About this book
This book makes a wide, conceptual challenge to the theory that the English of the colonial period thought of Native Americans as irrational and subhuman, dismissing any intimations to the contrary as ideology or propaganda. It makes a controversial intervention by demonstrating that the true tragedy of colonial relations was precisely the genuineness of benevolence, and not its cynical exploitation or subordination to other ends that was often the compelling force behind conflict and suffering. It was because the English genuinely believed that the Indians were their equals in body and mind that they fatally tried to embrace them. From an intellectual exploration of the abstract ideas of human rights in colonial America and the grounded realities of the politics that existed there to a narrative of how these ideas played out in relations between the two peoples in the early years of the colony, this book challenges and subverts current understanding of English colonial politics and religion.
native American relations with English settlers religion in early America Pocahontas civility and Christianity imperial perceptions of indigenous peoples