English Bodily Superiority Essay

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English Bodily Superiority as an Effect from Environment and Health Disease in colonial America reaffirmed the believed connection between the body and the environment and helped to shape a “racial definition of humanity in America.” The perceived links between environment and health explored in medical science in the early colonial period attributed to the development of the European settlers’ Anglo-American corporeal identity through the conceptualization of “seasoning” and its promotion of physical and divine superiority to that of the Native Americans. Early modern science during the colonial period depicted the idea of an individual’s health to be directly connected with their acclimation to the environment. Based on the Hippocratic theory of the four humors, medical science attributed the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water to be directly linked to the four bodily naturals of blood, …show more content…

The body was a portrayal of constitution and climate , the climate directly shaping what was known as the six non-naturals that controlled health: air, exercise and rest, sleeping and waking, food and drink, excretion of waste, and emotions. The process of acclimatization on the English body was believed to drastically alter the physiology and psychology of an individual due to the changing balance of the bodily humors. The English body’s adaptation to American air, sustenance, and diseases prompted the term “seasoning,” a testament to “settler bodies . . . like trees felled in the Old World, shipped like so much lumber to America, then dried, hardened, and proved durable in a new climate.” It was a necessity for the body to undergo proper seasoning, a process believed to last two years in the New World , or risk poor health and increased mortality . As European settlers witnessed the declining health of Native Americans to diseases believed to be endemic on American soil, colonists conceived that Native Americans’ mortality resulted from their bodily

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