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Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History

However, people have different perspectives of that particular fact, and those perspectives are not always the same. These preferences have created textual problems for the later generations, which make it very difficult for us to learn about history. Throughout this essay, Tompkins main goal is to send a message to history writers that if they can’t formulate the problems Of history With their moral decisions, they Will never be able to resolve those moral problems. As a matter of fact, those same moral problems Will be repeated in the future. Therefore, the study Of history Will be worthless.

As a student loving to learn about history, by reading Tompkins’ essay feel like students are being misinterpreted about their country’s history due to he biases of historians writing history themselves. In my opinion, if historians cannot see the facts behind history, how can later generation students find out those facts and make an ethical judgment about our history itself, As a kid, Tompkins learned from school about the facts about Indians who made her feel like they were inferiors to her because of their ignorance of the value in the Manhattan Island they sold to Peter Minuet.

In order to be like them, she wanted to pursue an “exciting, romantic elite in the tortes” (Tompkins 102). She was proud to be living on a land that these adventurous native people used to vive. When Tompkins decided to do a research about the relationship between Indians and the European settlers, one of her main question changed from what happened to the relationship between them to what are the real facts of history based on the accounts given by different historians. Although there is only one main fact about European – Indian relation, there are many different reports about their past relationships.

Tompkins decided to go from secondary to primary researches With a hope Of finding more reliable sources of information about European – Indian relation. She ends up with all of he biased accounts, Which contain different perspectives Of each Miters and not facts. As a result, she wanted to end her research in “relativism” (115). Even though she came across contradictory in her researches, by using relativism she can decide for herself which information is well supported her reasoning.

She then can eliminate the extreme biases, and combine all these perspectives together to form a comprehensive description of history. Tompkins’ first secondary research was about Perry Miller. Through his book, _ Errand into the Wilderness_, Tompkins criticized Miller for using white preachy When he Writes about the history Of America as well as Central Africa. According to Miller, the jungle in Central Africa and the “vacant wilderness” of America are mirror images Of one another (104). Ender his eyes, he can’t see the Blacks and Native Americans populating in these two countries. Not only Miller but Governor Winthrop also considers Indians as non-existence. In addition to the first secondary research, Tompkins found to be very disappointed when three out of other four historians have used Recounting views to write about the history of America. Alden Vaughan referred Indians as inferior human compared o the Puritans because oftener cultural backwardness.

Francis Jennings blamed the settlers for their exploitation on Indians, And Charles Hudson used his European economical view to explain for the fur trade been European and Indians, which had led to massacre of Indians. In contrast to Vaughan, Jennings, and Hudson, Calvin Martin, the author of “Keepers to the game,” has used his Meridian views to explain the fur trade, He argued the act of exploiting the animals is not caused by Indians’ desire for the fancy goods sold by Europeans but a spiritual game between them and the animals.

To explain for the different descriptions about the history of European-Indian relation, John High states that “the coloratura upheaval of the sixties” (106) has caused the change of the ways people view and write about history. That is the reason why both Jennings and Martin in the seventies seem to take side on Indians by attacking the English settlers.

All events that happened in the past belong to the past, and nobody can change or modify history: but due to the different points Of view shaped by different cultures Of each historian, each Of them has written about history based on his/her own perspective and cultural life. TO compare the difference and asymmetry among the secondary sources, Tompkins went on with more researches on primary sources. Tompkins thought by looking at primary materials of an imprisoned narrative would give her real information about the relationship between Europeans and Indians.

She found herself to be disappointed again with her research. In the book, _The Sovereignty and Goodness of God _ the captive, Mary Rowland, has used her Puritan views to describe about Native Americans, Her complaint of the act of smoking in Indian culture indicates the Puritan value Rowland uses in narrating about Indians. On the other hand, other primary researchers, James Estella and William Wood described Indians as people with superior and humanity traits, while Norman Heard and Alexander Whitaker interpreted them as humans with savage nature.

Employing Recounting view, Karen Superman clarified that English men didn’t discriminate against Indians because of their race. They just looked down on Indians who decorate themselves as ordinary people, which give them a title of low ranked people in the social class Robert Berserker explained the divergent of these historical accounts by stating that different authors will eave different purposes when they write about Native people, As a consequence, the writers of these primary sources also record the history of Indians based on their own cultural aspects.

As Tompkins described in her essay, the conflicts between the reports Of secondary and primary resources have induced her to end her research in relativism. Nevertheless, it is not easy to end in relativism since the facts she needs to use to make moral judgment on what happens to the relationship between Europeans and Indians, Which led to the mass murder in Indian population, and still remained unknown. Live moral decision couldn’t be made if there isn’t any moral judgment about the issue. Through the essay, Tompkins also criticizes the academy individuals for their indecisiveness.

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