Socials Précis

Source: Samuel Adams: Son of Liberty, Father of Revolution by Benjamin Irvin

Amazon Link and Title Review (1 | 2)

Author Irvin provides with both a factual and insightful recount of one of the enigmatic Founding Fathers and figures of the American Revolution, and his involvement, as a New Englander, with the Siege of Louisbourg, one of the most critical roles in the strained relationship between Britain and France. Irvin provides insight into historic recounts and detailed dates and terms, giving us an relatively accurate reflection on one of the Founding Fathers.

French and Iroquois War (Beaver War)

The French and Iroquois War, also known as the Beaver War, was a series of conflict happened in the 17th century. Iroquois economics became interdependent with Europe’s fur trade. After the Dutch traders provided them with fire arms, the Iroquois began to push east and raid the settlements of New France. By 1642, New France begun to counter these raids by arming their indigenous allies. Iroquois was successful with destroy every indigenous group they face. In 1667, a treaty in Europe had allowed French to trade in the north end. In 1689, Iroquois launched another attack at the French. With the help from Troupes de la Marine, the French eventually forced Iroquois to make peace. In July 1701, a treaty signed by Iroquois in Montreal agreed to remain neutral between French and English wars.

Haudenosaunee Confederacy (also known as the Iroquois or Five Nations, then including the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayugaand Seneca), numerous other Iroquoian groups and French colonial forces. The Haudenosaunee significantly increased their territorial holdings before agreeing to a peace with colonial administrators. The wars represent the intense struggle for control over resources in the early colonial period and resulted in the permanent dispersal or destruction of several First Nations in the Eastern Woodlands.

Link to Article is Here

Canada Pre-Colonization: The Woodland Period

In Prehistory of the Canadian Shield, James V. Wright, archaeologist and author, writes about the Initial Woodland Period as well as the Terminal Woodland Period. In this chapter, he explains how the introduction of pottery was what separated the Woodland period from the Archaic period, as well as where the pottery may have originated from. Weight also writes about how the Woodland period introduces the Laurel people, who’s lifestyle was significantly different from their ancestors of the Shield Archaic population.

“Once again, for the purpose of classification only, it becomes necessary to give a different name to the same culture tradition simply because it has adopted a single new trait – pottery. Thus in some area the Shield Archaic population of the Archaic period becomes the Laurel population of the Initial Woodland period… The Laurel people continued a way of life basically indistinguishable from that of their Shield Archaic ancestors.”

– Wright

Here is a link to the PDF in which the information is located.


Précis: The Viewpoints of 1812

The British View the War of 1812 Quite Differently Than Americans Do

This article by Amanda Foreman poses an interesting perspective on how history is different depending on who is telling the story – one of the big ideas I remember from last year. American commentators tend to glorify the outcomes of this war, posing it as the beginning of the “birth of American Freedom.” It is intriguing to see how this war is viewed by two of the major sides – while American’s may see it as what was the start of their independence, Britain has more feelings of betrayal attached to it. For America, 1812 was the war of gaining independence for itself as a nation while for Britain, 1812 was a small detail all the Bwhile winning the real war against its greatest nemesis, Napoleon.

In the 19th century, the Canadian historian William Kingsford was only half-joking when he commented, “The events of the War of 1812 have not been forgotten in England for they have never been known there.” In the 20th, another Canadian historian remarked that the War of 1812 is “an episode in history that makes everybody happy, because everybody interprets it differently…the English are happiest of all, because they don’t even know it happened.”

Radical Dude

Title: The Radicalism of the American Revolution

Author: Gordon S Wood

This book explains how what we perceive to be true in the American Revolution could be skewed. The author believes that we tend to not see the American Revolution as a true revolution, which is typically fronted by an “angry, passionate, reckless” leader, not a handful of diplomatic white men. The author suggests we see this revolution as the most effective and influential in recent history. No economical classes were toppled, and no one was beheaded, but the change is very evident in the people. How people connect with each other and put aside their differences, for the most part.

If we measure the radicalism of revolutions by the degree of social misery or economic deprivation suffered, or by the number of people killed or manor houses burned, then this conventional emphasis on the conservatism of the American Revolution becomes true enough. But if we measure the radicalism by the amount of social change that actually took place—by transformations in the relationships that bound people to each other—then the American Revolution was not conservative at all; on the contrary: it was as radical and as revolutionary as any in history. Of course, the American Revolution was very different from other revolutions. But it was no less radical and no less social for being different. In fact, it was one of the greatest revolutions the world has known, a momentous upheaval that not only fundamentally altered the character of American society but decisively affected the course of subsequent history.

  • Gordon S Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution – pg 5

French Rule: The North American Fur Trade

While researching the events and big ideas surrounding French rule in North America, I discovered that the fur trade played a big role in providing economic growth to the French colonies. French settlers would trade liquor or tools which the Indigenous peoples would know have the knowledge of production method, and trade for various furs such as mink or ermine to be sold for a high price in Europe for use for decoration of clothing of Europeans. Fur trading outposts were build to facilitate this, and cities such as Montreal or Toronto today were originally fur trading posts.

As they expanded their empire, the French built fur-trading forts at strategic locations where Natives could bring their furs to trade. Native villages would grow up around the forts, as tribal groups came to trade their furs, and seek jobs. In later years many cities and towns- Montreal, Kingston, Toronto, Detroit, Michilmakinac- would grow up where fur trade forts had been.

The Beginnings of the Fur Trade

Snemma Norrænir Landnámsmenn

(Early Norse Settlers)

This source talks about the early settlement of Nordic explorers during the turn of the 11th century. The website is a transcription of the book The Norse Discovery of America by A.M. Reeves, N.L. Beamish, and R.B. Anderson. It talks about the first settlers like Erik the Red, and his son Leif Erikson, and how exactly they came to find Greenland and Vinland, the latter of which we now know as Newfoundland. It is a very detailed chronological history of the adventures of the Nordic explorers, as well as detailed information on the explorers themselves, beginning with the unfortunate manslaughter conviction and subsequent banishment of Erik the Red, to mentioning King Olaf of Iceland’s ulterior Christian motives, to Leif Erikson’s patriotic endeavours to attempt to colonize Vinland.

He had his arms full of grapes, and was devouring the fruit with all his might, and when spoken to by Leif Erikson, he only answered in his native tongue, “Weintrauben! Weintrauben!! Weintrauben!!!” He was born in a country where the grape grew, and […] the finding of grapes in this western world overwhelmed him with delight. The sagas tell us that grapes were found in great abundance on every hand, and from this circumstance Leif gave the country the name of Vinland. 


Socials Précis

The Story of Labrador by Bill Rompkey

Link to McGill-Queen’s University Press Book Page

Amazon Book Review


Bill Rompkey shows great insight into this topic by going into greatly specific details. You can tell that he is personally very invested into these topics and has experience and knowledge about these events. The way that this book was structured was very easily comprehended because he started with the earliest settlers of labrador and ended with the more recent settlers such as the European settlers and the early two thousands. He condenses each story or section of a group of people to their own chapter. ‘The Story of Labrador’ is a reliable and factual read.


“Despite of his political background, Rompkey speaks out rather clearly what went wrong in this period, although he is still more optimistic than other authors (e.g. Theatre of Fish: Travels Through Newfoundland and Labrador ) on issues like first nations and environment. The account ends in 2003, so that more recent developments, like the completion of the Trans-Labrador-Hwy or the establishment of Nunatsiavut, do not yet get coverage. Under consideration that only very few has been written on this subject, ‘The Story of Labrador’ is a readable, albeit rather short (net 171 p.) account.”

The Line Between Patriotism and Treason

David Maxey goes into depth about the enforcement of treason during the American Revolution, and the difference between committing treason as a patriot and as a loyalist. He talks about how the crime can be seen as confusing, as one would think treason against one party would simply mean to convert to the other. Laws were fuzzy, governments were confusing, and the crime was one that was being worked toward diminishing piece by piece.

The quote below states very briefly the view on how treason was treated as a crime when it came to social movements, specifically in the patriotic view point.

“As Thomas McKean, a signer of the Declaration and later Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, observed in an early case that came before him as a judge, in civil wars, every man chooses his party; but generally that side which prevails arrogates the right of treating those who are vanquished as rebels. Benjamin Franklin made the point more tellingly when, as he was about to sign the Declaration, he remarked, ‘We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall hang separately.'”

Read the whole page here!

Quebec City Founded

“I arrived there on the 3rd of July, wrote Samuel de Champlain in 1608, “when I searched for a place suitable for our settlement, but I could find none more convenient or better situated than the point of Quebec.”

Quebec City has started from mere trees and rocks. Champlain and his 24 men worked tirelessly to build a three-storied fort, accompanied by a drawbridge a moat around the building for more protection. The construction did not go smoothly as five of Champlain’s men had planned to murder him for not sharing the fur trade profits, but they were soon stopped.

When fall hit the settlers started clearing more land to plant winter wheat and rye for the upcoming spring. However, the first winter was very harsh and hit in the middle of October. It was first frost, and then snow fell during November. A large portion of the men were sick and 16 of them died over the winter.

Samuel de Champlain continued his expansion of Quebec City, all while participating in a war against the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois people.

Source: Marsh, James H. “Champlain and the Founding of Quebec.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.