The American Promise: A History of the United States to 1877. Paper Example

Published: 2023-02-11
The American Promise: A History of the United States to 1877. Paper Example
Type of paper:  Book review
Categories:  Discrimination Stereotypes American history Social issue
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 696 words
6 min read

How Native Americans were portrayed in the paintings and how these paintings shaped European and American public perceptions of Native Americans

From the earliest periods of European colonization, images of Native Americans were used in drawings, paintings, and portraiture. The Native Americans were portrayed negatively in most of the paintings. For instance, the painting of "Discovery of America: Vespucci Landing in America" by Jan van der Straet (1587-89) depicts an erotic encounter between a naked Indian woman and a fully clothed European male (Van der Straet 3). The empty hands of the woman show that she has nothing to offer and an object defined by differences in gender. In the painting "Death of Jane McCrea" by John Canderlyn (1804), the Native Americans were portrayed as evil as a white woman is shown to be innocent and is struggling between two Native men who are undeniably evil (Sheardy 93). The painting tends to typify the captivity narrative that the Native Americans captured white colonists, which made the Americans and Europeans view the Natives as evil.

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Whether the stereotypes and portrayals were accurate when compared to the textbook

The stereotypes and portrayals in the textbook are accurate as they are institutionalized across the nation and also exported to other nations. The images consist of dual portrayals of the Indians who help Europeans, as well as those who resist the Europeans. The stereotypes obliterate and mask the realities within tribal nations that struggle to maintain their populations (Kherkove 12).

How the film challenges the stereotypes and perceptions

The film "Cities of the Sky" depicts the creation of ancient splendid and largest cities across the world. It challenges the issue of stereotypes as it shows that people across Native America were inspired to develop their communities. The film reveals that urban centers in America bloomed from the Native area of Central Mexico, which serves as the capital of the greatest empire of South America. Based on the diverse centers built, it depicts that the natives interacted with the Americans and were not treated in any negative way.

How the "Cities of the Sky" film expanded my understanding of pre-Columbian societies beyond the content in the textbook

Through the film, I have been able to understand some of the largest pyramids across the world that are found in Central America, precisely the pre-Columbian societies. It has also established the ancient powers that the sky has in Missouri in the present day. The cities are considered heavenly and not just feasts used for artistry or engineering. I have also been able to understand that the movement of the stars, the sun, as well as the moon inspire these heavenly cities.

The motives/interests Europeans and Americans had in creating and perpetuating the stereotypes and perceptions of Native Americans

One of the motives of perpetuating the stereotypes was to provide Americans with a national heritage while rationalizing the dispossession of native groups (Pewewardy 22). The federal government used Indian imageries and paintings to distinguish the U.S. from other countries and to define the country for its citizens. Additionally, the Americans aimed to ensure that its armed forces expressed military might (Roark 15).

Some of these previous stereotypes or public perceptions of Native Americans still exist today

One of the instances that shows the stereotypes to still exist in the world today is evident in the football team of Washington Redskins, which was allowed to continue using its racially disparaging name. The decision to obtain a trademark for their name confirmed the freedom of the team to use the name. Redskins show that the public perception of Native Americans persists.

Works Cited

Kerkhove, Ray. "Dark religion? Aztec perspectives on human sacrifice." Sydney Studies in Religion (2008).

Pewewardy, Cornel. "The Pocahontas paradox: A cautionary tale for educators." Journal of Navajo Education 14.1-2 (1996): 20-25.

Roark, James L. The American promise: A history of the United States. Vol. 1. St Martins Press, 1998.

Sheardy Jr, Robert. "The white woman and the native male body in Vanderlyn's Death of Jane McCrea." The Journal of American Culture 22.1 (1999): 93.

Van der Straet, Jan. "Discovery of America: Vespucci Landing in America." Nueva York, Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), En linea: https://www. metmuseum. org/art/collection/search/343845. Ultimo acceso el.

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