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“The Name of War” by Jill Lepore is a useful source, which can be used in analyzing and interpreting the war between the Indian alliance against the English. Importantly, the author did not provide her opinion about the military conflict but provides the reader with accurate details of the setting, the triggers of the war, the battles, and campaigns. It ensures that the historical facts are not distorted to meet the needs of a certain party, and the audience can analyze the events relying on the evidence. The purpose of this paper is to review the assigned selections of Lepore’s book and discuss the importance of the theme of violence in this reading.
It is worth noting that the conflict described in the book was not regarded as a clash between sovereign peoples since the Puritans of New England perceived it as a civil war. They believed that they had a certain superiority over the Indians in the natural hierarchy (Lepore 77). Moreover, it can be assumed that the British colonists perceived this war as a form of a kindred conflict. Despite the fact that the warring parties directed their actions against each other, the Indians suffered the greatest losses. In this war, more than half of the settlements were attacked, and many of them were destroyed. The king’s name aroused fear in the Indians as people were tortured and killed in the most sophisticated ways, and this fear also brought discord to the Indians camp.
The theme of violence is an important method of analysis since it helps to understand the Indian people better. All the parties were violent and ruthless; nonetheless, the reasons for the violence were different. For instance, Algonquians resorted to killing and torturing because they wanted to preserve their national identity and a sense of belonging to their place of residence (Lepore 8). The detailed descriptions of the way Indians burned houses and killed their victim’s evidence that it was a form of protest, and they did not relish the death of people belonging to other nations. The English, in their turn, were driven by the desire to cease the influence of the Indians, and they intended to consolidate their positions in the territory.
The violence also had a metaphoric meaning. To be more precise, the Indians destroyed the land and killed the livestock of their enemy. It was not done out of revenge but to show that they did not accept the English property and their cultural influence (Lepore 43). Therefore, it tells the audience a lot about the history of colonial North America and strongly characterizes the role of each nation. This sanguinary war was accompanied by brutality coming from both sides, but it was a turning point for the English invasion in this territory. A detailed description of the extermination of Indians reveals the way in which the Europeans were able to ensure the dominance of their culture was irreversible.
It can be assumed that violence also serves as an instrument of obscuring the actual reasons for initiating the war. It is difficult to justify the use of barbarian methods, and someone might assume that the English dominance had the potential to “enlighten” such an “inferior” nation as Indians (Lepore 77). Nevertheless, the core of violence in this war lies in the desire of both cultures to preserve their identity.
Thus, it can be concluded that the text can be interpreted differently as well as the use of violence described in it. King Philip’s War resulted in the dominance of one nation over the other despite the fact that both of them wanted to preserve their ethnic identity. However, the reasoning of the Indians appears to be more reasonable despite the evidence exhibiting them as barbarians.
Lepore, Jill. The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity. Vintage, 1999.