Our Savage Neighbors

DIRECTIONS: Answer each of the following questions, individually, in a complete, well-considered paragraph or two. Be as complete as possible, offering supporting evidence and a full discussion of all information relevant to the question. Grading will be based upon the content of the response, which includes the proper use of the English language.

1) All academic books have one central argument, a thesis upon which the entire book is based. The author, with the thesis, is attempting to prove to the reader an idea or concept. In your own words, what is the thesis of this book? What main thought is Dr. Silver trying to convince you of? [Tip: You may want to wait until you have worked through the other questions before answering this one]

2) Silver finds parallels between the experiences of Europeans and Native Americans regarding their revivals. What were the “nativist revivals” discussed in Chapter 1 and what caused them? In what ways were the revivals and Europeans and Native Americans similar to each other?

3) Silver states that the violence experienced in colonial America was “in the most literal sense, terroristic.” What about the violence made it the equivalent of terrorism? What made this violence so fearsome for colonists? Provide an example or two that you believe best illustrates this point.

4) In Chapter 3, Silver focuses on, what he calls, the “rhetoric of suffering.” What does he mean by this term; how does it relate to the idea of the “anti-Indian sublime?” What was the purpose behind this rhetoric, and what effect did it have on colonists?

5) When Silver discusses “the white people,” in Chapter 4, is he suggesting that all Europeans were viewing themselves as a coherent group? Explain who was included and/or excluded from the concept of “the white people” and why.

6) Silver begins Chapter 5 with the story of Thomas Quick. Why does he do this? How does this story relate to the overall theme of the chapter?

7) In Chapter 6, Silver discusses scalp bounties and the violence of the 1760s. He claims that a “perceptibly increased segregation was one of the legacies of the 1760s.” How did scalp bounties and violence result in an increased segregation between Europeans and Native Americans? What role did the demands of “country people” play in this?

8) The image on page 214 (figure 7.3: The Irish and Germans, ridden by Quakers and Indians) summarizes the major theme of this chapter. Analyze this image and discuss how its message relates to what Silver is claiming in Chapter 7. [Hint: compare figure 7.3 to figure 3.1]

9) What impact did connecting the British with Native Americans have on the colonists’ perception of the American Revolution? Why was a British-Indian alliance so alarming to the colonists, and how did they use that idea to rally support for the Revolution? Provide an example that you believe best illustrates this.

10) The title for Chapter 9 (“The Postwar That Wasn’t”) is somewhat unusual. Explain what you believe to be the meaning behind this chapter title. What is the main theme of this chapter, and how does the chapter title relate to that theme?

11) What, in your analysis, are the best and/or worst features of this book? You response should go beyond simply a comment on the number of pages or the use of advanced vocabulary, and discuss the ideas proposed, the presentation of those thoughts, and the logic of the evidence in relation to the main argument of the book.

12) Do you see any parallels between what Silver is suggesting in this book and our culture today?


Our Savage Neighbors