The American continent was – at least from the age of exploration through the age of colonization – largely a project of at least nominally Catholic countries; Spain, Portugal and France. That the English – and let us be precise by calling them the dissident English – were able to bring their austere form of protestantism to the cold and rocky shores of New England and subject two-thirds of the northern continent to a creed of greed is almost the equivalent of the Christians converting the Roman Empire. Of course the Puritans could not have done it without the help of the Anglo-Catholics who settled the remainder of the colonies and while that is a closely related topic the distinction of being correct as to form but not as to substance is perhaps too fine a point to be considered here. Axtell’s book is a substantial contribution to its subject and very worthy of consideration considering that the rise of Spanish influence in our own time may mirror and eventually overcome the English influence.
The invasion within : the contest of cultures in Colonial North America James Axtell New York : Oxford University Press, 1985 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xv, 389 p. : ill., maps, ports. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
Colonial North America was not only a battleground for furs and land, but for allegiances as well. While the colonial French and English were locked in heated competition for the most native allies, the Indians sought to preserve their own independence, aligning themselves only when necessary with the colonial group that offered the best material and spiritual wares.
Here, ethnohistorian James Axtell takes a fresh look at this contest of cultures to reveal why and how the French and Indians were able to rise so effectively to the challenge posed by English imperial design.
Although the English offered better trade goods, they were ultimately defeated by their own stubborn need to impose their way of life on the reluctant native Americans. The French Jesuits, on the other hand, managed to keep the English at bay for a century and a half by adapting themselves to native life and so converting thousands of Indians to Catholicism.