American history

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How did Indian societies of South and North America differ from European societies at the time the two came into contact? In what ways did Indians retain a worldview different from that of the Europeans? What role did disease and forced labor (including slavery) play in the early settlement of America? Is the view of the Spanish and Portuguese as especially harsh conquerors and exploiters valid—or is this image just another version of the English black legend concerning the Spanish role in the Americas? In what ways are the early (pre-1600) histories of Mexican and the present-day American Southwest understood differently now that the United States is being so substantially affected by Mexican and Latin American immigration and culture? To what extent should this now be regarded as part of our American history? Should the Spanish conquistadores be especially blamed for the cruelties and deaths (including those by disease) inflicted on the original Indian populations of the Americas? Is it possible to make such criticisms without falling into the traditional English fallacies of the black legend?

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