Colonial Impacts on Southeastern Nations during the Hegemonic Era

free essayAs is the case with many colonized nations, the South Eastern nations were greatly influenced by their colonial masters. Overall, the US colonization of these nations affected their way of life with respect to religion, languages, culture, politics, and economics. Colonization also altered the geographical location of some of the nations due to forced migrations. The majority of these effects, which could be noticed today, took place during the US hegemonic period. This paper pays special attention to these effects. It makes use of historical literature associated with the South Eastern nations to examine and analyze effects under social, political, and economic dimensions. The work also examines modern day aspects of these nations in order to analyze these changes.

Geopolitics

A geopolitical examination of the South Eastern nations pays special attention to geographical and political aspects associated with these nations. Geographical aspects of these nations include their location and population densities as well as distributions. A political study examines the governance of the people in question. Consequently, a geopolitical examination looks at various aspects, including history, religion, governance, and other social aspects. Champagne (170) asserts that the USA was the most dominant and powerful nation among the South Eastern nations, especially during the Hegemonic period. As a result, the USA influenced diverse aspects of the South Eastern nations more than any other nation. In effect, the USA imposed their way of life upon the natives, thereby eroding their beliefs, cultures, religion, and governance.

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The most remarkable geographical impact of colonization was the displacement and migration of natives. American settlers displaced the natives as they sought to expand their agricultural land. Prior to colonization, most natives lived in villages (Deloria and Salisbury 23). However, the migration resulting from the agricultural activities by the natives disrupted some of the villages and led to the formation of new settlements. Prior to displacement, most settlements were located near rivers. Since the area near rivers was mainly preferred for agriculture, most people were forced to migrate to other areas far from riverbanks. Physical displacement also altered some of the economic activities practiced by the natives. For example, such aspects as fishing were minimized as the result of the migration from areas located near the rivers. Displacement also affected other economic activities such as agriculture. The inadequacy of land to practice agriculture became a prevailing challenge as most of the land was taken by the colonial masters. Consequently, the natives sought for the alternative sources of livelihood. Trade became one of the major economic activities due to the availability of trade items such as cotton and fur. The natives traded with diverse communities, such as the Europeans, who were interested in items such as beaver pelts. Indians exchanged cotton and fur for other products, including knives, whiskey, tobacco, blankets, and bullets. It is obvious that trade among the South Eastern natives emanated from their displacement and the search for alternative economic activities. Today, these natives are regarded as one of the greatest traders in diverse parts of the world (Champgane 198). As will be discussed later, the trade with European communities also affected cultural and religious orientations of the natives.

The interaction between the natives and the US colonizers took different shapes. For instance, the US people intermarried with the natives, thereby altering the cultural backgrounds of the natives. Previously, intermarriages between the Indian natives and Americans were forbidden. Therefore, these new marriage trends marked a remarkable shift in the culture of the natives. The natives also interacted with their colonial masters as employees. This too led to the alterations of languages and beliefs. Moreover, the shifts in religious beliefs and practices among the aboriginal communities resulted from colonization. Traditional forms of religious practices were practiced among the natives prior to colonization. Colonial masters introduced a number of mainstream religions, including Christianity and Islam. This led to the adoption of mainstream religious beliefs and practices among the natives. The mode of governance among the natives was also altered by the colonial masters. Prior to colonization, the aboriginal nations, such as the Cherokee, lived in villages administered by chiefs. The Cherokee people were governed by a white and a red chief. The white chief administered during peaceful times, while the red chief administered during war. There also existed a village council that helped the chiefs with the administration duties. However, colonial masters altered this mode of governance by introducing democracy and hierarchical administration.

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The emergence of trade among the natives led to a change in the social orientation of the native communities. Trade caused the hierarchical stratification of society. In short, trade led to the emergence of social structures that included the upper class, the middle class, and the lower class. The upper class consisted of masters or large-scale merchants. These large-scale traders were served by the peasants. The middle class mainly comprised of small-scale traders, while the low class consisted of servants who sold goods on behalf of the merchants. Social stratification in cotton and fur trade enabled trade to advance smoothly (Deloria and Salisbury 32). Overall, trade caused the change in the social, political, and economic state of the natives. Furthermore, trade led to the emergence of capitalism and wage labor movements. To begin with, the accumulation of capital from trading activities led to the emergence of powerful drivers of capitalism. Wage labor also emerged as the result of capital accumulation and the desire to expand trading territories by the merchants. Private ownership of property, which defines capitalism, also resulted from trade. Thus, trade was mainly conducted by private owners, and this state of affairs was expanded to other sectors, including property ownership. In effect, this abolished the communal ownership and replaced it with the private ownership. Such notions as economic subsistence and free market economy emerged as well. The absence of strict regulation of trade contributed to the free movement of goods. This was also characterized by the fluctuating prices of goods from time to time a notion that developed to become the free market economy.

Cultural Exchange

It should be noted that trade also altered religious orientations of the natives. Specifically, fur and cotton trade led to the interaction between diverse religious groups. Trading partners also carried out different religious practices, which provided a ground for the colonialists to induce some of the religious practices on the natives. For example, the natives learned some aspects of Christianity, including Sabbath practices, Catholicism, baptism, the cross, and burial rituals among others from their colonial counterparts. Other religious aspects transferred from the colonial masters to the natives included prayer and fasting.

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Trade also altered the language orientations of the natives. Prior to colonization, most of the native communities had unique languages. However, trading activities increased the need for a common language of communication among the trading partners. As a result, the natives adopted the English language from their American colonizers. Other repercussions of trade, which altered the language of natives, included intermarriages. Furthermore, American colonizers also challenged the natives to adopt formal education systems education. This resulted from the desire to learn how to communicate and succeed in their business endeavors, leading to the enlightenment and successful trade among the natives.

At the same time, Americans also adopted certain cultural aspects from the natives. This led to the fusion of two societies. Some of the aspects adopted by Americans from the natives included the use of beads and other ornaments (Deloria and Salisbury 36). These practices were traditional ones for the natives, including the Cherokee. Other cultural practices adopted by Americans included pottery and basket weaving among others.

Americans also practiced agriculture where they farmed native crops, including beans, quash, and corn. They borrowed some fishing trends from the natives who also taught Americans how to farm sugar cane, corn, grains and make maple syrup. On the other hand, settlers introduced cash crops such as tobacco to the natives. Consequently, they began to practice commercial farming, especially with regard to cotton farming. The introduction of foreign animals, such as the horse, by the colonists changed the natives’ way of life. The use of horses significantly changed the natives’ activities such as warfare and hunting.

Some of the negative influences of the foreign colonists on the natives included the loss of land and life due to diseases. The colonists brought numerous deadly diseases with them, which led to the death of more than half of the natives.

It should be noted that tension also resulted from diverse beliefs. A major source of tension, which led to the advancement of warfare skills and weaponry among the natives, was the issue of resources, especially land. The natives believed in communal ownership of resources, while the colonizers believed in individual ownership. This difference was the major cause of bloodshed and warfare trends associated with the South Eastern nations.

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Conclusion

It is obvious from the above-mentioned information that the native South Eastern communities adopted new ways of lives from their colonizers. Most of these changes took place during the hegemonic era. The colonizers also borrowed some aspects of life from the natives, leading to cultural exchange. Geographically, some of the natives were displaced from their original homes as their native land was taken up by settlers for agricultural use. Politically, the colonizers affected the natives’ mode of governance by introducing hierarchical and democratic modes of administration. Socially, colonization led to the adoption of new religions, including Christianity and Islam, and the new cultural practices, including new modes of dressing. More to say, colonization changed the mode of communication by introducing the English language. Social stratification also emerged, creating three social classes such as the upper class, the middle class, and the lower class. In regards to economy, the process of colonization led to the emergence of trade as a major source of livelihood for the natives. Other changes brought by colonization were the introduction of new crops and animals, which changed agriculture, warfare, and the modes of movement and hunting. Thus, colonizers adopted certain ways of life from the natives as they learned to farm native crops such as corn. Finally, colonizers also learned from the natives how to wear ornaments made from beads.

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Critique

The discussion in this paper is based on a multidivisional theoretical approach. This approach provides a broad overview of the implications of colonialism on the native South Eastern nations during the hegemonic era. The theory focuses on social, political, and economic aspects of the effects. The main advantage of this approach is that it provides a broad synopsis that touches on almost all the aspects of concern. This approach is favored because it provides a better understanding of all the issues at hand. However, the approach suffers a major weakness in that it fails to provide a historical perspective of the changes mentioned. Some of the changes could have greater roots but they are not discussed in this work due to the limitations of the approach. A disseminated approach, in which the historical aspects of the issues discussed in this paper are explored, would help overcome the weaknesses stipulated.