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PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post Was the US a Harsh Colonizer?
Created by John Eipper on 04/15/17 4:04 AM

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Was the US a Harsh Colonizer? (David Duggan, USA, 04/15/17 4:04 am)

The US a Colonizer? (See John E's response to Tor Guimaraes, 14 April.)

Puerto Rico? We've left the indigenous people, language and culture intact. The Philippines? We defended them against a more virulent aggressor then gave them independence. The North American continent west of the Appalachians? We entered into under-populated regions, made treaties with those who had possession (though hardly ownership via any legally recognized claim of right: all indigenous had "taken" their lands from someone else after their ancestors had made it over the Bering land bridge, and there is some evidence of their conquest of Lascaux-cave-era indigenous who had come via crude watercraft over the ice-choked North Atlantic to settle in the Carolinas).

True, we defeated some indigenous militarily and claimed their lands by conquest, but as a whole we did not treat the indigenous lands as colonies but as separate sovereigns (the saw about the worst thing you could do is rob a federally insured, state-chartered bank on an Indian reservation: one act, three crimes and possible punishments), admittedly with a thinly veiled trustee relationship (hence the BIA's "bank accounts" for the benefit of the indigenous).

JE comments:  To go one better, the Hispanic population of Puerto Rico is no more "indigenous" than the US Anglo metropole, just a few centuries older.  The Spanish colonizers eliminated the native population already in the 16th century.

David Duggan raises an important question:  was US expansionist behavior more benign than most?  I'm skeptical, but I did not address this question in my original comment.  Rather, I used the word "colonizer" merely as a historical fact:  Puerto Rico, Philippines, Guam, Canal Zone, the US Southwest, Hawaii, Samoa, and neo-colonies such as Panama, Cuba through 1959, and the various banana republics.


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