The United States And America

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When America was a young nation, it believed that it was not plagued with the past that would hinder itself. It was as if having ruins and a bloody history muddied the present and future. During the late eighteenth-century until 1870’s this began to change. Americans began embracing ruins and the past that had been connected to, such as burial mounds, abandoned houses and whole towns, and the natural antiquity of America as a way to be superior to Europe. Americans viewed the western United States as a vast open wilderness ready for their taking. Not only was this land in need of human cultivation it was a god given destiny. The United States and Americans were given this land by a divine being; this idea is manifest destiny. America was destined to be settled coast to coast. Because of the view of manifest destiny and westward settlement settlers started to encroach upon Native American land. But to Americans, Native Americans were less than human or viewed as a noble savage, just because they did things differently. One author who perpetrated Native Americans as inferior was Josiah Priest in American Antiquities and Discoveries in the West. Josiah Priest believed that the western United States had valuable antiquity, almost superior to Europe. One example of this was the mounds in the Mississippi river valley. Priest believed these mounds to be better than Europe for three main reasons, “number, magnitude, and obscurity of origins (Priest, 38).” Because of these
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