The book New England Frontier: Puritans and Indians, 1620-1675 was written by Alden T. Vaughan. It is an educational book based on some Puritan’s ideals. He wrote the book during the colonial period of 1600-1675. Three editions of the book were written. The reason for re-writing it was that Vaughan wanted to eliminate any misinterpretation that the readers might have regarding the relations between the Puritans and the Indians. In his book, Vaughan represents the roots of Puritans’ relations with the Indians (Vaughan, 1965).
I chose this book because it is interesting and I have heard a lot concerning the Puritans and the Indians. The desire to know the truth about the lives of Puritans and Indians drove me to choose the book. I also chose it as I have always thought the term “colonization” is a negative one and thus considered the Puritans’ invasion of Indian land impacted negatively on them. I have always blamed the Puritans for many deaths of the Indians that occurred during the colonization period. However, the book significantly differs from my thoughts, therefore, this is the reason why I have picked it (Vaughan, 1965).
The subject matter of the book is the association of the Puritans with the Indians. The book explains the movement of the Puritans to America from England. Generally, the subject matter is the Puritans’ colonization of the Indians which gives the Puritans’ image of the relations of the encounters such as Native Americans (Vaughan, 1965).
Vaughan’s aim of writing the book was to collect as much information as he could and explain the events that transpired during the period. Many historians had different viewpoints and ideas on what actually happened, therefore, Vaughan thought that it was his burden to make things clear. His aim of writing the book presumes different purposes. One of the objectives was to somehow reconstruct a portion of the history of New England in the 17th century (Vaughan, 1965).
Another aim expresses the writer’s desire to provide a little portion of a narrative, with respect to the contacts they had. He was able to reach the information he wanted with the help of some people. Those people were able to retell Vaughan the events of the wars, which involved the native tribes. Furthermore, another purpose of writing the book was to examine the Puritan’s ideals. He was able to give information on the institutions and how each member coped with particular practical pressure on the Indian frontier. In addition to all the purposes mentioned above, Vaughan aimed at highlighting the effects of colonization on the Puritans and how people impacted on the native society (Vaughan, 1965).
In his book, Vaughan argues about both the Indians and the Puritans equally, while creating a sense that he is not biased. That means Vaughan does not stick to one side more than to another.. Vaughan justifies what the Indians did and why they did it. For example, he gives an example of an Indian tribe called Pequot, who did not appreciate the Puritans’ stay in America. He explains that the Indians protested and rebelled against those early settlers. As he continues writing the book, he explains why they did it. He also states that the Indians had a right to fight for their land since it was theirs, whereas the Puritans were mere settlers. Further in the book, Vaughan argues that the Puritans had to build a fortress for protection and that they had to hold captives for the sake of their well being (Vaughan, 1965).
Vaughan regards the Puritans’ position as the right one in comparison to the Indians, which is possible to understand due to Vaughan’s thoughts on the events involving the Puritans and the Indians.
One of the thoughts that Vaughan struggles to convey is that the Puritans did not force the Indians off their lands. He explains his point of view by stating that the Indians were not the rightful owners of the whole land. Furthermore, he states that the Indians were satisfied with the land available for their tribes. That implied that as long as the Indians had land, much of it was remaining extra. The Puritans legally acquired this land from the Indians. They purchased it and never tricked them into stealing land (Vaughan, 1965).
Another author’s point of view is that the Puritans did not exhaust the food supply of the inhabitants. It is stated that due to the increase of English population, the amount of people to feed increased which later led to the depletion of food supplies. Though Vaughan emphasizes it, he argues that it is not true to say that the Puritans depleted the food sources since there is no certain evidence of depletion of the food (Vaughan, 1965).
Another thought that Vaughan expresses is that the Puritans did not distress the economic pattern. That means that the Puritans had no problems when exchanging the goods with the Indians. The Indians benefited from the wealth that fur and land trade brought. The Indians liked the trade as they were able to obtain some “white man goods.” Furthermore, Vaughan’s other point of view is that the Puritans did not kill the Indians on extended military actions. He states that the real cause of Indians’ death were their inter-tribal wars and diseases going around. He explains that another factor that eliminated the Indians was migration. He also blames the diminution of Indian population on big wars such as Pequot war in 1637 which caused a death of many Red men (Vaughan, 1965).
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Furthermore, Vaughan states that the Puritan was not unsympathetic towards the physical, moral, and religious well being of the community. Contrary to that, the Puritans wanted to convince the Red men to the benefit from living in a civilized religion. The Puritans made efforts to spread Christianity and desired to educate people; therefore, the development of Indian collegian at Harvard was evidence of the honesty they had upon them (Vaughan, 1965).
Lastly, one other point of view is that the Puritans did not make Indians’ life a misery through the injustice and cruelty. Vaughan says that the statement is partially true because of the rules and regulations that were formulated. He argues that even though the Puritans were responsible for the formulation of the rules and regulations, self interest determined them (Vaughan, 1965).
From my own opinion, Vaughan explained his own points of view and supported them well. His points were clearly explained by numerous facts. In conclusion, I think Vaughan has an exemplary way of explaining his points about the Puritan and the Indian time as he provides some nice narratives from the collected documents.
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