Pre-Colonial Literature is Connected to Current American Culture

Pre-colonial literature and culture were inspired by the slave trade, murder and radical religion. We can see the effects of these atrocities in current American culture. A major activity in all of human existence is the slave trade – the buying , selling and transportation of people who do manual labor for little to no money or reward as seen in the Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. Although owning a human being is illegal and immoral in our current society, the effects of this brutal trade are still evident. Prejudices are influencing our justice system among other things, in fact, almost 30% of black men will be incarcerated at some point in their lifetime. One reason why these prejudices exist today is because of a social gap. This social gap can lead one social class to believe another is repugnant; this idea started with the belief of Social Darwinism. These radical people believe they have power because they are gifted with a white skin tone and have an ample amount of wealth. Modern day middle-class citizens and the wealthy consider themselves superior to lower-class citizens; they expect better jobs, better wages, and impunity. Most Europeans in the 1750s were much wealthier than black people in Africa and thus considered superior. However, the way the Europeans obtained their wealth was not always right or moral. They would lie, cheat, steal and kill to become rich. This is extremely evident in the explorer narrative by Columbus who almost wrought genocide of the entire Native American population. His attitude was influenced by religious fanaticism that prompted the Inquisition, which in turn shaped much of Europe into a violent and intolerant state. Due to this violent movement many wanted to leave the madness of their society. Those who left Europe to freely express their religion were the Puritans and Pilgrims, and they were referred to as separatists. Their venerable lives were full of holiness and good deeds, however when religion becomes too powerful, the leaders in control can become corrupt and can twist the minds of an entire nation with insidious lies. This attitude may have caused the Salem Witch trials which killed innocent people. Sadly, murder, radical religion and slavery, of which so much was written during pre-colonial times, are evils which current American society must battle.

I did this for a school assignment. I wish the assignment was to do an essay and not just a paragraph.


3 thoughts on “Pre-Colonial Literature is Connected to Current American Culture

  1. richard

    The essay is written fairly well, but its basic premise is cynical and overtly biased. Judging the past by the standards of the present may serve some contemporaneous agenda, but it obfuscates the past and the sociological currents that prevailed at the time. The puritans did great harm to the innocents they killed, but to them it wasn’t murder – it was expediency based on prescientific superstitions.
    Furthermore, the puritans gave this nation a work ethic that served, and still serves, this nation well.

  2. Ryan Post author

    cynical and overtly biased.

    I am in agreement with you on this – it was a school project that was written by me so it has my opinions and ideas.

    but to them it wasn’t murder

    To the puritans it was not murder of wrong but does that make it just or right? 115 years after the Salem Witch Trials the events that occurred still haunted and ashamed a scholar named Nathaniel Hawthorn – descendant of John Hawthorn, a judge at that time.

    the puritans gave this nation a work ethic that served, and still serves, this nation well.

    The puritans may have given us a good work ethic but they also gave us radical religion along side it. Both have died down in recent years. America is not the world’s biggest and best super power anymore. Our time will soon come to a close.

  3. richard

    politicizing what should be an objective study of pre colonial literature is not only marxist ( hate america), but also quite stupid. slavery has existed in all societies all over the world – it was not a “white” invention.
    in addition, judging the past by the standards of the present is quite dumb.


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