By Edmund S. Morgan
“A clever, humane and fantastically written book.”―Bret Stephens, Wall road Journal
From the best-selling writer of Benjamin Franklin comes this notable paintings that would aid redefine our suggestion of yankee heroism. american citizens have lengthy been enthusiastic about their heroes, however the women and men dramatically portrayed listed below are no longer celebrated for the common banal purposes contained in Founding Fathers hagiography. without difficulty difficult those that persist in revering the yankee heritage establishment and its tropes and falsehoods, Morgan, now ninety-three, keeps to think that the previous seriously is not how it turns out.
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Extra resources for American Heroes: Profiles of Men and Women Who Shaped Early America
Española in the role of Ophir was expected to yield its riches to Columbus as it had to Solomon. When it became evident that Española was not Ophir and that America was not the Indies but a new world, that whole new world had to be transformed. It had to be organized and exploited to produce the things expected of it. Columbus’s first method of exploiting Española, when the natives failed to produce what was expected of them, was crude: to ship the inhabitants to Spain as slaves was to make no more effective use of the island than the neighboring Caribs did in occasionally harvesting a crop of Arawaks to eat.
Yet he studied these books, made hundreds of marginal notations in them, and came out with ideas about the world that were characteristically simple and strong and sometimes wrong, the kind of ideas that the self-educated person gains from independent reading and clings to in defiance of what anyone else tries to tell him. The strongest one was a wrong one—namely, that the distance between Europe and the eastern shore of Asia was short. According to Cardinal d’Ailly, Columbus noted, Aristotle and Seneca both thought that the ocean separating Spain from China could be traversed in a few days.
Columbus had not yet prescribed the method by which the Arawaks would be set to work, but he had a pretty clear idea of how to handle the Caribs. On his second voyage, after capturing a few of them, he sent them in slavery to Spain, as samples of what he hoped would be a regular trade. ” The way to handle the slave trade, Columbus suggested, was to send ships from Spain loaded with cattle (there were no native domestic animals on Española), and he would return the ships loaded with Cannibals. This plan of replacing Cannibals with cattle was never put into operation, partly because the Spanish sovereigns did not approve it and partly because the Cannibals did not approve it.
American Heroes: Profiles of Men and Women Who Shaped Early America by Edmund S. Morgan