Native Americans vs. Europeans Essay

This essay has a total of 576 words and 3 pages.

Native Americans vs. Europeans

Native Americans and European Compare/Contrast Essay


Europeans lived a much more modern way of life than the primitive lifestyle of Native
Americans. Europeans referred to themselves as "civilized" and regarded Native Americans
as "savage," "heathen," or "barbarian." Their interaction provoked by multiple differences
led to misunderstanding and sometimes conflict. These two cultures, having been isolated
from one another, exhibited an extensive variation in their ideals. Europeans and Native
Americans maintained contradictory social, economic, and spiritual practices.

The European social structure was heavily influenced by land ownership, with a
land-wealthy elite at its center. Europeans viewed land as a resource to be exploited for
human benefit. Property was the basis of independence, material wealth, and political
status. Native Americans deemed the exact opposite of individual land ownership. Tribes
recognized boundaries, like the Europeans, but believed that land was communal. Communal
land ownership helped limit social stratification in Native American communities, much
unlike the social hierarchy established by the Europeans. Europeans were accustomed to a
greater scale of inequality. Native Americans stressed the group rather than the
individual. They did not base life on material wealth as the Europeans did. However, some
exceptions to this cultural system occurred in the more modern empires of the Aztec and
Inca and, in North America, among tribes such as the Natchez.
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