United States Were Fraught With Danger Essay

Pages: 4 (1527 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: American History

¶ … United States were fraught with danger and problems. From colonization to how women were treated to slavery, there were many issues that were faced. Over time, many things changed and developed. However, during that period in history where the issues faced were strong and significant, there were many ways in which individuals depicted those issues. One of the most popular ways of indicating what was taking place during a particular historical period was through art. Paintings such as The Old Plantation (Rose, 1785-1795) were ways in which people who lived in the time of slavery could depict the types of things that took place in everyday life. The Old Plantation is particularly interesting for several reasons. First, it only shows the slaves. Most paintings during that time depicted more than just the African-American people, and this painting does not focus on anything or anyone but the slaves themselves.

The second point of interest with this painting is that it shows the slaves doing something that they want to do as opposed to what they were forced to do. There are many paintings that depict slaves working in their master's house or toiling in the fields, but there are few paintings that depict the slaves doing something fun that they enjoy. It is not clear whether the slaves shown in the painting are having a marriage ceremony or simply engaging in some type of dance or other ritual, but they are clearly focused on one another and the joy in what they are doing, as opposed to something that they are being required to do for their master. The third point of interest with this painting is tied to the second point - the way the slaves are dancing. There are musicians in this piece of artwork. Traditionally, slaves are depicted as having nothing of their own. From this painting, it is clear that there were possessions (including musical instruments) that were used by slaves in order to bring more joy into their lives.

Paintings were not the only things that are seen when it comes to looking at history and how it was portrayed. Another way to consider what took place many years ago is to take a careful look at the kinds of things that people used back then. For example, in 1622 there were many people coming from Britain to the Virginia Colonies. They did not always know what to take with them, so there was a list of supplies that was created for them in order to be better prepared for their trip (Supplies, 2011). This supply list included many items of clothing as well as material to make bedding. It also included tools, weapons and armor, and food that could be stored and would not spoil easily. Of course, the more that could be brought the better off the family would be, but there were families that did not have as much. They should bring what they could.

Based on what was on the list of supplies for the colonists, it would appear that colony life was not easy. There were no shops where one could just go and buy clothing. There were no easy ways to get things and a person could not just order supplies and get them in a couple of days. Because of that, colonists had to come as prepared as possible so that they would be able to withstand the harsh winters and other issues that they would face. Overall, it was a life that was theirs, though. It was new and they were able to live it the way that they wanted to based on the religion that they wanted to follow. Many colonists came to the new world to escape religious persecution, but it was likely based on the list of supplies that they did not realize what kind of life they were trading into. It was not like they could just show up, purchase a home, and buy a car to get around. They had to build things with their own hands, and if they needed something that they did not have they had to find a way to make it or to trade something of value to someone who had what they needed and was willing to part with it. Their lives were often short and difficult, but they had their freedom - and that was important to them.

The Virginia Colonies were also important to history in other ways. There were many environmental issues that surrounded them. One of those was the abundance of watersheds. Watersheds are areas where the water flows from streams and rivers, and leaves deposits of minerals and anything else in that water on the land. That can be both beneficial and harmful, depending on what is carried in the water (Cohen, 2009). Because Virginia has so many different watershed areas, the colonies had very fertile land to work with all of the time. That helped to grow crops and have plenty of food, but the watersheds could also allow for flooding if there was too much rain in a short period of time.

Another important environmental issue to affect the colonies was natural disasters (Cohen, 2009). During the time of colonization of Virginia and surrounding areas, there was no way to determine if a natural disaster such as a severe thunderstorm, tornado, or hurricane was approaching. The colonists had no way to know what was about to take place until it was actually happening, and that was a serious matter for crops, housing, and other issues. If the colonists were building something it could easily be destroyed. If they were growing crops, those crops could be damaged because they were planted during a turbulent weather period. It is only possible to interpret a small portion of what the weather might be about to do, and the colonists were left with many uncertainties in that regard.

In addition to these issues, the environment of Virginia has been shaped by man, as well. As the colonists advanced, they changed the landscape to a degree (Cohen, 2009). They built houses and prepared land for crops. They cut down trees and built towns. They dammed streams and rivers, and they utilized the land in different ways from its natural state. All of those things were vital to their survival, but they also affected how the colonies were formed and how Virginia itself was shaped.

The Revolutionary War was another large part of history, and what many people do not realize is that women played a very big role in that time period. There were many famous women during the revolutionary war, and there were plenty of women who never achieved fame during that time but whose lives were inexorably changed by the events that took place. As women confronted political issues, they started to boycott British goods (Kerber, 1990). They also spied on the British and followed armies so that they could take care of the soldiers and keep them apprised of what they learned (Burrows & Wallace, 1972). Some of the women disguised themselves and fought alongside the men, as well, because they wanted to be a part of the action and of history (Kerber, 1990). Many women during that time were deeply committed to the war that was being fought, and they did not want to be relegated to the sidelines. They had bravery and courage, just as strongly as the men they loved and fought beside.

The women who did not go to the frontlines or march with the soldiers still had an important role. They stayed home and kept their families together. They grew crops and kept their homes operating while the men were away (Kerber, 1990). In some cases, they kept things running after their husbands were killed… [END OF PREVIEW]

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