Get Before the Revolution: America’s Ancient Pasts PDF

By Daniel K. Richter

ISBN-10: 0674055802

ISBN-13: 9780674055803

ISBN-10: 0674061241

ISBN-13: 9780674061248

ISBN-10: 0674072367

ISBN-13: 9780674072367

During this epic synthesis, Richter finds a brand new the USA. Surveying many centuries sooner than the yankee Revolution, we find the tumultuous encounters among the peoples of North the United States, Africa, and Europe and spot how the current is the buildup of the traditional layers of the previous.

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Example text

The major exceptions were in Alaska, much of today’s Canada, the arid Great Plains, and the Great Basin of the Southwest, where agriculture was not possible, and on the Pacific Coast, where the complex chiefdoms of the ancestors of Tlingits, Tsimshians, and Haidas were based on salmon fishing rather than farming. Among the peoples of these regions, only the Algonquian-speaking hunter-gatherers of Hudson Bay and the far northeast would have much contact with Europeans before the middle of the eighteenth century.

But there is also every reason to believe that a countervailing ideology embracing peace was at work among both elites and commoners—at least, this is what is implied by everything we know about the ritual dualities of war and peace among the descendants of these societies. In the Southwest, the contests enacted on ball courts channeled aggressive impulses and internal social and political disputes into forms less deadly than outright warfare. Among Mississippians, the activity later known as chunkey must have served similar functions: in a large open plaza, contestants rolled distinctive two- to three-inch disks made of stone or ceramics and attempted to stop them by throwing wooden poles in their path.

Much of the work was done collectively at the level of a small hamlet that, like most contemporary Native American villages, sheltered a few hundred people. Although each household claimed specific rights, plowmen’s need to minimize awkward turns produced a characteristic pattern of long, narrow, deeply furrowed, common fields. In other ways, too, the expense and technological demands of working with teams of horses and heavy plows and with crops that had to be harvested quickly made separate family holdings impractical.

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Before the Revolution: America’s Ancient Pasts by Daniel K. Richter


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