assemblies.

Issue 8. Did Alexander Hamilton’s Policies Lay the Foundation for America’s Economic Growth in the Early National Period? 173

YES: John Steele Gordon, from An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Powers (Harper Collins, 2004) 177

NO: Joyce Appleby, from Inheriting the Revolution: The First Generation of Americans (The Belknap Press, 2000) 186

Historian John Steele Gordon claims that Hamilton’s policies for funding and assuming the debts of the confederation and state governments and for establishing a privately controlled Bank of the United States laid the foundation for the rich and powerful national economy Americans enjoy today. Joyce Appleby argues that Jefferson democratized Hamilton’s accomplishments, dismantled the Federalist fi scal program, reduced taxes, and freed money and credit from national control.

Issue 9. Did Andrew Jackson’s Removal Policy Benefi t Native Americans? 202

YES: Robert V. Remini, from Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars (Viking Penguin, 2001) 206

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CONTENTS xiii

NO: Alfred A. Cave, from “Abuse of Power: Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act of 1830,” The Historian (Winter 2003) 215

Robert V. Remini insists that President Andrew Jackson demonstrated a genuine concern for the welfare of Native Americans by proposing a voluntary program that would remove the Five Civilized Tribes west of the Mississippi River where they could avoid dangerous confl ict with white settlers and preserve their heritage and culture. Alfred A. Cave accuses Andrew Jackson of abusing his power as president by failing to adhere to the letter of the Indian Removal Act by transforming a voluntary program into a coercive one and by ignoring the provisions in his own removal treaties that promised protection to the various southern tribes.

Issue 10. Did the Industrial Revolution Provide More Economic Opportunities for Women in the 1830s? 225

YES: Nancy F. Cott, from The Bonds of Womanhood: “Woman’s Sphere” in New England, 1780–1835 (Yale University Press, 1977, 1997) 229

NO: Gerda Lerner, from “The Lady and the Mill Girl: Changes in the Status of Women in the Age of Jackson,” The Majority Finds It’s Past: Placing Women in History (Oxford University Press, 1979) 240

According to Professor Nancy F. Cott, when merchant capitalism reached its mature phase in the 1830s, the roles of the middle-class family became more clearly defi ned, and new economic opportunities opened within a limited sphere outside the home. According to Professor Gerda Lerner, while Jacksonian democracy provided political and economic opportunities for men, both the “lady” and the “mill girl” were equally disenfranchised and isolated from vital centers of economic opportunity.

UNIT 3 ANTEBELLUM AMERICA 255 Issue 11. Was Antebellum Temperance Reform Motivated

Primarily by Religious Moralism? 256 YES: W. J. Rorabaugh, from The Alcoholic Republic: An American

Tradition (Oxford University Press, 1979) 259

NO: John J. Rumbarger, from Profi ts, Power, and Prohibition: Alcohol Reform and the Industrializing of America, 1800–1930 (State University of New York Press, 1989) 266

W. J. Rorabaugh points out that in the fi rst half of the nineteenth century evangelical Christian ministers portrayed liquor as the tool of the Devil and developed temperance societies as socializing institutions to ease social tensions and anxieties that contributed to alcohol consumption. John J. Rumbarger concludes that nineteenth-century temperance reform was the product of a pro-capitalist market economy whose entrepreneurial elite led the way toward abstinence and prohibition campaigns in order to guarantee the availability of a more productive work force.

Issue 12. Was the Mexican War an Exercise in American Imperialism? 278

YES: Walter Nugent, from “California and New Mexico, 1846– 1848: Southward Aggression II,” Habits of Empire: A History of American Expansion (Alfred A. Knopf, 2008) 282

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xiv CONTENTS

NO: Norman A. Graebner, from “The Mexican War: A Study in Causation,” Pacifi c Historical Review (August, 1980) 295

Professor Walter Nugent argues that President James K. Polk was a narrow-minded, ignorant but not stupid individual with one big idea: use the power of the presidency to force Mexico to cede California and the current Southwest to the United States. Professor of diplomatic history Norman A. Graebner argues that President James Polk pursued an aggressive policy that he believed would force Mexico to sell New Mexico and California to the United States and to recognize the annexation of Texas without starting a war.

Issue 13. Was John Brown an Irrational Terrorist? 308 YES: James N. Gilbert, from “A Behavioral Analysis of John Brown:

Martyr or Terrorist?” in Peggy A. Russo and Paul Finkelman, eds., Terrible Swift Sword: The Legacy of John Brown (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2005) 311

NO: Scott John Hammond, from “John Brown as Founder: America’s Violent Confrontation with Its First Principles,” in Peggy A. Russo and Paul Finkelman, eds., Terrible Swift Sword: The Legacy of John Brown (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2005) 317

James N. Gilbert says that John Brown’s actions conform to a modern defi nition of terrorist behavior in that Brown considered the United States incapable of reforming itself by abolishing slavery, believed that only violence would accomplish that goal, and justifi ed his actions by proclaiming adherence to a “higher” power. Scott John Hammond insists that John Brown’s commitment to higher moral and political goals conformed to the basic principles of human freedom and political and legal equality that formed the heart of the creed articulated by the founders of the American nation.

UNIT 4 CONFLICT AND RESOLUTION 329 Issue 14. Was Slavery the Key Issue in the Sectional

Confl ict Leading to the Civil War? 330 YES: Charles B. Dew, from Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession

Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War (University of Virginia Press, 2001) 334

NO: Marc Egnal, from “Rethinking the Secession of the Lower South: The Clash of Two Groups,” Civil War History 50 (September 2004) 342

Charles B. Dew uses the speeches and public letters of 41 white southerners who, as commissioners in 1860 and 1861, attempted to secure support for secession by appealing to their audiences’ commitment to the preservation of slavery and the doctrine of white supremacy. Marc Egnal argues that the decision of Lower South states to secede from the Union was determined by an economically-based struggle between residents with strong ties to the North and Upper South who embraced an entrepreneurial outlook, on one hand, and those who were largely isolated from the North and who opposed the implementation of a diversifi ed economy, on the other hand.

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CONTENTS xv

Issue 15. Are Historians Wrong to Consider the War Between the States a “Total War”? 352

YES: Mark E. Neely, Jr., from “Was the Civil War a Total War?” Civil War History 50 (2004) 355

NO: James M. McPherson, from “From Limited to Total War: Missouri and the Nation, 1861–1865,” Gateway Heritage Magazine (vol. 12, no. 4, Spring, 1992) 366

Professor Mark E. Neely, Jr., argues that the Civil War was not a total war because President Lincoln and the Union military leaders, such as General William T. Sherman, respected the distinction between soldiers and civilians, combatants and noncombatants. In addition, the North did not fully mobilize its resources nor engage in centralized planning and state intervention as was typical of twentieth-century wartime economies. Professor James M. McPherson argues that the Civil War was a total war. While conceding the distinction between combatants and noncombatants, he insists that the war accomplished the abolition of slavery and the extinction of a national state system—the Confederacy.

Issue 16. Was Abraham Lincoln America’s Greatest President? 382

YES: Phillip Shaw Paludan, from The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln (University Press of Kansas, 1994) 385

NO: Melvin E. Bradford, from Remembering Who We Are: Observations of a Southern Conservative (University of Georgia Press, 1985) 392

Phillip Shaw Paludan contends that Abraham Lincoln’s greatness exceeds that of all other American presidents because Lincoln, in the face of unparalleled challenges associated with the Civil War, succeeded in preserving the Union and freeing the slaves. Melvin E. Bradford characterizes Lincoln as a cynical politician whose abuse of authority as president and commander-in-chief during the Civil War marked a serious departure from the republican goals of the Founding Fathers and established the prototype for the “imperial presidency” of the twentieth century.

Issue 17. Did Reconstruction Fail as a Result of Racism? 403

YES: LeeAnna Keith, from The Colfax Massacre: The Untold Story of Black Power, White Terror, and the Death of Reconstruction (Oxford University Press, 2008) 407

NO: Heather Cox Richardson, from The Death of Reconstruction: Race, Labor, and Politics in the Post-Civil War North, 1865–1901 (Harvard University Press, 2001) 416

LeeAnna Keith characterizes the assault on the Grant Parish courthouse in Colfax, Louisiana on Easter Sunday in 1873 as a product of white racism and unwillingness by local whites to tolerate African American political power during the era of Reconstruction. Heather Cox Richardson argues that the failure of Radical Reconstruction was primarily a consequence of a national commitment to a free labor ideology that opposed an expanding central government that legislated rights to African Americans that other citizens had acquired through hard work.

Contributors 427

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xvi

Correlation Guide

The Taking Sides series presents current issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. Each issue is thoughtfully framed with an issue summary, an issue introduction, learning out- comes, and critical thinking and refl ection questions. The pro and con essays— selected for their liveliness and substance—represent the arguments of leading scholars and commentators in their fi elds.

Taking Sides: Clashing Views in United States History, Volume 1, The Colonial Period to Reconstruction, 15/e is an easy-to-use reader that presents issues on important topics such as colonial society, revolution, antebel- lum, and confl ict and resolution. For more information on Taking Sides and other McGraw-Hill Contemporary Learning Series titles, visit http://www.mhhe.com/cls.

This convenient guide matches the issues in Taking Sides: United States History, Volume 1, The Colonial Period to Reconstruction, 15/e with the corresponding chapters in three of our best-selling McGraw-Hill History text- books by Davidson et al., Davidson et al., and Brinkley.

Taking Sides: United States History, Volume 1, The Colonial Period to Reconstruction, 15/e

United States: A Narrative History, Volume 1: To 1877, 6/e by Davidson et al.

Experience History, Volume 1: To 1877, 7/e by Davidson et al.

American History: Connecting with the Past, Volume 1, 14/e by Brinkley

Issue 1: Did the Chinese Discover America?

Chapter 1: The First Civilizations of North America Chapter 2: Old Worlds, New Worlds (1400–1600)

Chapter 1: The First Civilizations of North America Chapter 2: Old Worlds, New Worlds, 1400–1600

Chapter 1: The Collision of Cultures Chapter 2: Transplantations and Borderlands

Issue 2: Was the Settlement of Jamestown a Fiasco?

Chapter 2: Old Worlds, New Worlds (1400–1600) Chapter 6: Toward the War for American Independence (1754–1776)

Chapter 2: Old Worlds, New Worlds, 1400–1600 Chapter 6: Toward the War for American Independence, 1754–1776

Chapter 2: Transplantations and Borderlands Chapter 5: The American Revolution Chapter 6: The Constitution and the New Republic Chapter 7: The Jeffersonian Era

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CORRELATION GUIDE xvii

Taking Sides: United States History, Volume 1, The Colonial Period to Reconstruction, 15/e

United States: A Narrative History, Volume 1: To 1877, 6/e by Davidson et al.

Experience History, Volume 1: To 1877, 7/e by Davidson et al.

American History: Connecting with the Past, Volume 1, 14/e by Brinkley

Issue 3: Was Confl ict Between Europeans and Native Americans Inevitable?

Chapter 3: Colonization and Confl ict in the South, 1600–1750 Chapter 4: Colonization and Confl ict in the North, 1600–1700 Chapter 8: Crisis and Constitution (1776–1789) Chapter 9: The Early Republic (1789–1824) Chapter 10: The Opening of America (1815–1850)

Chapter 3: Colonization and Confl ict in the South, 1600–1750 Chapter 4: Colonization and Confl ict in the North, 1600–1700 Chapter 8: Crisis and Constitution, 1776–1789 Chapter 9: The Early Republic, 1789–1824 Chapter 10: The Opening of America, 1815–1850

Chapter 8: Varieties of American Nationalism Chapter 9: Jacksonian America Chapter 10: America’s Economic Revolution

Issue 4: Was the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria a Product of Women’s Search for Power?

Chapter 4: Colonization and Confl ict in the North, 1600–1700

Chapter 4: Colonization and Confl ict in the North, 1600–1700

Chapter 1: The Collision of Cultures

Issue 5: Was There a Great Awakening in Mid-Eighteenth-Century America?

Chapter 5: The Mosaic of Eighteenth- Century America (1689–1771) Chapter 6: Toward the War for American Independence (1754–1776)

Chapter 5: The Mosaic of Eighteenth- Century America, 1689–1768 Chapter 6: Toward the War for American Independence, 1754–1776

Chapter 4: The Empire in Transition

Issue 6: Was the American Revolution Largely a Product of Market-Driven Consumer Forces?

Chapter 6: Toward the War for American Independence (1754–1776) Chapter 7: The American People: The American Revolution (1775–1783)

Chapter 6: Toward the War for American Independence, 1754–1776 Chapter 7: The American People: The American Revolution, 1775–1783

Chapter 5: The American Revolution Chapter 6: The Constitution and the New Republic

Issue 7: Was the Constitution of the United States Written to Protect the Economic Interests of the Upper Classes?

Chapter 8: Crisis and Constitution (1776–1789)

Chapter 8: Crisis and Constitution, 1776–1789

Chapter 6: The Constitution and the New Republic Chapter 7: The Jeffersonian Era

Issue 8: Did Alexander Hamilton’s Policies Lay the Foundation for America’s Economic Growth in the Early National Period?

Chapter 8: Crisis and Constitution (1776–1789) Chapter 9: The Early Republic (1789–1824) Chapter 10: The Opening of America (1815–1850)

Chapter 8: Crisis and Constitution, 1776–1789 Chapter 9: The Early Republic, 1789–1824 Chapter 10: The Opening of America, 1815–1850

Chapter 5: The American Revolution

(Continued)

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xviii CORRELATION GUIDE

Taking Sides: United States History, Volume 1, The Colonial Period to Reconstruction, 15/e

United States: A Narrative History, Volume 1: To 1877, 6/e by Davidson et al.

Experience History, Volume 1: To 1877, 7/e by Davidson et al.

American History: Connecting with the Past, Volume 1, 14/e by Brinkley

Issue 9: Did Andrew Jackson’s Removal Policy Benefi t Native Americans?

Chapter 8: Crisis and Constitution (1776–1789)

Chapter 9: The Early Republic, 1789–1824 Chapter 11: The Rise of Democracy, 1824–1840

Chapter 9: Jacksonian America

Issue 10: Did the Industrial Revolution Provide More Economic Opportunities for Women in the 1830s?

Chapter 17: Reconstructing the Union (1865–1877)

Chapter 10: The Opening of America, 1815–1850

Chapter 7: The Jeffersonian Era

Issue 11: Was Antebellum Temperance Reform Motivated Primarily by Religious Moralism?

Chapter 12: The Fires of Perfection (1820–1850)

Chapter 12: The Fires of Perfection, 1820–1850

Chapter 12: Antebellum Culture and Reform

Issue 12: Was the Mexican War an Exercise in American Imperialism?

Chapter 14: Western Expansion and the Rise of the Slavery Issue (1820–1850)

Chapter 14: Western Expansion and the Rise of Slavery, 1820–1850

Chapter 13: The Impending Crisis

Issue 13: Was John Brown an Irrational Terrorist?

Chapter 15: The Union Broken (1850–1861) Chapter 16: Total War and the Republic (1861–1865)

Chapter 15: The Union Broken, 1850–1861 Chapter 16: Total War and the Republic, 1861–1865

Chapter 12: Antebellum Culture and Reform Chapter 13: The Impending Crisis

Issue 14: Was Slavery the Key Issue in the Sectional Confl ict Leading to the Civil War?

Chapter 15: The Union Broken (1850–1861) Chapter 16: Total War and the Republic (1861–1865)

Chapter 15: The Union Broken, 1850–1861 Chapter 16: Total War and the Republic, 1861–1865

Chapter 14: The Civil War

Issue 15: Are Historians Wrong to Consider the War Between the States a “Total War”?

Chapter 16: Total War and the Republic (1861–1865)

Chapter 16: Total War and the Republic, 1861–1865

Chapter 14: The Civil War

Issue 16: Was Abraham Lincoln America’s Greatest President?

Chapter 15: The Union Broken (1850–1861) Chapter 16: Total War and the Republic (1861–1865)

Chapter 15: The Union Broken, 1850–1861 Chapter 16: Total War and the Republic, 1861–1865

Chapter 13: The Impending Crisis Chapter 14: The Civil War

Issue 17: Did Reconstruction Fail as a Result of Racism?

Chapter 17: Reconstructing the Union (1865–1877)

Chapter 17: Reconstructing the Union, 1865–1877

Chapter 15: Reconstruction and the New South

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xix

Topic Guide

This topic guide suggests how the selections in this book relate to the subjects covered in your course. You may want to use the topics listed on these pages to search the Web more easily. On the following pages a number of Web sites have been gathered specifi cally for this book. They are arranged to refl ect the issues of this Taking Sides reader. You can link to these sites by going to http://www.mhhe .com/cls.

All issues and their articles that relate to each topic are listed below the bold- faced term.

African Americans

14. Was Slavery the Key Issue in the Sectional Conflict Leading to the Civil War?

17. Did Reconstruction Fail as a Result of Racism?

Biography

8. Did Alexander Hamilton’s Policies Lay the Foundation for America’s Economic Growth in the Early National Period?

9. Did Andrew Jackson’s Removal Policy Benefit Native Americans?

13. Was John Brown an Irrational Terrorist? 16. Was Abraham Lincoln America’s Greatest

President?

Economics

2. Was the Settlement of Jamestown a Fiasco? 6. Was the American Revolution Largely a

Product of Market-Driven Consumer Forces? 7. Was the Constitution of the United States

Written to Protect the Economic Interests of the Upper Classes?

8. Did Alexander Hamilton’s Policies Lay the Foundation for America’s Economic Growth in the Early National Period?

10. Did the Industrial Revolution Provide More Economic Opportunities for Women in the 1830s?

14. Was Slavery the Key Issue in the Sectional Conflict Leading to the Civil War?

Global

1. Did the Chinese Discover America?

Native Americans

3. Was Conflict Between Europeans and Native Americans Inevitable?

9. Did Andrew Jackson’s Removal Policy Benefit Native Americans?

Political

6. Was the American Revolution Largely a Product of Market-Driven Consumer Forces?

7. Was the Constitution of the United States Written to Protect the Economic Interests of the Upper Classes?

8. Did Alexander Hamilton’s Policies Lay the Foundation for America’s Economic Growth in the Early National Period?

9. Did Andrew Jackson’s Removal Policy Benefit Native Americans?

11. Was Antebellum Temperance Reform Motivated Primarily by Religious Moralism?

12. Was the Mexican War an Exercise in American Imperialism?

13. Was John Brown an Irrational Terrorist? 14. Was Slavery the Key Issue in the Sectional

Conflict Leading to the Civil War? 15. Are Historians Wrong to Consider the War

Between the States a “Total War”? 16. Was Abraham Lincoln America’s Greatest

President? 17. Did Reconstruction Fail as a Result of

Racism?

Religion

5. Was There a Great Awakening in Mid- Eighteenth-Century America?

(Continued)

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xx TOPIC GUIDE

11. Was Antebellum Temperance Reform Motivated Primarily by Religious Moralism?

Social

2. Was the Settlement of Jamestown a Fiasco?

4. Was the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria a Product of Women’s Search for Power?

9. Did Andrew Jackson’s Removal Policy Benefit Native Americans?

10. Did the Industrial Revolution Provide More Economic Opportunities for Women in the 1830s?

11. Was Antebellum Temperance Reform Motivated Primarily by Religious Moralism?

13. Was John Brown an Irrational Terrorist? 14. Was Slavery the Key Issue in the Sectional

Conflict Leading to the Civil War?

17. Did Reconstruction Fail as a Result of Racism?

War and Diplomacy

3. Was Conflict Between Europeans and Native Americans Inevitable?

12. Was the Mexican War an Exercise in American Imperialism?

14. Was Slavery the Key Issue in the Sectional Conflict Leading to the Civil War?

15. Are Historians Wrong to Consider the War Between the States a “Total War”?

Women

4. Was the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria a Product of Women’s Search for Power?

10. Did the Industrial Revolution Provide More Economic Opportunities for Women in the 1830s?

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xxi

Introduction

The Study of History Larry Madaras

James M. SoRelle

In a pluralistic society such as ours, the study of history is bound to be a complex process. How an event is interpreted depends not only on the exist- ing evidence but also on the perspective of the interpreter. Consequently, understanding history presupposes the evaluation of information, a task that often leads to confl icting conclusions. An understanding of history, then, requires the acceptance of the idea of historical relativism. Relativism means that redefi nition of our past is always possible and desirable. History shifts, changes, and grows with new and different evidence and interpretations. As is the case with the law and even with medicine, beliefs that were unques- tioned 100 or 200 years ago have been discredited or discarded since.

Relativism, then, encourages revisionism. There is a maxim that “the past must remain useful to the present.” Historian Carl Becker argued that every generation should examine history for itself, thus ensuring constant scrutiny of our collective experience through new perspectives. History, conse- quently, does not remain static, in part because historians cannot avoid being infl uenced by the times in which they live. Almost all historians commit themselves to revising the views of other historians, synthesizing theories into macro-interpretations, or revising the revisionists.

Schools of Thought Three predominant schools of thought have emerged in American history since the fi rst graduate seminars in history were given at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in the 1870s. The progressive school dominated the professional fi eld in the fi rst half of the twentieth century. Infl uenced by the reform currents of Populism, progressivism, and the New Deal, these histori- ans explored the social and economic forces that energized America. The pro- gressive scholars tended to view the past in terms of confl icts between groups, and they sympathized with the underdog.

The post-World War II period witnessed the emergence of a new group of historians who viewed the confl ict thesis as overly simplistic. Writing against the backdrop of the Cold War, these neoconservative, or consensus, historians argued that Americans possess a shared set of values and that the areas of agreement within our nation’s basic democratic and capitalistic framework are more important than the areas of disagreement.

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xxii INTRODUCTION

In the 1960s, however, the civil rights movement, women’s liberation, and the student rebellion (with its condemnation of the war in Vietnam) frag- mented the consensus of values upon which historians and social scientists of the 1950s had centered their interpretations. This turmoil set the stage for the emergence of another group of scholars. New Left historians began to reinter- pret the past once again. They emphasized the signifi cance of confl ict in American history, and they resurrected interest in those groups ignored by the consensus school. In addition, New Left historians critiqued the expansionist policies of the United States and emphasized the diffi culties confronted by Native Americans, African Americans, women, and urban workers in gaining full citizenship status.

Progressive, consensus, and New Left history is still being written. The most recent generation of scholars, however, focuses upon social history. Their primary concern is to discover what the lives of “ordinary Americans” were really like. These new social historians employ previously overlooked court and church documents, house deeds and tax records, letters and diaries, pho- tographs, and census data to reconstruct the everyday lives of average Ameri- cans. Some employ new methodologies, such as quantifi cation (enhanced by advancing computer technology) and oral history, whereas others borrow from the disciplines of political science, economics, sociology, anthropology, and psychology for their historical investigations.

The proliferation of historical approaches, which are refl ected in the issues debated in this book, has had mixed results. On the one hand, histori- ans have become so specialized in their respective time periods and methodo- logical styles that it is diffi cult to synthesize the recent scholarship into a comprehensive text for the general reader. On the other hand, historians know more about the American past than at any other time in history. They dare to ask new questions or ones that previously were considered to be germane only to scholars in other social sciences. Although there is little agreement about the answers to these questions, the methods employed and issues explored make the “new history” a very exciting fi eld to study.

The topics that follow represent a variety of perspectives and approaches. Each of these controversial issues can be studied for its individual importance to our nation’s history. Taken as a group, they interact with one another to illustrate larger historical themes. When grouped thematically, the issues reveal continuing motifs in the development of American history.

The New Social History Some of the most innovative historical research over the last 40 years refl ects the interests of the new social historians. The work of several representatives of this group who treat the issues of race, gender, and class appears in this volume. For example, the English efforts to establish a permanent colony at Jamestown beginning in 1607 are addressed in Issue 2. Edmund S. Morgan emphasizes the diffi culties involved in that project and is critical of the set- tlers’ unwillingness to abandon the Virginia Company’s goals of establishing extractive industries such as mining, timber, and fi shing when their own

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INTRODUCTION xxiii

physical preservation required their attention to subsistence farming. Karen Ordahl Kupperman believes that Morgan overlooks the fact that by 1618 the Jamestown settlers had achieved the main ingredients for success through a program of widespread land ownership, the creation of representative gov- ernment, and the development of a marketable cash crop—tobacco—to sus- tain the colony.

Two issues examine the interactions of Native Americans with whites. Issue 3 focuses on the nature of the relationship between European settlers and the indigenous peoples with whom they came in contact. In his study of colo- nial Pennsylvania, Kevin Kenny claims that founder William Penn’s vision of a “peaceable kingdom” fell victim to land lust that produced inevitable hostili- ties culminating in the Paxton Boys’ extermination of the peaceful Conestogas in 1763. Cynthia J. Van Zandt’s essay, however, reveals the potential for cordial and mutually benefi cial relations between English colonists and Native Ameri- cans based on trade alliances. The more consequential barrier to peaceful rela- tions between these two peoples, she insists, were the confl icts among various European nations vying for hegemony in the New World.

Issue 9 blends social history with politics in Jacksonian America by examining the motivation behind the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Robert V. Remini insists that President Andrew Jackson demonstrated a genuine con- cern for the welfare of Native Americans by proposing a voluntary program that would remove the Five Civilized Tribes west of the Mississippi River, where they could avoid dangerous confl ict with white settlers and preserve their heritage and culture. Alfred A. Cave accuses Jackson of abusing his power as president by failing to adhere to the letter of the Indian Removal Act by transforming a voluntary program into a coercive one and by ignoring the provisions in his own removal treaties that promised protection to the vari- ous southern tribes.

Another two issues explore the fi eld of women’s history. Study of the Salem witch trials has produced several quite imaginative scholarly explana- tions for this episode in New England’s history. In Issue 4, Lyle Koehler exam- ines the witchcraft hysteria from the perspective of women’s powerlessness in a patriarchal Puritan environment. Not only were most of the accused females who did not fi t the ideal image of femininity, but also their accusers were women who sought to conquer their own felling of powerlessness in a rapidly changing world. Laurie Winn Carlson takes the matter of witchcraft hysteria in an entirely different direction. She concludes that what happened in Salem in 1692 was the product of people’s responses to physical and neurological behaviors resulting from an undiagnosed epidemic of encephalitis.

Issue 10 addresses the economic opportunities available to women in the 1830s. According to Nancy F. Cott, when merchant capitalism reached its mature phase in the 1830s, the roles of the middle-class family became more clearly defi ned, and new economic opportunities opened for women within a limited sphere outside the home. Gerda Lerner counters this more optimistic view of women’s status by concluding that most women in Jacksonian America were disfranchised and isolated from vital centers of economic opportunity.

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xxiv INTRODUCTION

Revolution, Religion, and Reform Issue 6 provides a discussion of the factors contributing to the American col- onists’ decision to seek independence through a war with England. T. H. Breen maintains that the American Revolution was the product of a larger “market revolution” that led the colonists, who shared experiences as con- sumers, to break with England. Carl N. Degler argues that the American Rev- olution was a political rebellion led by a group of reluctant revolutionaries who opposed Parliament’s attempt to impose taxes without the consent of the colonists.

Religion has played a signifi cant role in the development of American soci- ety from the earliest colonial beginnings. In Issue 5, Thomas S. Kidd and Jon Butler debate whether it is appropriate to identify revival activity in the mid- eighteenth century as “The Great Awakening.” Kidd insists that preachers such as George Whitefi eld engineered a powerful series of revivals in the 1730s and 1740s that infl uenced all of the British North American colonies and gave birth to a spirit of evangelicalism that initiated a major alteration of global Christian history. Jon Butler claims that to describe the religious revival activities of the eighteenth century as the “Great Awakening” is to seriously exaggerate their extent, nature, and impact on pre-revolutionary American society and politics.

Issue 11 also concerns the infl uence of religious impulses. W. J. Rorabaugh says that the nineteenth-century temperance movement was launched by evangelical ministers in an effort to gain converts who were liberated from “demon rum.” John J. Rumbarger, however, concludes that nineteenth-century temperance reform was the product of a pro-capitalist market economy whose entrepreneurial elite led the way toward abstinence and prohibition campaigns in order to guarantee the availability of a more productive work force.

The major and most controversial reform effort in the pre-Civil War period was the movement to abolish slavery. Issue 13 examines the terrorist activities carried out by John Brown and his followers. James N. Gilbert says that John Brown’s actions conform to a modern defi nition of terrorist behavior in that Brown considered the United States incapable of reforming itself by abolishing slavery, believed that only violence would accomplish that goal, and justifi ed his actions by proclaiming adherence to a “higher” power. Scott John Hammond insists that Brown’s commitment to higher moral and politi- cal goals conformed to the basic principles of human freedom and political and legal equality that formed the heart of the creed articulated by the found- ers of the American nation.

War, Leadership, and Resolution As a nation committed to peace, the United States has faced some of its ster- nest tests in times of war. Such confl icts inevitably have challenged the leader- ship abilities of the commanders in chief, the commitment of the nation to involve itself in war, and the ideals of the republic founded on democratic principles. Several issues in this volume address the response to war and its aftermath. In Issue 12, Walter Nugent and Norman Graebner debate the

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INTRODUCTION xxv

rationale behind the war between the United States and Mexico in 1846. Walter Nugent argues that President James K. Polk was an imperialist moti- vated to use the power of the presidency to force Mexico to cede California and the current Southwest to the United States. Graebner contends that President Polk pursued an aggressive (but not imperialistic) policy that would force Mexico to recognize U. S. annexation of Texas and to sell New Mexico and California to its northern neighbor without starting a war.

Two issues cover topics relating to the Civil War and its consequences. In Issue 14, Charles B. Dew and Marc Egnal debate the causes of the Civil War. Dew employs the words of white southerners whose job it was to promote the cause of secession following Abraham Lincoln’s election by appealing to their audiences’ commitment to the preservation of slavery and the doctrine of white supremacy. Egnal argues that the decision of Lower South states to secede from the Union was determined by an economically-based struggle between residents with strong ties to the North and Upper South who embraced an entrepreneurial outlook, on one hand, and those who were largely isolated from the North and who opposed the implementation of a diversifi ed economy, on the other hand.

Issue 15 assesses the validity of characterizing the American Civil War as a “total war.” Mark Neely challenges the argument that the War Between the States accurately represented a “total war” because the North did not fully mobi- lize its resources nor engage in centralized planning and state intervention to defeat the Confederacy. James McPherson, however, strongly disagrees with Neely and insists that the twin goals of restoring the Union and freeing the slaves required the United States to conduct a “total war” on its opponent.

With the end of slavery, one of the most controversial questions con- fronting those responsible for reconstructing the nation following the war involved the future of African Americans. Perhaps no other period of Ameri- can history has been subjected to more myths than has this postwar era. Even though most scholars today recognize that Reconstruction did not achieve its most enlightened economic and social goals, they differ in their explanations about the source of this failure. In Issue 17, LeeAnna Keith relates the details of the Colfax massacre, an assault carried out by white Louisianans to elimi- nate Radical Republican rule in their state which had empowered local African Americans. The military attack on the Grant Parish courthouse in Colfax on Easter Sunday 1973, Keith says, was directed toward removing the all-black militia unit guarding the courthouse and reinstituting white supremacy in the Pelican State. Heather Cox Richardson, on the other hand, argues that the failure of Radical Reconstruction was primarily a consequence of a national commitment to a free-labor ideology that opposed an expanding central gov- ernment that legislated rights to African Americans that other citizens had acquired through hard work.

Politics in America The American people gave legitimacy to their revolution through the estab- lishment of a republican form of government. The United States has operated under two constitutions: the fi rst established the short-lived confederation

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xxvi INTRODUCTION

from 1781 to 1789; the second was written in 1787 and remains in effect over two hundred years later. In Issue 7, Howard Zinn describes the founders as members of an economic elite who desired a stronger central government to protect their property rights. Gordon Wood stresses social and ideological, not economic, motivations. Wood argues that the Federalists were upper- class aristocrats who, at both the Philadelphia and the state ratifying conven- tions, employed “democratic” language to argue that the new national government was as democratic as the Confederation government it would replace.

Alexander Hamilton was one of the most signifi cant leaders of the early national period. Issue 8 explores Hamilton’s skills as the primary architect of the nation’s economic policies. John Steele Gordon views Hamilton as the person most responsible for the powerful national economy we enjoy today. Joyce Appleby disagrees with Gordon and argues that Thomas Jefferson, rather than simply acquiescing to Hamilton’s policies, democratized Hamilton’s accomplishments, dismantled the Federalist fi scal program, reduced taxes, and freed money and credit from national control.

No discussion of American politics is complete without examining some of the individuals who have served as president of the United States. Andrew Jackson’s leadership already has been discussed above in connection with his policy toward the removal of Native Americans from the southeastern United States (Issue 9). In Issue 16, Philip Shaw Paludan and M. E. Bradford debate Abraham Lincoln’s presidential legacy. Paludan contends that Lincoln deserves to be recognized as the nation’s greatest president for facing the unparalleled challenges associated with the Civil War, preserving the Union, and freeing the slaves. M. E. Bradford characterizes Lincoln as a cynical politician whose abuse of authority as president and commander-in-chief during the Civil War marked a serious departure from the republican goals of the Founding Fathers and established the prototype for the “imperial presidency” of the twentieth century.

Comparative History: America in a Global Perspective The role of American history within the larger framework of world history is central to the discussion presented in Issue 1 of this volume. In sharp contrast to our traditional understanding of the “discovery” of the New World, Gavin Menzies surmises that between 1421 and 1423, a Chinese fl eet spent four months exploring the Pacifi c coastline of North America and leaving behind substantial evidence that supports his contention that the Chinese discovered America long before the arrival of European explorers. Robert Finlay accuses Menzies of ignoring the basic rules of historical study and logic to concoct an implausible interpretation of Chinese discovery based upon a misreading of Chinese imperial policy, misrepresentation of sources, and conjecture that has no evidentiary base.

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INTRODUCTION xxvii

Conclusion The process of historical study should rely more on thinking than on memo- rizing data. Once the basics of who, what, when, and where are determined, historical thinking shifts to a higher gear. Analysis, comparison and contrast, evaluation, and explanation take command. These skills not only increase our knowledge of the past but also provide general tools for the comprehen- sion of all the topics about which human beings think.

The diversity of a pluralistic society, however, creates some obstacles to comprehending the past. The spectrum of differing opinions on any particular subject eliminates the possibility of quick and easy answers. In the fi nal analy- sis, conclusions often are built through a synthesis of several different inter- pretations, but, even then, they may be partial and tentative.

The study of history in a pluralistic society allows each citizen the oppor- tunity to reach independent conclusions about the past. Since most, if not all, historical issues affect the present and future, understanding the past becomes essential to social progress. Many of today’s problems have a direct connection with the past. Additionally, other contemporary issues may lack obvious direct antecedents, but historical investigation can provide illuminating analogies. At fi rst, it may appear confusing to read and to think about opposing historical views, but the survival of our democratic society depends on such critical thinking by acute and discerning minds.

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Internet References . . .

xxviii

The Columbus Navigation Homepage

This noted site by Keith A. Pickering examines the history, navigation, and land- fall of Christopher Columbus. Click on “Links to other sites about Columbus and his times” to find dozens of sites on Columbus, including scholarly papers on Columbus’s treatment of the American Indians.

http://www.columbusnavigation.com/

Virtual Jamestown

This site includes a digital archive of primary sources along with a re-creation of early European settlements.

www.virtualjamestown.org

Virginia’s Indians, Past and Present

Drawn from collections at James Madison University, under the Internet School Library Media Center, this site provides links to historical information, lesson plans, and bibliographies as well as links to tribal home pages.

http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/guides/IndianVirginians.pdf

American Women’s History: A Research Guide: Colonial America

This site at Middle Tennessee State University includes valuable links to both archival and digital primary source collections in addition to lists of important bibliographical sources.

http://frank.mtsu.edu/~kmiddlet/history/women/wh-colonial.html

Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive

This collection at the University of Virginia provides access to documents and links to archives relating to the Salem witchcraft trials.

http://etext.virginia.edu/salem/witchcraft/

The First Great Awakening

This site is maintained by the National Endowment for the Humanities and includes teacher lesson plans and links to important primary resources related to this event.

http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=698

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database

Sponsored by Emory University, this website contains access to information on some 37,000 ships that sailed to the Americas with human cargo from Africa. The site includes maps, timelines, and databases.

www.slavevoyages.org/tast/index.faces

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UNIT 1

1

Colonial Society

The exploration and settlement of North America took place in the context of regional conditions that varied in time and place. The eth- nic identity of the European colonists affected their relations with Native Americans and Africans, as well as with each other. Many of the atti- tudes, ideals, and institutions that emerged from the colonial experience served the early settlers well and are still emulated today.

• Did the Chinese Discover America?

• Was the Settlement of Jamestown a Fiasco?

• Was Conflict Between Europeans and Native Americans Inevitable?

• Was the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria a Product of Women’s Search for Power?

• Was There a Great Awakening in Mid-Eighteenth-Century America?

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ISSUE 1

Did the Chinese Discover America?

YES: Gavin Menzies, from 1421: The Year China Discovered America (William Morrow, 2003)

NO: Robert Finlay, from “How Not to (Re)Write World History: Gavin Menzies and the Chinese Discovery of America,” Journal of World History 15 ( June 2004, pp. 229–242)

Learning Outcomes

After reading this issue, you should be able to:

• Explore the kinds of arguments historians use to support their conclusions

• Evaluate the evidence provided by scholars with two very dif- ferent notions of historical truth

• Consider evidence that challenges the traditional views of New World discovery

• Understand the nature of the challenge to a Eurocentric per- spective of historical development

• Realize that historians do not always agree on what happened in the past

ISSUE SUMMARY

YES: Gavin Menzies surmises that between 1421 and 1423 a Chi- nese fleet spent four months exploring the Pacific coastline of North America and leaving behind substantial evidence to support his contention that the Chinese discovered America long before the arrival of European explorers.

NO: Robert Finlay accuses Menzies of ignoring the basic rules of historical study and logic to concoct an implausible interpretation of Chinese discovery based upon a misreading of Chinese impe- rial policy, misrepresentation of sources, and conjecture that has no evidentiary base.

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In fourteen hundred ninety-two/Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” For generations of school children in the United States in the twentieth century, these two lines marked their introduction to American history. What fol- lowed from their teachers was a recounting of a story that the vast major- ity of Americans still accept as true. We do know that on October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus (Cristobal Colon; Cristoforo Colombo), a Genoese mariner sailing under the flag and patronage of the Spanish monarchy, made landfall on a tropical Caribbean island, which he subsequently named San Salvador. This action established for Columbus the fame of having discovered the New World and, by extension, America. Of course, this “discovery” was ironic because Columbus and his crew members were not looking for a new world but, instead, a very old one—the much-fabled Orient. By sailing west- ward instead of eastward, Columbus was certain that he would find a shorter route to China. He did not anticipate that the landmass of the Americas would prevent him from reaching this goal or that his “failure” would guarantee his fame for centuries thereafter.

Over the course of the five centuries that have followed, there have been efforts to revise the historical record pertaining to Columbus’s voyages (there were four that took place between 1492 and 1504) as a means of calling into question this traditional portrait of discovery. First, none of Columbus’s expe- ditions explored the coastlines of the region that would become the United States. That particular credit went to Amerigo Vespucci, although modern scholars question whether he, in fact, explored the coasts of Central America, the Gulf of Mexico, and the South Atlantic shoreline of North America in the late 1490s. True or not, it was Vespucci’s name that was attached to this landmass in 1507 by cartographer Martin Waldseemüller. Second, even ear- lier, the Norsemen had visited the eastern coasts of present-day Canada and perhaps even New England during a series of voyages from the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries. Third, Columbus’s encounter with indigenous peo- ples whom he named “Indians” (los indios) raises obvious questions about the validity of the traditional Eurocentric model of discovery. The presence of sig- nificant numbers of these Indians (or Native Americans) provides very strong evidence that Europeans had not discovered America.

Anthropological studies tell us that these “Indians” were descendants of the first people who migrated from Asia at least 30,000 years earlier and fanned out in a southeasterly direction until they had populated much of North and South America. By the time of Columbus, Native Americans num- bered approximately 40 million, 3 million of whom resided in the continental region north of Mexico.

None of this, however, should dilute the significance of Columbus’s explorations which were representative of a wave of Atlantic voyages ema- nating from Europe in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. Spawned by the intellectual ferment of the Renaissance in combination with the rise of the European nation-state, these voyages of exploration were made possible by advances in shipbuilding, improved navigational instruments and cartography, the desirability of long-distance commerce, support from

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ruling monarchs, and, to be sure, the courage and ambition of the explorers themselves.

The consequences of Columbus’s expeditions attracted a significant amount of scholarly and media attention in 1992 in connection with the quincentennial celebration of Columbus’s first voyage. More recently, how- ever, the story of American discovery has taken a dramatically different turn with the fanfare surrounding the argument that it is the Chinese, not the Europeans, who deserve recognition as the discoverers of America. If, as Robert Finlay suggests, Gavin Menzies’ book amounts to little more than a historical hoax, it would not be the first such publication. Menzies, however, appears undeterred by the fact that no academic specialist in fifteenth-century Chinese history subscribes to his conclusions. He argues, instead, that these scholars are embarrassed that he has discovered evidence that was right under their noses, or that he has the skill that others do not to read the navigational maps upon which his study is based. Moreover, Menzies maintains a website connected to this research project, and a paperback edition of his book was published in 2008. Nor is he without his defenders. See, for example, Anatole Andro, The 1421 Heresy: An Investigation into the Ming Chinese Maritime Survey of the World (AuthorHouse, 2005) which supports some but not all of Menzies’ contentions, and Paul Chiasson, The Island of Seven Cities: Where the Chinese Settled When They Discovered America (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2007) which claims to identify an ancient Chinese colony on Cape Breton Island.

There are a number of other studies that make cases for pre-Columbian contacts in the Americas from Europeans and non-Europeans alike. These include Alexander von Wuthenau, Unexpected Faces in Ancient America, 1500 BC– AD1500: The Historical Testimony of Pre-Columbian Artists (Outlet, 1975); Barry Fell, America BC: Ancient Settlers in the New World (rev. ed.; Artisan Publishers, 2008), which suggests Celtic influences in the eleventh century; and Charles C. Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005). Ivan Van Sertima, They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America (Random House, 1976) provides an Afrocentric perspective that is perhaps as controversial as the speculations of Menzies.

In the first of the essays that follow, Gavin Menzies, a retired British submarine officer, contends that in 1421, seven decades before Columbus set sail from Spain, the Chinese armada, comprised four fleets of ships, departed on a voyage around the world that would take two and a half years. During this voyage, Menzies argues, one of the fleets under the direction of Admiral Zhou Man spent four months exploring the Pacific coastline of North America, including present-day California, and left behind evidence of Chinese coloni- zation in the form of Chinese plants, animals, and ceramics.

Robert Finlay, in a rejoinder that is at times humorous and at others blistering, assails Menzies for ignoring the most basic precepts of scholarly research, and in a point-by-point critique, concludes that the voyages described by Menzies are not supported by surviving documentation but rather are the product of baseless conjecture.

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Gavin MenziesYES

1421: The Year China Discovered America

The Emperor’s Grand Plan On 2 February 1421, China dwarfed every nation on earth. On that Chinese New Year’s Day, kings and envoys from the length and breadth of Asia, Arabia, Africa and the Indian Ocean assembled amid the splendours of Beijing to pay homage to the Emperor Zhu Di, the Son of Heaven. A fleet of leviathan ships, navigating the oceans with pinpoint accuracy, had brought the rulers and their envoys to pay tribute to the emperor and bear witness to the inauguration of his majestic and mysterious walled capital, the Forbidden City. No fewer than twenty-eight heads of state were present, but the Holy Roman Emperor, the Emperor of Byzantium, the Doge of Venice and the kings of England, France, Spain and Portugal were not among them. They had not been invited, for such backward states, lacking trade goods or any worthwhile scientific knowledge, ranked low on the Chinese emperor’s scale of priorities. . . .

This array of foreign heads of state kow-towing before the emperor was the culmination of fifteen years’ assiduous diplomacy. Chinese foreign pol- icy was quite different from that of the Euro peans who followed them to the Indian Ocean many years later. The Chinese preferred to pursue their aims by trade, influence and bribery rather than by open conflict and direct coloniza- tion. Zhu Di’s policy was to despatch huge armadas every few years through out the known world, bearing gifts and trade goods; the massive treasure ships car- rying a huge array of guns and a travelling army of soldiers were also a potent reminder of his imperial might: China alone had the necessary firepower to protect friendly countries from invasion and quash insurrections against their rulers. The treasure ships returned to China with all manner of exotic items: ‘dragon saliva [ambergris], incense and golden amber’ and ‘lions, gold spot- ted leopards and camel-birds [ostriches] which are six or seven feet tall’ from Africa; gold cloth from Calicut in south-west India, studded with pearls and precious stones; elephants, parrots, sandalwood, peacocks, hardwood, incense, tin and cardamom from Siam (modern Thailand). . . .

For a further month after the inauguration of the Forbidden City, the rulers and envoys in Beijing were provided with lavish imperial hospitality— the finest foods and wines, the most splendid entertain ments and the most

From 1421: The Year China Discovered America by Gavin Menzies (William Morrow, 2003), pp. 19, 33, 37–38, 42–43, 199–200, 201–204, 206–210 (excerpts). Copyright © 2003 by Gavin Menzies. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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beautiful concubines, skilled in the arts of love. Finally, on 3 March 1421, a great ceremony was mounted to commemorate the departure of the envoys for their native lands. . . . The emperor appeared, striding through the smoke to present the departing ambassadors with their farewell gifts—crates of blue and white porcelain, rolls of silk, bundles of cotton cloth and bamboo cases of jade. His great fleets stood ready to carry them back to Hormuz, Aden, La’Sa and Dhofar in Arabia; to Mogadishu, Brava, Malindi and Mombasa in Africa; to Sri Lanka, Calicut, Cochin and Cambay in India; to Japan, Vietnam, Java, Sumatra, Malacca and Borneo in south-east Asia, and elsewhere.

Admiral Zheng He, dressed in his formal uniform, a long red robe, presented the emperor with his compliments and reported that an armada comprising four of the emperor’s great fleets was ready to set sail; the fifth, commanded by Grand Eunuch Yang Qing, had put to sea the previous month. The return of the envoys to their home lands was only the first part of this armada’s overall mission. It was then to ‘proceed all the way to the end of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas . . . to attract all under heaven to be civilised in Confucian harmony’. Zheng He’s reward for his lifelong, devoted service to his emperor had been the command of five previous treasure fleets tasked with promoting Chinese trade and influence in Asia, India, Africa and the Middle East. Now he was to lead one of the largest armadas the world had ever seen. Zhu Di had also rewarded other eunuchs for their part in helping him to liberate China. Many of the army commanders in the war against the Mongols were now admirals and captains of his treasure fleets. Zheng He had become a master of delegation. By the fourth voyage fleets were sailing separately. On this great sixth voyage loyal eunuchs would command separate fleets. Zheng He would lead them to the Indian Ocean then return home confident that they would handle their fleets as he had taught them. . . .

As the admirals and envoys embarked, and the armada was readied for sea, the water around the great ships was still black with smaller craft shut- tling from ship to shore. For days the port had been in turmoil as cartloads of vegetables and dried fish and hundreds of tons of water were hauled aboard to provision this armada of thirty thousand men for their voyage. Even at this late hour, barges were still bringing final supplies of fresh water and rice. The great armada’s ships could remain at sea for over three months and cover at least 4,500 miles without making landfall to replenish food or water, for separate grain ships and water tankers sailed with them. The grain ships also carried an array of flora the Chinese intended to plant in foreign lands, some as further benefits of the tribute system and others to provide food for the Chinese colonies that would be created in new lands. Dogs were also taken aboard as pets, others to be bred for food and to hunt rats, and there were coops of Asiatic chickens as valuable presents for foreign dignitaries. Separate horse-ships carried the mounts for the cavalry.

The staggering size of the individual ships, not to mention the armada itself, can only be understood in comparison with other navies of the same era. In 1421, the next most powerful fleet afloat was that of Venice. The Venetians possessed around three hundred galleys—fast, light, thin-skinned

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ships built with softwood planking, rowed by oarsmen and only suitable for island- hopping in the calm of a Mediterranean summer. The biggest Venetian galleys were some 150 feet long and 20 feet wide and carried at best 50 tons of cargo. In comparison, Zhu Di’s treasure ships were ocean-going monsters built of teak. The rudder of one of these great ships stood 36 feet high—almost as long as the whole of the flagship the Niña in which Columbus was later to set sail for the New World. Each treasure ship could carry more than two thou- sand tons of cargo and reach Malacca in five weeks, Hormuz in the Persian Gulf in twelve. They were capable of sailing the wildest oceans of the world, in voyages lasting years at a time. That so many ships were lost on the Chinese voyages of discovery testifies not to any lack of strength in their construction but rather to the perilous, uncharted waters they explored, from rocky coasts and razor-sharp coral reefs to the ice-strewn oceans of the far north and far south. Venetian galleys were protected by archers; Chinese ships were armed with gunpowder weapons, brass and iron cannon, mortars, flaming arrows and exploding shells that sprayed excrement over their adversaries. In every single respect— construction, cargo capacity, damage control, armament, range, communications, the ability to navigate in the trackless ocean and to repair and maintain their ships at sea for months on end—the Chinese were centuries ahead of Europe. Admiral Zheng He would have had no difficulty in destroying any fleet that crossed his path. A battle between this Chinese armada and the other navies of the world combined would have resembled one between a pack of sharks and a shoal of sprats.

By the end of the middle watch—four in the morning—the last provisions had been lashed down and the armada weighed anchor. A prayer was said to Shao Lin, Taoist goddess of the sea, and then, as their red silk sails slowly filled, the ships, resembling great houses, gathered way before the winds of the north- east monsoon. As they sailed out across the Yellow Sea, the last flickering lights of Tanggu faded into the darkness while the sailors clustered at the rails, strain- ing for a last sight of their homeland. In the long months they would spend travelling the oceans, their only remaining links to the land would be memories, keepsakes and the scented roses many brought with them, growing them in pots and even sharing their water rations with them. The majority of those seamen at the rails would never see China again. Many would die, many others would be ship wrecked or left behind to set up colonies on foreign shores. . . .

The First Colony in the Americas . . . I knew that Zhou Man had arrived in Nanjing on 8 October 1423, carrying no foreign envoys. What had he been doing and where had he sailed in the four months he had been in the Pacific?

The north Pacific is a vast circulatory system, with winds constantly blowing in a clockwise oval direction. In June, the prevailing wind off Leyte is to the north. As Admiral Zhou Man’s fleet entered the Pacific, the Kuroshio or Japanese current would also have carried them northwards before starting a clockwise sweep towards the coast of North America. In fact, had Zhou Man simply unfurled his sails off Leyte, the winds and currents would have carried

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him to the Pacific coast of modern Canada. The California current would then have taken over, sweeping the fleet southwards down the western seaboard of the United States to Panama. From there, the north equatorial current would carry a square-rigged ship back across the Pacific towards the Philippines. The whole round trip, before the wind and current all the way, would have been about sixteen thousand nautical miles. At an average of 4.8 knots, the voyage would have taken some four months, matching the date of Zhou Man’s return to Nanjing in October. My surmise . . . was that squadrons of ships from the main fleet were detached to establish colonies along the Pacific coast from California down to Ecuador.

I began the search for corroboration that Zhou Man’s fleet had indeed reached the Pacific coast of North America. The first European to explore that coast was Hernando de Alarcón in 1540. Having sought fame and fortune in New Spain, he left Acapulco on 9 May of that year in command of a fleet sup- porting the conquistador Coronado’s expedition to New Mexico. Alarcón first charted the peninsula of Bahía California, and then California itself. I knew that he was the first European to chart it, for neither Columbus nor any of the other early explorers reached any part of the west coast of North America, so any map of the Pacific coast pre-dating Alarcón’s voyage would be powerful evidence that he was not the first to reach it.

Such evidence does exist in the form of the Waldseemüller world map, a beautifully coloured large map published in 1507 and the first to chart latitude and longitude with precision. Originally owned by Johannes Schöner (1477– 1547), a Nuremberg astronomer and geographer, it had long been thought lost and was only rediscovered in 1901 in the castle of Wolfegg in southern Germany. It remained there in relative obscurity until 2001, when in a blaze of publicity the US Library of Congress acquired it from Prince Johannes Waldburg-Wolfegg for ten million dollars. The man who drew the map, Martin Waldseemüller (c. 1470–1518), was German-born and one of the foremost cosmographers—combining the study of geography and astronomy—of his era. . . .

The Pacific coast of America is strikingly drawn on the Waldseemüller chart and the latitudes correspond to those of Vancouver Island in Canada right down to Ecuador in the south. This is completely consistent with a car- tographer aboard a ship sail ing down the Pacific coast, but not charting the coast in great detail. Oregon is clearly identifiable, and several very old wrecks have been discovered there on the beach at Neahkahnie. One was of teak with a pulley for hoisting sails made of caeophyllum, a wood unique to south-east Asia. The wood has yet to be carbon-dated, but if it proves to be from the early fifteenth century it will provide strong circumstantial evidence that one of Zhou Man’s junks was wrecked in Neahkahnie Bay. Some examiners of the wreckage there claim to have found paraffin wax, which was used by Zheng He’s fleet to desalinate sea-water for the horses.

Even without finds from wrecked junks, the Pacific coasts of Central and South America are full of evidence of Chinese voyages. The Asiatic chickens found from Chile to California . . . and many other flora and fauna were car- ried across the globe by the Chinese fleets. On my first visit to California many

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years ago, I remember coming across a bank of beautiful camellia roses (Rosa laevigata). It was a still summer’s evening and their lovely fragrance filled the air around me. In 1803, European settlers found a beautiful fragrant rose grow- ing wild; they named it the Cherokee Rose. Yet it was indigenous to south-east China and had been illustrated in a twelfth-century Chinese pharmacopoeia. ‘When and by what means it reached America is one of the unsolved problems of plant introductions,’ but it was a common practice for sailors aboard Zheng He’s junks to keep pots of roses, their scent an enduring reminder of home. The Chinese also took plants and seeds home with them. Amaranth, a native North American grain with a high protein content, was brought from America to Asia in the early fifteenth century, as of course was maize—brought to the Philippines and seen there by Magellan. Coconuts, native to the South Pacific, were found by the first Europeans on the Pacific coasts of Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador and on Cocos Island west of Costa Rica. The carriers of grain from the Americas to Asia, of roses and chickens from China to the Americas, and coconuts from the South Pacific to Ecuador can only have been the Chinese.

San Francisco and Los Angeles are clearly depicted at the correct latitudes on the Waldseemüller chart, and I was certain that Zhou Man must have sailed down that coast. Crossing such an enormous expanse of ocean after two years at sea must have left some of his junks in bad condition and in urgent need of repair. Even the best-built ships could not remain at sea for such long peri- ods without suffering at least some damage from storms and the pounding of the waves. At the very least they would have required running repairs and careening—scraping the barnacles from their hulls—and the most badly dam- aged might well have been cannibalized to repair the others. If so, the remains of these wrecked ships should have been found off the coast of California, just as other wrecks had been in Australia and other parts of the globe.

My enquiries into strange wrecks on the coast of California drew a blank, but I did discover that museums there held substantial quantities of Ming blue and white ceramics. The accepted wisdom is that these items were brought to California in the holds of Spanish galleons, but a number of medieval Chinese anchors have been found off the California coast, and these are unlikely to have been brought by Spanish ships. I began to question seriously the prov- enance of the Ming porcelain; had it really been brought by the Spanish? Medieval Chinese porcelain can be dated by its cobalt content: the greater the amount of iron in the cobalt, the deeper blue the glaze. The dark cobalt of the Mongol era came from Persia, also ruled by the Mongols, but Zhu Di’s father sealed the Chinese borders after he drove out the Mongols in 1368 and Persian cobalt was no longer available. However, Zhu Di reopened the frontiers and restored trade along the Silk Road through Asia allowing Persian cobalt to be imported once more. The period when Chinese pale blue porcelain was pro- duced and used in Ming China is thus limited, and the colour of the porcelain held by Californian museums would indicate whether or not it was made dur- ing this period in China’s history.

I was certain that a great treasure fleet had discovered the Pacific coasts of North and South America, but my researches failed to uncover conclusive evidence such as the wreck of a Chinese junk. In the hope that others might

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have found traces I had missed, I decided to ‘go public’ on the issue in a lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in London in March 2002. It was broadcast around the world; within forty-eight hours reports began to come in from California, drawing my attention to the wreck of a medieval Chinese junk buried under a sandbank in the Sacramento River off the north-east corner of San Francisco Bay. My first reaction was to discount the reports—the site was more than a hundred miles from open sea and the discovery seemed too good to be true—but over the next few days more e-mails describing the same junk continued to arrive. As soon as I had carried out some preliminary research, I dis covered that the prevailing north-easterly winds on this coast could have blown a junk straight across the bay and into the Sacramento River. Six cen- turies ago the river was broader and deeper than today, for deforestation has reduced rain- and snowfall in the area causing the water level to fall. It was indeed possible, if not probable, that a junk entering San Francisco Bay would have been driven by the winds into the Sacramento River.

Dr John Furry of the Natural History Museum of Northern California first became aware of the junk twenty years ago when he read an account of the strange armour that once had been found in its hold (the wreck was then evidently less deeply buried in sand and silt than it is now). The armour was of an unusual metal (native Americans did not know how to forge metal) and curiously silver-grey in colour. It was shown to a local expert who is said to have identified it as of medieval Chinese origin. Dr Furry’s attempts to pursue the story met a brick wall—the expert had died in the inter vening years, and the armour had been lent to a local school and was now lost—but he was suf- ficiently intrigued to begin investigating the wreck-site.

The site was covered with a 40-foot layer of the accumulated sand and silt of centuries, so Dr Furry began by taking magnetometer readings of the area. These showed a strong magnetic anomaly out lining a buried object 85 feet long and 30 feet wide, very similar in size and shape to the trading junks that accompanied Zheng He’s fleets. Core samples were then extracted from the site. The fragments of wood brought up were carbon-dated to 1410, indicating that the junk was built in that year, ‘a period that included a maritime highpoint for the ancient Chinese’, as local newspapers laconically reported.

The evidence from the carbon-dating encouraged Dr Furry to drill again with more sophisticated equipment. This yielded much larger samples includ- ing further pieces of wood and a compacted 80lb mass of millions of black seeds. He sent fragments of the wood and the seeds to China for analysis, and according to Dr Furry, the Chinese Academy of Forestry have provisionally identified the wood as Keteleria, a conifer native to south-east China but not to North America. In the Middle Ages, the Chinese cultivated Keteleria for ship- building. Dr Furry also told me that Dr Zhang Wenxu, a former professor at the Chinese Agricultural University in Beijing and the leading Chinese expert on ancient seeds, had pro visionally identified four different types of seeds in the black mass brought up from the wreck-site. Three were native to both China and North America, but the other was found only in China. Most interesting of all, however, was Dr Furry’s further discovery of rice grains and the body of

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a beetle among the material raised. Rice, indigenous to Africa and China, was unknown in the Americas in the fifteenth century. Further analysis of the rice and the beetle is being carried out as I write, but to date no written reports on the analysis of the wood or the seeds have been received from China.

I now had little doubt that the site contained the wreck of a Chinese junk; it was exactly the evidence I had been looking for. It seemed highly improbable that the crew would have drowned when the junk grounded on the sandbank in the Sacramento River. It was far more likely that they had come ashore onto the lush, fertile lands of the valley. Their first task would have been to rescue as much rice as possible from the holds of the ship. Much would have been needed to meet their short-term food requirements, but they would also have set some aside as seed and planted it in a suitable location— the floodplain of the Sacramento River.

It has long been claimed that rice was introduced to West Africa by Europeans and then to the Americas by the Spanish, but Professor Judith A. Carney of the University of California has argued that this thesis is fundamen- tally flawed. It is widely accepted that the Chinese made a major contribu- tion to developing agri culture in the rich soils of California, particularly the cultivation of rice in the swamplands of the lower Sacramento. By the 1870s, 75 percent of the farmers in California were of Chinese origin. ‘The Chinese actually taught the American farmer how to plant, cultivate and harvest.’ But were these Chinese working in the fields and plantations of the Sacramento Valley all part of the great nineteenth-century waves of immigration into the United States, or could some have been descendants of settlers left on the banks of the Sacramento by Zhou Man in 1423? I found a clue to this mystery in an unlikely source.

In 1874, Stephen Powers, an official inspector appointed by the gov- ernment of California who had spent years collecting data on the languages of the tribes of California, published an article claiming that he had found linguistic evidence of a Chinese colony on the Russian River in California, some seventy miles north-west of the Sacramento junk. Powers also claimed that diseases brought by European settlers had decimated this Chinese colony as well as the other Indian people of California, ‘[the] remittent fever which desolated the Sacramento valleys in 1833 and reduced these great plains from a condition of remarkable populousness to one of almost utter silence and solitude . . . there was scarcely a human being left alive’. Powers’ report was badly received by his government employers, and although he courteously and bravely attempted to maintain his position, his official report, published in 1877, is a watered-down version of his claims. Nonetheless, it makes for fascinating reading.

Quite apart from his claim of a Chinese colony based on linguistic evidence, Powers described Chinese settlers as having intermarried with local Indians over centuries. Their descendants were paler than the people of the coast, and, unlike other Indian tribes, the older generation had magnificent beards while the women ‘are as proud of their black hair as the Chinese’. Rather than skins, women wore ‘a single garment in the shape of a wool sack, sleeveless and gathered at the neck, more or less white once’. They were ‘simple, friendly,

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peaceable and inoffensive’. After death, ‘they generally desire like the Chinese to be buried in the ancestral soil of their tribe’. Again like the Chinese, but unlike other hunter-gatherer tribes of North America, the peoples around the Sacramento and Russian Rivers were sedentary: ‘at least four fifths of their diet was derived from the vegetable kingdom . . . They knew the qualities of all herbs, shrubs, leaves, having a command of much greater catalogue of [botani- cal] names than nine tenths of Americans.’ Their ancestors’ legacy could also be seen in pottery beautifully formed in classic Chinese shapes, whereas the ‘[modern] Indian merely picks up a boulder of trap [a dark, igneous rock] or greenstone and beats out a hollow leaving the outside rough’. The ancestors of the Sacramento and Russian River tribes also used ‘long, heavy knives of obsid- ian or jasper’ their descendants, Powers found, no longer knew how to make. And while the ancestors had fashioned elegant tobacco pipes from serpentine, their descendants made use of simple wooden ones. They had also ‘developed a Chinese inventiveness’ in devising methods of snaring wildfowl using decoy ducks—a Chinese custom, but one not found among the Indians. Like the Chinese, they ate snails, slugs, lizards and snakes, and built large middens of clam shells.

On the eastern side of San Francisco Bay, some seventy miles south of the site of the Sacramento junk, there is a small, stone-built village with low walls. In 1904, Dr John Fryer, Professor of Oriental Languages at University College, Berkeley, California, stated, ‘This is undoubtedly the work of Mongolians . . . The Chinese would naturally wall themselves in, as they do in all their towns in China.’ This accords with Powers’s succinct description of Chinese people who had created a colony and then intermarried with native Americans.

It certainly seems that Zhou Man’s fleet left a settlement in California. Were they the first to cultivate rice in the Americas? And was the wealth of blue and white Ming porcelain found in California really brought by Spanish galleons, as conventional wisdom has it, or was it carried in the holds of the junks of Zhou Man’s fleet? . . .

After emerging from the bay, Zhou Man’s fleet would have been carried southwards by the wind and current to New Mexico. The Waldseemüller map shows the coast with reasonable accuracy, charted just as one would expect from a ship passing by, but there is a gap at the latitude of the Gulf of Tehuante- pec in Guatemala, as if the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans met there, which of course is not the case. This is consistent with the Chinese having sailed into the Gulf, but finding it too shallow to proceed, turning back and then drawing what they could see from the entrance: water stretching away for miles in front of them, marking an apparent opening between North and South America.

I made the assumption that they had sailed beyond the isthmus of Panama, clearly shown on the Waldseemüller, and then been driven back across the Pacific towards China by the winds and current, as one would expect with a square-rigged sailing ship. But on their way down that coast they would have been swept across the Gulf of California and could have made a landfall on the Mexican coast somewhere near Manzanillo in the modern province of Colima. Here a spectacular volcano, the Colima, some 12,700 feet high and clearly visible for miles out to sea, would have attracted them.

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I decided to make a search for another wreck between Manzanillo and Acapulco, a stretch of coastline only around three hundred miles long and again clearly shown on the Waldseemüller map. I started my search with the accounts of the first Spaniards to reach that coast in the 1520s, Fra Bernardino de Sahagún and Bernal Diaz del Castillo, both of whom described the exotic Mayan civilization, still surviving in 1421 but in decline when they arrived. Many of the things de Sahagún and del Castillo described—chickens, lacquer boxes, dye-stuffs, metalwork and jewellery—seemed to have the imprint of China all over them.

As in California, when they arrived in Mexico the conquistadors found Asiatic chickens quite different from the European fowl they had left behind. The Mayan names for the birds, Kek or Ki, were identical to those used by the Chinese; like the Chinese but unlike the Europeans, Mexicans used chickens only for ceremonial purposes such as divination, not for eggs or meat. These were such remarkable similarities that for these reasons alone I felt a visit to that small strip of the Mexican coast was justified.

Before departing, I also investigated whether plants originating in China grew in New Mexico or western Mexico. The Chinese Rose did, but that could have been propagated southwards from California. Other than the rose, I found no plants growing in Mexico that had originated in China, but I did find the opposite; plants indigenous to Central America had found their way across the world before the European voyages of discovery. Sweet potatoes, tomatoes and papayas were found in Easter Island, sweet potatoes in Hawaii, and maize in China and the Philippines. Maize could have come from South or North America, but the other plants had come from a much narrower area, from what we now call Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua. . . .

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14

NORobert Finlay

How Not to (Re)Write World History: Gavin Menzies and the Chinese Discovery of America

In 1421: The Year China Discovered America (2002), Gavin Menzies aspires to rewrite world history on a grand scale. He maintains that four Chinese fleets, comprising twenty-five to thirty ships and at least 7,000 persons each, visited every part of the world except Europe between 1421 and 1423. Trained by Zheng He, the famous eunuch-admiral, Chinese captains carried out the orders of Zhu Di (r. 1402–1424), the third Ming emperor, to map coastlines, settle new territo- ries, and establish a global maritime empire. According to Menzies, proof of the passage of the Ming fleets to the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and Polynesia is overwhelming and indisputable. His “index of supporting evidence” includes thousands of items from the fields of archaeology, cartography, astronomy, and anthropology; his footnotes and bibliography include publications in Chinese, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, German, Arabic, and Hebrew.

Menzies claims that Chinese mariners explored the islands of Cape Verde, the Azores, the Bahamas, and the Falklands; they established colonies in Australia, New Zealand, British Columbia, California, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island; they introduced horses to the Americas, rice to California, chickens to South America, coffee to Puerto Rico, South American sloths to Australia, sea otters to New Zealand, and maize to the Philippines. In addition, Chinese seamen toured the temples and palaces of the Maya center of Palenque in Mexico, hunted walruses and smelted copper in Greenland, mined for lead and saltpeter in northern Australia, and established trading posts for diamonds along the Amazon and its tributaries.

Inasmuch as Menzies believes that he has collected a veritable mountain of evidence, he is not disheartened by skepticism about some of his astonish- ing assertions. As he told People Magazine (24 February 2003) after 1421 hit the New York Times bestseller list, “[t]here’s not one chance in a hundred million that I’m wrong!” He regards his investigation as an ongoing project: a website (www.1421.tv) provides yet more evidence, . . . , and a team of researchers cur- rently is assisting him in combing medieval Spanish and Portuguese docu- ments for added proof of his contentions. . . .

Menzies is contemptuous of professional historians who ignore evidence of Chinese influence in the Americas, “presumably because it contradicts the

From Journal of World History by Robert Finlay, vol. 15, no. 2, June 2004, pp. 229–42 (refs. omitted). Copyright © 2004 by University of Hawaii Press. Reprinted by permission.

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NO / Robert Finlay 15

accepted wisdom on which not a few careers have been based.” He explains that he has uncovered information that has eluded many eminent historians of China, even though it was right before their eyes, “only because I knew how to interpret the extraordinary maps and charts that reveal the course and the extent of the voyages of the great Chinese fleets between 1421 and 1423.” A former submarine commander in the British Royal Navy, he has sailed in the wake of Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, and James Cook, hence he recog- nizes that those mariners, who navigated with copies of Chinese maps in hand, were themselves merely sailing in the backwash of Zheng He’s fleets.

Menzies intends his work for the general reader, and his style is vigorous, clear, and informal. Most strikingly, he makes his own search for evidence of the Ming fleets the narrative framework for recounting their achievements. He describes his frustrations and triumphs as he travels everywhere following “an elusive trail of evidence,” sometimes discouraged but never defeated. He also brings his narrative to life by recounting his own experiences in places visited by the fleets of Zheng He, including savoring rum toddies and roast lobster on Guadeloupe beaches, braving the dangers of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, and rounding the Cape of Good Hope into the South Atlantic. The underlying message of these frequent vignettes is that the author’s astonishing conclu- sions are validated by the unique personal experience he brings to his research as well as by his transparent account of how he struggled toward those conclu- sions. This approach makes for a lively, engaging work that surely will attract many readers who otherwise would never open a 500-page tome on Chinese maritime enterprise and European exploration.

The good news conveyed by 1421 is that there are big bucks in world history: Menzies received an advance of £500,000 ($825,000) from his British publisher, whose initial printing runs to 100,000 copies. The bad news is that reaping such largesse evidently requires producing a book as outrageous as 1421. Menzies flouts the basic rules of both historical study and elementary logic. He misrepresents the scholarship of others, and he frequently fails to cite those from whom he borrows. He misconstrues Chinese imperial policy, especially as seen in the expeditions of Zheng He, and his extensive discus- sion of Western cartography reads like a parody of scholarship. His allega- tions regarding Nicolò di Conti (c. 1385–1469), the only figure in 1421 who links the Ming voyages with European events, are the stuff of historical fic- tion, the product of an obstinate misrepresentation of sources. The author’s misunderstanding of the technology of Zheng He’s ships impels him to depict voyages no captain would attempt and no mariner could survive, including a 4,000-mile excursion along the Arctic circle and circumnavigation of the Pacific after having already sailed more than 42,000 miles from China to West Africa, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

Portraying himself as an innocent abroad, forthrightly seeking truths the academic establishment has disregarded or suppressed, Menzies in fact is less an “unlettered Ishmael” than a Captain Ahab, gripped by a mania to bend everything to his purposes. His White Whale is Eurocentric historiography, which celebrates Columbus . . . and Vasco da Gama . . . without realizing they merely aped the epic deeds of the Chinese. More generally, Menzies, in

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an unacknowledged echo of Joseph Needham, laments that China did not become “mistress of the world,” with Confucian harmony and Buddhist benevolence uniting humankind. Instead, the cruel, barbaric West, secretly and fraudulently capitalizing on Chinese achievements, imposed its dominion around the globe.

The wounded leviathan of Eurocentricism no doubt deserves another harpoon, but 1421 is too leaky a vessel to deliver it. Examination of the book’s central claims reveals they are uniformly without substance: first, that the 1421–1423 voyages Menzies describes could not have taken place; second, that Conti played no role in transmitting knowledge of Chinese exploration to European cartographers; and third, that all Menzies’s evidence for the presence of the Chinese fleets abroad is baseless.

1421 concentrates on what Menzies terms “the missing years” of the sixth voyage of Zheng He, that is, the two and a half years between March 1421 and October 1423, during which the fleets of Zheng He supposedly roamed the globe. Menzies is not interested in the well-known, much-studied voyages of Zheng He, and he ignores the extensive literature on them. He dispenses with six of the seven expeditions (between 1405 and 1433) in one page. He singles out the sixth voyage because it was the only one in which Zheng He returned to China early, leaving his subordinate eunuch-captains to carry out their mis- sion of returning tribute envoys to their kingdoms. This circumstance offers Menzies a window of opportunity to imagine that the armada left the Indian Ocean to seek new lands in the Atlantic and Pacific. Since he claims that the mariners sailed about 40,000 miles in their world-girdling odysseys, two and a half years is just barely enough time for them to journey such a vast distance while also charting coasts, mining ore, meeting alien peoples, and founding colonies.

In addition, Menzies feels free to speculate about “missing years” because of a presumed dearth of sources. He casually dismisses the principal source of information on Zheng He’s voyages, Ma Huan’s Ying-Yai Sheng-Lan [The overall survey of the ocean’s shores], by declaring that its author, an official translator on the staff of Zheng He in 1421, “left the treasure fleets at Calicut” (a port on the Malabar coast in southwestern India), hence he did not take part in the global exploration. Menzies provides no evidence for his assertion, which, in any case, mistakes the nature of Ma’s account. The author sailed on three of the Ming expeditions, and his book is a protoethnographic survey of the places visited by the fleets over several decades, not “diaries” of his participa- tion in a specific voyage. He incorporated information on countries he did not visit, and he apparently continued making revisions to his book until it was published about thirty years after the last expedition. Menzies does not address the awkward question of why Ma, a stickler for detail and an aficio- nado of novelties, never mentions the wondrous excursion of his comrades to the Americas and Australia.

Throughout 1421, Menzies places great emphasis on imperial officials in 1477 destroying many of the documents regarding the Ming expeditions in order to prevent a renewal of the project. In a manner of speaking, the author sails the ships of Zheng He through that supposed evidentiary void.

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NO / Robert Finlay 17

There are plentiful surviving documents on the expeditions, however, that prove there were no “missing years.” The sources indicate that an imperial order for the sixth voyage was issued in March 1421, although the flotilla did not leave China until the turn of the year. It reached Sumatra around July 1422, after many stops in Southeast Asia; Zheng He returned home to Nanjing by September 1422, leaving his subordinates to sail on to thirty-six ports in Ceylon, India (both Bengal and the Malabar coast), the Persian Gulf, and East Africa. The last of the squadrons returned to China on 8 October 1423, hav- ing completed their journey of some 11,000 miles in the expected time, about one year and three months after departing Sumatra. Thus there are no “miss- ing years” for the Ming fleets, no time for even a portion of the extraordinary exploits narrated in 1421.

Even taking Menzies’s account at face value, however, it is far-fetched. The author asserts that Zheng He arrived home in November 1421 and that his captains completed their errands in the Indian Ocean in July of the same year, a mere three months after departing Sumatra. After rendezvousing at Sofala (across from Mozambique on the East African coast), they doubled the Cape of Good Hope in August and headed north to the Cape Verde Islands, reaching them in late September; a month later, they made landfall off the Orinoco River in Brazil, and by November they were approaching Cape Horn in the South Atlantic. In other words, Menzies proposes that Zheng He’s cap- tains completed a voyage of some 17,000 miles in mainly unknown seas in seven months, including dozens of stops in the Indian Ocean, while Zheng He took the same amount of time to journey about 3,500 miles from Sumatra to Nanjing.

By this account, then, Zheng He sailed sluggishly but his captains made spectacularly rapid progress. Menzies claims that the average speed of Zheng He’s vessels over their seven voyages in the Indian Ocean was 4.8 knots (or 132 miles per day). Menzies has no basis for this estimate since an average speed can be calculated only for the 1431–1433 expedition, for which a detailed itin- erary survives. Naturally, speeds differed considerably, depending on the time of year and the passage being traversed. In the seventh voyage, distances cov- ered varied from a high of 106 miles per day (3.8 knots) to a low of 37.5 miles per day (1.4 knots), with an average of 69 miles per day (or 2.5 knots). Menzies assumes, however, that his undocumented estimate of 4.8 knots for the Indian Ocean voyages holds as well for the global cruises of the Ming fleets. His cal- culation helps him narrowly fit the agenda of the fleets into the alleged “miss- ing years”: having doubled the time the junks actually were away from China (from fifteen months to thirty), he also hurries the ships along by granting them an average speed 52 percent higher than what they generally achieved in the steady, familiar monsoon winds of the southern seas. On its own terms, then, Menzies’s scenario is highly implausible. Taking into account the surviv- ing evidence for the timetable of the sixth expedition, it is impossible.

Menzies’s evidence for the role of Conti in transmitting Chinese geo- graphical knowledge to European cartographers is even flimsier than his argu- ment for “missing years.” A native of Venice, Conti lived in Asia for some thirty-five years, and when he returned to Europe around 1441, he sought

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absolution from Pope Eugenius IV (r. 1431–1447) for having converted to Islam. As instructed by the pope, Conti told the story of his travels to the humanist Poggio Bracciolini (1380–1459), who incorporated it into his De Varietate For- tunae, completed in 1448. His account was widely read, for Conti provided the best source of information on the East, especially India and Southeast Asia, that Europe had received since Marco Polo’s Travels (c. 1298).

Conti is essential to Menzies’s argument since he represents the sole vehicle by which Chinese geographical knowledge reached the West. Much of 1421 is devoted to interpreting European maps in the light of that knowledge, and without Conti as “the crucial link” in the chain of evidence, the central thesis of the book collapses.

To establish the relevance of Conti, Menzies splices into one quota- tion a passage from Poggio and another from Pero Tafur (c. 1410–c. 1484), a Spaniard who met Conti at Mt. Sinai (Egypt) in 1437, when the Venetian was planning to return home. Poggio refers to large Indian ships, with five sails, many masts, and hull compartments. Since only Chinese ships possessed the latter, it is generally assumed that Conti actually described Chinese vessels, evidently without knowing their origins. Tafur writes of ships “like very large houses” [como casas muy grandes], with ten or more sails and large cisterns of water inside, that delivered cargo to Mecca. Neither Poggio nor Tafur refer to Calicut in connection with the large ships, to Chinese vessels visiting India, or to the fleet of Zheng He; neither chronicler provides a date for Conti’s stay in Calicut. Still, Menzies takes for granted that Conti was in Calicut in 1421 when the Ming armada anchored there, and since both Conti and Ma Huan describe similar scenes in Calicut, Menzies surmises that Conti must have met the Chinese chronicler in that port.

Based on these presumptions, Menzies creates an incredible scenario: he declares that Conti boarded Zheng He’s junks for their voyages to the Cape Verde Islands, Brazil, Patagonia, Australia, New Zealand, North America, and Mexico. Moreover, after the fleet returned to Southeast Asia and China in late 1423, Conti dashed home to Venice, where in 1424 he was “debriefed” by the Infante Dom Pedro of Portugal (d. 1449), older brother of Prince Henry (1394– 1460), the so-called “Navigator,” and where Conti handed over copies of Chinese charts produced during the great voyage. Those charts, Menzies asserts, formed the basis for all subsequent European maps that showed lands across the Atlantic, including, inter alia, the Pizzigano map (1424), the (disputed) Vinland map (1420–1440?), the Cantino planisphere (1502), and the Waldseemuller maps (1507, 1513). Furthermore, Conti’s information prompted Prince Henry to secretly dispatch settlers to Puerto Rico in 1431, where (Menzies suggests) they perhaps found evidence of a previous Chinese colony. European copies of Ming charts also explain Columbus’s ambition to voyage across the Ocean Sea, Magellan’s conviction that he could sail around South America, and Cook’s alleged “discovery” of Australia.

Even though “The Travels of Nicolò di Conti” is silent about the global journey of the Venetian—one wonders why he kept that thrilling news from Poggio—Menzies repeatedly claims the document proves that Conti “sailed with the Chinese fleet from India to Australia and China.” Thus with no more

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NO / Robert Finlay 19

warrant than a passing mention by Poggio and Tafur of large ships in the Indian Ocean, Menzies concocts a scenario in which Conti tours the world on Zheng He’s junks, collecting information that transforms European car- tography and inspires European overseas expansion. In a book bloated with extravagant arguments, Menzies’s assertions regarding Poggio’s well-known text stand out for their obdurate distortion of evidence.

Menzies’s claims regarding the fleet’s “missing years” and Conti’s global cruise clearly cannot be sustained. The author’s proof for the presence of the Ming argosy in new lands also lacks substance. In his first two chap- ters, he lays the groundwork for his claims when describing Zheng He’s fleet before its departure from Nanjing. Although the portrait lacks any documen- tation, it provides the foundation for virtually all the evidence Menzies later cites for Chinese exploration. His depiction, then, does not represent mere scene setting aimed at engaging the reader—a rhetorical tactic that perhaps does not call for footnotes—but assumptions read back into the narrative itself. In effect, the author stocks the ships on their exodus from China with the very items that will confirm that the mariners reached their far-flung destinations.

Thus while no evidence survives of the garb worn by Zheng He’s sailors, Menzies describes them as wearing long white robes because legends and folk- lore from Australia and the New World speak of visits from white-robed aliens. Although sources are silent on the presence of women in the fleet, Menzies assumes that many prostitutes were aboard because the colonies supposedly founded during the voyages required Chinese mates for the men. In like fash- ion, he infers that many coops of Asiatic chickens were loaded on the junks (as “valuable presents for foreign dignitaries,”) because the presence of chickens in the New World is a central part of his proof of the passage of the Ming fleets. Since Central American natives used chicken entrails for divination, Menzies presumes they were “indoctrinated” in the practice by the fowl-bearing colo- nists of Zheng He.

There is no evidence for masons and stone carvers in Zheng He’s flo- tilla, but Menzies believes they were aboard because no one else could have carved the numerous stone markers supposedly left behind by the fleets in the Cape Verde Islands and other landing spots, and they must have built the “pyramids” and astronomical “observation platforms” found just about every- where else. The latter, Menzies claims, were needed by Chinese astronomers, indispensable passengers in the fleet since they had to carry out the (undocu- mented) imperial command to detect “guiding stars” in order to “correctly locate the new territories.” Teak was not used in building Zheng He’s fleets, as sources supposedly consulted by Menzies make clear, yet he regards any appearance of teak in marine excavations as marking the presence of the Ming vessels. It is highly unlikely that the Chinese junks (or any ships at any time) carried specially carved stones for ballast, as Menzies imagines, yet he elabo- rately describes how the mariners built a slipway to refloat grounded junks at Bimini in the Bahamas, the evidence for which is “tongued and grooved” rectangular rocks found underwater there—ballast, the author declares, from the Ming ships.

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Zheng He’s armada almost certainly included some horses used by the admiral and other high commanders. Menzies claims, however, that thousands of horses were transported, many being used to stock the Americas and to explore the interior of Australia. At sea for months at a time, the mariners allegedly nourished the horses with boiled, mashed rice and with water dis- tilled from seawater, “using paraffin wax or seal blubber for fuel.” Although Needham states that there is no evidence that the Chinese knew how to desal- inate seawater, Menzies asserts that a ship wrecked off the Oregon coast is reported to have carried paraffin wax, hence he regards the rumor as implicit verification of his contentions about both desalination and hordes of junk- journeying steeds.

The seamen, prostitutes, and eunuchs were kept in fresh fish at sea by “trained otters, working in pairs to herd shoals into the nets . . .” These marve- lous creatures, alas, remain unheralded in any document, but since some wild ones “have been seen swimming in the fjords of South Island” (New Zealand), Menzies infers that their forbearers must have jumped Zheng He’s ships there. Chinese shar-peis must have sailed with the Ming flotilla because an animal resembling the dog appears in a Mexican painting discovered in the nine- teenth century. One audacious shar-pei, Menzies proposes, absconded from the junks in the Falklands and mated with an indigenous fox, giving birth to a now-extinct animal called a warrah—DNA results, the author promises, will be posted on the website.

Menzies also goes beyond his portrait of Zheng He’s armada in Nanjing to point to evidence deriving from its global adventures. He suggests that the Chinese captured a few giant South American sloths (or mylodons) in Patagonia. This deduction arises from the author’s notion that a “dog-headed man” depicted on the Piri Reis map of 1513—which, of course, Menzies regards as based upon a copy of a Chinese map from Conti’s collection—is in fact a mylodon, an animal (he assumes) that Zheng He’s captains desired for the emperor’s zoo. He further supposes that one of the sloths aroused itself enough to escape Chinese incarceration in Australia because a stone carving near Brisbane (he thinks) looks something like the Patagonian beast.

It is impossible to keep track of how many self-confirming assumptions are at work in such citations of alleged evidence. Piling supposition upon supposi- tion, Menzies never considers a question that he does not beg: every argument in 1421 springs from the fallacy of petitio principii. The author’s “trail of evidence” is actually a feedback loop that makes no distinction between premise and proof, conjecture and confirmation, bizarre guess and proven fact.

Thus just as Menzies describes the junks as supplied with all the parapher- nalia that will prove they sailed where he contends, he also reconstructs the routes of the voyages by treating European maps, supposedly based on Conti’s cache, as the by-product of those very voyages. This inevitably leads to some curious conclusions. Since the Waldseemüller map of 1507 seems to show an open sea passage between the Arctic Circle and Eurasia from the Barents Sea to the Bering Straits, a distance of more than 4,000 miles, Menzies concludes that the route was surveyed by a Ming fleet taking a shortcut home after its exploration of Greenland, boldly going where no eunuch had gone before.

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NO / Robert Finlay 21

The author, however, does not discuss this epic voyage except to observe that the Waldseemüller map proves it took place.

Similarly, since Menzies believes that the Chinese first navigated around South America and that the Piri Reis map is proof of that achievement, he declares that the map does not show a landlocked Atlantic, with an eastward extension of the Americas linking up with the peninsula of Southeast Asia, but, rather, “what appears to be ice connecting the tip of South America to Antartica.” Rivaling his mistreatment of Poggio’s “Travels,” Menzies makes this claim even though his own reproductions of the Piri Reis chart patently contradict it. Not only that, Piri Reis himself states the contrary, for he noted on his map that Spanish and Portuguese explorers “have found out that coasts encircle this sea [that is, the Atlantic], which has thus taken the form of a lake. . . .” Menzies does not think it necessary to inform his readers of this evidence.

Unfortunately, this reckless manner of dealing with evidence is typical of 1421, vitiating all its extraordinary claims: the voyages it describes never took place, Chinese information never reached Prince Henry and Columbus, and there is no evidence of the Ming fleets in newly discovered lands. The fundamental assumption of the book—that Zhu Di dispatched the Ming fleets because he had a “grand plan,” a vision of charting the world and creating a maritime empire spanning the oceans—is simply asserted by Menzies without a shred of proof. It represents the author’s own grandiosity projected back onto the emperor, providing the latter with an ambition commensurate with the global events that Menzies presumes 1421 uniquely has revealed, an account that provides evidence “to overturn the long-accepted history of the Western world.” It is clear, however, that textbooks on that history need not be rewrit- ten. The reasoning of 1421 is inexorably circular, its evidence spurious, its research derisory, its borrowings unacknowledged, its citations slipshod, and its assertions preposterous.

Still, it may have some pedagogical value in world history courses. Assign- ing selections from the book to high-schoolers and undergraduates, it might serve as an outstanding example of how not to (re)write world history. . . .

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EXPLORING THE ISSUE

Did the Chinese Discover America?

Critical Thinking and Reflection 1. What evidence does Gavin Menzies present to validate his argument

in support of the Chinese discovery of America? 2. What specific criticisms does Robert Finlay present in his review of

Menzies’s argument? 3. If Menzies is, in fact, wrong, could you still conclude that America

was discovered by Asians? 4. What does it mean to offer a Eurocentric interpretation of history? Is

Finlay’s review of Menzies’s work Eurocentric?

Is There Common Ground? There are at least two important directions that the Menzies and Finlay essays can take us. The first concerns the craft of the historian. What are the key ele- ments of historical research? Is some evidence better than others? Why is cor- roboration of sources so important? What should it tell us that researchers can interpret the same factual evidence in widely different ways without destroy- ing historical truth? Finlay’s charge is that Menzies has murdered truth, but that position should not end all debate on the subject and, in fact, opens up a second avenue of inquiry. We know, for example, that Columbus was not the first European to make his way to the New World. What about the Norsemen (or Vikings), some of whom explored Greenland, Canada, and perhaps parts of present-day New England during the tenth to twelfth centuries? By studying other peoples who preceded Columbus and his peers, we may call into ques- tion standard historical interpretations while, at the same time, accepting the possibility that history is not immutable.

Additional Resources Despite the harsh response by historians to the work of Gavin Menzies, it is worth noting that China did possess a powerful naval force in the fifteenth century. The most respected scholarly work on Chinese maritime history is Louise Levathes, When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405–1433 (Simon & Schuster, 1994).

Suggestions regarding the influence of Norse settlements in the Ameri- cas are presented in David Goudsward, Ancient Stone Sites of New England and the Debate Over Early European Explorations (MacFarland, 2006). The era of European exploration during the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth

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centuries is covered in J. H. Parry, The Age of Reconnaissance: Discovery, Explo- ration, and Settlement, 1450 to 1650 (Praeger, 1963) and Boies Penrose, Travel and Discovery in the Renaissance, 1420–1620 (Harvard University Press, 1952). Samuel Eliot Morison, The European Discovery of America: The Northern Voyages (Oxford University Press, 1971); David Beers Quinn, England and the Discovery of America, 1481–1620 (Harper & Row, 1974); Wallace Notestein, The English People on the Eve of Colonization, 1603–1630 (Harper & Brothers, 1954); Charles Gibson, Spain in America (Harper & Row, 1966); and W. J. Eccles, France in America (Harper & Row, 1972) all discuss European contacts in North America. Howard Mumford Jones, O Strange New World (1964) describes the impact of North American images on the European mind.

The longtime standard biographical treatment of Columbus is Sam- uel Eliot Morison’s generally sympathetic Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus, 2 vols. (Little, Brown, 1942). For more recent objective and scholarly studies, see Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Columbus (Oxford Uni- versity Press, 1991), and William D. Phillkips, Jr. and Carla Ruhn Phillips, The Worlds of Christopher Columbus (Cambridge University Press, 1991).

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24

ISSUE 2

Was the Settlement of Jamestown a Fiasco?

YES: Edmund S. Morgan, from American Slavery, American Freedom (W. W. Norton, 1975)

NO: Karen Ordahl Kupperman, from The Jamestown Project (H arvard University Press, 2007)

Learning Outcomes

After reading this issue, you should be able to:

• Critically analyze whether the settlement of Jamestown was a complete “fiasco” or an eventual successful model for other English colonies to follow.

• Explore how the introduction of Indians, Blacks (both slaves and free), and women changes earlier interpretations of colo- nial history.

• Explore how the work of archeologists and scientists change our interpretation of history.

ISSUE SUMMARY

YES: Professor Edmund S. Morgan argues that Virginia’s first decade as a colony was a complete “fiasco” because the settlers were too lazy to engage in the subsistence farming necessary for their sur- vival and failed to abandon their own and the Virginia’s company’s expectations of establishing extractive industries such as mining, timber, and fishing.

NO: Professor Karen Ordahl Kupperman argues that Jamestown was America’s first successful colony because in its first decade of trial and error “the ingredients for success—widespread ownership of land, control of taxation for public obligations through a rep- resentative assembly, the institution of a normal society through the inclusion of women, and development of a product that could be marketed profitably to sustain the economy—were beginning to be put in place by 1618 and were in full operation by 1620, when the next successful colony, Plymouth, was planted.”

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25

Until the 1970s American history textbooks ignored the seventeenth cen- tury once the colonies were founded. The new social history that has incorpo- rated ordinary people—not just elite white males, but common white males, females, African Americans, women, and Indians—has added a whole new dimension to the colonial period. Racial, class, gender, and sectional differ- ences emerge, and for the first time historians clearly distinguished the seven- teenth and eighteenth centuries.

In the 1990s archeologists have pointed colonial history in a new and exciting direction. Working with teams of forensic scientists, nuclear physicists, and anthropologists, recent digs have pinpointed the exact locations of St. Mary’s City, Maryland, and Jamestown, Virginia. William Kelso, chief arche- ologist of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities since 1993 has published his findings in Jamestown: The Buried Truth (University of Virginia Press, 2006). Encouraged by clues long embedded in a Spanish map of 1608, Kelso and his team have not only located the earliest fort, but also unearthed armaments, trash, food, and remains of devoured horses, cats, dogs, and rats, which speak of the starving time. The remains of mats and beads indicate the trade between Indians and the settlers. Through techniques of imaging and facial reconstruction of surviving skeletons, we know more about the aches and pains and diseases these settlers suffered unnecessarily if penicil- lin, Excedrin, or even a good dentist had been available. Kelso may have exag- gerated in arguing that democracy was born at Jamestown, but the work of the archeologist sheds a whole new light on history.

The first permanent English settlement was established in the Chesa- peake Bay region in 1607. They were latecomers in colonizing the new world. Earlier voyages by John Cabot in 1497 and 1498 around Canada were not followed up in the same way the Spaniards had established colonies in Latin America. Before Jamestown there were notable failures at colonization in New- foundland and Roanoke, the lost colony.

The Virginia colony had a very shaky start. The Jamestown settlement, which the 105 colonists (39 died at sea) had established in May 1607, bartered with the Indians for corn, but even Captain John Smith could not trade for enough food or force the settlers to stop arguing among themselves and plant crops. Only 38 of the original settlers survived until January 1608 when a fresh supply of food and 120 new settlers arrived from England. Still the experiences of the first year did not prevent the “starving time” of the winter of 1609–1610 when several of the inhabitants resorted to eating their deceased family members.

The Virginia Colony might have collapsed except for two reasons. First was the fact that the stockholding company continued to send over people to replace those who died. Mortality rates were higher in the new world than in England because of the hot climates and concomitant rampant diseases, so few lived past the age of 45. Combined with late marriages, the popula- tion growth was low. Only sustained immigration from England prevented the colony from collapsing in its first 15 years. Second, the development of the cash crop of tobacco improved the colony’s trade relations and prevented an economic breakdown.

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Professor Edmund S. Morgan is the preeminent colonial American his- torian who has trained three generations of scholars at Yale University. Now in his nineties, Morgan is still a productive scholar writing books and review essays for the New York Review of Books on the latest output of scholarship in the field. For a convenient compilation of Morgan’s essays, see The Genuine Article: A Historian Looks at Early America (Norton, 2004).

Morgan’s chapter on the “Jamestown Fiasco” is important for several rea- sons. First of all, he rejects the New England model of colonization as being typical. Earlier generations of colonial historians wrote a lot about the Puri- tans because they kept extensive written legal and church records as well as diaries—all of which provided historians with an abundance of traditional his- torical sources. Morgan anticipated the framework of Jack P. Greene, Pursuits of Happiness: The Social Development of Early Modern British Colonies and the Formation of American Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 1988) and others who see the Chesapeake settlements (and not New England) as typi- cal of the expansionist policies of the British Empire in Ireland and the West Indies. He also implies that the original colonists were trying to imitate the Spaniards to the extent that they hoped to extract mineral wealth from the colonies. Unfortunately, the original Virginia settlements did not possess these desirable resources.

Professor Morgan also dispatches the romantic view that many historians attributed to the colonists. He discusses in other parts of his book the “gue- rilla warfare” that existed between the first European settlers and the Indians. Though earlier historians have focused on the hardships of the first Virginians and the starving time of the winter of 1609–1610 that led to cannibalism, Morgan blames the colonists themselves for their plight. The colonists did not take advantage of the abundance of fish and game in Virginia nor did they plant enough grain and corn to feed themselves. Why this occurred was partly due to the social background of the earliest settlers—too many “gentle- men” and not enough farmers. But Morgan extends his argument even fur- ther. The colonists modeled themselves after their English kin and hoped to set up small industries producing exports with agriculture as only a minor part of the economy. As previously mentioned, the mineral resources did not exist, and Virginia became a productive colony only in later decades when tobacco became the export of salvation.

Professor Karen Kupperman’s analysis of The Jamestown Project is much more upbeat than Morgan’s account. As an author of numerous works on seventeenth-century America, she places Jamestown within the context of a half century of Atlantic ventures into Newfoundland, Ireland, the lost colony of Roanoke, and the sustained contacts with Islamic states in the Mediter- ranean and the Ottoman Empire. Within this international context, Kupper- man pronounces the Jamestown colony a success. Despite the earlier struggles with diseases and food shortages, which she attributes more to the unfriendly forces of nature rather than the lazy and unskilled backgrounds of the early immigrants, Kupperman sees the ability to survive, the creation of a workable governmental structure, and the development of tobacco as an exportable cash crop as a model for the other colonies which followed.

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27

Kupperman is correct in arguing that some of the lessons from “the Virginia project” were adopted by the settlers in Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies. For one thing, these settlers came as families and established sizeable towns from their very beginnings. They also farmed and fished and avoided the starving time.

But it can be argued that the wrong lessons were learned in relations with the Indians. Constant raids on both sides led to an all-out war with the Powhatans in Virginia in 1624, which nearly wiped out the colony. In Plymouth, relations soon deteriorated after “the first happy thanksgiving” din- ner. In Massachusetts Bay, the Pequot War of the 1630s decimated the tribe, whose survivors were sold into slavery. By the 1670s, Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia and King Phillip’s War in Massachusetts set the model of Indian- White relations for the next two centuries.

In the first selection, Edmund Morgan is highly critical of the first settlers of Virginia. Others have pointed out that the earliest immigrants came from the “gentlemen” class and lacked the farming skills necessary for survival. But Morgan puts as much of the blame on the policies of the Virginia Company and the London government as he does on the settlers. Even after the “starving time,” the survivors and the new immigrants continued to pursue extraction industries such as gold, silver, iron mining, fishing, lumber, and silk binding at the expense of subsistence agriculture.

In the second selection, Karen Ordahl Kupperman disagrees with the negative view of early Virginia. Jamestown, she argues, was America’s first suc- cessful colony because in its first decade of trial and error the ingredients for success—widespread ownership of land, development of a cash crop, estab- lishing a representative assembly, setting up permanent families—were begin- ning to be put into place in 1618 and became a model for the next successful colony—Plymouth in 1620.

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Edmund S. Morgan

From American Slavery, American Freedom by Edmund S. Morgan (W.W. Norton, 1975). Copy- right © 1975 by W. W. Norton. Reprinted by permission.

YES

The Jamestown Fiasco

The first wave of Englishmen reached Virginia at Cape Henry, the south- ern headland at the opening of Chesapeake Bay, on April 26, 1607. The same day their troubles began. The Indians of the Cape Henry region (the Chesapeakes), when they found a party of twenty or thirty strangers walk- ing about on their territory, drove them back to the ships they came on. It was not the last Indian victory, but it was no more effective than later ones. In spite of troubles, the English were there to stay. They spent until May 14 exploring Virginia’s broad waters and then chose a site that fitted the for- mula Hakluyt had prescribed. The place which they named Jamestown, on the James (formerly Powhatan) River, was inland from the capes about sixty miles, ample distance for warning of a Spanish invasion by sea. It was situ- ated on a peninsula, making it easily defensible by land; and the river was navigable by oceangoing ships for another seventy-five miles into the inte- rior, thus giving access to other tribes in case the local Indians should prove as unfriendly as the Chesapeakes.

Captain Christopher Newport had landed the settlers in time to plant something for a harvest that year if they put their minds to it. After a week, in which they built a fort for protection, Newport and twenty-one others took a small boat and headed up the river on a diplomatic and reconnoitering mission, while the settlers behind set about the crucial business of planting corn. Newport paused at various Indian villages along the way and assured the people, as best he could, of the friendship of the English and of his readi- ness to assist them against their enemies. Newport gathered correctly from his at tempted conversations that one man, Powhatan, ruled the whole area above Jamestown, as far as the falls at the present site of Richmond. His enemies, the Monacans, lived above the falls (where they might be difficult to reach if Powhatan proved unfriendly). Newport also surmised, incorrectly, that the Chesapeake Indians who had attacked him at Cape Henry were not under Powhatan’s dominion. He accordingly tried to make an alliance against the Chesapeakes and Monacans with a local chief whom he mistook for Powhatan. At the same time, he planted a cross with the name of King James on it (to establish English dominion) and tried to explain to the somewhat bewildered and justifiably suspicious owners of the country that one arm of the cross was Powhatan, the other himself, and that the fastening of them together signified the league between them.

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YES / Edmund S. Morgan 29

If the Indians understood, they were apparently unimpressed, for three days later, returning to Jamestown, Newport found that two hundred of P owhatan’s warriors had attacked the fort the day before and had only been prevented from destroying it by fire from the ships. The settlers had been engaged in planting and had not yet unpacked their guns from the cases in which they were shipped. That was a mistake they were not likely to repeat. But for the next ten years they seem to have made nearly every possible mis- take and some that seem almost impossible. It would take a book longer than this to recount them all, and the story has already been told many times. But if we are to understand the heritage of these ten disastrous years for later Virginia history, we should look at a few of the more puzzling episodes and then try to fathom the forces behind them.

Skip over the first couple of years, when it was easy for Englishmen to make mistakes in the strange new world to which they had come, and look at Jamestown in the winter of 1609–10. It is three planting seasons since the colony began. The settlers have fallen into an uneasy truce with the Indians, punctuated by guerrilla raids on both sides, but they have had plenty of time in which they could have grown crops. They have obtained corn from the Indians and supplies from England. They have firearms. Game abounds in the woods; and Virginia’s rivers are filled with sturgeon in the summer and covered with geese and ducks in the winter. There are five hundred people in the colony now. And they are starving. They scour the woods listlessly for nuts, roots, and berries. And they offer the only authentic examples of can- nibalism witnessed in Virginia. One provident man chops up his wife and salts down the pieces. Others dig up graves to eat the corpses. By spring only sixty are left alive.

Another scene, a year later, in the spring of 1611. The settlers have been reinforced with more men and supplies from England. The preceding winter has not been as gruesome as the one before, thanks in part to corn obtained from the Indians. But the colony still is not growing its own corn. The gover- nor, Lord De la Warr, weakened by the winter, has returned to England for his health. His replacement, Sir Thomas Dale, reaches Jamestown in May, a time when all hands could have been used in planting. Dale finds nothing planted except “some few seeds put into a private garden or two.” And the people he finds at “their daily and usuall workes, bowling in the streetes.”

It is evident that the settlers, failing to plant for themselves, depend heavily on the Indians for food. The Indians can finish them off at any time simply by leaving the area. And the Indians know it. One of them tells the English flatly that “we can plant any where . . . and we know that you cannot live if you want [i.e., lack] our harvest, and that reliefe we bring you.” If the English drive out the Indians, they will starve. . . .

It is not easy to make sense out of the behavior displayed in these epi- sodes. How to explain the suicidal impulse that led the hungry English to destroy the corn that might have fed them and to commit atrocities upon the people who grew it? And how to account for the seeming unwillingness or incapacity of the English to feed themselves? Although they had invaded Indian territory and quarreled with the owners, the difficulty of obtaining

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30 ISSUE 2 / Was the Settlement of Jamestown a Fiasco?

land was not great. The Indians were no match for English weapons. More- over, since the Indians could afford to give up the land around Jamestown as well as Henrico without seriously endangering their own economy, they made no concerted effort to drive the English out. Although Indian attacks may have prevented the English from getting a crop into the ground in time for a harvest in the fall of 1607, the occasional Indian raids thereafter cannot explain the English failure to grow food in succeeding years. How, then, can we account for it?

The answer that comes first to mind is the poor organization and direc- tion of the colony. The government prescribed by the charter placed full pow- ers in a council appointed by the king, with a president elected by the other members. The president had virtually no authority of his own; and while the council lasted, the members spent most of their time bickering and intriguing against one another and especially against the one man who had the experi- ence and the assurance to take command. The names of the councillors had been kept secret (even from themselves) in a locked box, until the ships carry- ing the first settlers arrived in Virginia. By that time a bumptious young man named John Smith had made himself unpopular with Captain Christopher Newport (in command until their arrival) and with most of the other gentle- men of conse quence aboard. When they opened the box, they were appalled to find Smith’s name on the list of councillors. But during the next two years Smith’s confi dence in himself and his willingness to act while others talked overcame most of the handicaps imposed by the feeble frame of government. It was Smith who kept the colony going during those years. But in doing so he dealt more decisively with the Indians than with his own quarreling country- men, and he gave an initial turn to the colony’s Indian relations that was not quite what the company had intended. . . .

In their relations to the Indians, as in their rule of the settlers, the new governing officers of the colony were ruthless. The guerrilla raids that the two races conducted against each other became increasingly hideous, especially on the part of the English. Indians coming to Jamestown with food were treated as spies. Gates had them seized and killed “for a Terrour to the Reste to cawse them to desiste from their subtell practyses.” Gates showed his own subtle prac- tices by enticing the Indians at Kecoughtan (Point Comfort) to watch a display of dancing and drumming by one of his men and then “espyeinge a fitteinge oportunety fell in upon them putt fyve to the sworde wownded many others some of them beinge after fownde in the woods with Sutche extreordinary Lardge and mortall wownds that itt seemed strange they Cold flye so far.” It is possible that the rank and file of settlers aggravated the bad relations with the Indians by unauthorized attacks, but unauthorized frat ernization seems to have bothered the governors more. The atrocities com mitted against the queen of the Paspaheghs, though apparently demanded by the men, were the work of the governing officers, as were the atrocities committed against the Englishmen who fled to live with the Indians.

John Smith had not had his way in wishing to reduce the Indians to sla- very, or something like it, on the Spanish model. But the policy of his succes- sors, though perhaps not with company approval, made Virginia look far more

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YES / Edmund S. Morgan 31

like the Hispaniola of Las Casas than it did when Smith was in charge. And the company and the colony had few benefits to show for all the rigor. At the end of ten years, in spite of the military discipline of work gangs, the colonists were still not growing enough to feed themselves and were still begging, bullying, and buying corn from the Indians whose lands they scorched so deliberately. We cannot, it seems, blame the colony’s failures on lax discipline and diffusion of authority. Failures continued and atrocities multiplied after authority was made absolute and concentrated in one man.

Another explanation, often advanced, for Virginia’s early troubles, and especially for its failure to feed itself, is the collective organization of labor in the colony. All the settlers were expected to work together in a single com- munity effort, to produce both the food and the exports that would make the company rich. Those who held shares would ultimately get part of the profits, but meanwhile the incentives of private enterprise were lacking. The work a man did bore no direct relation to his reward. The laggard would receive as large a share in the end as the man who worked hard.

The communal production of food seems to have been somewhat modi- fied after the reorganization of 1609 by the assignment of small amounts of land to individuals for private gardens. It is not clear who received such allot- ments, perhaps only those who came at their own expense. Men who came at company expense may have been expected to continue working exclusively for the common stock until their seven-year terms expired. At any rate, in 1614, the year when the first shipment of company men concluded their service, Governor Dale apparently assigned private allotments to them and to other independent “farmers.” Each man got three acres, or twelve acres if he had a family. He was responsible for growing his own food plus two and a half barrels of corn annually for the company as a supply for newcomers to tide them over the first year. And henceforth each “farmer” would work for the company only one month a year.

By this time Gates and Dale had succeeded in planting settlements at several points along the James as high up as Henrico, just below the falls. The many close-spaced tributary rivers and creeks made it possible to throw up a palisade between two of them to make a small fortified peninsula. Within the space thus enclosed by water on three sides and palisaded on the fourth, the settlers could build their houses, dig their gardens, and pasture their cattle. It was within these enclaves that Dale parceled out private allotments. Digni- fied by hopeful names like “Rochdale Hundred” or “Bermuda City,” they were affirmations of an expectation that would linger for a century, that Virginia was about to become the site of thriving cities and towns. In point of fact, the new “cities” scarcely matched in size the tiny villages from which Powha- tan’s people threatened them. And the “farmers” who huddled together on the allotments assigned to them proved incapable of supporting themselves or the colony with adequate supplies of food.

At first it seemed to sympathetic observers that they would. Ralph Hamor, in an account of the colony published in 1615, wrote, “When our people were fedde out of the common store and laboured jointly in the manuring of the ground and planting corne, glad was that man that could slippe from his labour,

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32 ISSUE 2 / Was the Settlement of Jamestown a Fiasco?

nay the most honest of them in a generall businesse, would not take so much faithfull and true paines in a weeke, as now he will doe in a day, neither cared they for the increase, presuming that howsoever their harvest prospered, the generall store must maintain them, by which meanes we reaped not so much corne from the labours of 30 men, as three men have done for themselves.”

According to John Rolfe, a settler who had married John Smith’s fair Pocahontas, the switch to private enterprise transformed the colony’s food deficit instantly to a surplus: instead of the settlers seeking corn from the Indi- ans, the Indians sought it from them. If so, the situation did not last long. Governor Samuel Argall, who took charge at the end of May, 1617, bought 600 bushels from the Indians that fall, “which did greatly relieve the whole Colonie.” And when Governor George Yeardley relieved Argall in April, 1619, he found the colony “in a great scarcity for want of corn” and made immediate prepara tions to seek it from the Indians, If, then, the colony’s failure to grow food arose from its communal organization of production, the failure was not over come by the switch to private enterprise.

Still another explanation for the improvidence of Virginia’s pioneers is one that John Smith often emphasized, namely, the character of the immi- grants. They were certainly an odd assortment, for the most conspicuous group among them was an extraordinary number of gentlemen. Virginia, as a patriotic enterprise, had excited the imagination of England’s nobility and gentry. The shareholders included 32 present or future earls, 4 countesses, and 3 viscounts (all members of the nobility) as well as hundreds of lesser gentle- men, some of them perhaps retainers of the larger men. Not all were content to risk only their money. Of the 105 settlers who started the colony, 36 could be classified as gentlemen. In the first “supply” of 120 additional settlers, 28 were gentlemen, and in the second supply of 70, again 28 were gentlemen. These numbers gave Virginia’s population about six times as large a proportion of gentlemen as England had.

Gentlemen, by definition, had no manual skill, nor could they be expected to work at ordinary labor. They were supposed to be useful for “the force of knowledge, the exercise of counsell”; but to have ninety-odd wise men offering advice while a couple of hundred did the work was inauspicious, especially when the wise men included “many unruly gallants packed thether by their friends to escape il destinies” at home.

What was worse, the gentlemen were apparently accompanied by the personal attendants that gentlemen thought necessary to make life bearable even in England. The colony’s laborers “were for most part footmen, and such as they that were Adventurers brought to attend them, or such as they could perswade to goe with them, that never did know what a dayes worke was.” Smith complained that he could never get any real work from more than thirty out of two hundred, and he later argued that of all the people sent to Virginia, a hundred good laborers “would have done more than a thousand of those that went.” Samuel Argall and John Rolfe also argued that while a few gentle- men would have been useful to serve as military leaders, “to have more to wait and play than worke, or more commanders and officers than industri ous labourers was not so necessarie.”

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YES / Edmund S. Morgan 33

The company may actually have had little choice in allowing gentlemen and their servants to make so large a number of their settlers. The gentle- men were paying their own way, and the company perhaps could not afford to deny them. But even if unencumbered by these volunteers, the colony might have foundered on the kind of settlers that the company itself did want to send. What the company wanted for Virginia was a variety of craftsmen. Richard Hakluyt had made up a list for Walter Raleigh that suggests the degree of specialization contemplated in an infant settlement: Hakluyt wanted both carpenters and joiners, tallow chandlers and wax chandlers, bowstave pre- parers and bowyers, fletchers and arrowhead makers, men to rough-hew pike- staffs and other men to finish them. In 1610 and again in 1611 the Virginia Company published lists of the kind of workers it wanted. Some were for building, making tools, and other jobs needed to keep the settlers alive, but the purpose of staying alive would be to see just what Virginia was good for and then start sending the goods back to England. Everybody hoped for gold and silver and jewels, so the colony needed refiners and mineral men. But they might have to settle for iron, so send men with all the skills needed to smelt it. The silk grass that Hariot described might produce something like silk, and there were native mulberry trees for growing worms, so send silk dressers. Sturgeon swam in the rivers, so send men who knew how to make caviar. And so on. Since not all the needed skills for Virginia’s potential prod- ucts were to be found in England, the company sought them abroad: glass- makers from Italy, millwrights from Holland, pitch boilers from Poland, vine dressers and saltmakers from France. The settlers of Virginia were expected to create a more complex, more varied economy than England itself possessed. As an extension of England, the colony would impart its variety and health to the mother country.

If the company had succeeded in filling the early ships for Virginia with as great a variety of specialized craftsmen as it wanted, the results might con- ceivably have been worse than they were. We have already noticed the effect of specialization in England itself, where the division of labor had become a source not of efficiency but of idleness. In Virginia the effect was magnified. Among the skilled men who started the settlement in 1607 were four carpen ters, two bricklayers, one mason (apparently a higher skill than bricklaying), a black- smith, a tailor, and a barber. The first “supply” in 1608 had six tailors, two gold- smiths, two refiners, two apothecaries, a blacksmith, a gunner (i.e., gunsmith?), a cooper, a tobacco pipe maker, a jeweler, and a perfumer. There were doubtless others, and being skilled they expected to be paid and fed for doing the kind of work for which they had been hired. Some were obviously useful. But others may have found themselves without means to use their spe cial talents. If they were conscientious, the jeweler may have spent some time looking for jewels, the goldsmiths for gold, the perfumer for something to make perfume with. But when the search proved futile, it did not follow that they should or would exercise their skilled hands at any other tasks. It was not suitable for a perfumer or a jeweler or a goldsmith to put his hand to the hoe. Rather, they could join the gentlemen in genteel loafing while a handful of ordinary laborers worked at the ordinary labor of growing and gathering food.

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34 ISSUE 2 / Was the Settlement of Jamestown a Fiasco?

The laborers could be required to work at whatever they were told to; but they were, by all accounts, too few and too feeble. The company may have rounded them up as it did in 1609 when it appealed to the mayor of London to rid the city of its “swarme of unnecessary inmates” by sending to Virginia any who were destitute and lying in the streets.

The company, then, partly by choice, partly by necessity, sent to the colony an oversupply of men who were not prepared to tackle the work essential to settling in a wilderness. In choosing prospective Virginians, the company did not look for men who would be particularly qualified to keep themselves alive in a new land. The company never considered the prob- lem of staying alive in Virginia to be a serious one. And why should they have? England’s swarming population had had ample experience in moving to new areas and staying alive. The people who drifted north and west into the pasture-farming areas got along, and the lands there were marginal, far poorer than those that awaited the settlers of tidewater Virginia. Though there may have been some farmers among the early settlers, no one for whom an occupation is given was listed as a husbandman or yeoman. And though thirty husbandmen were included in the 1611 list of men wanted, few came. As late as 1620 the colony reported “a great scarcity, or none at all” of “hus- bandmen truely bred,” by which was meant farmers from the arable regions. In spite of the experience at Roanoke and in spite of the repeated starving times at Jamestown, the company simply did not envisage the pro vision of food as a serious problem. They sent some food supplies with every ship but never enough to last more than a few months. After that people should be able to do for themselves.

The colonists were apparently expected to live from the land like England’s woodland and pasture people, who gave only small amounts of time to their small garden plots, cattle, and sheep and spent the rest in spinning, weaving, mining, handicrafts, and loafing. Virginians would spend their time on the more varied commodities of the New World. To enable them to live in this manner, the company sent cattle, swine, and sheep: and when Dale assigned them private plots of land, the plots were small, in keeping with the expecta- tion that they would not spend much time at farming. The company never intended the colony to supply England with grain and did not even expect that agricultural products might be its principal exports. They did want to give sugar, silk, and wine a try, but most of the skills they sought showed an expec tation of setting up extractive industries such as iron mining, smelting, salt-making, pitch making, and glassmaking. The major part of the colonists’ work time was supposed to be devoted to processing the promised riches of the land for export; and with the establishment of martial law the company had the means of see- ing that they put their shoulders to the task.

Unfortunately, the persons charged with directing the motley work force had a problem, quite apart from the overload of gentlemen and specialized craftsmen they had to contend with. During the early years of the colony they could find no riches to extract. They sent back some cedar wood, but lumber was too bulky a product to bear the cost of such long transportation to mar- ket. Sassafras was available in such quantities that the market for it quickly

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YES / Edmund S. Morgan 35

collapsed. The refiners found no gold or silver or even enough iron to be worth mining. Silk grass and silk proved to be a will-o’-the-wisp.

The result was a situation that taxed the patience both of the leaders and of the men they supervised. They had all come to Virginia with high expecta- tions. Those who came as servants of the company had seven years in which to make their employers rich. After that they would be free to make themselves rich. But with no prospect of riches in sight for anybody, it was difficult to keep them even at the simple tasks required for staying alive or to find anything else for them to do.

The predicament of those in charge is reflected in the hours of work they prescribed for the colonists, which contrast sharply with those specified in the English Statute of Artificers. There was no point in demanding dawn-to-dusk toil unless there was work worth doing. When John Smith demanded that men work or starve, how much work did he demand? By his own account, “4 hours each day was spent in worke, the rest in pastimes and merry exercise.” The governors who took charge after the reorganization of 1609 were equally modest in their demands. William Strachey, who was present, described the work program under Gates and De la Warr in the summer of 1610:

It is to be understood that such as labor are not yet so taxed but that easily they perform the same and ever by ten of the clock they have done their morning’s work: at what time they have their allowances [of food] set out ready for them, and until it be three of the clock again they take their own pleasure, and afterward, with the sunset, their day’s labor is finished.

The Virginia Company offered much the same account of this period. According to a tract issued late in 1610, “the setled times of working (to effect all themselves, or the Adventurers neede desire) [require] no more pains then from sixe of clocke in the morning untill ten and from two of the clocke in the afternoone till foure.” The long lunch period described here was spelled out in the Lawes Divine, Morall and Martiall. If we calculate the total hours demanded of the work gangs between the various beatings of the drum, they come to roughly five to eight hours a day in summer and three to six hours in winter. And it is not to be supposed that these hours refer only to work done in the fields and that the men were expected to work at other tasks like build ing houses during the remainder of the day. The Laws indicate that at the appointed hours every laborer was to repair to his work “and every crafts man to his occupation, Smiths, Joyners, Carpenters, Brick makers, etc.” Nor did military training occupy the time not spent in working. The Laws provided for different groups to train at different times and to be exempt from work during the training days. Although colonists and historians alike have condemned the Laws as harsh, and with reason, the working hours that the code prescribed sound astonishingly short to modern ears. They certainly fell way below those demanded at the time in English law; and they seem utterly irrational in a chronically starving community.

To have grown enough corn to feed the colony would have required only a fraction of the brief working time specified, yet it was not grown. Even in their free time men shunned the simple planting tasks that sufficed for the Indians.

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36 ISSUE 2 / Was the Settlement of Jamestown a Fiasco?

And the very fact that the Indians did grow corn may be one more reason why the colonists did not. For the Indians presented a challenge that Englishmen were not prepared to meet, a challenge to their image of themselves, to their self-esteem, to their conviction of their own superiority over foreigners, and especially over barbarous foreigners like the Irish and the Indians.

If you were a colonist, you knew that your technology was superior to the Indians’. You knew that you were civilized, and they were savages. It was evi- dent in your firearms, your clothing, your housing, your government, your reli- gion. The Indians were supposed to be overcome with admiration and to join you in extracting riches from the country. But your superior technology had proved insufficient to extract anything. The Indians, keeping to themselves, laughed at your superior methods and lived from the land more abundantly and with less labor than you did. They even furnished you with the food that you somehow did not get around to growing enough of yourselves. To be thus condescended to by heathen savages was intolerable. And when your own peo- ple started deserting in order to live with them, it was too much. If it came to that, the whole enterprise of Virginia would be over. So you killed the Indians, tortured them, burned their villages, burned their cornfields. It proved your superiority in spite of your failures. And you gave similar treatment to any of your own people who succumbed to the savage way of life. But you still did not grow much corn. That was not what you had come to Virginia for.

By the time the colony was ten years old and an almost total loss to the men who had invested their lives and fortunes in it, only one ray of hope had appeared. It had been known, from the Roanoke experience, that the Indians grew and smoked a kind of tobacco; and tobacco grown in the Spanish West Indies was already being imported into England, where it sold at eighteen shil- lings a pound. Virginia tobacco had proved, like everything else, a disappoint- ment; but one of the settlers, John Rolfe, tried some seeds of the West Indian variety, and the result was much better. The colonists stopped bowling in the streets and planted tobacco in them—and everywhere else that they could find open land. In 1617, ten years after the first landing at Jamestown, they shipped their first cargo to England. It was not up to Spanish tobacco, but it sold at three shillings a pound.

To the members of the company it was proof that they had been right in their estimate of the colony’s potential. But the proof was bitter. Tobacco had at first been accepted as a medicine, good for a great variety of ailments. But what gave it its high price was the fact that people had started smoking it for fun. Used this way it was considered harmful and faintly immoral. Peo- ple smoked it in taverns and brothels. Was Virginia to supplement England’s economy and redeem her rogues by pandering to a new vice? The answer, of course, was yes. But the men who ran the Virginia Company, still aiming at ends of a higher nature, were not yet ready to take yes for an answer.