Use of Institutions to Change Culture and Society Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1680 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Native Americans

¶ … Institutions to Change Culture and Society

The objective of this work is to review Morgan's "Ancient Society" and "League of the Iroquois" and to examine how the use of institutions may allow for change of culture and society. This work will note how Morgan wished to change the Iroquois institutions of his day and how those change would have reshaped Iroquois society and challenge Iroquois culture and further this will discuss the standards used by Morgan to judge societies and link those standards to the change he championed for the Iroquois society and culture. This work will consider the dangers to the preservation of Iroquois culture that might have sprung from Morgan's proposals and suggest how institutions play a dual role by not only transmitting culture to society but also in reshaping culture.

INTRODUCTION

Lewis H. Morgan spent a great deal of time documenting the life of the Iroquois and recorded this information in the work entitled: "The League of the Iroquois." In this work, Morgan reflects his thoughts upon the Iroquois society, both in terms of the Indians, as they existed and in terms of his hopes for the Iroquois nation of Indians.

I. MORGAN'S DESIRE for the IROQUOIS NATIONBuy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Use of Institutions to Change Culture and Society Assignment

Lewis H. Morgan writes in "The League of the Iroquois" that: "There are but two means of rescuing the Indian from his impending destiny; and these are education and Christianity. If he will receive into his mind the light of knowledge and the spirit of civilization, he will possess, not only the means of self-defense, but the power with which to emancipate himself from the thralldom in which he is held." p.111 (Morgan, 1901) Morgan additionally states that the missionary initiative, has awakened "new desires, creating new habits, and arousing new aspirations. In fact, they have gathered together the better elements of Indian Society, and quickened them with the light of religion and of knowledge. A class has thus been gradually formed, which if encouraged and strengthened, will eventually draw over to itself that portion of our Indian population which is susceptible of improvement and elevation, and willing to make the attempt." p.113 (Morgan, 1901) Morgan relates of the Iroquois that: "In the depth of Indian society there is a spirit and a sentiment to which their minds are attuned by nature; and great must be the power, and constant the influence which can overcome the one, or eradicate the other." P.114 (Morgan, 1901) Morgan envisioned for the Iroquois people "...intellectual training" p. 115 (Morgan, 1901) and states that: "By the diffusion of knowledge among them the way will be facilitated for the introduction of the mechanic arts, and for their improvement in agricultural pursuits." P.115 (Morgan, 1901) Morgan states that: "If the desire for improvement, which now prevails among them, is met and encouraged, it will require but a few years to initiate them into the arts of civilized life, and to prepare them eventually for exercising those rights of property, and rights of citizenship, which are common to ourselves." P. 115 (Morgan, 1901) Morgan had a great vision for the Iroquois nation that they would join with other citizens in 'civilized society' stating that: "It is time that our Indian youth were regarded, in all aspects, as a part of the children of the state and brought under such a system of tutelage as that relation would impose. P. 117 (Morgan, 1901)

II. EDUCATION and EMPLOYMENT

Morgan believed that education and employment of these: "...Indian youth whose acquired capacities would enable them to fill stations of trust and profit among ourselves, is another species of encouragement which commends itself to the generous mind." P. 118 (Morgan, 1901) it was the belief of Morgan that the Iroquois would join in the community of civilization on equal footing and with equal respect as evidence in his statement of: "When the Iroquois reach such a stable position, as agriculturists, as to make it safe to divide their lands among the several families of each nation, with the power of alienation, it will give to them that stimulus and ambition which separate rights of property are so well calculated to produce. P.119 (Morgan, 1901) it was Morgan's firm belief that: "The progressive elevation of our Indian population, here indicated, if carried to a successful result, would save but a portion of the Indian family; but that portion would become, in every respect, as useful and respectable as any other portion of our people. They would neither be wanting in ability, nor morality, nor public spirit...On the other hand, if they are left, unencouraged and unassisted, to struggle against their adverse destiny - or, more fatal still, if they are subjected to a false and unjust system of superintendence, the whole Indian family will ere long fade away, and finally become enshrouded in the same regretful sepulcher in which the races of New England lie entombed." P. 120 (Morgan, 1901) Therefore, Morgan envisioned that the Iroquois nation would assimilate itself into the very culture and civilization of the white men.

III. FOX'S VIEW on MORGAN'S POSITION on the IROQUOIS

Robin Fox states in the "Introduction" to Lewis Henry Morgan's "Ancient Society" that: "There was a "sophisticated form of political confederation" p. xliii (Fox, nd) among the tribes of the Iroquois, however "they never advanced to the state of a nation, city-state or empire." P. xliii (Fox, nd) According to Fox (nd) "...for Morgan, the stage of 'gentile society' could not do this. Superordinate political authority belonged to a stage beyond the gentile, it was the next stage of 'political society'. This worked for the League of the Iroquois which had the correct combination of kinship and politics, but it caused Morgan to indulge in some shaky special pleading when he came to more complex forms of political organization which were nevertheless still at the 'gentile' stage." (Fox, nd) Fox states that Morgan attempted and in fact, quite successfully "...to influence law and legislation on behalf of the Indians in his state." p. xvi (Fox, nd) Morgan posits in the work "Ancient Civilization" that the 'ethnical periods' through which mankind passes in the evolutionary progression toward civilization are: (1) Subsistence; (2) Government; (3) Language; (4) the Family; (5) Religion; (6) House life and architecture; and (7) Property. Subsistence is stated of Morgan to have "been increased and perfected by a series of successive arts, introduced at long intervals of time, and connected more or less directly with inventions and discoveries." p.5 (Morgan, 2000) Morgan states that government "must be sought in the organization into gentes in the Status of savagery; and followed down, through the advancing forms of this institution to the establishment of political society." P. 6 (Morgan, 2000) Human speech, according to Morgan, "seems to have been developed from the rudest and simplest forms of expression." p. 6 (2000) in relation to the family, "the stages of its growth are embodied in systems of consanguinity and affinity, and in usages relating to marriage, by means of which, collectively, the family can be definitely traced through several successive forms." P. 5 (Morgan, 2000) Morgan relates that religious ideas are:."..envisioned with such intrinsic difficulties that it may never receive a perfectly satisfactory exposition. Religion deals so largely with the imaginative and emotional nature, and consequently with such uncertain elements of knowledge, that all primitive religions are grotesque and to some extent unintelligible." p. 6 (Morgan) in relation to house architecture, "which connects itself with the form of the family and the plan of domestic life, affords a tolerably complete illustration of progress from savagery to civilization. Its growth can be traced from the hut of the savage, through the communal houses of the barbarians, to the house of the single family of civilized nations, with all the successive links by which… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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