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Compare and contrast the treatment of Native Americans by Britain and France

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The Colonial Period began with the settled countries of the time wanting to launch voyages to explore ‘the new world’. One of the first successes was the Spanish, when they were able to settle in South America as early as 1252. But the biggest exploration of the time by far was set off by Columbus who, in search of the Indies, instead fell upon America, which started mass colonization. Colonization was so popular due to its trade worth and how much it could help the mother country, and with, in many cases, foreigners at the disposal of settlers, it was also no wonder that slavery became so big. The two most popular races that were enslaved included the Native Americans and Africans, and in this paper I will be comparing and contrasting the treatment of the Native Americans by both Britain and France.

To begin, Britain used America mostly as a dumping ground for the citizens they didn’t otherwise want to stay in the mother country. And so, upon arrival, if a British man came upon a group of Native Americans they didn’t necessarily know what they should do since they hadn’t otherwise been told. As a result, the settlers ended up just pushing any and all Native Americans that were on their land out of the way, further west, to stop the problem. But as the frontier grew, they soon realized that pushing them constantly west could not go on forever. And thus, the Indians were then put onto reservations, or undesirable land, to end the problems caused by them.

The events that took place in New France, present day Canada, however, were much different. The French recognized that the Indians who were already there had rights over the land since they had gotten there first. And since it was the wishes of Louis XIV for New France to be a sort of ‘utopia’, meaning that it lacked in nobles, the French that moved there had no intentions of disturbing the peace sought after by their ruler. And so all in all, everyone who lived in New France, whether it be a native Frenchmen or Native American, they all managed to live side by side and find a common ground on which to live.

The particular treatment of Native Americans by the British was hostile. Although the British had no desire to enslave them particularly, and instead relied on the indentured servant system, they still fought many wars with them. They were constantly after the land inhabited by the Indians, but felt that enslaving them would not work out in the long run since they didn’t know how to farm anyway. The French, however, had a very different perception of the Indians. Instead of working against their inhabitance of the land, they used it very much to their advantage. They saw more profit in going into business with the Indians than using their money to fight against them, and this proved to be very much to their advantage. The Indians’ knowledge on the habitat and how to hunt really set off the fur trade business for the French, which in the end benefited the country on the largest scale.

And so, in conclusion, it is easy to see that there are many similarities and differences among the treatment of Native Americans by both the British and French. For one, neither country enslaved the Indians, however Britain was known for treating them badly whereas France was not. Britain chose to waste funds on fighting wars against them, whereas France chose the route of economic partnership, which proved to be the best route in the end. Regardless, each country went about handling their business how they felt was best, and although the end result was different, in reality the colonial period did pass and lessons learned from the systems used were taken into future dealings.

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