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The World Turned Upside Down: Indian Voices from Early America Themes

Colin G. Calloway
This Study Guide consists of approximately 30 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The World Turned Upside Down.
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Themes

The Written Word Versus the Spoken Word

Part of the disconnect between European and Indian cultures was European reliance on the written word and the Indian reliance on the spoken word. Europeans had long relied on written contracts in their legal system and elsewhere to formalize agreements, and this came into play with the great many land deals made during the 17th and 18th centuries. Europeans came from a system and culture that ignored or greatly downplayed any verbal negotiations made prior to a final written contract.

By contrast, Indian diplomacy was predicated upon the spoken word. As demonstrated several times in the book, many Indians were eloquent orators. In Indian culture, a man's spoken word was his bond and his promise. Indian negotiators would go so far as to start each meeting by speaking, verbatim, what was spoken in the previous meeting.

This important cultural difference resulted in...

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This section contains 709 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The World Turned Upside Down: Indian Voices from Early America Study Guide
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The World Turned Upside Down: Indian Voices from Early America from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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