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War Against Indians: Captain Benjamin Church Essay

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Updated: Jun 7th, 2020

The author of this primary source is Thomas Church, the son of Captain Benjamin Church, who its claimed played a key role in winning the war against the native Indians.1 It is based on notes of actual accounts of the war recalled and recorded by his father2. Since the author wrote about this war forty years after it happened and does not give his own account but rather his father’s, it is highly likely that he did not participate in the war and was only a witness. The authors and the subjects he writes about also differ in some important aspects. He is white, while the subjects he writes about are white and Indian American. Although the author did not directly participate in the war, his account is derived from observations of an actual participant in the war. In addition, he is a close relation to the original source. Therefore he can be said to be a credible source.

The purpose of this document perhaps is to enlighten present-day historians about the events preceding the war and what led the English people into conflict with the Indian natives. Rumors of an impending war had led to a lot of disquiet in the countryside. Inhabitants in some areas had vacated their lands, and Captain Benjamin Church himself was forced to halt his farming projects when the army was mobilized.3 Under the orders of the governor, army captains amassed their troops ready for battle. But the outright provocation that led to war was subsequent murders that claimed ten English men, eight of whom were brutally killed4 These killings angered the troops, and they demanded retaliation “to go out and seek the enemy in their own quarters.” 5

What can be learned from the passage about the war is that the natives were no match for their English counterparts. The English army outnumbered them and possessed superior equipment6 Another factor is that the English army was well organized under the leadership of the governor and army captains7 On the other hand, the natives displayed a lack of sophistication with their attacks characterized by “plundering and destroying [of] cattle” and sporadic killings8 These factors may have contributed to their eventual defeat as the members of the family of the Indian chieftain were later captured and the chieftain himself killed.9 It can also be understood that the native Indians were the main instigators of the war has provoked the English people through looting, plundering, and murders.

The obvious bias in this source may be attributed to the fact that the author is biologically related to the subject of his writing-his father. He may have wanted to maintain the legacy of his father hailed as a hero of that war and to paint him as a key participant in a just course of peace. Another source of bias may border on race. The writer of the primary source might have taken caution not to portray a member of his own race in a bad light. He may have sought to achieve this by purporting the native Indians, the prime instigators of the war. By and large, such biased are expected given the “racial era,” the writer and his father lived. However, a fair approach could have involved getting the perspectives of other army captains of the war in addition to that of the native Indians.

Footnotes

1 James A Henretta, Rebecca Edwards, and Robert O. Self, introduction to “Entertaining Passages” by Thomas Church, in America’s History, 7th ed. by James A. Henretta, Rebecca Edwards, and Robert O. Self (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011), 69. Web.

2 Henretta, Edwards, and Self, “Introduction,” 69

3 Thomas Church, “Entertaining Passages,” in America’s History, 7th ed. by James A. Henretta, Rebecca Edwards, and Robert O. Self (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011), 69. Web.

4 Church, “Entertaining Passages,” 69.

5 Church, “Entertaining Passages,” 69.

6 Church, “Entertaining Passages,” 69.

7 Church, “Entertaining Passages,” 69.

8 Church, “Entertaining Passages,” 69.

9 Henretta, Edwards, and Self, “Introduction,” 69

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