By Daniel K. Richter
During this epic synthesis, Richter unearths a brand new the United States. Surveying many centuries ahead of the yank Revolution, we find the tumultuous encounters among the peoples of North the US, Africa, and Europe and spot how the current is the buildup of the traditional layers of the previous.
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Extra resources for Before the Revolution: America’s Ancient Pasts
Particularly at the upper levels of the social structure, broader kin connections within the lineal family remained very real, with varied economic responsibilities accruing to uncles, brothers, and cousins. But these relationships resembled the formal obligations that Native Americans associated with members of their clan, rather than the intense, daily interactions with an extended lineage who shared a large common residence.
16 Summer and winter, rain and snow, ceased to come predictably in the Southwest somewhat earlier than elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. In both Chaco Canyon and the Mississippi Valley, dense populations had been living at the edge of the land’s agricultural carrying capacity during the best years of the Medieval Warm Period. Perhaps the extraordinary religious fervor, political capital, and material resources devoted to agricultural ceremonies in both places shows a cultural recognition of just how unstable the balance was.
Everything—or rather everyone—in this world and the next, in the underworld and the sky world, embodied, conveyed, or possessed power. Native American understandings of the precise nature of that power varied—although most would say it was a mystery—but its existence was almost universally acknowledged. More important than the nature of power itself was that it was associated with a vast range of “persons,” only a small minority of whom were humans but all of whom displayed familiar emotions, needs, motives, and moral strengths and weaknesses.