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Father Paul le Jeune provides a detailed description of the Savages’ religion, their virtues and vices. According to Jeune, the Savages have a well-developed system of religious beliefs, although they confess they do not know who has created the world and how it was created (23). Jeune claims that, despite numerous beliefs and religious principles followed by the Savages, their religion is nothing but a prayer (23). He compares the Savages’ religion to superstition and does not take it seriously.
Much more serious is Jeune’s description of the Savages’ virtues and vices. He starts with the analysis of their physical attributes. Savages are presented as strong, erect, tall, and well proportioned (23). Among others, Jeune points to the goodness of the Savages’ mind (24). Unlike the civilized Europeans, the Savages are not ruled by avarice and ambition, and this is why they can be considered as happy.
They pretend that they cannot get angry, simply because they do not want to spoil their happiness with anger (Jeune 24). The author even suggests that the Savages are so patient and modest, that the civilized world should be ashamed of it. These people are closely attached to one another, although they have numerous vices and imperfections.
Jeune claims that the Savages are proud and haughty (25). They do not know anything about compassion and are not moved by others’ sufferings. They are also prone to deceive one another: lying for a Savage is almost the same as talking (Jeune 26). They do not know anything about truth and secrets. They do not know which information should be kept private and which should be shared with others. They do not welcome those, who are not part of their unity and do not encourage anyone to interfere with their tranquility and peace.
The Trail of Tears
In his letter, Ross provides arguments against the removal of the Cherokee from their land. At the heart of his argument is the claim that the Cherokee people have gone a long way to a higher social status. They had to abandon their savage habits and beliefs. Ross supports the legitimacy of the agreement made between the Cherokee people and the government, and he is confident that the provisions of this agreement cannot be violated.
In Ross’s view, the Cherokee nation is legally free to live on their land. It is the land where they have managed to accumulate considerable material belongings. The removal of the Cherokee from their land would become a betrayal and a measure of the low reliability of the government’s promises.
At the same time, Ross lists the obstacles facing him in the removal of the Cherokee people to the West, chief among others being the scantiness of the food ration provided to the native people (28). Ross also refers to the irregular nature of the proceedings that were guaranteed under the contract made with the government. The quality of the food provided is poor, and it comes as no surprise that the Cherokee refuse to accept and use it.
At the same time, the prices on the basic food products are skyrocketing, which renders the monetary commutation provided to the Cherokee as too scarce to guarantee saturation and survival. Ross fears that, very soon, the native people will find themselves at the edge of hunger. He reports the numerous health and wellbeing problems that demand an instant remedy; otherwise, the people, who have been moved to the new land, will hardly have a chance for survival.
Letters from Black Union Soldiers
The letters sent by the African American Union soldiers reveal the hopes and concerns they had regarding their obligations and social position during the war. One the one hand, African American soldiers were proud of being an essential part of the war for freedom. They were almost unanimous in their commitment to the goals and principles of the Union Army.
On the other hand, it was not uncommon for the Black soldiers to express dissatisfaction with the way they were treated. They were not happy about the pay and compensation they received for the same set of efforts and achievements accomplished with their White compatriots. They did not like the distrust they were facing because of their skin color and origin.
Nevertheless, when the number of African American soldiers reached two hundred thousand, the Union Army became a force of unbelievable power and strength. The way African American soldiers viewed their place in the society also changed.
They suddenly realized that they were more powerful and skillful than they could have ever imagined. In their letters, African American soldiers share their impressions from being able to release the former slaves from the chains of oppression. They sound proud and self-confident about their ability to influence the fate of their people.
Cornelia Hancock tells the story of her professional and individual commitments. These commitments are not supported by her family. However, they help her realize the importance of her healing and helping strivings. Cornelia describes the ways, in which her psyche responds to the sufferings of the soldiers around her.
She develops a deep sense of compassion towards the physical and emotional sufferings of the wounded soldiers. At the same time, she manages not to lose the sense of responsibility that falls on her. She compares her nursing mission among the soldiers to a shipwreck in a desert island, where the team of the living medical professionals, like surviving mariners, fight for the lives and health of their compatriots.
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As mentioned earlier, Cornelia’s family does not support her manlike commitment to working in the conditions of war. From her letters, it becomes clear that she constantly tries to justify her choices. She writes to her mother that her actions and obligations in the field hospital would hardly seem normal for a woman of her position at home. Still, she feels comfortable and does not want to leave. The mere fact that she has come against everyone’s will tells much about her strong desire to be helpful to people.
Cornelia also expresses huge consolation with regard to the escaped slaves. She writes that many slaves become free, as their Army is advancing (Hancock 306). They join the Army, but their physical condition is often beyond acceptable. Cornelia views her role as a provider of quality help and compassion to the men and women, who have escaped slavery. She is ready to assist them in their journey to freedom.
A Slave Insurrection
Nat Turner was known for having organized one of the most sensational and, actually, productive slave uprisings in the 19th century. However, the story he shares in his interview with Thomas R. Gray sounds confusing. Thomas R. Gray, who had interviewed Turner just before his execution, sought to present his figure as a religious fanatic and a person, who was emotionally and mentally unbalanced.
When it comes to the motives of the uprising, Turner speaks about his childhood and the history of his freedom philosophy. He claims that, since his earliest years, he has been extraordinarily talented and advanced. Not surprisingly, his grandmother kept telling him that he was intended for some great purpose (201). One day he heard a loud noise coming from heavens. Since then, he and his supporters had been creating and re-writing the schemes of the future uprising.
When the uprising started, Turner and his team did not have any clear plans. This is, probably why the uprising organized by Turner eventually failed. The motives presented by Thomas R. Gray also remain unclear. Most probably, Turner knew what they wanted to achieve as a result of the uprising, but Gray’s mission differed greatly from what his interviewee wanted to accomplish.
I do not see any explicit differences within the text, but I see that the narrative report published by Thomas R. Gray creates a very controversial picture of Nat Turner’s figure. Given the differences in Gray’s and Turner’s views on the slave uprising, it is difficult to accept this information as trustworthy.
Crossing the Continent
This story is a detailed account of the ambitious journey that was accomplished by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in the 19th century. Their mission was to explore the vast unknown territories of the North American continent, their geography and plants. The two explorers describe the incident when, in August 1805, one of the team’s interpreters almost capsized their canoe. The canoe was carrying numerous articles, which were indispensably essential to the entire group.
However, one of the most colorful and important was the meeting with the chief. It is not difficult to imagine what Chief Cameahwait felt upon his encounter with the group of the white travelers. Most likely, he felt interest in what the newcomers wanted to show and share but remained wisely alert. At that time, the relationships between the Native Americans and the government were tense and controversial, which could readily lead to conflicts between the travelers and the natives.
Still, the two explorers managed to gain almost unilateral support among the natives, by presenting them with wonderful goods and gifts, while also sharing the purpose of their explorative mission with them. Lewis and Clark told the natives of the friendly dispositions the government had towards them. They also suggested that their mission would help them discover new and more effective ways to deliver merchandize to the native tribes.
They were confused and even surprised at the sexual mores that were governing natives’ daily activities, where a man was allowed to have more than one wife, and where dozens of people died of the incurable venereal diseases.
By the end of their mission, Lewis and Clark suddenly realized why Native Americans were so distasteful of the Spaniards. The explanation was simple: the Spanish were too discriminative in their attitudes towards the Natives, and such discrimination could never lead to the development of any productive ties between them.