Mann, Charles. “A Pox on the New World.” American Heritage (2010): 23-24. (2)
In “A Pox on the New World”, Charles Mann works to examine the natural and biological worlds interaction with the creation of the New World, and ultimately the war politics and colonization involved. Biological Warfare, through a term not coined in the early years of colonization, continues to give citizens of the world goose bumps, but Mann does a great job an manipulating the idea into one which helps his audience re-think how to think of American history. Following in the tradition of Zinn, Mann looks at the history of the America’s through the lens of the Natives, noting that the largest weapons which the Europeans had in their arsenal were ones they weren’t even aware of.
Using the case of small Pox as his master case, Mann notes that the disease effected more than just tribes in the United States and Mexico, but actually was a precursor to the increase of African American slave trade; as the Native population became ill and started dropping the need for labor increased and Europeans relied heavily on the slave traffic from Africa. Merely frosting on the cake – African American blood now shows immunity to the type of disease that was plaguing the Natives. Using cases of Bradford in Cape Cod, Cortes in Mexico and Cornwallis in the Carolinas, Mann shows that the strongest show of colonization in the history of the Americas was, merely, a stroke of luck. Though seemingly flippant that statement can raise many an emotion for Mann’s audience, but in truth it explains more about the history of the Americas that the work one may find in the history books. It creates a rage which should be followed and a sickness that should be embraced. To finally realize what historians such as Zinn and Mann have been saying would be a gift the modern day America.