History 231 Reading Guide

The Empire and the Colonies:  Colonial warfare in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries

  • Daniel K. Richter, “War and Culture: The Iroquois Experience” WMQ 3rd ser. 40.4 (1983): 528-559.  JSTOR


  • Richter argues that Native Americans engaged in warfare from motives that differed from the motives and goals that brought Europeans into armed conflict.
  • For the Iroquois, what was the cultural significance of warfare?  What methods did the Iroquois use to achieve their goals?
  • How did the role of warfare change for the Iroquois after sustained contact with Europeans?  What caused the changes?
  • How did those changes affect Iroquois relations with nearby Native Americans?
  • How did the Iroquois respond to those changes in the years after 1700?