Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a slave (New York: Penguin Books, 2012). (461)


Shorto, Russell. “New Amsterdam becomes New York.”



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Shorto, Russell. “New Amsterdam becomes New York.” American Heritage (2010): 28-29. (2)
Russell Shorto’s summary of the birth of New York from the ashes of New Amsterdam reinforces the pressure to begin to look at history from a different perspective. His piece illustrates the issues that most settlements face regardless of location in the Americas – the constant peril of native peoples as well as that of outside countries which they were in competition with. In the case of New Amsterdam, the Dutch colony “was in a state of constant struggle” as “Indians threatened it, and so did the English”.9 Even prior to its renaming New Amsterdam, New York, was a hub for diversity and tolerance. As Shorto highlights, the Dutch had a certain keenness towards fair trade alliances and tolerance, leaving them open to become a more popular and prosperous colony early on. Obviously the kindness of the Dutch created a mark, as New York has, throughout the years, remained “distinctively multiethnic [and] upwardly mobile”.10 Not only does Shorto’s piece create a sense of understanding for the audience, but it grants a more in depth, alternative look into the reasoning behind the creation of New Amsterdam. Ultimately, his piece shows one that there are circumstances throughout the world which alter the relationship which he colonies have with the Americas. Perhaps this helps to answer the biggest questions that remain after this weeks reading – how can we continue to fight for these alternative stories?




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