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The Writings Of John Smith: Historically Inaccurate

994 words - 4 pages

The colonization of North America was a process that was influenced by many people and organizations. Countries offered incentives for citizens to relocate to the New World, while explorers charmed potential settlers with promises of wealth, joy, and freedom through literary works. Many British citizens read these accounts and left for the continent, believing that the newly discovered world was a modern-day Promised Land. John Smith was one explorer who influenced British settlement of North America through his inspiring works The General History of Virginia and A Description of New England. While John Smith attempts to provide a comprehensive overview of North America in his writings, ...view middle of the document...

With all evidence considered, the amplifications of John Smith in his writings work to inaccurately represent the resources of North America.
Along with inaccurately describing the resources of North America using amplification, John Smith also provides a faulty depiction of the availability of American land through his use of rhetoric. Smith desired for Europeans to settle America and his works are written to persuade his audience to move to the New World. With this goal in mind, Smith uses rhetoric such as the statement that in America, “…every man may be master and owner of his own labor and land…” (58). This statement and similar language worked to present America as a continent where land was free for any person to settle, greatly appealing to the poor crowded in many European cities. Essentially, the effect of, “…Smith’s rhetoric subtly, though vividly, fine-tunes his reader’s conceptions of the opportunities inherent in the land of this brave New World” (Garcia-Martinez 82). Land ownership was one of the most appealing opportunities for Europeans and Smith’s rhetoric influenced many people to settle the continent, yet his language ignores the presence of Native Americans. While these people may not have paid for the land on which they lived, realistically they owned the land through the treaties and borders that existed among various tribes. Smith’s representation established a gulf between Native Americans and settlers who believed they had a right to take land as they pleased, creating issues that continue to affect America today. While Smith presented the land of North America as free for anyone to take, his rhetoric provided a faulty depiction of land availability in the continent.
A final erroneous depiction of North America given by John Smith is found in his word choice regarding Native Americans. These people often congregated in tribes that functioned in fashions unlike traditional Western monarchies in which many of Smith’s readers lived. Despite these differences, Smith describes the...

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