Early North America was a place rife with violent conflict. Between the 17th and 19th centuries we can see a lot of conflict between different Native American peoples, Native American peoples and colonists, colonists from one empire versus colonists from another empire, settlers from one state quarreling with settlers from another state, and in the 19th century, we also see strife between Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans.
Today, we’re going to explore some of the causes of the violent conflict that took place in early America by looking specifically at Native America and the ways Native Americans used guns to shape their lives and the course of North American and indigenous history.
Our guide for this exploration is David J. Silverman, a professor of history at George Washington University and the author of Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
David J. Silverman, a professor of history at George Washington University and the author of Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America, joins us for an exploration of Native America and the ways Native Americans used guns to shape their lives and the course of North American and indigenous history.
During our investigation of Native America, David reveals information about the arrival of guns in early America and Native Americans’ interest in them; Details about Native American’s trade for guns; And, the ways Native Americans used guns to revolutionize their lives.
What You’ll Discover
- The arrival of guns in North America
- Native American interest in guns
- Features Native Americans wanted in firearms
- Native American-European/Euro-American gun trade
- The Haudenosaunee relationship with guns
- Why the Dutch traded firearms to Native Americans
- How Haudenosaunee use of firearms impacted the lives of their neighbors
- Southeastern Native Americans and firearms
- Southeastern slave wars during the 17th century
- Why the Southeastern slave wars turned into anti-colonial wars
- Pontiac’s Rebellion
- Firearms and the Nootka people
- The Nootka raid on the ship Boston
- Overview of how Native Americans used firearms to revolutionize their lives
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- David J. Silverman
- Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America
- Red Brethren: The Brothertown and Stockbridge Indians and the Problem of Race in Early America
- Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel
- Ben Franklin’s World Listener Survey
- Episode 064: Brett Rushforth: Native American Slavery in New France
- Episode 104: Andrew Lipman, The Saltwater Frontier: Europeans and Native Americans along the Northeastern Coast
- Episode 163: The American Revolution in North America
- Episode 171: Jessica Stern, Native Americans, British Colonists, and Trade in North America
Bil would like to know, in your opinion, what might have happened if Native peoples had rejected European and American firearms and stuck with their traditional weapons, ways of war, and hunting?
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