Chapter 1 - The New World Order
1William Henry Drayton (South Carolina’s chief justice), “A Charge on the Rise of the American Empire,” 1776, quoted in Van Alstyne, Rising American Empire, 1.
2 Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia: “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.” Jefferson, himself a slaveholder, was referring here to slavery.
3 Bush, speaking soon after the Vincennes accidentally shot down an Iranian airliner (quoted in Harper’s Magazine, November 1990,
48). The attack happened on July 3, 1988, while Ronald Reagan was still in office and Bush was campaigning.
4 This exact phrase seems to have originated with Woodrow Wilson at the time of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference and the founding of the League of Nations. Others, among them Cecil Rhodes and H.G. Wells, had said something similar.
5 See my Chapter 7 and relevant notes for more on Wilson and the League; MacMillan, Paris 1919, gives an excellent account. Isolationists and hardliners, mainly Republican, feared restraints on their national sovereignty. Al Gore (Assault on Reason, 174) writes that G.W. Bush “sabotaged” the International Criminal Court (ICC). Bush said he used his veto to protect torture—including simulated drowning, or “waterboarding”—because the bill took “away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror.” See “Bush Vetoes Interrogation Limits,” BBC World News, March 9, 2008.
6 Of course, although Rome controlled about one-quarter of the Earth’s population, its influence did not reach far beyond Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. It had no contact whatever with the New World, which was already developing its own empires by that time.
7 Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton University wrote in 2007: “Citizens of over ninety nations lost their lives in the attacks. The United Nations passed a unanimous resolution supporting the United States . . . everyone was with us—until we told them, both in word and deed, that if they weren’t with us they were against us. The Bush administration announced that we had no use either for treaties or international institutions” (“Diplomacy,” in “Undoing Bush: How to Repair Eight Years of Sabotage, Bungling, and Neglect,” Harper’s Magazine, June 2007, 59).
8 When he died in 1506, Columbus still thought he had been to Asia. The matter was not settled until the 1520s, when the survivors of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan’s fleet returned after sailing around the world. See also Chapter 2.
9 Turner, Significance of the Frontier, 17.
10 The historian Leland D. Baldwin wrote in 1981: “The narrow conservatism and religious bigotry of the Bible Belt are the creation of forces that emerged from the decaying corpse of Puritanism” (Baldwin, American Quest, 50).
11 George Washington, quoted in Van Alstyne, Rising American Empire, 1. Also quoted in Turner, Significance of the Frontier, 18.
12 Kennedy, quoted in Williams, Empire, 198-99.
13 The fighting in North Africa, which went on for many years, was sparked by tribute and piracy in the waters off what is now Libya, then nominally part of the Ottoman Empire.
14 Thomas Jefferson, in his inaugural address in March 1801.
15 Clendinnen, “History Question,” 64.
16 Events cascading, in Hannah Arendt’s words, “like a Niagara Falls of history”(see Jerome Kohn’s introduction to Arendt, Responsibility and Judgement, x). In his study of the twentieth century, Age of Extremes, Eric Hobsbawm writes: “The destruction of the past, or rather of the social mechanisms that link one’s contemporary experience to that of earlier generations, is one of the most characteristic and eerie phenomena of the late twentieth century. Most young men and women at the century’s end grow up in a sort of permanent present lacking any organic relation to the public past of the times they live in. This makes historians, whose business it is to remember what others forget, more essential at the end of the second millennium than ever before”(3).
17 See Chapter 5.
18 Falwell, one of the first television preachers and a founder of the Moral Majority, died in May 2007. For a short obituary, see BBC World News, May 15, 2007. See also my Chapter 4.
19 Gore, Assault on Reason, 1, 271.
Chapter 2 - Loot, Labour and Land
1Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 273, 307.
2 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 27-28.
3 Boorstin, Genius, 1.
4 Tocqueville, Journey to America, 242. “I have often come across fortified works which bear evidence of the existence of a people who had reached a fairly high state of civilization,” Houston said. “Whence did that people come? Whither did it vanish? There is a mystery there.” Houston was a firm believer in the equality of races, telling Tocqueville that both Indians and blacks were as intelligent as white people, but even so, he thought the ruins were more likely the work of Mexicans than of any local people.
5 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 27-28.
6 “Modern industry has established the world market, for which the discovery of America paved the way. . . . An indispensable condition for the establishment of manufacturing industry was the accumulation of capital, facilitated by the discovery of America and the importation of its precious metals” (Marx and Engels, Manifesto, and La Misère de la philosophie [Poverty of Philosophy, 1847], excerpted in Marx, Karl Marx, 137-38).
7 The first accurate modern census did not take place until 1801, in England. Among scholars dealing with the more distant past, there are “high counters” and “low counters,” and some estimates are absurdly low or high. I have chosen figures in what is now the mainstream. Estimates for the Inca Empire range from 6 million to 32 million. I think it unlikely to have had more than 25 million or fewer than 10 million. Mesoamerica, though smaller in area, was more densely inhabited, as it is today. The parts under Aztec control may have had as many as 25 million, with another 5 to 10 million in the Maya area and autonomous parts of what is now the Mexican republic. For an excellent summary of research and debate in this area, see Lovell, “‘Heavy Shadows and Black Night.’”
The current population of what was the Inca Empire is about 50 million all told, including 32 million for Peru alone, of whom about half are ethnically indigenous and most of the remainder mestizo. (Mestizo is often more a cultural than a genetic term, denoting degrees of westernization.) The current population of what was the Aztec Empire is close to 100 million, almost 30 million of whom live in greater Mexico City.
8 Lovell, “‘Heavy Shadows and Black Night,’” 426.
9 These calculations are based on reckoning the mid-1700s as the start of the Industrial Revolution, though it didn’t gather full steam for about another century. I discussed civilization as an “experiment” and assessed its risks in my previous book, A Short History of Progress.
10 Civilizations “are large, complex societies based on the domestication of plants, animals, and human beings. [They] vary in their makeup but typically have towns, cities, governments, social classes, and specialized professions” (Wright, A Short History of Progress, 32-33).
11 Until a few years ago, archaeologists thought that American civilizations, including the Peruvian, did not get under way until about 2000 B.C. However, dramatic findings at Caral, Huaricanga and other coastal sites north of Lima have shown that cities with monumental architecture had arisen there by five thousand years ago or even earlier—as in the Middle East. See also note 16, below.
12 There were a few fleeting contacts (by Viking, Polynesian, Peruvian and perhaps Asian seafarers) between the Western Hemisphere’s initial peopling and 1492, but it is clear from linguistics, plant biology and epidemiology that these interactions were not significant in the development of civilization there.
13 All experts agree that humans, like other apes, are Old World animals and that our remote ancestors first evolved in Africa. There is growing but uncertain evidence that humans reached the Americas by forty thousand years ago—not long after they reached Australia. In 2004 some archaeologists announced that a series of footprints had been found in volcanic ash in Mexico and securely dated to at least thirty-nine thousand years ago, but the dating has since been widely questioned. The fate of other very early sites, mainly in South America, has been similar. All these finds have their champions, but there is still room for doubt. However, reliably dated remains in Chile and elsewhere have persuaded most scholars that humans must have reached America by at least fifteen thousand years ago.
14 Humans are not the only two-legged hunters: chimpanzees sometimes hunt small game, including monkeys, and rival troupes even make war on each other in the wild. When early modern humans first spread out of Africa, they enjoyed a feast of game in the cold latitudes of Eurasia, where big, hairy beasts roamed the steppes and forests below the icefields. Trouble began when these ancestors of ours became too good at what they did. As their hunting craft grew deadlier, they thrived and multiplied. Eventually they were killing the game faster than it could breed, a problem worsened by natural climate change as the Ice Age began to lose its grip.
15 Today there are two species of wild camelid in South America (the vicuña and the guanaco) and two domesticates, the llama and the alpaca, which are closely related to, and thought to be descendants of, the guanaco.
16 Research on the earliest Peruvian cities is summarized by Mann, 1491, 174-203. They were growing not only food, but also large amounts of cotton and gourds for fishing nets and floats. In February 2008, monumental ruins at Sechín Bajo, including a round, sunken plaza, were dated by radiocarbon to between 3000 and 3500 B.C.
17 More productive and generally more numerous. See, for example, National Research Council, Lost Crops of the Incas, for a fascinating survey of “lost” Andean crops with modern potential.
18 Quoted in Viola and Margolis, Seeds of Change, 36-37. See also Pagden, Hernán Cortés.
19 Díaz, Conquest, 235. In later times, after the era of the conquistadors had passed, such statements would be dismissed as preposterous exaggerations, but modern archaeology has borne them out. For a whole generation after 1492, European explorers kept missing the American civilizations, both North and South, by a whisker—an accident of winds and currents. Mired in Caribbean islands and mangrove coasts, Columbus and others found simpler societies that did not match their expectations of what Asia should be. This “undiscovery” helped establish the image of America as backward and sparsely peopled. It was the equivalent of Mexicans crossing the Atlantic but getting stuck for twenty-five years on the Canary Islands and West African coast.
20 In central Mexico, the immediate forerunners of the Aztecs were the Toltecs, but the imperial model for both was the ancient city of Teotihuacan, which flourished between the first and seventh centuries A .D., with a population of perhaps a quarter million—about the same as that of Aztec Mexico City. More than two thousand years before the Aztecs, astronomy, mathematics and writing were invented from scratch and brought to high levels of refinement, especially by the Maya, who lived (as they still do) in the southeastern half of the Mesoamerican hourglass.
The Inca heartland around Cusco lay near the border between two forerunners: the Wari, who had controlled much of what is now modern Peru from a city of that name near Ayacucho between the sixth and eleventh centuries A .D., and Tiwanaku, a city on the shores of Lake Titicaca, which controlled highland Bolivia and parts of the Peruvian coast between the first and eleventh centuries A .D.
21 The Mexican capital lies at an altitude of more than 7,500 feet in the fertile Valley of Anahuac (or Mexico). It had begun as separate towns, called Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco, on a pair of small islands in the great shallow lake. As time went by, the islands were artificially extended and the city merged into one. The lakes were mostly drained in Spanish times, though enough remains at Xochimilco to give an idea of Aztec canals and chinampa, or “floating garden,” cultivation.
22 I make no excuses for the Aztecs, who slaughtered many thousands of war prisoners. However, Europeans, with their own record of mass killings—the Roman circus, the burning of heretics and witches, the Inquisition, and the Nazi death camps—are in a weak position to cast the first stone. At the games of Trajan, for example, five thousand men and eleven thousand animals were slaughtered in the Colosseum.
23 Clendinnen, Aztecs, 8.
24 See Luttwak, Grand Strategy, for a discussion of imperialism in the context of the Roman Empire; he refers to the two kinds as “hegemonic” and “territorial.” Clendinnen (Aztecs, 26) felicitously describes the Aztec structure as an “acrobats’ pyramid.”
25 Perhaps the best example is China, which identified itself with Heaven, assimilated enemies and ethnicities, gave opportunity to merit and drew its borders on the Earth in stone. Despite several periods of disintegration, China has lasted three thousand years.
26 The Quechua name breaks down as Tawa (four) with suyu (region, direction or division) joined by the suffix—ntin—denoting a set. It can also be translated as the Four Directions, the Four Corners of the World and the like.
27 This empire was the last of three great phases of Andean unification, which archaeologists call “horizons.” Beginning before 1000 B.C., the first two had each lasted between five hundred and a thousand years. There’s no knowing how long the Inca Empire would have endured if the outside world hadn’t overtaken it; my guess is that it might have done about the same.
28 Each ethnic group sought to control a range of ecological zones: seaside fishing grounds, irrigated desert valleys, temperate mountain terraces for maize, cool highland fields for potatoes and, higher still, pastures for llamas and alpacas—animals kept for wool, meat and pack trains.
29 Throughout their domain the Incas had built imperial cities, temples, and garrisons with standard architectural forms, linked by some fifteen thousand miles of paved roads; there were ambitious terracing, irrigation and warehousing projects; a government courier system; and an army of officials and statisticians, who ran the imperial economy, using quipu records. Some independent trade was carried on by member peoples, especially by ship along the coast, but the state economy was centrally planned. Kendall, Everyday Life of the Incas, 96-139, gives a good summary of Inca imperial practices (for road building, see p. 138). Urton (Signs of the Inka Khipu) gives evidence that the quipu system was complex enough to be deemed a form of writing, though no surviving quipu has yet been fully deciphered.
30 There was no slavery of the Old World type, but some conquered peoples were known as yanakuna (“the helpers”) and used for royal service and the working of imperial lands. However, yanakuna seem to have been well provided for and could rise to become “Incas by privilege” in the administration. The rest of the populace was taxed in the form of labour, providing ten or twenty days’ mit’a work each year. Women in the “nunneries” wove fine cloth, looked after temples and often became wives of royalty and high officials. These institutions were based on pan-Andean community practices. After the Spanish conquest, they did indeed become forms of slavery, especially the dreaded mit’a in the mines. The workload also became much heavier as the population collapsed.
31 Cieza de León, Crónica del Perú, vol. 2, 54-55.
32 Quoted in Clendinnen, Aztecs, 38; Pagden, Hernán Cortés, 75.
When the Spaniards marvelled that there were no beggars in Peru and wrote that the late Inca Huayna Capac had been a “great friend of the poor,” they were more or less right: one of his titles was waqchakuyak, meaning “he who cares for the poor or befriends those without kin.” Central Mexico has since become a mestizo nation of great vitality. But in the Andean republics—Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia—the events of the 1500s have yet to be resolved; the descendants of conquered and conqueror live together uneasily, like partners in a bad forced marriage.
During the dark centuries of colonial and postcolonial oppression, no major uprising in Mexico proposed a return to Aztec rule, but almost every revolt in Greater Peru, from the sixteenth century to the present, has aimed either to restore the Inca Empire or at least to invoke it as a golden age. For examples, see Millones, “Time of the Inca”; Gott, “Brave New World”; and Gott, Guerrilla Movements.
33 Bernal Díaz, who was there, says the Aztecs killed 860 Spaniards, including some deaths at Otumba. Of the sixty-nine horses, forty-six were lost, many killed and an unknown number captured (Díaz, Conquest, 305).
34 This point has been made by Borah and Cook, “Conquest and Population,” by Jennings (Invasion of America, 21) and J. Klor de Alva, cited in Thomas (Conquest of Mexico, 593). Thomas underplays both the scale of the Aztec victory in 1520 and the importance of smallpox in the Spanish recovery and eventual victory in 1521.
35 Francisco de Aguilar, ca.1525.
36 A Spanish friar, Toribio Motolinía, quoted in Crosby, Columbian Exchange, 52, estimated more than half in most provinces, adding: “They died in heaps like bedbugs.” The ruler killed by smallpox was Cuitlahuac, elected after Moctezuma died in Spanish custody. Spanish sources claim that Moctezuma was stoned to death by his people while appealing for calm from a palace rooftop; Aztec sources say he was either strangled or stabbed up the anus with a sword, execution methods the Spaniards favoured when they wished to avoid an obvious wound. See my Stolen Continents, 42, for sources.
37 Cook and Borah (Essays in Population History, vol. 1, viii, cited in Lovell, “‘Heavy Shadows and Black Night,’” 430) calculated a decline in Mexico from 25.2 million in 1518 to 2.7 million by 1568 to 1.1 million by 1605 and even lower by 1620—a total of more than 95 percent. Even if we were skeptically to deduct 10 million from their 1518 estimate, the decline would still be more than 92 percent.
38 Crosby, Columbian Exchange, 3. Crosby’s Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 is the seminal work on this subject. Crosby followed up The Columbian Exchange with Ecological Imperialism and Germs, Seeds, and Animals. His work has had a wide influence on later books such as William McNeill’s Plagues and Peoples, my own Stolen Continents, Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel and Charles C. Mann’s 1491.
39 Crosby, Ecological Imperialism, 200. Even fifty years later, in 1571-72, a short-lived Jesuit mission on the shores of Chesapeake Bay was wiped out, probably by the Powhatans, leaving no trace (Morison, European Discovery of America, 631).
40 Crosby, Ecological Imperialism, 201.
41 Prescott, History of the Conquest, 830. The rumours reached Balboa’s ears as early as 1511, spurring him to become the first European to cross the Isthmus of Panama and see the Pacific, in 1513. Once he was there, the local people, who probably traded with Inca shipping, gave him more detailed information, including drawings of llamas.
42 In Heyerdahl, Sea Routes, 99. See also Porras Barrenechea, Los Cronistas del Perú, 54-55.
43 Until the nineteenth century, they continued to go as far as the Galápagos in such craft, which could tack against the wind with centreboards. In ancient times they traded with Central America and perhaps with western Mexico. See Edwards, “Possibilities”; Heyerdahl and Skjolsvold, “Archaeological Evidence”; Heyerdahl, “Guara Navigation” and Sea Routes; and Hosler, “Ancient West Mexican Metallurgy.”
44 Pizarro, Relación del Descubrimiento, 50. Although we now use the word Inca loosely for ancient Peruvians in general, it was a title more than an ethnic term. The ruler was called Sapa Inca—the Inca—while members of the nobility, including commoners promoted for merit, also belonged to the Inca class.
45 It is possible that Huayna Capac had already died by then; if so, the plague had not yet reached this part of Peru, and the dynastic war between his sons had not begun. For more detail on this first plague, see Crosby, Columbian Exchange, 47-58, and Wright, Stolen Continents, 44-47, 72-83. Pizarro had briefly visited the Peruvian port of Tumbez twice in 1527, about a year after his pilot Ruiz boarded the oceangoing Inca balsa near the equator. However, it is unlikely that Pizarro’s own men or the captive Peruvian seamen who guided him to Tumbez brought the first pandemic that killed Huayna Capac, as the chronicles make no mention of illness during the several months Pizarro spent on this first scouting of the Peruvian coast.
In 1527 smallpox hit the native population of Panama so severely that the Spaniards began taking slaves from outlying regions (Crosby, Columbian Exchange, 51). It seems more likely, then, that the pestilence made its way south from Panama overland, crossing the Inca frontier in southern Colombia and sweeping through the empire shortly after Pizarro had left—late in 1527 or early in 1528.
The fullest account of the early voyages to Peru is still to be found in Prescott’s classic History of the Conquest of Peru (1847). Hemming, in his definitive Conquest of the Incas (1983), gives the best modern account. The precise dating of the various incidents mentioned by the chroniclers is still uncertain. It is known that Pizarro was back in Panama by the spring of 1528 and that he arrived in Spain to plead for royal support in the middle of that year.
46 This is my own speculation, based on circumstantial evidence. Given Pizarro’s wariness in 1527 and his conscious emulation of Cortés, it seems unlikely that he would have risked an invasion with his famously small army unless he had heard that a plague like Mexico’s had struck Peru (at 160 soldiers, his army was only an eighth the size of Cortés’s force that was beaten by the Aztecs in 1520). The rumour mill along native shipping routes could have brought this news to Panama during the three years before Pizarro set sail in December 1530.
47 The pandemic “consumed the greater part” of the Inca court, according to the chronicler Murúa. Quoted in Hemming, Conquest of the Incas, 28.
48 San Miguel, now the city of Piura.
49 Pizarro, Relación del Descubrimiento, 49-50.
50 See Cook, Demographic Collapse, and Lovell, “‘Heavy Shadows and Black Night.’”Cook suggests 14 million Inca subjects before contact: 9 million within what is now Peru plus another 5 million elsewhere in the empire. The area with the 9 million had fallen to about 0.6 million a century later—a drop of 93 percent. Cook notes that the people of the coastal valleys were “almost completely wiped out”—a statement supported by the eyewitness chronicler Cieza de León.
51 Atahuallpa (or Atahualpa): in modern Quechua spelling, the name is usually written as Atau Wallpa.
52 Pizarro, Relación del Descubrimiento, 31. Hernando Pizarro (a brother of Francisco) adds that when he and the Inca met, Atahuallpa “smiled as someone who did not think much of us” (quoted in Hemming, Conquest of the Incas, 35). The smile came on the first day at the Cajamarca baths, after the Inca heard boasts of Spanish valour.
53 Miguel de Estete, quoted in Hemming, Conquest of the Incas, 45.
54 On their first visit to Tumbes, Pizarro’s men had demonstrated the arquebus (a heavy matchlock musket) by firing at a wooden target.
55 Titu Kusi Yupanki, Relación, 15-16. See note 59, below.
56 In Lockhart and Otte, Letters and People, 5-6.
57 Titu Kusi Yupanki, Relación, 18: “ni tampoco tenían armas, porque no las habían traído, por el poco caso que hiçieron de los españoles.”
58 Modern writers have become too fond of portraying this moment as the beginning and end of conquest, a shocking materialization of bearded desperadoes (wrongly said to have been mistaken for gods) in the heart of an empire sealed until the very instant of its death. It wasn’t so, as the first-hand accounts from both sides make clear. Presumably Atahuallpa thought that the large army he had encamped on the surrounding hills was an adequate deterrent. But his men could not counterattack without endangering the Inca’s life. If not a Bible, the book may have been a breviary (a priest’s prayer and hymn book) or the text of the Requirement, a document offering the choice of submission to Christ and king, or death. I doubt the hoary notion that Atahuallpa tossed the book away because he didn’t understand writing. He knew about encoded information, having quipus full of statistics that were read out loud by experts as well as qillqa (a Quechua word now used for writing), said to have been painted historical and genealogical scenes. Surviving Incas claimed that quipus could also record events. The scholar Gary Urton now thinks that the system had as many distinct “signs” as Sumerian cuneiform and should be considered a form of writing (see Urton, Signs of the Inka Khipu). Atahuallpa’s spies had almost certainly told him about the Spanish reverence for holy writ and may have sent him examples of Spanish paperwork, so he must have known that the Bible had great religious meaning to the Spaniards. His nephew Titu Kusi Yupanki says in his Relación that when Soto and others visited the Inca on the day before the massacre, he had given them a ceremonial drink: cups of chicha, which they had tipped on the ground, fearing poison; Atahuallpa threw down the Spanish book in return for that insult.
59 In Lockhart and Otte, Letters and People, 5-6. The number may be exaggerated, but Titu Kusi Yupanki says ten thousand died, with fewer than two hundred survivors.
60 Indigenous chronicler and illustrator Waman Puma de Ayala shows the conversation in a drawing, though he puts the words into the mouths of Huayna Capac and Pedro de Candía, who never met each other. For symbolic effect, each is speaking his own language: Kay qoritachu mikhunki? Este oro comemos! (Waman Puma de Ayala, Nueva Corónica, vol. 2, 343). Thomas (Conquest of Mexico, 557-58) mentions a Tarascan leader in Mexico who asked the same question.
61 The Aztecs sometimes used gold as convertible wealth, though the main currencies in Mesoamerica were bronze and cacao.
62 It is generally thought that gold and silver had no monetary value to the Incas, but they seem to have been items of foreign trade: among the thirty tons of goods on the Inca balsa boarded in 1526 were “small weights to weigh gold, resembling Roman workmanship” (Porras Barrenechea, Los Cronistas del Perú, 54-55).
63 Diego de Almagro arrived at Cajamarca with another 150 men in April 1533. See Hemming, Conquest of the Incas, 71.
64 As a bonus for himself, Pizarro kept the Inca’s palanquin, made with 183 pounds of gold.
65 The official haul in Mexico was much less—perhaps a ton—and the amount was disputed, many claiming that Cortés had hidden a large hoard. An unknown quantity of gold was lost when the Spaniards fled in 1520, its weight drowning many who fell in the city’s canals.
66 See Hemming, Conquest of the Incas, 73, 570, and Prescott, History of the Conquest, 364-65, 964-66. At Cusco there was so much fine silver that it was worth somewhat more than the 3 tons of gold (at the time). My rough calculation (gold only) is as follows. Total Cajamarca and Cusco gold taken in 1533: 1,914,805 pesos de oro. That is about 20,000 lbs., or 9,000 kg, which = 24,000 troy pounds, or 290,000 troy ounces. And 290,000 troy ounces × US$1,000 = $290 million.
Forbes magazine counted 946 billionaires in 2007, with a combined net worth of about $3.5 trillion. Gates, at $56 billion, was top for the thirteenth straight year; Warren Buffett was number 2 with $52 billion. In 2008, Gates fell to third place, though his worth rose to $58 billion; Buffett made number 1 at $62 billion. The total number of billionaires rose to more than 1,100.
67 Smith, however, did not understand the historical role of the New World civilizations, whose existence he dismissed as “in a great measure fabulous” (Smith, Wealth of Nations, 308). He was speaking only of mining output and seems never to have considered where the labour, local knowledge and infrastructure came from.
68 Prescott estimates the Cajamarca gold alone—1,326,539 pesos de oro—at £3.5 million sterling in his day.
69 Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, vol. 3, gives the reserve as £8.5 million in 1845 and £8 million in 1865 (341). By 1906 it was £23.5 million. In 1899, the entire output of the Klondike goldrush at its height was £2.8 million (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, vol. 12, 194).
70 Hemming, Conquest of the Incas, 68. Both silver and copper horseshoes were made by Inca smiths at Xauxa (Jauja) in 1533. The practice continued for some years, especially as the paving blocks on Inca roads wore out even iron shoes quickly. The Spaniards deliberately wrecked thousands of miles of roads by tearing up the pavement to expose the softer underlay. Metals had been worked in Peru for three thousand years (longer than in Japan). The Incas made extensive use of bronze but had little iron, except perhaps from meteorites (there was a Quechua word for iron).
71 It is often said that Peru was conquered with the overthrow of Atahuallpa in 1532. But the United Four Quarters did not go down without a fight. The empire took forty more years to die, until the last Inca stronghold fell in 1572 and Viceroy Toledo beheaded Tupa Amaru before a weeping crowd in Cusco.
In 1780 a descendant of Tupa Amaru took the name Tupa Amaru II and tried to reinstate Inca rule. The rebellion lasted three years and may have cost two hundred thousand lives; it came close to ending Spanish rule in Peru and, by exposing both Spain’s weakness and the revival of Indian strength, led first to suppression of the Inca colonial elite and then to the white and mestizo revolts that established the Latin American republics in the early nineteenth century. The name of Tupa Amaru (or Tupac Amaru) has since become a watchword for South American revolutionaries, adopted by the Tupamaro guerrillas of Uruguay, Peru’s Velasco government (1968-75), the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement of the 1990s and others. (It was also adopted, in part, by the late rap musician Tupac Shakur.)
72 Mancio Sierra (who is said to have gambled away a great image of the sun), writing in 1589.
73 Thompson, Making of the English Working Class, 12.
74 La Misère de la philosophie [Poverty of Philosophy, 1847], excerpted in Marx, Karl Marx, 137-38.
75 Croesus, a king of Lydia in Asia Minor, is credited with inventing money in the sixth century B.C., and some Greek states had coinage in early Classical times. But a general currency did not appear in Western Europe until the Roman Empire.
76 Ferdinand and Maximilian of Germany are both singled out for their insolvency in Prescott, History of Conquest, 365n.
77 Gunpowder, the compass, cast iron and block printing were all Chinese inventions. In his recent survey of world exploration, Felipe Fernández-Armesto writes that “an observer of the world in the fifteenth century would surely have forecast that the Chinese would precede all other peoples in the discovery of world-girdling, transoceanic routes” (Fernández-Armesto, Pathfinders, 115). China and Europe went exploring at about the same time, and it’s telling to compare the scale of their efforts. Columbus took ninety men in three ships, two of which carried no more freight than an Inca balsa—about 30 or 40 tons. The Chinese admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) sailed the Indian Ocean with more than 280 ships, the biggest displacing 3,000 tons. Of Zheng He’s many voyages, there is independent confirmation for at least one: in 1414 a Chinese fleet got as far as the Red Sea, causing a sensation in Jeddah and Cairo. Had China continued to probe the unknown, Atahuallpa’s gold might have ended up in Shanghai instead of Seville.
78 Kamen, Spain’s Road to Empire, 88. King Charles I of Spain was also the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. More German than Spanish, he is famous for saying, “I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.” By Charles’s own calculation, he was suddenly 800,000 ducats richer with “the timely arrival of the gold from Peru and other parts” (ibid., 88). By my reckoning, based on Hemming’s conversions, 800,000 ducats was about 664,000 pesos de oro and is roughly 20 percent (the king’s fifth) of the Peruvian loot from 1533.
79 See Ross, ed., Codex Mendoza, for an example of Aztec tribute records copied by Mexican scribes for Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza (1535-50).
80 Rodrigo de Loaisa, 1586, quoted in Hemming, Conquest of the Incas, 372.
81 Large amounts of quicksilver were needed for the toxic but effective amalgam process of silver extraction. Potosí is 14,000 thousand feet up in the highlands of what is now Bolivia. For good summaries of labour and mining conditions, see Hemming, Conquest of the Incas, 404-10, and Werlich, Peru, 42-47. In theory, under Spanish law, the mitayos were to be paid a fair wage; in practice they usually received so little that they had to buy their own food and even their candles during the long periods they spent in the mines. Hemming gives details of Viceroy Toledo’s forced labour law of 1570 (declaring mining to be in the public interest of “the mother country”) and of the contemporary outcry against both this legalized slavery and the inhuman mining conditions; the Archbishop of Lima, who had initially approved the law, later wrote to the king: “For the love of God, let Your Highness order [its] revocation.” But the laws stayed in effect and the levies were never officially reduced, though the subject population dwindled to way below its 1570 level. The period of mit’a service, in fact, was lengthened to as much as one whole year in four (far higher than the Incas had ever demanded).
If we take the figure of 16,500 working at any one time (3,000 mitayos at Huancavelica and 13,500 at Potosí) and estimate that one in four men died per year at or from the work—probably a low guess—more than a million would have died at these two mines alone over 270 years. Hemming (Conquest of the Incas, 409) notes that by the mid-seventeenth century, the population of the provinces subject to the mining mit’a had fallen by more than three-quarters, though not all these people had died—many had fled. Wolf, Europe, 133-49, gives a good, brief summary of the European impact on native populations.
82 The 1533 official total was roughly 3.1 million pesos (or 1.4 billion maravedis) counting Cajamarca and Cusco, both gold and silver (see Hemming, Conquest of the Incas, 570 and 609). In the years between Potosí’s discovery in 1545 and 1574, 70 million pesos were extracted, and a further 35 million between 1574 and 1585. The quicksilver mined at Huancavelica in central Peru was taken to Potosí and even to silver mines in Mexico, to be used in the amalgam refining process. Production from Potosí later rose to 7.6 million pesos yearly, accounting for more than 70 percent of all New World silver (see Kamen, Spain’s Road to Empire, 286-87, and Richards, ed., Precious Metals). By the mid-seventeenth century, the boomtown of Potosí had a population of one hundred and fifty thousand—one of the largest in Christendom (Hemming, Conquest of the Incas, 407).
83 Smith, Wealth of Nations, 313-14. His numbers are 1,101,107 troy pounds of silver at 62 shillings (£3.1) a pound and 49,940 troy pounds of gold at 44.5 guineas (about £47) a pound—that is, £3.4 million in silver and £2.35 million in gold. He adds an eighth to the above for smuggled metal. These figures do not include direct exports to Asia from the Americas.
84 Cross, “South American Bullion Production,” 404-5, cited in Kamen, Spain’s Road to Empire, 286.
85 Philip boasted of Potosí that “this lofty mountain of silver could conquer the whole world” (Hemming, Conquest of the Incas, 407).
86 The friar was writing in 1630. Quoted in Kamen, Spain’s Road to Empire, 286. To this end, the metal was hocked to foreign lenders before it was dug from the ground; Charles alone borrowed the equivalent of eight Inca treasures, mostly from Genoese and German bankers (ibid., 89).
87 The spirit of the conquistadors lived on for some time in the China Sea. Latter-day Pizarros boasted that a thousand Christians would be enough to conquer Siam and that six thousand could take over the Chinese Empire. But it was nothing more than talk.
88 The Eighty Years’ War (1566-1648) in the Netherlands to subdue Protestant and nationalist revolts became Castile’s Iraq or Vietnam. See Jamieson’s article “America’s Eighty Years War?”
89 Prescott, History of the Conquest, 967.
90 Wright, A Short History of Progress, 113.
91 By the 1760s about one-hundredth of the entire output of New World mines was being consumed annually by the factories of Birmingham alone (Smith, Wealth of Nations, 314). Smith seems to mean the literal consumption of gold and silver in Birmingham’s manufactured goods, rather than the capitalization of industry in general. I have deducted about a fifth to represent Portugal’s share, which Smith included in his total landed in Iberia.
92 These were condensing beam engines for pumping water (see Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, vol. 28, 415). Four times more efficient than Newcomen’s old design, Watt’s engine gave the flooding tin mines of Cornwall a new lease on life.
93 Gardner, Grendel, 63.
94 Ponting, A Green History, 103.
95 As recently as 1900, there were only sixteen cities with a population of 1 million or more in the world; now there are at least four hundred.
96 Fertilizers also played a role. Guano and nitrates, though of natural origin, were the first “industrial” fertilizers, imported mainly from Peru, Chile and Pacific islands, beginning soon after 1800. Guano (from the Inca word wanu, meaning “manure”) was yet another of Peru’s gifts to the world. Manufactured chemical fertilizers became common about one hundred years ago, as natural deposits were worked out.
97 The period lies neatly between two hefty intellectual bookends: Newton’s Principia Mathematica (1687) and Lyell’s Principles of Geology (1830-33).
98 Thomas Newcomen’s atmospheric (vacuum or condensing) steam engine of 1711 was based on a 1698 design by Thomas Savery, with whom he shared the patent; it was used for pumping water from mines. James Watt developed a better type of engine from this design, which he patented in 1769 and produced near Birmingham in the 1770s; he coined the word horsepower and was honoured by having a unit of electrical power named after him. Richard Arkwright patented a water-powered spinning machine in 1769 and soon established huge cotton mills, pioneering the modern factory system. Isambard Kingdom Brunel built bridges, railways and ships, including the Great Western of 1838, the first transatlantic steamship, and the gigantic Great Eastern of 1858, the biggest ship afloat until the twentieth century.
99 In the same 1972 book in which he documented the collapse of native America from Old World germs after 1492, Alfred Crosby also explored the role of New World crops in the modern population boom. “The number of human beings on this planet today,” he wrote, “would be a good deal smaller but for the horticultural skills of the neolithic American” (Crosby, Columbian Exchange, 202). In the thirty-six years since those words were written, mankind has doubled. Crosby cites the precedent of William McNeill’s The Rise of the West (627-28) in suggesting this connection. See also McNeill’s “American Food Crops.”
The following English words all come from American languages: maize, potato, tomato, squash, chocolate, quinoa, avocado, chile, manioc, guava and cashew. Many other American foods—peanuts, beans, the pineapple, turkeys—came without their names, and many terms are highly distorted: avocado, for instance, began as the Aztec ahuacacuahuitl, meaning “testicle tree.” Native American names that eluded English survive in other European languages—above all, Spanish. Two different species of wild peanut may have been developed independently in the Old World and the New, and the same may also be true of cotton. Long before Columbus, the sweet potato had made its way west across the Pacific on Peruvian balsas or Polynesian catamarans, and it is known as far away as New Zealand by its Andean name, kumara. Some foods were named for the way stations with which they became associated. In English these items are mainly American animals: the turkey, the guinea fowl and the guinea pig (a food, not a pet, in its South American homeland).
100 See Braudel, Structures, 74. Cassava was first shown to Henry VIII in about 1540 by Roger Barlow, who explained how to prepare bitter manioc, which is poisonous unless processed correctly, in his Brief Summe of Geographie, written about 1541. It is little eaten in cold climes today, except as tapioca pudding.
101 In 1905 the United States devoted 94 million acres to maize, yielding some 29 bushels an acre, for a total of 2.7 billion bushels; in the same year, wheat acreage was 48 million acres, half that of maize, yielding 14.5 bushels per acre for a total of 693 million bushels (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, vol. 1, s.v. “Agriculture,” 418-19).
102 A useful (if slightly dated) discussion of American crops can be found in Braudel, Structures, 158-71.
103 I have relied mainly on Crosby (Columbian Exchange, 165-207) for the above information as well as on McNeill, “American Food Crops,” 42-59, and Hall, “Savoring Africa,” 160-71. When Marie-Antoinette’s compatriot Crèvecoeur, the self-styled American Farmer, returned to France, he was among those who championed the Inca staple. Regarded in the sixteenth century as an aphrodisiac, then feared (from its look) as a bringer of leprosy, the potato caught on first among the poor, as reflected in Van Gogh’s painting The Potato Eaters.
104 Walter Raleigh had planted the first potatoes on his Irish estate in the 1580s, his ships bringing them from North Carolina. Two hundred years later, Frederick the Great fought a Potato War with Russia over army food supplies.
105 The quotation and numbers are from Crosby, Columbian Exchange, 183. He gives figures of 3.2 million Irish in 1754 rising to 8.2 million in 1845 plus a further 1.75 million who emigrated during that time. Unlike the Peruvians, who had (and have) hundreds of potato varieties, the Irish had introduced only one; indeed, it may be that all the potatoes on the island were clones of the same founder plant—and the lack of genetic variety made them uniquely vulnerable. Lundy (Men, 19, 143) suggests a figure of 1 million deaths from the great blight and the associated cholera. He notes that there had been severe Irish famines early in the eighteenth century, inspiring Swift’s mordant 1729 satire, A Modest Proposal.
106 Maize may also have been introduced to Asia by Portuguese traders.
107 In Mexico and Peru, most of the decline happened in the first one hundred years; in much of North America it was more gradual but more complete, as contact with whites took about three hundred years to take its toll from sea to sea.
108 Crosby (Columbian Exchange, 166) gives a world population table, broken down by region, from 1650 to 1950. It took thirteen centuries for the world’s inhabitants to double from about 200 million at the height of the Roman Empire to 400 million by A .D. 1500. The next doubling, by about 1775, took only a quarter of that time, despite the loss of up to 90 million in the Western Hemisphere from smallpox and the like.
109 Clean drinking water and safe sewers were not widely available, even in the most advanced countries, until late Victorian times.
110 Quoted in Thompson, Making of the English Working Class, 231.
111 Poor Law Commissioners Report of 1836, quoted in Thompson, Making of the English Working Class, 223.
112 Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, vol. 26, 46.
113 The amount of sugar consumed by the average Briton rose fivefold between 1860 and 1890 (Manning, Oil We Eat, 43).
114 The term world market was used by Marx and others from the mid-nineteenth century to mean what we now less elegantly call “globalization.”
115 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 461.
Chapter 3 - Very Well Peopled and Towned
1Wright, Stolen Continents, 84.
2 Baldwin, American Quest, 117.
3 Limerick, Something in the Soil, 33-34.
4 Adams, Epic of America, 4. The same author is credited with coining the phrase “the American Dream” (in the same book).
5 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 27.
6 For a recent book devoted to this subject and covering the hemisphere, see Charles C. Mann’s 2005 Ancient Americans (published in the United States as 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus).
7 His birthplace is disputed. If it was not Florence itself, it may have been Lyons, France, where a colony of Florentine bankers and merchants had settled. The name is sometimes spelled Verrazano. See Wroth, Voyages of Verrazzano, for a definitive study of the explorer, his voyages and writings, and the map making based on them.
8 Morison, European Discovery of America, 293-95. The Arcadian hill became bald long before the Wright brothers made their test flights there in the early 1900s.
9 See Wroth, Voyages of Verrazzano, 123-43, for both a transcription and a translation of the original Italian narrative.
10 Heavily populated is “terra . . . molto popolata,” and the rest, “andavano discorrendo da l’una et l’altra parte al numero di xxx di loro barchette con infinite gente” (see Wroth, Voyages of Verrazzano, 127).
11 The houses were evidently of the domed wigwam type: “14 to 15 paces across, made of bent saplings . . . covered with cleverly worked mats” (Wroth, Voyages of Verrazzano, 139).
12 The “league” was a maddeningly vague measure, its definitions ranging from 2.2 to 3.18 English nautical miles (see Morison, European Discovery of America, 288n). I am reckoning 3 leagues as about 10 land miles.
13 Wroth, Voyages of Verrazzano, 139. It seems remarkable that he learned so much in a couple of weeks, but it was spring, so planting rituals may have been carried out while he was there. His mention of the Pleiades lends credence to the account, as this constellation was (and is) very important in both Mesoamerica and the Andes. He called the crops legumi and described them as “excellent and delicious.” Given the earliness of the season, these were probably dried beans and corn kept from the previous year; the absence of standing crops may explain why he gives no description of the plants themselves.
14 These are the most likely candidates for the languages spoken at Quebec and Montreal, respectively. It is possible that both towns spoke Huron at this early date, though Mohawks were certainly living in the Montreal area a century or so later. The Iroquoian family includes all six tongues of the Iroquois Confederacy as well as its great rivals, the Huron to the north and the Cherokee far to the south.
15 My translation from Cartier, Relations, 150-53.
16 Cartier, Voyages of Jacques Cartier, 61. See Morison, European Discovery of America, 412, for Ramusio’s plan of the centre, which he calls a “city.” Cartier calls Hochelaga a ville, which should be translated as “town,” not “village” as many English versions have it. See Cartier, Relations,and Cartier, Voyages en Nouvelle-France, for the original French and a transcription in modern French, respectively. The name Hochelaga seems to have been a form of Osheaga, meaning “Great Rapids” (Cartier, Relations, 372, n. 299).
17 Cartier returned once more to Stadacona (Quebec City) in 1541. By that time only one of the ten Quebeckers he had taken to France was still alive, and he dared not repatriate her lest she reveal what had happened.
18 The Spanish arquebus of this period was a heavy and inaccurate weapon fired by a match-lock, or smouldering wick. It did not work well in the rain.
19 One of the chroniclers, Elvas, says as much. See Clayton et al., De Soto Chronicles, vol. 1, 84.
20 Beans were planted to grow up the corn stems, fix nitrogen and provide proteins lacking in the maize; the broad-leafed squash kept down the weeds. Maize is most nutritious when combined with small amounts of lime, as in nixtamal, the Mexican tortilla dough. New discoveries keep pushing back the origins of New World agriculture; already-domesticated maize was recently dated to 6,250 years ago (see Science, November 14, 2003). Domestication of beans and squash in both Mexico and South America (and of potatoes in the latter) was earlier than that of maize, starting ten thousand years ago.
21 The first corn in the area that is now the United States may have been grown as early as 3500 B.C. in New Mexico, but these early cultigens were low-yield, and the plant did not become the primary staple until later. See Waldman, Atlas, 28-29, for good maps of maize use in the United States.
22 I shall use “North America” colloquially, not geographically, to mean everything north of modern Mexico. The Cahokia Mound (the biggest of 120 that once stood in the city) covers 16 acres—3 more acres than the Great Pyramid—but is only a fourth of the latter’s height. The largest ancient structure in the world is at Cholula, Mexico, being greater in volume than the Great Pyramid of Egypt, though squatter. The Maya Temple IV, built in the eighth century at the city of Tikal, Guatemala, was the tallest building in the Americas until the late nineteenth century, when it was surpassed by the Washington Capitol dome and the Flatiron Building in New York.
23 Inca Garcilaso, a cousin of Atahuallpa, was born in Cusco in 1539 to a conquistador and a niece of Huayna Capac. Of the four Soto chronicles, Garcilaso’s work La Florida del Inca, though the best written, is thought to be the least reliable, because it was done at second hand years after the events. Romantic and colourful, it has the merit of being written by a gifted man who thought deeply about the tragic collision between America and Europe, which had produced him.
24 See James A . Robertson’s 1933 notes in Clayton et al., De Soto Chronicles, vol. 1, 173-219, for convincing identifications and discussion of the names. Citing Mary Ross, he favours Columbia, South Carolina, rather than Augusta, as the likely site of Cofitachiqui’s capital. Several mentions of the same town or chiefdom by other sixteenth- and seventeenth-century travellers are also discussed. Talimeco may well be the Creek word Talimiko, meaning “head town” or “capital” (ibid., 195-99). The locations and routes in the Soto chronicles are still hotly mooted. In general, I find Mooney’s (Myths of the Cherokee) and Robertson’s old identifications more plausible than recent ones such as Hudson’s (Knights of Spain). Writing at the end of the nineteenth century, Mooney knew the country, place names, ancient remains and native traditions intimately and wrote before modern disturbance by dams, roads, industrial farming and urban sprawl. The same is true of Robertson. It makes sense to assume that most major pre-Columbian settlements are unlikely to be found by archaeology, as they lie beneath modern ones. The spelling of Cofitachiqui and other names in the Soto chronicles varies widely.
25 Clayton et al., De Soto Chronicles, vol. 1, 278 (Rangel).
26 Ibid., 278-80 (Rangel).
27 Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, La Florida, 339-45. See also Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, La Florida del Inca, 220ff., and Clayton et al., De Soto Chronicles, vol. 2, 297-303.
28 South American metallurgists (with whose work Soto was certainly familiar) did indeed make an alloy of bronze and gold called tumbaga; the surface was treated with acid, which leached away the cheaper metals, leaving a golden surface that took a high polish.
29 Clayton et al., De Soto Chronicles, vol. 1, 85 (Elvas).
31 Guaxule (or Guasili) was probably in the Cherokee lands of northern Georgia. Some chroniclers say that the Indians didn’t eat dogs themselves, but others refer to small dogs raised for food as in Mexico. There are also many references to “chickens.” Some were wild turkeys, but others may have been the domesticated turkey, also of Mexican origin.
32 “Chiaha was where these Spaniards first found the towns palisaded. Chiaha gave them five hundred tamemes [bearers], and they consented to leave off collars and chains” (Clayton et al., De Soto Chronicles, vol. 1, 283 [Rangel]).
33 Either under or near the modern city of that name.
34 Hudson gives a full and lively account of the battle in Knights of Spain, 238-45.
35 Female rulers like the Lady of Cofitachiqui are not mentioned elsewhere. Queenship may have been the rule in her polity or she may have come to power, as Atahuallpa had in Peru, after a pandemic of European origin swept away the established leadership.
36 Clayton et al., De Soto Chronicles, vol. 1, 134 (Elvas). The wit (or his chiefdom or both) was named Quigaltam, and his capital town was somewhere between Natchez and Winterville. The Natchez rulers on the Mississippi, who were still living on top of ancestral mounds when met by the French in the eighteenth century, styled themselves “Great Sun.” See Hudson, Knights of Spain, 420.
37 Bourne, Narratives of De Soto, vol. 1, 66 (Elvas), and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, La Florida del Inca, 220, 229.
38 See Jennings, Invasion of America, 30.
39 Later in life, Raleigh did go up the Orinoco River in South America, searching for El Dorado, where Columbus had sensed the breast-shaped presence of the Earthly Paradise. See Author’s Foreword, n. 5.
40 In 1590 Raleigh was openly accused of atheism, which was tantamount to treason in the young days of the Church of England.
41 Morison, European Discovery of America, 632-33.
42 Hakluyt, quoted in Jennings, Invasion of America, 76. This correspondent is the elder of two cousins, both named Richard Hakluyt, who sometimes worked together on Elizabethan ventures in America. Among other distinctions, the younger Hakluyt (geographer, historian and travel writer) collected maps and documents, including the famous Codex Mendoza, an Aztec glyphic book of tribute records and Mexican history with a Spanish commentary, commissioned by the first Spanish viceroy of Mexico for King Charles I (a.k.a. the Emperor Charles V). Before it reached Spain, the book was taken with other booty by a French warship, later sold to Hakluyt in Paris and left by him to Samuel Purchas. It is now in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. See Ross, ed., Codex Mendoza.
43 Lane, quoted in Jennings, Invasion of America, 76.
44 Morison, European Discovery of America, 647.
45 Quoted in Morison, European Discovery of America, 624.
46 Lane and other Englishmen resorted to eating dogs while exploring the Chowan River in March 1586 (Morison, European Discovery of America, 646).
47 Morison, European Discovery of America, 642.
48 Ibid., 648-49. “Preventive war” is Morison’s phrase here.
49 Descendants of the Croatoan Indians claim that their ancestors intermarried with survivors. Morison (European Discovery of America, 677) favours this explanation. See also Thornton, American Indian Holocaust, 68.
Chapter 4 - Religion and Profit Jump Together
1Quoted in Woolley, Savage Kingdom, 408.
2 Melville, Confidence Man, 191.
3 Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
4 Not all empires were as nakedly exploitive as the Aztec Empire, but throughout history the list of subject peoples who have chosen to stay in an empire when they had the means for independence is a short one.
5 The Spanish installed themselves at the top of existing social pyramids and used these indigenous structures for their own purposes. This system continued until the late nineteenth century, when the Latin American republics began to encourage European immigration and agricultural exports, expropriating Indian lands and using Indian labour—often forced—to work the farms. Even today, millions of landless or land-hungry peasants survive as migrants on cotton, coffee and sugar estates, above all in Guatemala.
6 Limerick, Something in the Soil, 33.
7 Only about one hundred thousand Europeans are thought to have crossed the Atlantic to Spanish America in the whole of the sixteenth century. Parry, cited in Jennings, Invasion of America, 32.
8 Parkman, Jesuits in North America, 418, quoted in Jennings, Invasion of America, 85.
9 Limerick, Something in the Soil, 53.
10 The venture was organized by the London Company (later renamed the Virginia Company) under a charter from King James.
11 Woolley, Savage Kingdom, 24.
12 Quoted in Conn, American Literature, 6.
13 Robert Beverley, writing in 1705, quoted in Thornton, American Indian Holocaust, 68.
14 The word tribe as a description of American ethnic groups is highly problematic, though it is still used by the United States as an official term. In general I try to avoid it. However, the members of the Powhatan Confederacy do not seem large enough to be called nations, as estimates of their combined population range from fifteen to thirty thousand. Whatever the figure in 1607, it would have been much higher before 1520.
15 Woolley, Savage Kingdom, 70, 126. The site of Powhatan’s Tower is uncertain, nor is it known whether the structure was natural, artificial or both. It may have been what is now Tree Hill on the outskirts of modern Richmond. If so, it is no longer steep enough to suggest a “tower.”
16 Quoted in Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 65.
17 Brookhiser, “America at 400,” 28.
18 McLuhan, Touch the Earth, 66. See also Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 43, 68 (modernization differs slightly).
19 George Percy, quoted in Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 68 (spelling modernized).
20 Captain Butler, quoted in Jennings, Invasion of America, 79 (spelling modernized).
21 Refutation to Butler, quoted in Jennings, Invasion of America, 79, n. 66.
22 Cooke wrote the satirical poem “The Sot-weed Factor” (the tobacco merchant) in the 1700s, and in 1960 Barth took the title for his sparkling novel of colonial Maryland. Jamestown is also known for “Jimson” weed, a poisonous and psychotropic datura that was eaten by starving settlers—to their great surprise and distress.
23 Woolley, Savage Kingdom, 186.
24 Weatherford, Native Roots, 119-20. The 1619 figure (20,000 lb.) is in Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, vol. 28, 122. The original Thirteen Colonies had all taken at least embryonic shape by the 1740s. In rough north-to-south order, they were New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut (known together as New England), New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
25 For the White Lyon, see Woolley, Savage Kingdom, 363. Jennings writes that, with tobacco, “the colonists . . . now coveted their neighbours’ cleared lands more than their company” (Invasion of America, 78). Indentured labour was (and is) a form of thralldom based on the working off of costs and advances. Poor whites were bound to work seven years in return for their passage and board.
26 Jennings (Invasion of America, 78) notes that there are no surviving deeds or any other legal mechanism for alienating land from the Indians during this period. It appears that the number of whites in the colony doubled between 1618 and 1622, suggesting that land was taken by force.
27 Gilbert (1539-1583), a cultured man drawn to New World voyaging by Thomas More’s Utopia, had fought in Ireland in 1569 with a “savagery and cruelty” notable even for his day: “The heddes of all those [Irish] which were killed [were] laied on the ground . . . so that none should come into his tente for any cause but commonly he must passe through a lane of heddes which he used ad terrorem” (Jennings, Invasion of America, 168; see also Morison, European Discovery of America, 565).
28 For example, Foster (Jeffersonian America, 40) mentions native torture and revenge cannibalism. A British envoy to the United States before 1812, Foster also makes the point that “the said species of revenge, however, is not unknown even to [European] Christians; at Naples . . . men and even women having been seen eating of the hearts and drinking the blood of their fellow creatures from . . . hatred and revenge.”
29 This right of indigenous people to self-defence is amply illustrated by the writings of the early sixteenth-century clerical scholar Bartolomé de las Casas, who witnessed the conquistadors in action, and by the Spaniards’ curious legal fiction, devised in 1514, of reading out the Requirement,a document offering foreign peoples the option of “voluntary” submission or conquest. See Wright, Stolen Continents, 65-66, for a partial English translation.
30 The prophet’s name was Nemattanew, though he was called Jack of Feathers by the English (Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 70). Very few Powhatans had followed Pocahontas’s example of conversion to Christianity. And the colony, despite injunctions in its charter and the raising of funds at home for the purpose, had made little effort to spread the Word among the heathen.
31 He was charged with murdering a white trader, but this was probably just a pretext for getting rid of him.
32 Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 71.
33 The war of 1622 should really be called the “first” Powhatan War, as there was a second and final round in the 1640s.
34 Quoted in Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 69.
35 Edward Waterhouse, quoted in Jennings, Invasion of America, 80.
36 Waterhouse went on to recommend the means: “By force, by surprise, by famine in burning their corn, by destroying and burning their boats, canoes, and houses, by breaking their fishing weirs . . . by pursuing and chasing them with our horses, and bloodhounds . . . and mastiffs to tear them” (Waterhouse 1622, quoted in Woolley, Savage Kingdom, 397).
37 Alexander Whitaker, quoted in Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 66.
38 Jennings, Invasion of America, 80.
39 Quoted in ibid., 77.
40 Quoted in Jennings, Invasion of America, 80.
41 Quoted in ibid., 81-82.
42 Throughout history, nomads have seldom been acknowledged to have rights. They are still being persecuted by governments in places as diverse as Canada, India and Botswana.
43 The falsehood of this statement could be shown in sources available at the time—notably, the writings of the naturalist William Bartram. In the 1770s, for instance, he described the Cherokee ruins he saw at Keowee. See Bartram, Travels, 270.
44 Edward Winslow, quoted in Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 78.
45 His name is also given as Tisquantum. He was from the eastern end of the Wampanoag territory, while Verrazzano’s landing had been at the western end, near the border with the Wampanoag’s traditional enemies, the Narragansetts. Tisquantum’s story is told in greater detail by Mann, 1491,chap. 2.
46 There is doubt as to when he was taken and by whom, and it could have been some years earlier. The captain of the 1615 slave ship was Thomas Hunt, an associate of John Smith. See Weatherford, Native Roots, 112, 139, and Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 73.
47 Thomas Morton, quoted in Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 77.
48 William Bradford, ca. 1630, quoted in Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 75.
49 Quoted in Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 77.
50 Andean, or “Irish,” potatoes had probably reached North America in the mid-1500s, brought from Peru by the Spaniards.
51 Lauded for its virtue in the 1790s poem “Hasty Pudding” by Joel Barlow: “Come, dear bowl, / Glide o’er my palate, and inspire my soul” (quoted in Conn, American Literature, 98).
52 Parker, Parker on the Iroquois, 15. Arthur Parker (or Gawasowaneh) was a great-nephew of Lewis Henry Morgan’s informant and colleague, Colonel Ely Parker. See also Parker, History of the Seneca.
53 Tocqueville, Journey to America, 343-44.
54 Quoted in Conn, American Literature, 26. Bradford also described how, in the spring of 1621, Squanto had shown the English the way to plant maize, with the revealing detail that it would need fish fertilizer “in these old grounds [or] it would come to nothing” (quoted in Flannery, Eternal Frontier, 273). The “old grounds” were obviously fields that had been in use for years—which makes his insistence that Plymouth was a wilderness all the stranger.
55 See Tocqueville, Democracy in America, chap. 2.
56 Many Pilgrims, though originally from Britain, had spent years in the Netherlands before moving on to America to escape assimilation and warfare between Dutch rebels and the Spanish Empire.
57 William Wood, writing in 1634, noted the effect of declining population on the land. He said that the native women were good weeders, who kept their farmland “so cleare with their Clamme shell-hoes, as if it were a garden rather than a corne-field,” adding that land which belonged to Indians who had died during the epidemics but which had not yet been taken over by whites was getting overgrown with “much underwood . . . because it hath not been burned” (quoted in Jennings, Invasion of America, 63, and Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 83).
58 See Miller, Errand into the Wilderness.
59 Wright, Religion and Empire, 158. Wright ascribes this story (which may be apocryphal or satirical) to Milford, Connecticut. See also Jennings, Invasion of America, 83.
60 Illustrated in Jennings, Invasion of America, 229.
61 Alcohol, in the form of maize beer, cassava beer, pulque (fermented agave) and probably palm toddy and various fruit wines, was known in most of pre-Columbian America but apparently not in the North. Certainly there was nothing as strong as distilled spirits, which had become common in Europe only two centuries before 1492.
62 When Francisco de Miranda, who had acted as a Spanish agent supporting American independence during the Revolution, travelled in the States in 1783-84, he described the whaling fleet at Sag Harbor, Long Island, with its ships of 160 tons: “Their crews are in large part Indians, who are the most capable harpoonists and are generally named boat officers” (Miranda, New Democracy in America, 129-30). By the time of Melville’s 1851 Moby Dick, the ships were bigger and most crews were international, but Tashtego, “a Gay Head Indian,” plays a prominent role in the novel.
63 Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 84-86.
64 See Flannery, Eternal Frontier, 275.
65 Quoted in Conn, America Literature, 34.
66 Massachusetts Bay had investor backing of £200,000, a huge sum at that time, while the Pilgrims started with only £7,000. See Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 82.
67 British attorney general Seymour in 1690, quoted in Baldwin, American Quest, 40.
68 Jennings, Invasion of America, 186. When, back in England, the Wessagusset men began to talk, the Plymouth colony sent Edward Winslow to spread counterpropaganda. See also Willison, Saints and Strangers, chap. 15.
69 See Chapter 6. The Utah events are well told in greater detail by Krakauer, Under the Banner, 210-27.
70 Baldwin, American Quest, 41-42. Finished only three days before he died in his mid-eighties, American Quest was the culmination of this distinguished historian’s career.
71 Bloom, American Religion, quoted in Krakauer, Under the Banner, ix.
72 Inflamed by both ideological and material grievances, the German masses rose in the bloody Peasants’ War of 1525. Their grievances included land enclosures, tithes and abuses of the law. As many as one hundred thousand people may have died throughout the German states and Austria.
73 There was, for example, the thirteenth-century “crusade” against the Albigensians in the South of France.
74 This is not to say there had been no conflict between earthly and heavenly powers; indeed, the matter of how to divide them had lain behind much of medieval history ever since Pope Gelasius I declared the Church supreme at the end of the fifth century. The martyrdom of Thomas à Becket in 1170 is a notorious incident in this struggle. Atheism was a similar challenge to Church authority, though few were rash enough to profess it openly. The word atheism came into English in the late sixteenth century—just in time for Walter Raleigh to be accused of it. See Chapter 3, note 39.
75 Officially, the Holy Roman Empire existed from 936 to 1806, when it was famously described by Napoleon as “neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.” Many historians date its beginnings from the coronation of Charles the Great (Charlemagne) in 800.
76 The sleuth was Lorenzo Valla (ca. 1407-1457), who is often hailed as a founder of textual criticism because he established that the Donation was written in a dialect of Latin that did not exist until four hundred years after Constantine’s death.
77 Pontifex Maximus means “Great Bridge Builder” and refers to the role of the high priest (and later the pope) as the link between Heaven and Earth.
78 From Mr. Dooley’s Opinions by Finley Dunne (1900), originally in the dialect of the character.
79 Always, according to Robertson Davies in his 1972 novel The Manticore.
80 Burning was the fate of Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, considered a witch and heretic by the English and by some of the French Catholic hierarchy; she was rehabilitated as a saint in 1920.
81 Taxes were also rising steeply. See Cheyney, Short History of England, 428-29.
82 The English common law had its origins in ancient Anglo-Saxon forms of democracy. Trampled by the Norman Conquest of 1066, it had been steadily reviving ever since, a process helped (unintentionally) by the efforts of the Anglo-Norman aristocracy in 1215 to curb King John with the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta borrowed wording from Henry I’s coronation charter, which had included the laws of Edward the Confessor.
83 The Court of Star Chamber (named for a room in Westminster Palace) had been set up by Henry VII. Unlike the regular law courts, it had no jury. Its use grew under the Tudors, and both James and Charles seized on it in their fights with Parliament and their efforts to rule alone. For Prynne and other cases against Puritans, see Cheyney, Short History of England, 422.
84 For delightfully free sketches of key players of the time, see John Aubrey’s Brief Lives, a compendium of gossip, biography and history written in the late 1670s by a witty observer who had been a young man during the Civil War and the Commonwealth.
85 Lines spoken in a sermon by John Ball, a defrocked priest who was calling for the deaths of all lords and lawyers. He has an echo in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part Two: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” The Levellers’ demands grew too strong for Cromwell, who suppressed them.
86 By that time Parliament itself had split into factions (the kangaroo court that condemned and beheaded Charles I was only a minority). The word Commonwealth denoted a republic. It must not be confused with the modern Commonwealth, which arose from the ashes of the British Empire.
87 Besides keeping order among Puritan factions, Cromwell expended his energies reconquering the Irish with infamous savagery while also attacking Spain and other foreign powers.
88 The new King William was Dutch, the Prince of Orange; his co-monarch, Queen Mary, was the Protestant daughter of James II (himself a Catholic).
89 According to Bailyn (Voyagers to the West, 25), in the thirty years from the founding of Boston in 1630 to the Restoration of 1660, a staggering 210,000 migrants left Britain for America, though many did not survive.
90 Edward Johnson, quoted in Conn, American Literature, 28.
91 Revelation 21:2.
92 Salem (Naumkeag) had already been founded in a small way in 1628, but Winthrop’s arrival with nine hundred people on eleven ships ensured that Boston became the capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
93 Baldwin, American Quest, 42.
94 End in both senses: terminus and goal (see Fukuyama, End of History). He has since distanced himself from the Republican right, saying that he could no longer support the policy of the Bush administration.
95 The latest political settlement in Northern Ireland seems to be holding, with the surprising support of the former Protestant hardliner Ian Paisley. In 2007 the British government formally ended its military operation in the region.
96 Baldwin, American Quest, 50.
97 Jerry Falwell, a leading figure in the evangelical-Republican alliance behind the Reagan and Bush electoral campaigns, had supported the apartheid regime in South Africa. According to a BBC report on Liberty University in 2007, creationism is taught and global warming denied there, though some other evangelical schools are teaching that climate change and environmental problems must be faced (BBC World News, May 15, 2007).
98 Psalm 2:8-9
99 Melville, Moby Dick, chap. 16.
100 Most of these names have variant spellings such as Mohegans, Pequods and Pequits. There is some evidence that, during a time within memory, the Pequots had themselves conquered this region.
101 In the 1620s and 1630s, more than twenty thousand migrants landed in New England, and by 1670 there were about fifty thousand of British origin living there (Flannery, Eternal Frontier, 274; Jennings, Invasion of America, 30). The legal basis for early land alienations and cessions of “Indian right” (or sovereignty) is unclear; many of the deeds and documents that do exist seem to have been written retroactively. See Jennings, Invasion of America, chap. 8, “The Deed Game.”
102 Quoted in Jennings, Invasion of America, 28, and Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 86.
103 Jennings, Invasion of America, 189. Stone’s killers were probably Western Niantics, who were tributaries of the Pequots (see Jennings, Invasion of America, 194n). Captain John Oldham was killed on Block Island, likely by Eastern Niantics or their overlords, the Narragansetts.
104 Gardiner, quoted in Jennings (Invasion of America, 212) and in Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 88 (spelling modernized).
105 The nine were killed at Wethersfield, Connecticut. Jennings, Invasion of America, 217.
106 Jennings (Invasion of America, 220) discusses the evidence for this assumption.
107 Captain Underhill, quoted in Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 92-93.
108 This inference is backed up by the fact that some Pequots had firearms, yet Mason’s account makes no mention of any guns in native hands at Mystic.
109 Mason, quoted in Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 91.
110 Bradford and Mather, quoted in Zinn, A People’s History, 15.
111 Quoted in Jennings, Invasion of America, 223. Jennings provides a longer quotation and discusses the archaic wording of the English translation.
112 Bradford, quoted in Zinn, A People’s History, 15.
113 After the Mystic massacre, the English (including Boston late-comers who hoped to share in the spoils) harried all the Pequots they could find until the “proud Enemie” was indeed exterminated, except for captives and refugees among other groups. William Hubbard, quoted in Jennings, Invasion of America, 226.
114 Waldman, Atlas, 91.
115 Mystic is a native word meaning “great tidal river.” The modern town was the scene of a vapid 1988 film, Mystic Pizza. A few Pequots managed to survive; in 1774 they numbered 151 all told. Like many tribes in the United States, their descendants have prospered in recent years by running a casino. Ironically, their effort to buy back some of their ancient homeland with their earnings has drawn hostility from neighbouring whites. See Harris, “Fortune Favours the Braves.”
116 “New York was the special jurisdiction of the king’s brother” (Jennings, Invasion of America, 322). The Crown also threatened to encroach on Puritan land by taking up Dutch claims to western Connecticut and Massachusetts as well as unconquered native land running north to Canada—the future Vermont and Maine.
117 The most notable white victory was the Great Swamp Fight in December 1675, when about a thousand Narragansetts—most of them noncombatants who tried to keep out of the war by withdrawing to a fort deep in the swampland between Shamrock and West Kingston, Rhode Island—died in a Mystic-style burning. Jennings (Invasion of America, 312) discusses the casualty figures on both sides, saying twenty English were killed and two hundred wounded. (At Mystic, only two whites had died, probably from “friendly fire.”) The decisive battle in King Philip’s War took place far to the west, where Metacom’s main army of two thousand men was scattered by Mohawk forces. The Mohawks, who had their own agenda, were allied with the British colony of New York.
118 The New England colonies recouped some of their costs by selling prisoners at 30 shillings a head in the Caribbean, in Bermuda, and even (like Squanto) in Spain. King Philip’s wife and child were among those sold in Bermuda, while his head was stuck on a pike over Plymouth’s main gate. See Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 96-97.
119 Quoted in Jennings, Invasion of America, 324. The report estimated the financial losses at £150,000—close to the entire investment backing of the Massachusetts Bay Company (£200,000) and more than twenty times the founding capital of Plymouth (£7,000).
Chapter 5—White Savages
1Smyth, ed., Writings of Franklin, vol. 10, 97.
2 Quoted in King and Chapman, Sequoyah Legacy, 51.
3 Williams, Empire, 79.
4 As mentioned in the notes to Chapter 4, the original thirteen, in rough north-to-south order, were New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut (known together as New England), New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
5 Tocqueville, Journey to America, 330.
6 The foundations measure 334 feet and have been dated to the 1300s. Onondaga has become the city of Syracuse, though the Onondaga Nation still has a reservation and a League assembly hall nearby.
7 The Iroquois name for themselves, Haudenosaunee, means People of the Longhouse (the name varies slightly in the six Iroquois languages). As the implications of Mystic and other town burnings sank in, many native peoples, including the Iroquois, gave up communal living for single-family cabins, keeping longhouses only for ceremonial use. Some Indians, such as the Iroquoian Cherokee, had always lived in cabins, so it is difficult to say whether the Six Nations adopted this pattern from other native peoples or from whites. Log cabins were certainly easier to build after the introduction of steel tools.
8 The foundation date is moot. Mann (1491, 332) summarizes ethnohistorical and astronomical evidence suggesting a date of 1142. Other writers favour a date around 1450. A few believe that the League was formed in response to early European impact, but that seems unlikely to me; none of the contemporary written sources, which go back to the early 1600s, suggest that it was anything less than ancient. It seems likely that the Iroquois Confederacy was founded—as its traditions say—during a time of chronic strife between related peoples. Such unrest may well have been sparked by rising numbers and competition for farmland some time after the spread of cold-tolerant maize to the Great Lakes about a thousand years ago. The decline of Cahokia’s authority and trade networks, which happened shortly before Columbus, may also have been a factor. When Engels wrote that the Iroquois had “no nobles,” he may have been only half right. It is possible that in ancient times the Iroquois, like the Mississippians, had had social classes that faded as the population shrank.
9 In 1760, when New France fell, it had only sixty-five thousand settlers, while there were about 1.5 million British Americans at that time (Nelles, Little History of Canada, 58).
10 By 1900 only a quarter million Indians would be left in the whole United States—the same as the number of whites two centuries before. The original population of North America in 1500 is not known, but well-argued estimates range between 7 and 18 million. A round number of 10 million for everywhere north of the (modern) Mexican border strikes me as reasonable. If, in 1520, the population of what became the United States was 10 million, then the nadir represents an overall decline of 97.5 percent—greater than in Mexico and Peru (about 95 percent from peak to low) but less than in the Caribbean and other coastal regions of the New World (99 to 100 percent). A decline of this order does not seem unlikely, given that the North Americans were being invaded and driven out almost continually and were unable to rebuild their numbers until the twentieth century. Thornton, American Indian Holocaust, 30-32, gives the nadir figure and discusses the range of estimates derived from it. He considers estimates of about 7 million for the continent north of Mexico and of 5 million for the United States to be “conservative” but says that Dobyns’s 18 million figure is too high.
11 This assumption is supported by the disappearance of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians between Cartier’s visits in the 1530s and Champlain’s in 1603: by then the towns of Stadacona (Quebec City) and Hochelaga (Montreal) had vanished, just like Soto’s Talimeco. Jennings, Ambiguous Iroquois Empire, 86-89, discusses Champlain’s estimate of 1616 and Gabriel Sagard’s of the 1620s and Iroquois numbers in the seventeenth century (ibid., 34-36). I agree with his point that archaeology cannot establish anything other than a minimum. Merrell (Indians’ New World, 18-27, and throughout) discusses population decline and its cultural effects in the Southeast, citing the travels of John Lawson in 1700.
12 Adriaen Van der Donck, quoted in Jennings, Invasion of America, 24. By 1700 the Six Nations’ population had fallen to less than a fourth of its strength in 1630 (Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 112). The early English traveller John Lawson, who visited the Catawbas and other peoples in the former Cofitachiqui realm in 1700, wrote that the Congarees were “a small People, having lost much of their former Numbers . . . by the Small-pox, which hath often visited them.” He added, “Neither do I know any Savages that have traded with the English, but what have been great losers by this Distemper. . . . there is not the sixth Savage living within two hundred miles of all our Settlements, as there were fifty Years ago.” In some places plague “destroy’d whole Towns without leaving one Indian alive” (Lawson, New Voyage to Carolina, quoted in Merrell, Indians’ New World,19).
13 “The design of the Iroquois, as far as I can see,” wrote a Jesuit missionary, “is . . . to make them both but one people” (quoted in Jennings, Ambiguous Iroquois Empire, 93). Tocqueville was told by a Scottish citizen of Quebec that in their heyday, the Hurons alone “could put up to 60,000 men under arms” (Tocqueville, Journey to America, 47). The figure may be an exaggeration but would be consistent with a pre-1520s population of several hundred thousand each for the Huron and Iroquois confederacies.
14 Quoted in Axtell, European and the Indian, 172. The captivity tale, in which a god-fearing settler (often a maidenly young woman) tells of her perils among savages, became a thriving American genre. Perhaps the best and fairest of these memoirs was the Narrative of Mary Jemison, who was married to a Seneca war leader for fifty years. She noted her husband’s ferocity on the battlefield, yet his “kindness and attention” at home. The Iroquois were justly famous for abusing enemies in almost Aztec style, but such treatment was reserved for fighters. “Bad as these savages are,” an American general allowed during the Revolutionary War, “they never violate the chastity of any woman”—which was more than he could say for his own troops (General James Clinton, quoted in Bonvillain, ed., Studies on Iroquoian Culture, 53).
15 Turner, Significance of the Frontier, 4, 17.
16 James Adair, an Irish trader who lived with the Cherokees for many years before the Revolution, praised the “equality among [them], and the just rewards they always confer on merit. . . . Their whole constitution breathes nothing but liberty” (Adair, History of the American Indians, 379).
17 After Lewis Henry Morgan published his 1851 League of the Iroquois, a cornerstone of modern anthropology, Iroquois influence also reached the wider world. Morgan’s informant and colleague was the Iroquois chief Hasanoanda, better known as Ely S. Parker, the Union colonel who wrote the surrender terms at Appomattox and served under President Grant as the first Indian commissioner of Indian Affairs. Under the Iroquois constitution, known as the Great Law of Peace, fifty sachems, or “condoled chiefs” (so named because the condolence ritual for a dead chief installs his successor), hold office. These are men, but they are made—and can be unmade—by the leading women, or “clan mothers,” giving a balance of power between sexes unknown in most other democracies until after the First World War. The heart of the women’s suffrage movement was the Iroquois’ old home of upstate New York; Harriet Maxwell Converse wrote of every woman’s “gratitude to the memory of the Iroquois Indian who . . . rendered to the mothers of his people the rights maternal, political, social, civil, religious and of land!” (quoted in Wilson, Earth Shall Weep,106). “This gentile constitution is wonderful!” Engels wrote in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State in 1884. “All are free and equal—including the women.” See Weatherford, Indian Givers, 161-62.
18 Franklin’s inventions include the lightning rod, bifocal eyeglasses and the Franklin stove. In 1818 the English critic Sydney Smith, writing scornfully of American literature, conceded that the new nation “may afford to live for half a century” on Franklin’s fame alone. See Conn, American Literature, 113.
19 The linguisters were usually of mixed blood or fully bilingual, such as the powerful trader and Indian expert Conrad Weiser, adopted by the Mohawks, who was a friend and colleague of Franklin. See Boyd, Indian Treaties, for an edition of Franklin’s Treaties.
20 Boyd, Indian Treaties, 78.
21 Written in 1751. See Campbell and Campbell, “Cherokee Participation,” 92-105.
22 Of course, the idea of federation was not new in either world, but successful examples were rare. The Americans needed a fresh approach to avoid repeating the failure of the United Colonies of New England. The longest-lived confederacy in Europe was Switzerland, but as Tocqueville observed, it survived mainly because of its neighbours’ mutual jealousies. See Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 178. Tocqueville did not even mention the League as a precedent for the American Union ( Journey to America, 330).
23 America’s lexicographer, Noah Webster, lauded the choice in these words: “The Eagle is the chief of the feathered race . . . fierce, rapacious, and holding a sort of empire over the whole” (Webster 1812, quoted in Friedman, Inventors, vii).
24 Quoted in Brown, Old Frontiers, 81.
25 The Oneida chief Scarouady, quoted in Wallace, Conrad Weiser, 390.
26 Colonel Henry Babcock, quoted in O’Toole, White Savage, 104. Sir William Johnson understood the political power of Iroquois women. He set himself up like a feudal baron in the Mohawk Valley and was generally upright, though he always set the Crown’s interests above those of his Iroquois kin and took over large tracts of land. The marriage was only by Six Nations law; he and Molly had eight children. See O’Toole, White Savage, for a recent life of Johnson and see Huey and Pulis, Molly Brant, for contemporary sketches of, and documents on, Molly Brant. Many Indians of this time used European names as well as their own.
27 In 1772 Governor Tryon of New York wrote to London that the Mohawks “appear to be actuated as a community by principles of rectitude, that would do honour to the most civilised nations. Indeed they are in a civilised state, and many of them good Farmers” (O’Toole, White Savage,320).
28 Quoted in Wallace, Death and Rebirth of the Seneca, 118-21.
29 Brown, Old Frontiers, 119-20. In 1760-61 Amherst had pressed a punitive war against the Cherokees, and the following year, the Cherokee leader Ostenaco and two others visited King George III in London to state their case.
30 Fort Pitt, the former Fort Duquesne, is now the city of Pittsburgh. Despite many warnings from Johnson, Amherst claimed to have no idea what “can have induced these barbarians to this perfidious attempt” (quoted in O’Toole, White Savage, 245).
31 These events are sometimes denied but are well documented. See Bouquet to Amherst, 13 July 1763, British Manuscript Project, Library of Congress microfilm reel 34/40, item 305; Amherst to Bouquet, 16 July 1763, reel 34/41, item 114. Amherst’s letter to Johnson is in O’Callaghan, ed., Colonial History, vol. 7, 545-46. All are quoted in O’Toole, White Savage, 245-46. See also Jennings, Ambiguous Iroquois Empire, 440-48, and Wright, Stolen Continents, 134-40.
32 To engineer the negotiations, Johnson went through the Board of Trade. In theory, the line ran along the divide, restricting whites to watersheds flowing directly into the Atlantic, not toward the Mississippi and the Caribbean (Turner, Significance of the Frontier, 6). The Proclamation also set limits on Quebec and regulated other unfinished and often contradictory business left over from the conquest of New France.
33 See Waldman, Atlas, 108-9, for a good summary of these events. The quotation is from Franklin’s essay A Narrative of the Late Massacres in Lancaster County of a Number of Indians, Friends of this Province, by Persons Unknown, published in January 1764.
34 Tocqueville was told as much by retired president John Quincy Adams in 1831: “Mr. Adams [thought] that one of the greatest guarantees of order and internal security in the US was found in the movement of the population towards the West. ‘Many more generations will yet pass,’ he added, ‘before we feel that we are overcrowded’” (Tocqueville, Journey to America, 62). However, Bailyn writes that “during the decade and a half after 1760, thousands of settlers set out to find land. . . . This massive Völkerwanderung, this surge of innumerable farming families . . . could not be contained within the margins of the existing colonies. . . . Settlers defied all legal constraints” (Bailyn, Voyagers to the West, 20).
35 Steinbeck’s insightful explanation of why socialism seldom took root in the United States.
36 Augustus Foster, who travelled widely in the United States two hundred years ago, remarked: “In thickly populated lands where shark meets shark . . . interests keep interests in check. But [in America] the wild unruly young adventurers of the western woods[,] especially the Democrats of the slave districts . . . and all those who are readers of nothing but newspapers or party pamphlets . . . are like dry tinder ever ready for blazing up, tho’ the outlet . . . open to their excesses thro’ the woods after Indians or wild beasts, serves and will long serve as a diversion” (Foster,Jeffersonian America, 159-60).
37 Tocqueville, Journey to America, 124. See also ibid., 89, where an American diplomat told Tocqueville: “The land never stays in the hands of the one who clears it. When it begins to yield a crop, the pioneer sells it and plunges again into the forest.”
38 Long ago, these fertile lands had supported a branch of Mississippian civilization. The Senecas’ oral history told that their ancestors had built the pyramidal earthworks, and the size of the trees on these mounds by the eighteenth century suggests that they were abandoned around the time that Old World diseases reached America. In colonial times the region was nominally under Six Nations tutelage, though settled mainly by “Western Indians”—Shawnees, Delawares, Ottawas and others—many of whom had fled there from the seaboard. French influence was strong in Ohio for a time, and the encroachment of Anglo-Americans was among the causes of the French and Indian War.
39 O’Toole, White Savage, 160, and Wallace, Death and Rebirth of the Seneca, 180, 198. Gilbert (God Gave Us, 64) describes George Washington’s activities in Ohio in the early 1770s, when he wanted to get ten thousand acres in the heart of the Shawnee Nation or, as he wrote in a letter, “to have my lands run out on the banks of the Ohio.”
40 Gilbert, God Gave Us, 58. See also Wright, Stolen Continents, 222-38, and Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 98-131.
41 Crèvecoeur, American Farmer, 43-44. For clarity, I have reversed the order of the last two sentences in this quotation.
42 The last point is underlined by the writer elsewhere: in America “there are very few poor except the idle” (Crèvecoeur, American Farmer, 156-57). While many Americans abhor Darwinism for religious reasons, social Darwinism (the Victorian idea that the poor and weak should be left to die out by natural selection) is another matter. The phrase “the American dream” seems to have been coined by James Truslow Adams in his 1931 history The Epic of America.
43 Crèvecoeur, American Farmer, 5, 11. Apparently written on the eve of the Revolution, the collected essays were first published in 1782.
44 Crèvecoeur also used other variations on these names. His surname was Englished by the poet John Berryman as “Mr. Heartbreak” in his poem “Dream Song No. 5.”
45 Crèvecoeur, American Farmer, 23.
46 Cunliffe, in his 1978 edition of Crèvecoeur, writes: “As Crèvecoeur saw it in 1776-78, the revolution was a squalid and murderous civil war.”
47 See the good introductory essay by Marcus Cunliffe to the 1978 Folio Society edition of Crèvecoeur, though this version of Crèvecoeur’s text is rather ruthlessly abridged and sometimes unreliable.
48 He continues by saying that the native way of life is “sufficiently complete to answer all the primary wants of man, and to constitute him a social being, such as he ought to be” ( American Farmer, 211). The term original Americans appears at about this time. It was used, for example, by the Seneca orator Red Jacket (and his translator) when addressing George Washington at Philadelphia in 1792 (see Stone, Red Jacket, 170-76).
49 Crèvecoeur, American Farmer, 41.
50 George Washington, quoted in Turner, Significance of the Frontier, 18. This was one thing the young criollo republics of Latin America would have in common with their northern neighbour: around this time they became internal empires, in which small, white elites renewed a ruthless conquest of Indian communities which, under Spanish rule, had managed to retain land, culture and a degree of political autonomy.
51 “We have lost out of [our] town by death ninety,” the Iroquois reported. “We, the remaining part of the Onondagas, do now inform our [British] brethren that there is no longer a council fire at the capital of the Six Nations” (Stone, Joseph Brant, vol. 1, 176). This outbreak seems to have been accidental.
52 He and others re-established the Confederacy on the Grand River in Ontario, with its assembly at Ohsweken.
53 James Duane, a member of the Continental Congress, quoted in Wallace, Death and Rebirth of the Seneca, 197. In similar circumstances only three years earlier, the Spanish Crown tried much the same policy after the Incas’ last great bid for independence in Peru. At the execution of Inca Tupa Amaru II in 1781, Spain not only abolished the Andean nobility but also tried to stamp out its culture and language, including the word Inca, in the hope of crushing forever “the illusory nation of the Indians” (see Wright, Stolen Continents, 193-99).
54 Quoted in Wallace, Death and Rebirth of the Seneca, 198. See also Manley, Fort Stanwix.
55 See Wallace, Death and Rebirth of the Seneca, 194-96. This number seems to include those Brant took to Canada (at first about six hundred; later, more). Iroquois numbers recovered to more than 60,000 by the end of the twentieth century.
56 In the rout by Michikinikwa (or Little Turtle) of General St. Clair’s forces in western Ohio. For a vivid, detailed account of this battle and its context, see Gilbert, God Gave Us, chap. 7. Proportionately, “this still stands as the most one-sided defeat ever suffered by the United States army” (ibid., 152).
57 Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal, 9. See Gilbert (God Gave Us, 133) for Knox’s reckoning that it would take 2,500 men and $200,000 to fight for the Ohio Valley but only $15,000 for a “conciliatory” system of Indian subsidies and bribes.
58 Knox to Wayne, quoted in Gilbert, God Gave Us, 340. See also ibid., 133. Foster commented, in notes written before 1812: “These territories . . . are becoming rapidly prepared for future empire and Indiana, Illinois, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas and Michigan have already their Representative or delegates in Congress, and claim the land as belonging to the respective settlers just as if the . . . Indian tribes were wholly extinct or had never existed” (Foster, Jeffersonian America, 197).
59 Writings of Thomas Jefferson, quoted in Weinberg, Manifest Destiny, 72.
60 The number of Eastern Indians at this date is uncertain. They had fallen heavily between 1760 and the 1780s and were down to about 125,000 by the 1820s.
61 The tide of this war changed with General “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s defeat of the main Indian army at Fallen Timbers, near Toledo, in August 1794. In the same year, the radical Chickamauga Cherokees near Chattanooga ended their twenty-year guerrilla campaign.
62 Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal, 9-10. The first act passed in 1790; the second, incorporating the civilization program, passed in 1793.
63 Peach growing (probably taken, like hogs and horses, from the Spaniards) had become so much a part of native farming that by 1700, both the Southeastern Indians and John Lawson thought the peach was an indigenous fruit. Merrell, Indians’ New World, 16. More than a million deer hides were shipped from South Carolina between 1700 and 1715, a staggering figure that reflects the great boom in wildlife that had followed the human decline.
64 Pocahontas was not the first North American in London, and she was by no means the last. In the eighteenth century, the Cherokees and Iroquois sent several delegations there. While Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea), a graduate of Dartmouth College, was in the city to seal the Mohawk-British alliance in 1776, he was interviewed by James Boswell, who was disappointed not to meet a real “savage.”
65 Enslavement of Indian captives, often children, was common practice on British plantations throughout the seventeenth century. By 1682 any Indian brought into the Virginia colony could lawfully be enslaved. When Cadwallader Jones, who traded from his Rappahannock River plantation, listed his merchandise in 1682, the first item was “indyan children Prisoners,” followed by “Deereskines and some furs” (quoted in Merrell, Indians’ New World, 36).
66 Stone, Red Jacket, 169-70. Although the Five Nations became Six in the 1720s, the old usage continued for many years. The number of seats in the Iroquois parliament was unchanged, as Tuscarora interests were represented by proxy.
67 Stone, Red Jacket, 105.
68 The full speech is in Stone, Red Jacket, 170-76.
69 Red Jacket reminded the whites that their own ancestors had fled to America to enjoy religious freedom. Why shouldn’t the Senecas be allowed the same right? He concluded dryly that his people might yet be open to religious conversion—but only if they could first see signs that Christianity made their white neighbours “good . . . honest, and less disposed to cheat Indians.” The full exchange is in Stone, Red Jacket, 273-76. The speech was printed in 1811 in Canandaigua’s first newspaper, which published many of Red Jacket’s speeches during his lifetime. Though Red Jacket himself spoke in Seneca, many bilingual people lived in the area, so the translations may be considered especially reliable.
70 Bartram, Travels, 384-87; regarding Creek slavery, see ibid., 164.
71 “The Muscogulges [Creeks], the Chactaws, Chicasaws, and perhaps the Cherokees, eminently deserve the encomium of all nations, for their wisdom and virtue in resisting . . . the common enemy of mankind . . . I mean spirituous liquors” (Bartram, Travels, 384-87).
72 In 1730 the Cherokee Nation alone numbered thirty thousand people and held a territory the size of Britain; by 1780 it had dwindled to ten thousand and lost two-thirds of its land. Bartram (whose writings influenced Coleridge) gives a melancholy sight of Cherokee ruins, some old—“several Indian mounts or tumuli, and terraces, monuments of the ancients”—but most dating from the past twenty years of frontier war. “This fertile vale [Keowee] within the remembrance of some old traders with whom I conversed, was one continued settlement; the swelling sides of the adjoining hills were then covered with [Cherokee] habitations, and the rich level ground beneath lying on the river, was cultivated and planted: the vestiges . . . are yet visible . . . as posts or pillars of their habitations” (Bartram, Travels, 270-71).
73 Foster, Jeffersonian America, 27. “Since then however,” Foster wrote in the late 1830s when organizing his old journals into book form, “they have had reason bitterly to lament the loss of his [Jefferson’s] friendly and protecting influence.”
74 Like their Iroquoian cousins, the Cherokee were matrilineal and democratic, but they lived in single-family dwellings in stockaded towns, not longhouses. Although the details of ancient Cherokee politics are lost, women played a strong role—which early whites called “a petticoat government” (quoted in Conley, Cherokee Nation, 6). Among the sixty to eighty towns in the Cherokee Nation, Chota (also known as “Echota”) was considered the capital, though its authority may have been mainly a matter of prestige.
75 Their sports included games from which modern lacrosse descends. As in the great ball games of Mexico, the ancient Olympic Games and even early European football, sport was a ritualized outlet for aggression, known as the “little brother of war.” Creek and Seminole are European terms for two branches of a large Muskogean-speaking people of South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama—all probably ruled in Soto’s day by the Lady of Cofitachiqui.
76 Jefferson to the Western Indians in 1808, quoted in McLoughlin, Cherokee Renascence, 33.
77 Among matrilineal peoples such as the Iroquoians, ancestry, and therefore nationality, was reckoned in the female line, as among the Jews. In the 1824 Cherokee Nation census, 73 white women had Cherokee husbands and 147 Cherokee women had white husbands (Mankiller and Wallis, Mankiller, 79).
78 John Mack Faragher writes in a recent biography of Daniel Boone: “Both [peoples] were warlike and violent . . . adherents to the ancient law of blood, and for both cultures the bloodshed was made worse by alcohol. . . . These two groups were fully acculturated into each other’s ways” (Faragher, Daniel Boone, quoted in Grant, Ghost Riders, 124).
79 Quoted in Turner, Significance of the Frontier, 5. The frontier settler, Turner added, “shouts the war cry and takes the scalp in orthodox Indian fashion.” The practice was American in origin but escalated during the colonial wars, when the French began paying a bounty for English scalps and the British did the same, justifying themselves on the usual grounds for wartime atrocities: “a barbarous method . . . introduced by the French, which we are obliged to follow in our own defence” (quoted in Brown, Old Frontiers, 82). White forces continued the practice into the War of 1812, the Civil War and numerous wars for the Far West. In 1776 South Carolina’s legislature offered a bounty of £75 for Cherokee scalps (Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal, 7).
80 François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, quoted in McLoughlin, Cherokee Renascence, 49.
81 Jefferson to Harrison, 1803, quoted in Gilbert, God Gave Us, 200.
82 Roosevelt, quoted in Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 303.
83 Senator Dawes, quoted in Hendrix, “Redbird Smith,” 32.
84 At the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Maréchal Foch turned out to be right almost to the month when he bitterly remarked: “This is not peace. It is an armistice for twenty years.”
85 Turner noted how the gulf widened the further the settlers moved west: “From the time the mountains rose between the pioneer and seaboard, a new order of Americanism arose. The West and East began to get out of touch of each other. . . . The East took a narrow view of American advance, and nearly lost these men” (Turner, Significance of the Frontier, 14).
86 Gilbert, God Gave Us, 276. They also hoped to drive the Spaniards and the Seminoles from Florida.
87 The region, little of which France had ever controlled or even explored, ran westward to Mexican territory (then including Texas and surrounding lands), to the Rocky Mountains and northward to British North America, the borders of which were also undefined. At close to a million square miles, it doubled the territory claimed by the United States. Native peoples, who actually held most of it, were not considered or consulted. It was, therefore, a cession of a claim by another European power, not a transfer of land over which European sovereignty had been won by conquest or by treaty. Jefferson paid Napoleon $15 million for the whole region.
88 Decades earlier, there had been a similar split within the Cherokee Nation. When older, wiser and indeed sadder Cherokee leaders had unlawfully but pragmatically ceded much of what are now Kentucky and Tennessee to a party of land speculators led by Daniel Boone in 1775, the hawks seceded from the Cherokee Nation and waged a quixotic guerrilla war against the whites for twenty years. “You have bought a fair land,” their leader, Dragging Canoe, warned Boone, “but there is a black cloud hanging over it. You will find its settlement dark and bloody” (quoted in Evans, “Notable Persons,”179). See also Gilbert, God Gave Us, 126.
89 The exact location of the Mobile burned by Soto isn’t known, but it was likely in the same neighbourhood as Fort Mims. The militant Creeks were known as Red Sticks, from the symbolic colour of war. (Peace was white.)
90 Description from Turner, Significance of the Frontier, 36. The famed 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (normally tactful on its subjects’ personal failings) gives details on his duelling and calls him “ignorant, violent, perverse, quarrelsome and astonishingly indiscreet . . . vigorous, brusque, uncouth, relentless, straightforward and open” (see Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, vol. 15, 107-9).
91 The battle is also known as Tohopeka, the Creek word for “horseshoe.”
92 For a lively and well-documented account of the Creek War, see Wilkins, Cherokee Tragedy, chap. 3.
93 In a battle at Talleshatchee four months earlier, Crockett and his platoon had burned a house with forty-six Creeks inside it. They had then eaten the contents of the burned-out cellar: potatoes “basted in drippings of oil from the roasted warriors” (Wilkins, Cherokee Tragedy, 68). Crockett later redeemed himself by helping the Cherokees fight Jackson’s Removal Act in Washington. See Conley, Cherokee Nation, 66, 133-34.
94 Conley (Cherokee Nation, 91) says there were about three hundred women and children in addition to the thousand fighting men, though some of the civilians were taken prisoner. Wilkins, Cherokee Tragedy, 77, mentions that the Creek leader Menawa escaped by hiding in “a pile of dead squaws.”
95 This treaty, made in August 1814, is known by two names: Horsehoe Bend and Fort Jackson.
96 McLoughlin, Cherokee Renascence, 193-94. Jackson’s white troops also looted and terrorized the Cherokee Nation on their way home to the United States.
97 In 1788 Tennessee, which achieved statehood in 1796, was named after Tanasi, one of the Cherokees’ main towns. Before that it had been known among whites as North Carolina’s Western District. It and much of Kentucky were parts of the large, unlawful land cession to Daniel Boone and his group in 1775.
98 Tocqueville, Journey to America, 50.
99 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 469n. His exact figure, derived from U.S. government documents, is 271 steamboats in the ten years after 1821. The Erie Canal opened in 1825. Tocqueville wrote in his Journey to America: “America has undertaken and finished the construction of some immense canals. It already has more railways than France; no one fails to see that the discovery of steam has incredibly increased the power and prosperity of the Union” (271).
100 Vann’s house, built about 1803, is now a state museum.
101 Some wealthy Indians even had white sharecroppers working their cotton fields. A milder form of slavery had existed in native culture before Europeans arrived. Traditionally, in America (as in Africa), slaves were prisoners of war; if not killed in revenge for other killings, they were assigned menial tasks and eventually adopted, and their children became free. A commercial element began with the early white demand for labour: Indians (like Africans) began trafficking in captives to white planters. When “civilized” Indians became owners of black slaves, the rule of freeing a slave’s children was usually applied. Henry Bibb, a slave owned by a Cherokee in Oklahoma, said, “If I must be a slave, I had by far, rather be a slave to an Indian, than to a white man” (quoted in King, ed., Cherokee Indian Nation, 125).
102 Named after Chota (or Echota), the Cherokees’ ancient “Mother Town” on the Little Tennessee River. Chota was abandoned in the late eighteenth century after the cession of what is now Tennessee to the whites.
103 The syllabic script was invented independently by Sequoyah, who was not literate in English. He was among a small number of Cherokee who had moved to Arkansas, and his invention caught on quickly among monolingual Cherokees who wanted to write home to their kin. By 1825 the majority of Cherokee adults were literate, a higher proportion than in the United States. Special type was cast to print newspaper articles and other documents in Sequoyan at the Cherokee national press.
104 Elias Boudinot (a full-blood or nearly so) was editor and publisher of the Cherokee Phoenix.
105 Differences were seen as differences of “manners”—what we now call culture in the anthropological sense.
106 Quoted in Mankiller and Wallis, Mankiller, 52.
107 Miranda, New Democracy in America, 130, 165.
108 Quoted in Wilkins, Cherokee Tragedy, 3. John Ridge was the son of Major Ridge, who fought in the Creek War. Foster says that the witty and eccentric John Randolph (U.S. senator for Virginia from 1825 to 1827) claimed descent from Pocahontas (Foster, Jeffersonian America, 153).
109 The Age of Reason gave way to the Age of Romanticism. See, for example, McLoughlin, Cherokee Renascence, 448.
110 Friedman, Inventors, xviii, and Tocqueville, Journey to America, 329. See also Tocqueville, Democracy in America (2000 ), 456: “The inhabitants of the United States [are convinced] that they constitute the only religious, enlightened, and free people . . . they conceive an overweening opinion of their superiority, and they are not very remote from believing themselves to belong to a distinct race of mankind.” Thousands of black Americans were shipped back to Africa, partly for philanthropic reasons but also to reduce the number of free (and potentially free) blacks.
111 Quoted in Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal, 15.
112 James Farnham, 1839, quoted in Delbanco, Melville, 48.
113 Jackson, message to U.S. Congress, December 3, 1833, quoted in McLoughlin, Cherokee Renascence, 449. Jackson added: “Established in the midst of another and superior race . . . they must necessarily yield.” On his travels, Tocqueville saw “a cold selfishness and complete insensibility. . . . This world here belongs to us, [Americans] tell themselves every day: the Indian race is destined for final destruction . . . it is necessary that they die. . . . I will have their lands and will be innocent of their death” (Tocqueville, Journey to America, 200-201).
114 See McLoughlin, Cherokee Renascence, 432-33; he describes the Georgia Guard as “essentially a private security force under militia officers. . . . the state accepted no responsibility for the actions of the Guard.”
115 The Americans of that part of the Union [the South] look with jealousy upon the aborigines,” wrote Tocqueville. Well aware of this envy, the Cherokees described their borders in their constitution and banned any further cessions, except by their elected government, on pain of death.
116 Quoted in Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal.
117 $1.25 million plus other undertakings (Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal, 71).
118 See Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal, 71-76.
119 Cotton is a heavy feeder that soon exhausts the soil. In the days before chemical fertilizers, cotton planters needed a steady supply of new land to stay in business. The white method of corn growing was also harder on the land than the old Indian techniques. Ploughs caused more erosion than the native hoes. And the Indians had usually sown corn together with beans, which are nitrogen fixers, and squash, which kept down weeds.
120 Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, 117. Removal was probably at the top of Jackson’s personal agenda, but in other areas he was a populist front man, playing to the frontier gallery and chosen and manipulated by abler politicians behind the scenes, especially Martin Van Buren.
121 Quoted in Zinn, People’s History, 130. Zinn notes that modern books on the Jacksonian period often fail even to mention his Indian policy. The popular vote for Jackson’s re-election in 1832 was 687,000 for Jackson and 530,000 for Henry Clay. At that time only about 2 million of the United States’ 13 million people had the vote.
122 “The rapacity of the settlers,” Tocqueville wrote, was “backed by the tyranny of the government” (Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 404) The actions of Alabama and Mississippi are summarized in his footnotes on pages 404-5.
123 Quoted in Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal, 75. Georgia’s legislation called on “the United States [to] redeem her pledged honor” and threatened dire consequences “if the Indians continue to turn a deaf ear to the voice of reason and friendship.”
124 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 405.
125 Jeremiah Evarts writing as “William Penn,” quoted in Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal, 109. See also Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 405n, who noted that France then had 162 to the square mile—more than twenty times Georgia’s density.
126 The whole 1827 Cherokee Constitution is in Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal, 60-70.
127 See Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 472-81, for his analysis of Jackson’s politics, “nullification,” a brief but perceptive comment on the Indian Removal, and the bank issue. Like many of Jackson’s policies, his attack on South Carolina had a strong personal element, as he had fallen out with his former vice-president, John C. Calhoun, over personal matters and Calhoun’s denunciation of Jackson’s behaviour in the 1818 Seminole War.
128 Quoted in Conley, Cherokee Nation, 134. In the Senate the bill passed 28 to 19, but in the House it passed by only 102 to 97 (Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal, 122).
129 Quoted in Brown, Old Frontiers, 495.
130 “May a gracious Providence,” wrote one essayist, “avert from this country the awful calamity of exposing ourselves to the wrath of heaven [for this] cruelty and oppression”(Jeremiah Evarts, November 1829, writing as “William Penn” in A Brief View of the Present Relations between the Government . . . and the Indians, quoted in Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal, 105-10). See also Prucha, ed., Cherokee Removal. In a Christmas newsletter to her women’s movement, Catharine Beecher explained that the Cherokees were about to be driven to “final annihilation, unless the feelings of a humane and Christian nation shall be aroused to prevent the unhallowed sacrifice” (Catharine Beecher, Circular Addressed to Benevolent Ladies of the U. States, December 25, 1829, quoted in Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal, 111-14).
131 Trollope, Domestic Manners, 220-21, quoted in Wilkins, Cherokee Tragedy, 174.
132 Quoted in Parker, Melville, 529.
133 Recently, white apologists claimed that the enigmatic nine-thousand-year-old skeleton of Kennewick Man, unearthed in 1996, belonged to a “European” killed by Indians. The issue has been clouded by disputes over the ownership of the bones and the wish of native groups to have them laid to rest as an ancestor. The racial features of the skull are said by some to be unclear—but many human remains of such an early date do not correspond closely to modern racial features. Even if arguments such as Jackson’s had any basis in fact, it is difficult to see how they would justify extermination by “civilized” Europeans.
134 Quoted in Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal, 127-28.
135 Jackson’s remark is quoted in Carter, Cherokee Sunset, 83.
136 Jackson directed that the treaty money no longer be paid to the nation but to each individual. In fact it wasn’t paid at all for many years, and if it had been, it would have amounted to only 42 cents a head each year (Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, 119). Mooney gives a good account of this period, with many quotations and details.
137 Georgia House of Representatives (journal), 1830, quoted in Weinberg, Manifest Destiny, 83. George Gilmer was governor in the crucial years of 1829 to 1831.
138 This law was aimed mainly at the missionaries in the nation who supported Cherokee rights. One of them, Samuel Austin Worcester, was among several who were arrested in 1831 and sentenced to hard labour; his is the case on which Chief Justice John Marshall ruled in 1832.
139 This case was inconclusive. The court declined to rule, on the grounds that the Cherokees, being a foreign nation, had no legal standing before the United States. But it left the door open for a U.S. citizen to bring a similar suit—and that is why the second case was brought before it.
140 Quoted in Perdue and Green, Cherokee Removal, 81-84. These authors note how the Marshall decision has become a cornerstone of modern federal Indian law and how the “key element [in Marshall] is the doctrine of retained sovereignty—the idea that a nation retains all those attributes of sovereignty it does not voluntarily surrender.”
141 Both quoted in Woodward, Cherokees, 171. Jackson’s remark (attributed, not written, but widely known in living memory) differs slightly in Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, 120: “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” John Marshall died, at eighty, in July 1835. Ominously, the great Liberty Bell cracked while tolling for his death.
142 Friedman, for example, describes Jackson’s Indian policy as genocidal (Inventors, 68).
143 The exact number is not known. The widely accepted estimate is four thousand Cherokee deaths or more, about half in the camps and half on the road; some scholars believe the number may have been higher. A census of the Cherokee Nation in 1835 showed the total in the East to be 16,542, not including 1,592 black slaves and 201 whites married to Cherokees. At that time the Cherokee Nation held about 20,000 square miles, covering parts of four states: some 9,000 Cherokees lived within what is now Georgia; 3,600 in North Carolina; 2,500 in Tennessee; and 1,400 in Alabama. See Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, 125.
144 See Zinn, People’s History, 138-45.
145 John Ross to the Senecas, April 14, 1834, in Ross, The Papers, vol. 1, 284-87.
146 A U.S. officer, Major W.M. Davis, sent to enroll the Cherokees for removal, wrote in disgust to the secretary of war: “Sir, that paper . . . called a treaty, is no treaty at all.” If put to a vote, “it would be instantly rejected by nine-tenths of them” (quoted in Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee,126). Some who put their names to the document may have been bribed (an old treaty-making tactic), but Boudinot, the Ridges and others believed they were doing the best they could for their people in impossible circumstances. They also knew that the treaty was illegal under the Cherokee Constitution and that their actions carried the death penalty. “I have signed my death warrant,” said Major Ridge prophetically. Boudinot said: “We can die but the great Cherokee Nation will be saved.” After the Trail of Tears, they and others who had signed the Echota Treaty were killed, and the nation split into virtual civil war for the first decade in its new home.
147 Quoted in Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, 127.
148 Quoted in ibid., 127-28.
149 An alternative form of the name is Gulkalaski. See Mankiller and Wallis, Mankiller, 88.
150 Quoted in King and Evans, eds., “Trail of Tears,” 183. Later the Cherokee veteran said: “If I had known that Jackson would drive us from our homes, I would have killed him that day at the Horseshoe” (quoted in Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, 164).
151 Quoted in King and Chapman, Sequoyah Legacy, 51.
152 Emerson, April 1838 (my emphasis), quoted in Zinn, People’s History, 147. See also Conley, Cherokee Nation, 148, and Ehle, Trail of Tears, 303, for quotations from Emerson’s letter.
153 Concentration camps in the pre-Nazi sense. The word seems to have been coined by the British in their roundups of civilians during the Boer War. The British also set a precedent for ethnic cleansing in America: during the French and Indian War, they deported eight thousand Acadians by ship from maritime New France. See Nelles, Little History of Canada, 58-61.
154 Quoted in Mankiller and Wallis, Mankiller, 93 (the wording differs slightly in other sources).
155 A few had left voluntarily in the 1820s: first to Arkansas and then to Oklahoma when Arkansas was overrun by whites.
156 Several hundred Cherokees in North Carolina, and others who hid out in the Smoky Mountains, managed to stay in North Carolina to become what is now called the Eastern Band. With the help of William Thomas, a white lawyer and businessman who had been raised by a Cherokee family, these people were able to secure a reservation at Qualla that their descendants still hold. About five thousand Seminoles held out in Florida, waging a guerrilla resistance in the Everglades that went on for many years, costing $20 million and 1,500 American lives (Zinn, People’s History,144-46). Tocqueville may not have known the full extent of the evil, but he commented acidly on its “philanthropic” justifications: “It is impossible to destroy men with more respect for the laws of humanity.” An 1870 editor of his Democracy in America noted that in much of the East, “the race is extinct; and the predictions of M. de Tocqueville are fulfilled.” See Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 410-11.
157 Black Hoof, Shawnee, to John Johnston, 1830 (when Black Hoof was more than one hundred years old), quoted in Gilbert, God Gave Us, 331.
Chapter 6—Manifest Destiny
1“The Oregon Question” (lecture, Boston, January 1845), quoted in Van Alstyne, Rising American Empire, 112.
2 Quoted in Baldwin, American Quest, 155.
3 Melville, Moby Dick, chap. 93.
4 Oakes Shaw (Lemuel’s son), quoted in Parker, Melville, 176.
5 Tocqueville, Journey to America, 134, 337. From Detroit, Tocqueville and his friend, with two Indian guides, followed the road into the woods as far as Saginaw. “You can go forward without fear,” a trader told him. “I should sleep more soundly surrounded by Indians than by whites.” In the opening scenes of Moby Dick, Ishmael makes a similar remark: “Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.”
6 On the Fourth of July 1832, when Tocqueville was in St. Louis, he jotted in his notebook that the neighbouring Indians “have just crossed into American territory, putting everything to fire and sword” (Tocqueville, Journey to America, 123-24). The Cahokia platform has a bigger footprint than Egypt’s Great Pyramid, which covers 13 acres.
7 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 307. Ralph Waldo Emerson agreed: “We have yet had no genius in America,” he wrote in an essay titled “The Poet” in 1844. “Our fisheries, our Negroes, and Indians, our boasts . . . and the pusillanimity of honest men . . . are yet unsung.” Quoted in Conn, American Literature, 170.
8 For an analysis of this tradition, see Hofstadter, Anti-intellectualism.
9 In the 1860s this intellectual conquest would be put aside while the internal nature of the American experiment was settled on the battlefield, to be resumed with less euphoria as the country digested certain truths after the Civil War.
10 Published in 1848 and 1851, respectively, as Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley and Aboriginal Monuments of the State of New York.
11 The account of the first expedition was published as Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan. The English artist Frederick Catherwood travelled with Stephens and produced superb illustrations, using a combination of fine draughtsmanship and early photographic techniques. Their more detailed Incidents of Travel in Yucatan came out in 1843. Both works were published by Harper and Brothers and are available in modern reprints, complete with the fine engravings. The quotation is from a “Biographical Notice” by Catherwood in a later edition after Stephens’s early death in 1852. See Stephens, Travel in Central America, vol. 1, v-vi.
12 Stephens, Travel in Central America, vol. 2, 124. One of the sculptured stelae is thought to be the biggest stone ever quarried by the Maya—35 feet long and weighing 65 tons. Inscriptions (deciphered long after Stephens’s day) show it was erected in A .D. 771. Not far from Quiriguá is the much larger ancient city of Copan, which Stephens bought (on paper) for $50. Stephens also had business interests in the region, promoting steamships and the Panama Railway—the safest and quickest way to California in those days.
13 Squier also shared Stephens’s political and commercial interest in Central America, believing Nicaragua to be the best gateway through the isthmus to Asia: “To us is given, in this modern time, the ability of acquiring the rule of the East [by] transferring into our unarmed hands that passage for which Columbus strove in vain. . . . The fortune of war [with Mexico] has planted our eagles on the Pacific: across the entire continent . . . our Republic is supreme” (quoted in Van Alstyne, Rising American Empire, 159).
14 Stephens, Travel in Central America, vol. 2, 442.
15 Prescott’s Mexico was published in 1843, his Peru in 1847. John Hemming’s 1970 Conquest of the Incas is the latter work’s outstanding modern successor, including new information from Inca and Spanish sources that was not available to Prescott.
16 Squier, Peru, 543.
17 Melville, Moby Dick, chap. 24. Melville puts these words in the mouth of his narrator, Ishmael, one of the most autobiographical characters in American fiction.
18 Based closely on his desertion from the Acushnet, the book takes the form of a captivity narrative—those breathless tales of life among Indians written by close-kneed Yankee maidens. But Melville turns the genre on its head: he flees to the savages from tyranny aboard the whaler, which, like other ships in his work, is a microcosm of the United States.
19 Castigated for indecency and atheism by pious reviewers, Typee was lauded by Hawthorne, Whitman and Irving. Melville avoids romanticizing the islanders as noble savages (he fears, with some reason, that they may be cannibals) or himself as a noble civilizer (he wields a knife during his escape).
20 The first British edition (published shortly before the American for copyright reasons) was called The Whale. Some later editions keep both titles. Cooper, author of Last of the Mohicans and other frontier yarns, died in 1851, the year Moby Dick was published; Irving, best known for his Sketch Book, died in 1859.
21 Lawrence, Selected Essays, 258.
22 Miranda, New Democracy in America, 129-30. See Moby Dick, chap. 81, for the antiquity of whales and native whaling. No one knows how long sperm whales can live, but some authorities believe it may be centuries: “A lance-head of stone being found in him [an old whale], the flesh perfectly firm about it. Who had darted that stone lance? And when? It might have been darted by some Nor’ West Indian long before America was discovered” (Melville, Moby Dick, chap. 81).
23 Delbanco calls whaling “the first international industry dominated by the United States” (Delbanco, Melville, 40). The estimate in Moby Dick (chap. 24) that “we whalemen of American now outnumber all the rest [with] upward of seven hundred vessels; manned by eighteen thousand men” was accurate enough. No other nation came close. The first commercial oil well in the United States began production near Titusville, Pennsylvania, in 1859. Until 1948, wells on American soil produced half or more of the world’s total; since that year, the United States has been a net importer. See Williams, Empire, 209-10.
24 Melville, Moby Dick, chap. 105.
25 See the Jefferson quote at the head of Chapter 1. Melville, however, may not have thought that God was just. In Melville’s Quarrel with God, Lawrence Thompson argues that as Melville lost his faith, he fell into the old Ophitic heresy that the world being what it is, God must be evil or mad. See Thompson, Melville’s Quarrel.
26 Among them James Farnham, the Vermont lawyer, quoted in my Chapter 5 and Delbanco, Melville, 48.
27 Melville, Moby Dick, chap. 37.
28 The boiling down of blubber in a stormy night becomes a scene from hell: “The rushing Pequod, freighted with savages, and laden with fire, and burning a corpse, and plunging into that blackness . . . seemed the material counterpart of her monomaniac commander’s soul” (Melville, Moby Dick, chap. 96, “The Try-Works”).
29 Moby Dick, chap. 135. The ramming and sinking of the ship was no wild fancy. Several whaleships were sunk by large bull sperm whales (which could weigh up to a hundred tons)—notably, the Essex in 1820, referred to by Melville, and the Ann Alexander, which by an extraordinary coincidence was sunk by a whale just weeks before Moby Dick came out. “Ye Gods!” wrote Melville when he heard the news. “What a commentator is this Ann Alexander whale. . . . Crash! comes Moby Dick himself.” The victorious whale was caught and killed three years later, identified by harpoons and wreckage in its head. See Parker, Melville, 194-96, 877-78.
30 For Inca mythology and statecraft, Prescott drew heavily on the writer Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616), who had been born in Cusco, Peru, to an Inca princess and a conquistador. Besides his bestselling Comentarios Reales de los Incas [Royal Commentaries of the Incas] (1609), Inca Garcilaso wrote a history of Soto’s campaigns in the Southeastern United States, La Florida del Inca [The Inca’s Florida] (1606). See my Chapter 2.
31 America is a “confidence culture . . . of land boomers and poets, prophets and profiteers” (Lindberg, Confidence Man, quoted in Tony Tanner’s introduction to Melville, Confidence Man, xviii).
32 Quoted in Miller, Nature’s Nation, 83. The camp meeting, at Cane Ridge, went on for weeks. Estimates of the crowd vary from twenty to thirty thousand.
33 Baldwin, American Quest, 134-35.
34 The spiritual heirs of Transcendentalism include the Beats, the Hippies, the Peace Movement and various quasi-Oriental cults and communes.
35 Turner, Significance of the Frontier, 5-6, 22 (see also Flannery, Eternal Frontier, 288-89). In later essays, Turner, who came from Wisconsin, took a rosier view of the frontiersmen and barely mentioned the indigenous influence.
36 Quoted in Grant, Ghost Riders, 127. See also Gilbert, Westering Man.
37 Dominionists are best described as Christian Taliban, wanting to run America on extreme theocratic lines. To quote from one recent blog: “Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over . . . every aspect and institution of human society.” One frontier vigilante group, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, has even built its own border fence in Arizona. These groups also descend from white “nativist” movements of the 1840s: the Native American Party, the Know-Nothings and other bigots who attacked Catholics, blacks and immigrants—especially those bringing “un-American” ideas from Europe. The Know-Nothings were so called because their standard answer to any question was “I know nothing” (like the Spanish waiter in Fawlty Towers). Variants of these movements included the American Republicans, the American Party, the Order of United Americans and the Order of the Star-Spangled Banner.
38 William Miller foretold the Second Coming for 1843; then, on its no-show, for 1844. When he failed to deliver the second time, Miller was able to persuade his more gullible followers that Christ had come back to Earth but, for reasons best known to Himself, was keeping out of sight. The sect survives, in various forms, as the Adventists. See Baldwin, American Quest, 139.
39 More than a century ago, Count Leo Tolstoy called the Mormons “the American religion.” His remark was made in 1892 to Andrew White, the U.S. foreign minister to Russia. Harold Bloom took the phrase “the American religion” for the title of his 1992 book on American belief. Most recently, Jon Krakauer has written that Mormonism “is now widely considered to be the quintessential American religion” (Krakauer, Under the Banner, 7).
40 The English in the Book of Mormon is a pastiche of the style of the 1611 King James Bible (with some unfortunate slips of pseudo-archaic grammar).
41 James Adair, in his History of the American Indians, published in 1775, thought along these lines. In James Fenimore Cooper’s 1848 tale The Oak Openings, the character Amer believes that the Bible has directed him to lead the Indians—the Lost Tribes—back to Palestine.
42 Champollion was a gifted linguist. After learning Coptic (the descendant of ancient Egyptian), he was able to unravel the mystery by using the Rosetta Stone, which gave two Egyptian versions of a text also in Greek.
43 Moroni himself (the angel who purportedly led Smith to the gold sheets) discusses the script in the part of the Book of Mormon also called the Book of Mormon, chap. 9, 32-34.
44 Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, chap. 5, 24.
45 Krakauer, Under the Banner, 70.
46 Mormonism breathed new life into the “inverted conquest” story in American mythology, one in which the winners escape guilt by casting themselves as victims. See Limerick, Something in the Soil, 79-87, for her discussion of “inverted conquest” and the use of the frontier metaphor in modern politics.
47 Krakauer, Under the Banner, 98.
48 Mormonism also manages to blend both low- and high-church elements. The leadership is a Vatican-like theocracy, yet every Mormon man (not woman) can be a lesser prophet, open to instructions from heaven.
49 Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:27-28. The “delighteth” has been corrected in some later editions. The word normally used is polygamy, but that can apply to multiple marriage by either sex. Polygyny is the correct term for a system where men may have many wives, but women may have only one husband. Plural marriage was the term most favoured by Mormons.
50 From Fawn Brodie’s No Man Knows My History, 1995, quoted in Krakauer, Under the Banner.
51 Smith, quoted in Krakauer, Under the Banner, 102.
52 Quoted in Krakauer, Under the Banner, 104.
53 The Sauk, Fox and other native groups were driven out after the Black Hawk War in 1832.
54 For a few years in the early 1840s, Nauvoo became a boom town rivalling Chicago. Mormon converts came from as far away as Europe, and there was the usual influx of unruly backwoods characters. At its height in 1845, the town had about twelve thousand citizens (not all Mormons), with a similar number in the surrounding country. Today Nauvoo is a backwater, with about one thousand residents.
55 He ran a serious campaign, but too many non-Mormons distrusted him, fearing, with good reason, that if elected he might make himself Priest and King of the United States. Whether or not Smith suffered from epilepsy (which has been correlated with intense religious feelings), his running mate and fellow Mormon, Sidney Rigdon, certainly did.
56 Among other things, Smith wrecked his opponents’ newspaper and printing press.
57 Young had been away in Massachusetts, campaigning for Smith’s run at the presidency, but once he heard of the murder, he made a hasty return to Nauvoo. He won the succession as Prophet after giving an extraordinary speech, during which he seemed to those present to become Joseph Smith before their eyes. The metamorphosis did not last long, but was enough.
58 Smith claimed to have received well over a hundred revelations from the Almighty; Young had only one—about organizing wagon trains to Utah. Young’s attitude toward the Bible was equally pragmatic: parts of it, he said, were “baby stories.” Quoted in Metzger and Coogan, Oxford Companion to the Bible, 527-28.
59 Quoted in Baldwin, American Quest, 140. See also Krakauer, Under the Banner, chap. 17.
60 In 1819 Spain resigned her claims north of the forty-second parallel, the northern boundary of California. The British and the Americans argued over ownership of the “Oregon” region between there and the Russian colonies in Alaska until 1845, when they agreed on the forty-ninth parallel as the border. See Van Alstyne, Rising American Empire, 105-118.
61 See Van Alstyne, Rising American Empire, 136.
62 In 1680 about 400 Spaniards were killed and 2,500 settlers driven out. The Spaniards abandoned Santa Fe to the Pueblo leader, Pope, and withdrew to El Paso. They did not return until 1692 and never regained full control. Most of the surviving native towns of the Southwest are thought to have been founded about eight hundred years ago, when the Pueblo peoples moved to their present locations after a crisis in the Anasazi culture, from which they are descended. Only Cusco, Mexico, and a few other Mesoamerican and Peruvian cities have a comparable record of unbroken occupancy. There are much older buildings in the Americas, some dating back more than five thousand years, but these have not been in continuous use.
63 The non-Indian population of Texas rose from about four thousand in 1821 to one hundred thousand by 1845.
64 Jackson’s description is surely as Orwellian a phrase as his “true philanthropy” toward Indians. Quoted in Williams, Empire, 84.
65 Quoted in Van Alstyne, Rising American Empire, 107.
66 Quoted in ibid., 143.
67 Quoted in Williams, Empire, 89.
68 Whitman, writing in the Brooklyn Eagle, quoted in Williams, Empire, and Zinn, People’s History, 154.
69 Quoted in Zinn, People’s History, 155. The population of Mexico at the time was about 7 million, half of whom were ethnic Indians and the rest whites (criollos) and mestizos, with the criollos in charge.
70 His name is spelled Moctezuma in Mexico. The National (and Viceregal) Palace stands on the site of his palace, forming one side of the great square at the heart of the city, which was an island in a shallow lake in Aztec times. Chapultepec, where the Aztec emperor also had a residence, is a fortified rock outcrop on the mainland a few miles to the west.
71 This relationship was later challenged by Mexico several times, notably during the Mexican Revolution and the presidency of the left-leaning nationalist Lázaro Cárdenas in the 1930s. The “domestic dependent” Indian nations and some small countries such as Hawaii were also arguably client states at this time.
72 Quoted in Van Alstyne, Rising American Empire, 152.
73 The first known use of “manifest destiny” is in an editorial by John O’Sullivan in the New York Morning News, December 27, 1845.
74 Weinberg, Manifest Destiny, 41. He also called it “such a creature as Frankenstein fashioned. Gaining control over the doctrine of natural right, it in effect changed the impartial law of nature into the unique code favorable to the rights of one nation.”
75 Quoted in Krakauer, Under the Banner, 205-7.
76 Taney applied his ruling even to the descendants of slaves. The case overthrew the Missouri Compromise, thereby reopening the whole question of the power balance between North and South.
77 Advice to Buchanan from Robert Tyler, the son of former president John Tyler. Quoted in Krakauer, Under the Banner, 210.
78 The motive for the killing seems to have been a combination of plunder and paranoia. See Krakauer, Under the Banner, chap. 18.
79 Rice, Francis Burton, 336.
80 Tocqueville, Journey to America, 340.
81 In 1830 the Northern states had only a tiny population of African descent: about 1 percent in Massachusetts and 2 percent in New York (see Tocqueville, Democracy in America [2000 (1835)], 428). Cotton production rose from 1,000 tons in 1790 to 1 million tons in 1860. Over the same period, the slave population grew from 0.5 million to 4 million.
82 Ancient thralldom was a complex institution, and it had withered with the Roman Empire. Slaves had filled many social roles: most were domestic servants; some were trusted retainers, even teachers; and a few became wealthy enough to buy their freedom. Only the unluckier ones were worked to death in galleys, mines and quarries. Slavery began making a comeback with the revival of Europe’s economy in the late Middle Ages. As early as the twelfth century, slaves were being used to work mines and sugar estates in Sicily and Cyprus (Wolf, Europe, 195). As noted in Chapter 2, overseas plantations in Madeira, the Canaries and the Azores shortly before 1492 became the prototype for slavery in the Caribbean and mainland Americas.
83 Tocqueville, Democracy in America (2000 ), 440.
84 Columbus, Vespucci and many others had taken New World slaves to Europe. Eventually the pope, after much debate, declared American Indians to be human beings. The Spaniards then resorted to various forms of “paid,” yet forced, labour in mines and on estates (see Chapter 2). New forms of de facto slavery appeared in Amazonia during the rubber boom of the early twentieth century.
85 The laws banning the trade were passed in 1807-8 but took some time to have effect. Slaveholding was abolished by the British in 1833. Slavery had been abolished by most of Latin America (except Brazil and Cuba) in the 1820s.
86 See Wolf (Europe, chap. 7) for these conservative estimates and Crosby, Columbian Exchange, 188, for a total figure of 12 million. Besides those who died on the way, many others soon died from exploitation. Once established in America, the black population grew strongly and mixed with both Indians and whites. Today more than 100 million people throughout the Americas have visible African ancestry.
87 Tocqueville, Journey to America, 97.
88 Tocqueville, Journey to America, 99.
89 There are countless works on the subject; among the best for non-specialists are Robert Penn Warren’s Legacy of the Civil War (1961), Shelby Foote’s multivolume history and Ken Burns’s outstanding television series. David Blight’s Race and Reunion (2001) is a penetrating analysis of the cultural aftermath.
90 Blight (Race and Reunion, 64) gives a total of 620,000, more than in all the other American wars together through Korea. In 1914-18 Britain lost 750,000 men from a population of 43 million (see Clarke, Hope and Glory, 8, 80, and MacMillan, Paris 1919, xxvi). German and French losses per capita in the First World War were even higher. About two-thirds of the men lost in the American Civil War died from sickness. In the First World War, the United States lost about 54,000 and in the Second World War, about 292,000. Japan’s losses in the Second World War were about 1.2 million. See Hobsbawm, Age of Extremes, 28, and Keegan, Second World War, 591.
91 Warren, Legacy of the Civil War, 4 (my emphasis).
92 Quoted in Lindqvist, Exterminate, 54. The young Churchill was in Sudan as what is now called an “embedded” correspondent. The poetry of Rudyard Kipling illustrates the transformation from imperial jingoism to home slaughter. In 1898 he had written of “Lesser breeds without the Law” and in 1899 of “the White Man’s burden” (referring to the Philippines). After losing a son in the Great War, however, he was less sanguine: “If any question why we died / Tell them, because our fathers lied” (quoted in Clarke, Hope and Glory, 83).
93 Waldman, Atlas, 119.
94 Brown, Bury My Heart, 5.
95 Williams, Empire, 91.
96 Douglass, “Our Work Is Not Done” (speech to the American Antislavery Society, Philadelphia, Penn., December 3-4, 1863), quoted in Blight, Race and Reunion, 16.
97 Carpetbaggers were Northerners who went to the South to profit from Reconstruction. Southerners who collaborated with the North were known as scalawags, and Northerners with Southern sympathies were called copperheads (after a venomous breed of snake).
98 Despite the Fifteenth Amendment of 1870, which extended the franchise to all adult men, the Southern states kept passing racially discriminatory laws. When the Supreme Court ruled that such laws were constitutional in 1896, it encouraged further entrenchment of America’s apartheid. Some Northern states had allowed free blacks to vote long before the Civil War, but white intimidation often prevented them from doing so. American Indians were not granted U.S. citizenship and voting rights until 1924.
99 Whitman’s preface to the first edition of Leaves of Grass (my emphasis).
100 About 180,000 African Americans served (under white officers) in the Union Army and Navy; one in five of them died (Blight, Race and Reunion, 64).
101 See Chapter 5.
102 In accordance with Cherokee law, Elias Boudinot had paid with his life (in 1839) for having signed the Treaty of New Echota, which had led to the Cherokee Removal (see Chapter 5). Under the Iroquois name of Hasanoanda, Ely Parker was an elected sachem of the Six Nations, which had managed to regroup somewhat on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. Prevented by race discrimination from going into law, Parker had trained as a civil engineer. Today both he and Morgan are considered co-founders of modern American anthropology. Parker was Indian Affairs commissioner under President Ulysses S. Grant from 1869 to 1871. See Parker, Ely S. Parker, for a biography written by his nephew.
103 It was estimated at the time that the federal government had spent $3.4 billion on the war; by 1879 the total cost, including pensions and other long-term outlays, was reckoned at more than $6 billion—staggering figures in those days (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, v01.1, 827).
104 Quoted in Brown, Bury My Heart, 166. Under Sheridan’s command was George A. Custer, who would die at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.
105 The animal is more properly known as the American bison (Bison bison).
106 This image was also popularized in Europe by the bestselling German novelist Karl May. To this day there are people in Germany who go from their banking jobs to a weekend in a tipi village, dressing in buckskins and war bonnets with obsessive authenticity.
107 The first post-Columbian horses in North America may well have been an unintended gift of Hernando de Soto. Ironically, a horse native to America had been among the early victims of the Ice Age hunters. Indeed, horses were very nearly driven to extinction in the Old World as well at that time. The horse seems to have been adopted on most of the Plains and Canadian Prairies by the 1770s.
108 About 20 million immigrated in these seventy years, though the rest of the growth was natural increase. Herman Melville’s life spans this growth of the United States from migrant outpost to world power. When he was born in 1819, Manhattan had barely 100,000 people; when he died in 1891, it held more than 3 million (Delbanco, Melville, 3).
109 In 1903 Horatio Nelson Jackson drove from San Francisco to New York City in a gasoline-powered Winton car, following railway service tracks and wagon trails. The 5,600-mile trip took sixty-three days.
110 The first machine gun in general use was the Gatling. A later type, the Hotchkiss, was used at Wounded Knee and elsewhere. As Frederick W. Turner observed of the crushing of the Ghost Dance: “In this clash between visions and Hotchkiss guns, the latter won” (Turner, ed., Indian Reader,1974, 15). See also Lazarus, Black Hills, 114-16.
111 The U.S. Army killed about six thousand Plains Indians in the twenty-five years after the Civil War. That alone was not enough for victory, and it was said that the cost was a million dollars a head by the 1870s (Flannery, Eternal Frontier, 310).
112 The army also shot buffalo on sight, to starve the Indians. Six million hides were exported to Europe in this decade—only a small fraction of the animals killed. See Flannery, Eternal Frontier, 321, and Walton, “Were Bison Victims?” for a report on a new study by the economist M. Scott Taylor.
113 Some estimates go as high as 60 million bison (buffalo) in the early 1800s; eyewitnesses saw herds so big they made a sea of hairy backs from foreground to horizon (see Flannery, Eternal Frontier, 312-24). Canada also took part in the slaughter. At one point the total number of bison alive in the world may have been only two or three hundred. They have since recovered to about a quarter million.
114 For more historical background and the modern aftermath involving the American Indian Movement, the Sioux and the FBI, see Matthiessen, Crazy Horse, and Lazarus, Black Hills.
115 Quoted in Brown, Bury My Heart, 85, and Wilson, Earth Shall Weep, 273. Chivington attacked at dawn with about six hundred Colorado militiamen, many of whom were drunk. Estimates of the dead run from 105 to 200.
116 Also called the Severalty Act, it was passed in 1887. The irony of the Dawes Act is that it began as a response to Helen Hunt Jackson’s searing condemnation of her country’s treatment of Indians, A Century of Dishonor (1881).
117 Flannery, Eternal Frontier, 310.
118 The words of Waterhouse after the Powhatan War. See Chapter 3.
119 In 1874 the United States produced 5 tons of barbed wire; in 1890, 125,000 tons (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, vol. 3, 384-85).
120 Gatling invented his steam plough in 1857. In 1911 a Montana farmer turned photographer, Evelyn Cameron, wrote to her brother: “The range country that you knew so well is about all gone now & the prairie swarms with farmers who plough up the land with steam and gasoline engines” (quoted in Raban, Bad Land, 83).
121 Daniels, Horse Trader, 16.
122 Quoted in Turner, ed., Indian Reader, 255.
Chapter 7 - A Sort of Empire
1Webster 1812, quoted in Friedman, Inventors, vii.
2 F.D. Roosevelt to Colonel Edward Mandell House, 21 November 1933.
3 Beuve-Méry was the founder of the French newspaper Le Monde. He said this in 1944, shortly before the D-Day landings. See Justin Webb, Death to America: Anti-Americanism Examined, BBC Radio Four series, April 2007, and article by Webb on BBC World News website, April 12, 2007.
4 Zinn, People’s History, 301.
5 Weinberg, Manifest Destiny, 71.
6 LaFeber, New Empire, 12.
7 William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part Two, act 4, scene 5.
8 Americans had been freebooting in the Pacific for some time. As early as the War of 1812, an American captain, David Porter, had tried to seize the remote Marquesan island of Nuku Hiva (where Melville jumped ship years later), naming its great volcanic haven “Massachusetts Bay.” But the United States did not follow up.
After the Civil War, when cotton prices were sky high, unreconstructed Southerners, joined by Britons of like mind, set up a chapter of the Ku Klux Klan in Fiji and tried to overthrow the local king, whom they lampooned as “an old nigger” (quoted in Scarr, Majesty of Colour, 193).
9 In 1832 there were 130,000 Hawaiians; by 1900 their number had dropped to fewer than 30,000 (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, vol. 13, 88-89). Disease was by no means the only factor; white settler encroachment prevented recovery. On Polynesian islands where the land stayed in native hands, the population was able to rebuild—just as Cherokee numbers began to rise when the settler tide was halted for several decades before the Removal. The Fiji islands, for example, are about the same size as the Hawaiian group and, before contact, had a similar number of people. After Britain took over Fiji in 1874, land alienation was halted; today about 83 percent of the land is still owned communally by native clans, and more than half the population is indigenous Fijian. In Hawaii, by contrast, only 1 percent of the population is indigenous Hawaiian, and about 15 percent are of mixed ancestry.
10 Welcomed as equals at the British court, the Hawaiian royals were not always so well treated in America: on one occasion two princes were thrown off a Pullman car in Philadelphia for being “niggers” (Allen, Betrayal of Liliuokalani, 73).
11 Quoted in Allen, Betrayal of Liliuokalani, 401.
12 Quoted in Van Alstyne, Rising American Empire, 177.
13 The parallel with Texas—the likelihood of American migrants overwhelming the sovereignty of their host—was widely noted by 1875. Van Alstyne, Rising American Empire, 177. The queen told her side of the story eloquently in her autobiography, published in 1898. See Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s Queen.
14 Dole was a cousin of the pineapple czar. The term Gospel Republic was coined by his opponents.
15 Ironically, the territory would not be given statehood until 1959, mainly because of fears that the non-white population, which included many Asians, might take charge if they were allowed too much democracy. For similar reasons, Puerto Rico, taken from Spain in 1898, still remains in political limbo.
16 See Van Alstyne, Rising American Empire, 184-86. Roosevelt, quoted in Zinn, People’s History, 297, 300.
17 Roosevelt gave the order on February 25 to Admiral Dewey, who was at Hong Kong. The bombardment of the Spanish fleet at Manila began on May 1.
18 Roosevelt to Henry Cabot Lodge, September 1897. Quoted in Van Alstyne, Rising American Empire, 185.
19 Cuban sovereignty was curtailed by the Platt Amendment of 1901, which reserved an American right to intervene in several areas of the island’s life, including the protection of property. In 1901 General Leonard Wood, in charge of U.S. forces on the island, reported to President Roosevelt: “There is, of course, little or no independence left in Cuba” (quoted in Zinn, People’s History, 311-12). In 1921 President Warren Harding (Republican) made Wood governor general of the Philippines.
20 For example, see Luzviminda Francisco’s 1973 paper “The First Vietnam: The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902.”
21 The 1903 census (after war losses from fighting and disease) gave a figure of nearly 8 million. By 2000 the population was some 80 million—a tenfold rise in one century, or more than twice the world average. Yearly income in 2006 was US$1,300 per head.
22 Quoted in Weinberg, Manifest Destiny, 287.
23 Quoted in ibid., 292, and Zinn, People’s History, 313. For a kinder view of McKinley, see LaFeber, New Empire.
24 See Dennett, Eastern Asia, 629. In January 1899 Senator Augustus Bacon of Georgia introduced a resolution that would have satisfied Filipino and American interests, promising to return the islands to their people “when a stable and independent government shall have been duly erected therein.” The vote was tied, and Vice-President Garret Hobart killed the Bacon resolution. Aguinaldo is quoted in Weinberg, Manifest Destiny, 299.
25 Weinberg, Manifest Destiny, 308-9.
26 “In Support of an American Empire,” 56th Cong., 1st sess., Congressional Record (January 9, 1900): 704-12.
27 Zinn, People’s History, 300.
28 Weinberg, Manifest Destiny, 297.
29 The phrase “the new imperialism, the imperialism of liberty” was coined by Lyman Abbott in his article “The New Monroe Doctrine,” Outlook 59 (1898): 1006. Quoted in Weinberg, Manifest Destiny, 290.
30 Dennett, Eastern Asia, 629.
31 James, quoted in Zinn, People’s History, 314.
32 Quoted in Zinn, People’s History, 315. White troops called the Filipinos “niggers,” and a number of black American troops deserted and went over to the native side. Caloocan is now a suburb of greater Manila.
33 Weinberg (Manifest Destiny, 315) called it “the painful ‘water cure’ for Filipino patriotism.” Berman (Dark Ages, 8) calls it “near drowning of suspects . . . a technique long used in Latin American dictatorships.” At his Senate confirmation hearings in November 2007, Michael Mukasey, Bush’s new attorney general, claimed that he did not know enough about waterboarding to be sure whether it was torture or not. Speaking to Congress in February 2008, CIA director Michael Hayden admitted to the use of waterboarding on a few al Qaeda suspects (BBC World News, February 5, 2008).
34 Ledger (Philadelphia), 1901, quoted in Zinn, People’s History, 315.
35 Root, quoted in Zinn, People’s History, 316.
36 Rumsfeld, quoted in the Boston Globe, March 26, 2003: “The care that goes into it, the humanity that goes into it, to see that military targets are destroyed . . . every single target has been analyzed, and the weapon has been carefully selected. . . . It is an enormously impressive effort, a humane effort.”
37 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 467. In his inaugural address of 1801, Thomas Jefferson had said that America had “room enough for our descendants to the thousandth and thousandth generation.”
38 Senator James R. Doolittle of Wisconsin, 1860, quoted in Williams, Empire, 95: “I sustain this [homestead] measure . . . because its benign operation will postpone for centuries, if it will not forever, all serious conflict between capital and labor in the older free States, withdrawing their surplus population to create in greater abundance the means of subsistence.”
39 John Hay, mid-1880s, quoted in LaFeber, New Empire, 17.
40 See Zinn, People’s History, chap. 13, for the sources and quotations in this section.
41 Jack London, the bestselling novelist and adventurer, wrote in 1906 that “modern man lives more wretchedly than the cave-man,” while his producing power was “a thousand times greater.” The conclusion was obvious to anyone who gave it thought: capital was once again enslaving human beings regardless of race, age or sex—though non-whites, women, and children certainly had it the worst.
42 A Wobbly-led general strike at Seattle in 1919 was described by the city’s mayor as “an attempted revolution . . . for the overthrow of the industrial system” (Zinn, People’s History, 379). Eighty years later, Seattle became the scene of the biggest antiglobalization protest in North America.
43 The tribunal, intended to avoid war by binding arbitration of international disputes, was founded on the initiative of the Russian czar in 1899 and strengthened, with American support, in 1907. It is sorrowfully ironic to read the optimism of the 1911 Britannica, three years before the assassination at Sarajevo: “Although religious animosities between Christian nations have died out, although dynasties may now rise and fall without raising half Europe to arms, the springs of warlike enterprise are still to be found in commercial jealousies, in imperialistic ambitions and in the doctrine of survival of the fittest which lends scientific support to both. These must one and all be cleared away before we can enter on that era of universal peace” (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, vol. 2, 331).
44 Of course, the Victorian Age nominally ended with Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, but I follow the view of historian Eric Hobsbawm that the “long” nineteenth century lasted through the Edwardian Period and until the First World War.
45 The Secret Agent was first published in serial form in 1906 and as a book in 1907.
46 The vehicle became known as Buda’s Waggon (see Davis, Buda’s Waggon). In January 2008 ex-prime minister Tony Blair accepted a lucrative part-time directorship at J.P. Morgan.
47 The assassin, Gavrilo Princip, was acting for a Serbian nationalist group called Union or Death. The motive was the repressive Balkan policy of Austria-Hungary, the Middle European empire. Both the archduke and his pregnant wife were killed.
48 For example, the British Dreadnought, launched in 1906.
49 Keegan, Second World War, 24.
50 Theodore Roosevelt thought him a cold-blooded opportunist, but that was nonsense. “Kindly, sincere, straightforward” was how British prime minister Lloyd George later summed up Wilson’s character, adding “tactless, obstinate and vain” (MacMillan, Paris 1919, 6-7).
51 Under Wilson, Filipinos were given limited self-rule. Progress in this direction was later halted by the Republicans but resumed in the 1930s. Wilson’s promise was at last fulfilled after the Second World War, though the United States kept several naval bases on the islands.
52 The main allies were Britain, France and Czarist Russia, also known as the Triple Alliance.
53 Known as the Zimmerman Telegram, Germany’s offer to Mexico was decoded by the British and published by the White House in March 1917. However, without America’s clumsy interventions in the Mexican Revolution after 1910, the madcap scheme might never have occurred to Berlin.
54 See Hobsbawm, Age of Extremes, 25-35, for this argument.
Hobsbawm suggests that the war took as long as it did because both sides knew that the only conclusive result, as in the American Civil War, would be unconditional surrender; anything less would lead to further war—which is, of course, what happened. Because Germany surrendered with her armies undefeated on the battlefield, the result was soon seen by many Germans as illegitimate and inconclusive—a belief skilfully exploited by the Nazi Party.
55 About fifty-four thousand Americans died in battle—a fourteenth of Britain’s losses, or only a fortieth if adjusted for population.
56 Dos Passos, Nineteen Nineteen, 199. Dick, or perhaps Dos Passos, forgets that all apes (unlike monkeys) are tailless.
57 He was the first U.S. president to leave American soil while in office.
58 The war had made Russia into a Bolshevik dictatorship, shattered Austria-Hungary beyond repair, driven Turkey from the Middle East and strengthened Japan.
59 MacMillan lists all Fourteen Points (Paris 1919, 495-96). They were written early in 1918 and later accepted by Germany as the basis of the Armistice of November 11 that year.
60 Tennyson, “Locksley Hall,” 1842.
61 Although the “blitz” is thought of as a feature of the Second World War, many destructive bombing raids were carried out over England by German planes and zeppelins during the Great War.
62 The bylaw was passed in 1916. Another option, taken by some architects, was to keep vertical sides but use only part of the site. After seeing Mexico in 1921, British architect Alfred C. Bossom, who practised widely in the United States, explicitly used pre-Columbian motifs in his art deco skyscrapers (see Braun, Pre-Columbian Art, 167-74). Apart from buildings, art deco was used mainly in mass-produced consumer durables, but Mesoamerican influence was also strong in the work of artists such as Henry Moore.
63 Tikal Temple IV, built about A .D. 740, held the record until the 268-foot Washington Capitol dome was completed after the Civil War. The temple’s existing height is 230 feet, but the weathered stonework of the roof comb was originally somewhat higher. Temple IV and its neighbouring towers are solid masses of stone and concrete rising in tiers, with single-flight stairways to the shrines at the top—a look imitated by the central inset of many art deco skyscrapers.
64 See Chapter 5. Wilson had almost certainly read League of the Iroquois (1851), written by Lewis Henry Morgan and his Seneca colleague Ely Parker, who later became head of Indian Affairs under Ulysses Grant. The influence of the Iroquois League on Wilson’s thinking at the end of the Great War was noted at the time. Several papers of Wilson’s secretary of state Robert Lansing, who was a colleague at the Paris Peace Conference, mention the link. See, for example, “The Iroquois League of Nations,” dated 1921, kept in Princeton University’s Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library.
65 The treaty had to pass the Senate by a two-thirds vote. Even so, if Wilson had made some compromises, he might have succeeded.
There is some evidence that his judgment was impaired by overwork or stroke. He died in 1924.
66 Tocqueville, Journey to America, 85. In his Democracy he put it this way: “In the conduct of foreign relations . . . democratic governments appear to me to be decidedly inferior to governments carried on upon different principles” (see Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 270).
67 MacMillan, Paris 1919, 493. Among the League of Nations’ achievements was the International Labour Organization, offering, it was hoped, a moderate alternative to the Wobblies and other radicals worldwide.
68 A .J.P. Taylor, quoted in Keegan, Second World War, 10.
69 Germany was forced to admit “war guilt” and to pay the winners back for the cost of the war, a sum fixed at $33 billion in 1921. Hitler’s propaganda replaced history with a myth that the Germans had not really lost at all but had been sold out by traitors and Jews.
70 See Raban, Bad Land, especially page 26, where the expert F.
Walden is quoted: “It seems to be a matter of common observation that rainfall in a new country increases with settlement [and] cultivation.”
71 Raban, Bad Land, 232.
72 Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath, 34.
73 Steffens said and wrote this on several occasions and in slightly different forms. His trip to Russia was in 1919. See Kaplan, Lincoln Steffens, chap. 13.
74 Hitler’s father’s surname was originally Schicklgrüber; Stalin means “Man of Steel.”
75 Hobsbawm, Age of Extremes, 96.
76 Klein, Shock Doctrine, 301.
77 Hoover had also started to address the slump with dams and with emergency camps for “Okies”—known as Hoovervilles.
78 These reforms later came under attack during the anticommunist hysteria of the 1950s. Several tribes were “terminated”—their legal existence (and therefore their treaty rights and land claims) abolished in the name of free enterprise and advancement. Most Indians strongly resisted termination, so the policy was withdrawn, and some lands were restored in the 1970s. See Waldman, Atlas, chap. 7, for a good overview of modern Indian policy in the United States and Canada until the Reagan years, when reservation-based casinos were promoted as the “new buffalo.” A recent Guardian article by Paul Harris (“Fortune Favours the Braves”) describes some consequences of the casino policy, especially as it affects the Pequots and Oglala Sioux today.
79 The coming war delayed Philippine independence; it also eased President Cárdenas’s bold nationalization of Mexico’s oil.
80 Hitler was made chancellor on January 30, 1933. The Reichstag building was empty when it was firebombed a month later. A communist faction or the Nazis themselves are the prime suspects, but Hitler immediately said he did “not doubt” the bombing was the work of communists, and he used the attack to suppress the left and round up opponents. Scheduled elections went ahead the following week, with freedom of speech and other civil liberties suspended. The Nazis and their allies won a bare majority, and Communist deputies were banned from taking their seats. On March 23 the House passed the Enabling Act, giving Hitler dictatorial powers. See Haffner, Defying Hitler, 98-102, for a contemporary view.
81 Mann to the dean of Bonn University, 1 January 1937, quoted in Eksteins, Rites of Spring, 311. Hitler, quoted in Eksteins, Rites of Spring, 314.
82 Haffner, Defying Hitler, 236. Haffner’s extraordinary memoir, which has warnings for our own time, was written about 1939, after the author fled to England and before the war began. The manuscript was forgotten until Haffner’s son found it after his father’s death in 1999.
83 After the opening of Japan to American trade in the 1850s, the Japanese, who had followed a policy of isolation since the sixteenth century—even banning the technology of firearms—embarked on a headlong policy of modernization. Japan was big enough and remote enough that it could fulfill the old dream of the Cherokees: by acquiring the tools of western civilization on its own terms, it guaranteed its national independence.
84 On a single night, the United States burned more than eighty thousand people in a napalm attack on Tokyo; in the Dresden “firestorm,” more than one hundred thousand died. See Williams, Empire, 171-72.
85 Weller, First into Nagasaki, 43. George Weller’s dispatches from Nagasaki were discovered by his son, the author Anthony Weller, and published for the first time in 2006.
86 Burchett, quoted in Weller, First into Nagasaki, 254.
87 The figure of 12 million for the Great War may well be too low, and it does not include the 20 to 40 million who died in the subsequent flu epidemic, which may have incubated in the trenches, camps and field hospitals and then been spread around the world by returning soldiers. Fewer soldiers and many more civilians died in the Second World War. The 50 million includes the Jews and others who died in the Nazi and Soviet camps (see Keegan, Second World War, 590-95). A third of the dead (military and civilian) were in the Soviet Union: without Stalin’s dictatorship, Hitler’s might not have been stopped.
88 Levi, quoted in Clendinnen, Reading the Holocaust, 52.
Chapter 8 - The Winds of Fear
1Williams, Empire, 96.
2 John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 1813, referring to the Philadelphia riots. Coined during the mob terror of the French Revolution, the word terrorism is nearly as old as the United States.
3 MacMillan, Paris 1919, 181.
4 Nixon was quoted as saying, “We are all Keynesians now” (see Klein, Shock Doctrine, 158). However, Berman argues that Nixon’s 1971 devaluation of the dollar began the right-wing project to “repeal” Bretton Woods. Berman, Dark Ages, 50-58.
5 Both men, born only a year apart, would soon be dead: Roosevelt in 1945 and Keynes in 1946.
6 The war economy was epitomized by the massive Ford plant at Ypsilanti, Michigan, which had been turning out a new Flying Fortress bomber every hour. When peace came, surplus aluminum production was sold to the public as boats, gadgets and above all the aluminum siding that spread in a pastel plague over the houses of North America.
7 See Clarke, Hope and Glory, 209, and Berman, Dark Ages, 53.
8 Britain had traded away many bases, airfields and other assets to cover its war debt under the Lend-Lease scheme.
9 Like Iron Curtain, “special relationship” seems to have been another Churchill coinage, first said by him in 1946.
10 The first atomic bombs were equivalent to some twenty thousand tons of TNT; the hydrogen bomb can have an explosive force reckoned in millions of tons. With the help of ex-Nazi scientists, great missiles were developed to lob the bombs overseas. The Space Race of the 1950s and 1960s was essentially a threatening display of rocket science.
11 MacArthur (speech, Lansing, Michigan, May 15, 1951).
12 The film was released in January 1964, with Peter Sellers,
Sterling Hayden and George C. Scott in leading roles (Sellers played three characters). The crisp black-and-white cinematography is matched by a sparkling script, written by Kubrick, Terry Southern and Peter George—an ex-RAF intelligence officer and author of the 1958 novel Red Alert(called Two Hours to Doom and published under Peter George’s pen name, Peter Bryant, in Britain), on which the film was based. Southern wrote that because of lax security standards in Britain, “George had been able to reveal details . . . that, in the spy-crazy USA of the Cold War era, would have been downright treasonous. Thus the entire complicated technology of nuclear deterrence in Dr. Strangelove was based on a bedrock of authenticity.” In Southern, “Strangelove Outtake,” 64.
13 Fluoride occurs naturally in some water; if not, it is added to protect children’s teeth against decay.
14 Hofstadter, Paranoid Style, 5-6. First given at Oxford as the Herbert Spencer Lecture in November 1963, the text was published in shorter form in Harper’s Magazine a year later. The full text is in Hofstadter, ibid., 3-40.
15 Bageant, Deer Hunting, 201. See also Lieven, America, for more on this important strain in American culture.
16 Quoted in Hofstadter, Paranoid Style, 110, in his essay “Goldwater and Pseudo-Conservative Politics.” Barry Goldwater had made this statement in December 1961, and it was used by opponents in the 1964 campaign. To his credit, Goldwater opposed the extreme religious right and later called Richard Nixon “the most dishonest individual I have ever met in my life.”
17 I have put the earlier first. The target of the 1798 sermon was the worldwide “conspiracy” of Freemasonry, which had played a part in both the American and the French revolutions. The ellipsis in the second passage (McCarthy’s speech) is mine, so as not to give the game away. The missing words are “high in this government.”
18 In his farewell speech to the nation in 1960, Eisenhower said: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” He went on to warn of the influence of the complex on universities, where “a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity.” Presumably, such warnings led to the extremist charge that Eisenhower was a communist.
19 Rev. Richard Cizik, vice-president of the National Association of Evangelicals, quoted in the New York Times, May 27, 2003. See Kaplan, God on Their Side, 13.
20 As George Orwell foresaw in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). Kurt Vonnegut wrote in his novel Galápagos (146): “All the killing that had been going on since the end of the Second World War . . . was surely ‘World War Three.’”
21 It was estimated that during the Nixon/Kissinger carpet bombing of Cambodia, more explosive power was unleashed on jungles and peasants than in the whole of the Second World War. Large amounts of Agent Orange, a herbicide rife with carcinogens, were used to expose the enemy by wiping out vegetation in Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia. In the aftermath of the bombing of Cambodia, the fanatical Khmer Rouge took power, led by Pol Pot (later ousted, ironically, by Vietnam).
22 American output had reached a third of world production by 1913 but lost ground during the 1930s (see Hobsbawn, Age of Extremes, 97, and Keegan, Second World War, 594-95). The United States’ share of world production was just above half in 1945; today it is about a quarter, reflecting the recovery of old economies and the rise of new ones.
23 Keegan, Second World War, 592-95. America’s only civilian deaths were 68 killed at Pearl Harbor. Britain lost 60,000 civilians to aerial bombing and 244,000 men in battle (equivalent to about three times more if compared by population to the United States). Japan’s battle deaths were 1.2 million and Germany’s 4 million. Until 1989, when Keegan’s Second World War was published, the two significant American wars after 1945 were Korea and Vietnam. Since then, of course, the Gulf War, the Afghan War and the Iraq War must be added. The only major Soviet war was in Afghanistan, where losses were only a fourth of the losses suffered by the United States in Vietnam. Since the fall of communism, Russia has also fought a war against secession in Chechnya. Japan has had no army, and Germany no troops in battle, since 1945. (Keegan was among the supporters of the Iraq War.)
24 This number includes American support staff and those missing in action. Fifteen other countries, including Britain, Canada and Australia, fought with the “United Nations” in Korea. On the communist side, huge numbers of Chinese ground troops were engaged, while Soviet and American fighters—the first jet fighters in action—battled in the sky. The Hunters, a remarkable 1956 novel by James Salter, who was a fighter pilot in Korea, gives an insider’s view of the air war. The Americans made heavy use of napalm—seventy thousand gallons daily in 1952—and civilian casualties were very high.
25 Quoted in Blum, Rogue State, 174.
26 This is generally true, though there were anomalies. Egypt, Sudan, Sarawak and Tonga, for example, were under various forms of British overlordship but not formally British possessions.
27 The United States had already, under the Monroe Doctrine, developed the makings of a hegemonic system in Latin America. Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Mexico had all felt the American lash at one time or another before the Second World War. The economies of many Latin American countries were dominated by U.S. corporations such as Standard Oil and United Fruit (with its “banana republics”). In the early 1900s Theodore Roosevelt had twisted off part of Colombia to create the Republic of Panama as a haven for the American-built and - owned Panama Canal. This period was an apprenticeship in running a tribute empire.
28 On December 20, 1983, Donald Rumsfeld paid a cordial visit to Saddam Hussein in Baghdad. At that time Iraq was being supplied and encouraged as a bulwark of secularism against fundamentalist Iran.
29 Kennedy, quoted in Williams, Empire, 198-99.
30 See Kinzer, Overthrow, for a general history of American-sponsored coups, and Schlesinger and Kinzer, Bitter Fruit, for a good analysis of the Guatemalan case. See Klein, Shock Doctrine, for other examples, especially Chile. The attack on Guatemala was orchestrated by the Dulles brothers, one of whom was CIA director and the other secretary of state. They both had close ties to United Fruit, by far the largest foreign company in Guatemala. Arbenz, whose stated aim was to turn Guatemala “from a dependent nation with a semi-colonial economy . . . into a modern capitalist state,” had begun a land reform that included the expropriation of idle lands with due compensation. The coup against Chile, in which President Allende died, was orchestrated by Henry Kissinger. After Allende’s electoral victory, Kissinger had said: “I don’t see why we should stand by and permit a country to go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people” (quoted in Williams, Empire, x).
31 Quoted in Zinn, People’s History, 557. Other Harris Poll numbers are also given here.
32 Somoza and his father (also Anastasio) had dominated Nicaragua since the 1930s. He was overthrown in 1979 by the leftist Sandinistas after the Americans realized the extent of popular support for the rebels and abandoned him.
33 Irving Kristol, quoted in Williams, Empire, 220.
34 Satirized in the film Wall Street: “Greed is good; greed is right; greed works; greed clarifies; greed will save the United States” (quoted in Levy, American Vertigo, 241).
35 The quotation is from www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook,January 2008. Income ratios are from “The Great CEO Pay Heist,” Fortune, June 11, 2001, quoted in Singer, President of Good and Evil, 28. The figures were drawn from the Top One Hundred corporations.
36 Thatcher, speech to the United Nations, November 8, 1989.
37 See Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed, for a powerful undercover exposé of what it is to live in America with low-paying jobs.
38 The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, intended to prevent a recurrence of the 1929 crash, was repealed in 1999. Further deregulation followed under George W. Bush. See Janszen, “The Next Bubble,” 39-45.
39 Franzen, Corrections, 441
40 See Johnson, “Republic or Empire,” for a discussion of military Keynesianism and the U.S. military budget.
41 Klein, Shock Doctrine, 548.
42 Vidal, Perpetual War, 158.
43 Financial Times, May 23, 2003, quoted in Singer, President of Good and Evil, 15. By November 2007 official funding requests to Congress for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had reached $804 billion. According to a report released by Democrats in Congress at that time, the true costs had reached about $1.5 trillion when things such as oil prices were included—more than $20,000 for every American family in total to late 2007.
“Hidden Costs Raise U.S. War Price,” BBC World News, November 13, 2007.
44 In their 1986 book Right Turn, Thomas Ferguson and Joel Rogers suggested that excessive weapons spending under Reagan was intended to “create powerful pressures to cut federal spending, and thus, perhaps, enable the administration to accomplish its goal of rolling back the New Deal.”
45 Flannery, Eternal Frontier, 292.
46 Tocqueville, Journey to America, 111.
47 Steinbeck, Travels with Charley, 26, 28.
48 LaFeber, New Empire, xxiv (from the author’s preface to the 1998 edition of his 1963 New Empire).
49 See Stiglitz, Globalization, for a searing critique of globalization. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and New Keynesian, is credited with coining the term “free market fundamentalism,” as is the financier George Soros at about the same time.
50 Not forgetting Ralph Nader’s intervention as a spoiler, an example of the Puritanism that would rather starve self-righteously than settle for half a loaf.
51 In a 2004 study of Bush’s ethics (insofar as they can be deduced from his words), the Princeton philosopher Peter Singer points out that during the president’s first few months in power, he sounded moderate and compassionate. In his inaugural address, given on January 20, 2001, Bush said: “While many of our citizens prosper, others doubt the promise—even the justice—of our own country. . . . This is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity” (quoted in Singer, President of Good and Evil, 11).
52 In the 1990s the Pentagon’s yearly budget was about $310 billion (see Berman, Dark Ages, 143-44). Contributors to the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance paper included Paul Wolfowitz, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and General Colin Powell. All distanced themselves from the paper when it was leaked to the New York Times—except Powell, who said, “I want to be the bully on the block” (see ibid., 148-49).
53 Despite twenty years of development and more than $100 billion, the system does not work and is not likely to. (Even if it did, counter measures would not be hard to devise.) During his last year in office Bush was still insisting that it was “urgent” to install the system in Poland and the Czech Republic, despite the dangers of alarming Russia and setting off a new arms race.
54 Both these documents are quoted in Singer, President of Good and Evil, 222-23.
55 Cheney resigned as a CEO of Halliburton to become Bush’s running mate but retained large holdings in the company; Rice had been a policy executive at Chevron, which was allied to the Saudi firm Arab American Oil, or Aramco. When Wolf Blitzer of CNN confronted Perle, then chairman of the Defense Policy Board, with journalist Seymour Hersh’s charge that he had “set up a company that may gain from a war,” Perle (of Trireme and Halliburton) accused Hersh of being “the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist.” See Klein, Shock Doctrine, 373-88.
56 The death toll was comparable to the number of civilians killed by terrorists in Northern Ireland (and far fewer if adjusted for population). The difference—that the victims all died at once rather than over some thirty years—evoked the shock of Pearl Harbor. The dead in the Twin Towers included many foreigners—British, Canadian, French and others.
57 Quoted in Singer, President of Good and Evil, 192.
58 The evidence that Iraq was buying “yellow cake” uranium from Niger was a crude forgery. So was the British government’s intelligence document publicly praised by Powell: most of it was lifted from an out-of-date thesis available on the Internet.
59 After the Gulf War, Iraq had been allowed to keep its locally made Soviet-designed Scud missiles as long as their range did not exceed 72 miles. A few were found that could go slightly further, and they were all being systematically destroyed by the United Nations team headed by Blix before the war began. After the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, no other illegal weapons were ever found, nor was any evidence uncovered of a link to al Qaeda. However, as Jimmy Carter told the BBC News in October 2007, Dick Cheney, the hardliner who may have had the strongest influence on Bush, never abandoned either of these claims.
60 It is also known that Donald Rumsfeld began recommending an attack on Iraq—and not Afghanistan—by mid-afternoon on September 11, 2001. See Berman, Dark Ages, 203.
61 This took place in October 1990. President George H. Bush repeated the story many times, using it to attack opponents of the war. Doctors who worked at Kuwait’s hospitals at the time of the alleged atrocity confirmed after the war that nothing of the sort had happened. See “Deception on Capitol Hill,” New York Times, January 15, 1992, and Berman, Dark Ages, 184.
62 Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, in his memoir The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, reported by ABC News, September 16, 2007. In response to Greenspan, Donald Rumsfeld’s successor as defence secretary, Robert Gates, said on ABC television: “I know the same allegation was made about the Gulf War in 1991, and I just don’t believe it’s true. . . . It’s really about rogue regimes trying to develop weapons of mass destruction.” But on June 3, 2003, Paul Wolfowitz had given a speech in Singapore in which he admitted that the real goal of the war was oil; the next day Cheney told Republican senators to block any investigation into the evidentiary basis of the war (see Berman, Dark Ages, 211). Immediately after the fall of Baghdad, the only government building protected by the United States was the Oil Ministry. In 2007 a new Iraqi oil law was drawn up, giving foreign companies almost unlimited access and minimal taxation.
63 In January 2008, the Iraqi government and the World Health Organization announced an estimate of 151,000 civilian deaths from 2003 to 2006 (BBC World News, January 10, 2008). Other estimates range from a high of 655,000 by the medical journal The Lancet to a low of 30,000 by George W. Bush (see Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doocy and Les Roberts, “Mortality after the 2003 Invasion of Iraq: A Cross-Sectional Cluster Sample Survey,” The Lancet 368, no. 9545 [1 October 2006]: 1421-28). The independent Iraq Body Count, which reckons only confirmed deaths and chooses to err on the low side, published a total of more than 80,000 by the end of 2007.
64 Most Allied prisoners of war were generally allowed to receive Red Cross parcels, and German prison camps met international standards—at least until late in the war. The Nazi treatment of enemy fighting men should not be confused with that given to political prisoners, spies, Jews, Slavs, Gypsies and other groups—treatment that violated all standards of humanity.
65 It is not under Cuban jurisdiction either, having been taken and then “leased” from Cuba by the United States after the Spanish-American War of 1898.
66 Berman, Dark Ages, 218, 231.
Chapter 9 - The World’s Best Hope
1Jefferson (inaugural address, March 1801).
2 Lincoln to Colonel William F. Elkins, 21 November 1864.
3 Okri, “New Dark Age.” The full essay, which highlights the looting of Iraq’s national museum after the American victory, can be read online at http://education.guardian.co.uk. Okri won the 1991 Booker Prize for his novel The Famished Road.
4 Tocqueville, Democracy, 183.
5 John McCain, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul, respectively. Rudolph Giuliani, former mayor of New York, dropped out early after his antiterrorist drumbeat drew few to his banner. On the Democratic side, the early casualty was John Edwards, perhaps further to the traditional left than his rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Born to a Kenyan father and a Kansan mother, Obama is literally African American.
6 See Lieven, “Why We Should Fear.”
7 Berman, Dark Ages, 226.
8 Reported in Newsweek (July 19, 2004), the Guardian (July 13, 2004) and elsewhere. See Berman, Dark Ages, 226, 359 n.36.
9 Berman, Dark Ages, 298.
10 Harris, interviewed by the Florida Baptist Witness (August 24, 2006) during her bid for the Senate that year. Though she lost her senatorial bid, she had been elected to the House of Representatives in 2002. During the 2000 elections, she was Florida’s secretary of state and was widely accused of a conflict of interest because she had worked on the campaign of G.W. Bush, whose brother, Jeb Bush, was then governor. She was also instrumental in removing thousands of voters, mainly blacks, from the electoral roll, and had already attacked the separation of church and state. The whole 2006 interview can be read at USA Today online, posted August 28, 2006. Congresswoman Harris added that if “godly men” are not elected, “we’re going to have a nation of secular laws. That’s not what our founding fathers intended and that certainly isn’t what God intended.”
11 Singer, President of Good and Evil, 5, 53-54. This total exceeded that of any other state governor in modern times.
12 Britain, the highest in Europe, jails about 1 person in 750, less than one-fifth of the American rate. A study published early in 2008 found that incarceration in the United States has reached an all-time high: 2.3 million people—one in every ninety-nine adult Americans—are now behind bars. See “U.S. Jail Numbers at All-time High,” BBC World News, February 29, 2008.
13 In 1996, for example, Republicans in Congress weakened an antiterrorism bill because the National Rifle Association opposed it. See Jerry Gray, “Republicans Weaken Bill on Combating Terrorism,” New York Times, August 3, 1996.
14 In 2003 some 45 million Americans (nearly 16 percent of the population) had no health insurance at all (Berman, Dark Ages, 61). By the 2008 presidential primaries, the figure had reached 47 million.
15 “In Maryland and . . . throughout the south . . . the people refused to be educated, so as not to have to pay the tax for the schools” (Tocqueville, Journey, 220). There is also some federal funding nowadays, though under George W. Bush this contribution has been directed as much as possible to private (especially “faith-based”) schools. See Naomi Klein’s comments on the Friedmanite privatization policy in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (Klein, Shock Doctrine, 3-6).
16 Conducted by sampling two thousand Canadians and published by CBC News, February 4, 2008. Top choice for the “most important issue or problem facing the world today” was the environment, with warfare in second place. Only 3 percent of those polled chose terrorism, the same number who answered “don’t know.”
17 At the time of writing, Senator John McCain was being attacked by his rivals as not a “true conservative” because he favours dealing with climate change.
18 See the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report and its summary, “Living Beyond Our Means,” released in 2005. The work of more than 1,300 scientists from 95 countries, including the United States, and organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank, the report was designed to assess the level of human development that the Earth can support. It concluded that more than 60 percent of “ecosystem services” (fisheries, forests and farmland, to name but three) were seriously degraded and being used unsustainably. The reports can be read online. For a layman’s overview, see Andrew C. Revkin, “Report Tallies Hidden Costs of Human Assault on Nature,” New York Times, April 5, 2005.
19 Hobsbawm, Age of Extremes, 585.
20 Perhaps the nearest historical precedent for China’s blend of post-socialist state power, ethnic nationalism and a semi-private economic boom is the “German miracle” of the 1930s. China seems to have been immunized by Mao against the attractions of another Führer, but it does share prewar Germany’s longing for the imprimatur of the Olympic Games.
21 Europe has about a twelfth of the world’s population and a third of its economic output; the United States has about a twentieth and a fourth, respectively.
22 Some of this greater efficiency is due to higher population densities and urban patterns established before the motor car.
23 Schapiro, “Toxic Inaction,” 79.
24 These cuts are from 1990 levels. The EU plan offers to raise the cuts to 30 percent with a worldwide deal (see “EU Reveals Energy Plan of Action,” BBC World News, January 23, 2008). At the Paris climate change conference held in April 2008, the best offer from the United States was merely to halt the growth in its emissions by 2025. See “Major Emitters Cool to Bush Climate Strategy,” Globe and Mail, April 18, 2008.
25 The notion that humans might escape the limitations of this planet by colonizing others is a non-starter. Even if there was a good place to go, we would have to fire 70 million people into space every year just to stop the Earth’s population from growing.