Cynthia Van Zandt Analysis

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Throughout the seventeenth century, conflict between Europeans and Native Americans was rampant and constant. As more and more Europeans migrated to America, violence became increasingly consistent. This seemingly institutionalized pattern of conflict begs a question: Was conflict between Europeans and Native Americans inevitable? Kevin Kenny and Cynthia J. Van Zandt take opposing sides on the issue. Kevin Kenny asserts that William Penn’s vision for cordial relations with local Native Americans was destined for failure due to European colonists’ demands for privately owned land. On the other hand, Cynthia J. Van Zandt argues that despite military disputes among the two bodies, trade alliances between the groups continued. Van Zandt further claimed that relational failure stemmed from conflict among various Europeans nations advocating for dominance over the New World. The overarching purpose of the argument is to determine…show more content…
Van Zandt takes the contrary position. Van Zandt claims that relations between Europeans and Native Americans did not have to be laced with hostility. She uses the Susquehannock’s relationship with William Claiborne’s colony in Virginia to fuel her argument. Van Zandt believes that the Susquehannock-European alliance showed that both cultures were able to overcome their differences to form a mutually beneficial relationship. The alliance lasted for a less than ten years but came to an end because of intra-English quarrels for favored status with the Susquehannocks. On page 37 of Taking Sides, Van Zandt states “… It took actual North American experience and knowledge of Europeans to fully understand the necessity of allying with powerful Indian nations or at least to gain a more realistic appreciation of which Indian Nations were the most powerful”. Van Zandt summarizes her arguments by stating that power struggles were the reason behind intercultural alliance failures, not cultural differences between Europeans and Native
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