Controversial Topics in America

Hawaii, Cuba, Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico became outright American colonies, no different than how European powers operated. In 1900, American troops participated in putting down the Boxer “Rebellion,” to help keep China under the white man’s boot. The USA also began playing a slightly different version of the imperial game, and the earliest and perhaps greatest instance of its novel colonialism was how it invented Panama. Neocolonialism is colonialism in everything but the name, and accordingly, the American Empire is an empire in everything but the name. The main difference is that the subject peoples get to fly their own flags as symbols of their illusionary independence. The oppression and exploitation is simply carried out by than the traditional colonial ones.

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Native Americans were virtually extinct by 1900, as were many of their fellow creatures. The period from 1700 to 1900, when the English/American Empire expanded across North America, is arguably the most single-minded and sustained effort of environmental destruction that any species has ever inflicted upon this planet. John Adams wrote that his family cut down more trees than any other family in America. As one author wrote, the ax was the appropriate symbol of the early American attitude toward nature. North America likely had , and the English and Americans ruthlessly . Eastern North America had the world’s largest temperate forest, and the old saying that a squirrel could have run from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, without ever touching ground, was not very fanciful. Eastern North America was almost completely deforested by those “pioneers.” The passenger pigeon, which may have flown in the greatest flocks that Earth has seen, , in capitalistic fashion. Expanding railroads in the 1850s allowed for a short-lived industry of killing pigeons in the Midwest and transporting them to East Coast markets. Passenger pigeons numbered in the billions, and migrating flocks turned day into night, but by the 1880s their populations had collapsed and the last passenger pigeon died in captivity in 1914. The woodland bison, which roamed today’s Eastern USA, was rendered extinct by the early 19th century.

Pros and cons of controversial issues

‘‘A lot of those homes that had Trump signs out front were also flying American flags.
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Rainbow Gay Pride Flags with white letter lambda either centered or placed in the cantons have been used in West Hollywood, Long Beach, San Diego and other areas of Southern California.

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What the New World was like before Europeans arrived will be a source of enduring controversy, but some pursuable evidence is the first contact accounts of Europeans in the New World. The early Europeans to North America, whether they saw the Great Plains, the Eastern Woodlands, or California, described peoples who were not particularly hostile toward one another, even enemy tribes. Few early European observers left behind detailed descriptions of the New World they encountered, and those that do can have major deficiencies. and chronicled the first contacts between Europeans and the intact cultures in the Caribbean and Mesoamerica, but both chroniclers had agendas. Although and how he might exploit the wealth of the discovered lands, Columbus regularly remarked on the incredible beauty of the islands and the happy, healthy, peaceful natives, and many of them did not know what weapons were. He described the islands as an Edenic paradise and the natives its worthy inhabitants, and he was right. Columbus and his invasions quickly destroyed it, however, so reconstructing that extinct culture has been a challenging task for modern anthropologists.

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Cortés and Castillo recorded a Mesoamerican civilization that overwhelmed them, with sights so incredible that some Spanish mercenaries thought they were dreaming. The Aztec capital city was more fantastic than anything in the Old World, and some of the invading Spaniards had seen Constantinople and Venice. There was also the , although the cannibalism issue is probably the New World’s first urban legend. Columbus made up the story of . Cortés concocted the tale of Aztec cannibalism in 1522 , and his mention of his foes carrying “roasted babies” sounds like classic wartime propaganda. In 2014, the issue of is still unsettled. Consequently, various aspects of their reporting must be viewed with skepticism. Nearly every early interaction with Spanish and Native American cultures show that when given a choice, natives thought European culture to be inferior, even when . While the Aztecs had a stratified society that was materialistic, violent, and greedy to a degree found nowhere else in the New World, it still paled beside the European versions of those qualities. When some Brazilian Indians visited France in the 1560s, they were amazed at the disparity in French society, as gluttons turned away emaciate beggars at their doors. The Indians did not understand why the poor did not kill the rich. When Charles Mann asked seven scientists and academics in the early 21st century where they would have chosen to live in 1491, Europe or with the , the scholars, who were all specialists in the subject, were wary of being asked such a question, being acutely aware of the issue. Nevertheless, with all their caveats, all seven of them chose the Iroquois. Native Americans also valued cleanliness, which was a virtue that Europeans would not appreciate for centuries.