Bloody War

Mary Rowlandson’s life story confirms the history of intolerance and genocide from the English colonies of Northern America. When the Massachusetts Bay Colony was attacked by Native Americans. The Native Americans were relentless for example they burned down houses and opened fire on the British settlers. Many British settlers were killed during this event in 1675. Her descriptions were evident of the hatred towards the natives calling them liars and comparing them to Satan. This decade contained the bloody King Philips war which lead to around 3,000 native casualties compared to 1,000 colonists casualties with relative same amount of people at 3,500. Prior to the native attack, the “praying Indian”, a native who converted to Christianity, reported to the governor of the colony that the natives planned to gather allies for native American attacks on multiple dispersed colonial settlements. This allegation was brought fourth in public court, where Chief Metacomet was threatened by the court, that they would confiscate the native tribe Wampanog land and guns. This threat controversially led to the Puritans being slaughtered in Massachusetts Bay. Essentially John Locke’s State of war would describe this time as enmity and destruction. For instance Locke particularly relates to the raid on Massachusetts bay colony by saying “When someone declares by word – not in a sudden outburst of rage, but as a matter of calm settled design—that he intends to end another man’s life, he puts himself into a state of war against the other person. This is identical to the threat of Wampanog land being taken.The quote by John Locke “This makes it lawful for me to kill a thief who hasn’t done me any harm or declared any plan against my life, other than using force to get me in his power so as to take away my money or whatever else he wants.”  This idea of lawful killing could provide us with the mentality colonists had during the genocide of native people. The state of war paranoia which caused portraying natives as liars and Satan could have resulted the colonists justification for killing the natives.

DArio Lomeli

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One thought on “Bloody War

  1. While I agree with your quote at the end from Locke about this situation leading to both parties being, “in a state of war,” I feel as though your claims backing how this came to be are not necessarily from the text itself. Your argument seems to be coming from the perspective of “looking back,” or “because of what we know now.” While that can be a helpful approach in terms of learning to not repeat history (although as a society, we seem to do that inevitably regardless), I think it’s important in some aspects to take more of a New Criticism approach and look at “the text itself.” If we take Rowlandson’s work as is we I find it more and more difficult to prove that she was contributing to a state of war. Yes, she did express hatred in her work for the natives, but given her version (which is the version we are studying) the ways in which she and her family were exploited and victimized rises to the surface. For instance, in the section where Rowlandson is talking about her daughter, only ten, was traded back and forth between natives for a gun and good we see here the oppression of children, the dissolution of the family, child endangerment, child neglect and an array of other issues within the greater narrative of genocide and human suffering. I think it’s important to not let our perspective get too broad given what we know now that we forget about the individual struggles of real people that actually lived through this “state of war.”

    – Elle Lammouchi

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