The Middle Ground Summary

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Futile Endeavors: The Rise and fall of the Middle Ground Since the dawn of history, mankind have been persistently in relationship with each other. Individuals, families, communities and even cultures have been in consistent alliance with each other. The saying “No man is an island” is true of humanity. In the search for food, land and safety, history is rich with the stories of people “wandering” across the face of the earth in order to gain respite to their craving. There have been chronicles of individuals against individuals, colonies against another brawling and vying for their longings. In like manner, the French came to the new world in the quest for economic, safety and influence prospects, hoping to make their mark in the civilization…show more content…
The conspectus of the book relates the creation, elevation, demotion, resurrection and the eventual depletion of the accommodative “middle ground” formed by the Europeans and the Indians. The riveting story starts with the defeat of the Midwest (1640s to mid-1660s) to the batter left by the “Iraquois Hammer” which led the Algonquian refugees retreat with the hope of preserving their lives. This sudden journey took them to the territory of the French missionaries and merchants who saw these desperate and war-striven Indians as barbarians or “as aliens, as others” (ix). The French considered the matrilineal and communal culture of the Indians to be disturbing, while the Indians reasoned the patriarchal system and the protection of individual’s private property as strange. These cultural differences led to some ethnic ferocity, wide-ranging political unrest and social upheaval. White is convinced that the initial and unfamiliar interaction between these ethnically and culturally distant groups soon made way for cultural diffusion when the Indians “forced” the French to a mutual cultural ground, called the “middle ground.” The middle ground, according to White, is a place of the desertion of the master-slave culture and the relinquishment of force and…show more content…
The French needed furs from the refugees and the refugees interchangeably needed protection to go out and hunt in large numbers. It was a symbiotic affair, “On the both sides, new people were crammed into existing categories in a mechanical way” (51). This was the first step in the creation of the middle ground that later culminated into a world of accommodation where “the boundaries of the Algonquian and French worlds melted and merge” (50). In the foreground, the Indians from the West were afraid of further attacks form the Iraquois and the French were also afraid of losing the Fur trade to the English, so that “they slowly came to recognize the need for unity among the Algonquians and a joint French-Indian alliance to defeat the Iraquois” and also save the fur trade. It is however important to note how White conveys the independency of the Algonquians in relation to the middle ground. Although, the survival of the middle ground required the voluntary subjection and semi-inconvenient compromise of the two allies, White repeatedly ascribes edge and power to the

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