Professor Michael Hawkins AMST 201

ProfessorMichael Hawkins



JillLepore, Inthe Name of War

KingPhilip is a famous Native Indians’ chief. He vehemently fought theNew England settlers with the intention of chasing them away out ofthe colonies after they breached the agreement. He felt threatened bythe colonist who had established several new towns in histerritories. Besides, the chief felt disrespected after the colonistssummoned, gave him an ultimatum to surrender the guns his peopleowned. The hatred and competition for supremacy between the nativeIndians and the colonists finally led to the Metacom’s resistancethat lasted between 1675 and 1676. Although both the settlers and theNative Indians sustained heavy casualties, inTheName of War,Jill Lepore asserts that in late 17thcentury New England, in a time of change and cultural anxieties, KingPhilip’s War served as a way for colonists to “reclaim theirEnglishness.”

Oneof the colonists’ emphases was maintenance of law and order. Theeffort is evidenced by the effort they put in arresting andprosecuting the three Indians who allegedly killed John Sassamon forcollaborating with the settlers. Unlike the Native Indians whokilled suspect on cold blood and without allowing them an opportunityto defend their innocence, the settlers prosecuted the suspects andthen executed them after they confirmed they were guilty (Lepore 18).

Thesettlers in New England assumed to be in command over the NativeIndians. They pressurized the community to sell their lands to theimmigrants. Initially, the Indians were willing to trade the lands inexchange for the goods the British traders offered. However, thetrade came to a halt when the settlers ran out of supplies. Theyattempted to force their indigenous tribes to sell their land so thatthey could find additional settlement. However, the Indians declinedto sell their ancestral lands (Lepore 27). Besides, King Metacombegan la bloody attack on the British settlements close to theSwansea border. The conflict was the first and the last majorconfrontation between the Native tribes and the British colonists. Consequently, the war gave the settlers an opportunity to crashIndian resistance and prove their superiority and supremacy in theregion.

TheKing Philip War also intended to stop the British settlers fromconstructing additional frontier towns. As such, the militantdestroyed the cities, maimed the defenders of the settlementsalongside the women and children. However, the settlers “reclaimedtheir English ego through crashing the rebellion of the localIndians. The militia outnumbered the settlers, but they still managedto inflict casualties and defeat the warriors. The achievement wassignificant to the colonists because they could now expand theirterritories to the regions that were previously inhabited by thelocal tribes. The victory symbolized the settlers as groups ofdetermined and unstoppable force.

Onseveral instances, Jill Lepore describes the Indians as bloodthirstypagans. She attributes their savageness to lack of mainstreamreligion such as Puritanism. In every British settlement theyattacked, they ensured to raze down the houses and kills everyonemercilessly. The British proves their “Englishness” throughincarcerating the prisoners of war instead of killing them.

JillLepore also identifies disloyalty as another significant distinctionbetween the native Indians and the British colonists (p. 34). One ofthe causes of the Metacom War is attributed to the death of JohnSassamon. Sassamon was a native Indian, who had converted toChristianity. He worked as an interpreter and adviser of ChiefMetacom. Besides, he reported the events that his people did. Heallegedly informed the British of an eminent operation that hispeople were planning against the settlers. The Indian spy whoinformed Captain Benjamin Church, the British Army general, whereKing Philip was hiding also emphasizes the Indians’ was disloyal totheir leaders, unlike the colonists who never collaborated with theassailants (Lepore 55). By the end of the war, the settlers hadrecruited several Native Americans into their military. Thissymbolized superiority over Metacom’s militia.

Inthe 1600s, culture clash was a common occurrence in the regions theBritish settled. The colonists believed their civilization wassuperior to other people. As such, they gradually trained andencouraged the Podunk, Nipmuck, Wampanoag, Nashaway and NarragansettIndian tribes to shun their primitive culture for Christianity.However, the native Indians were diehards. Only a few peopleconverted into Puritanism. As a result, King Philip’s War gave thecolonists an opportunity to eliminate the inferior and primitiveIndian tribes from their settlements. Lepore notes that the languageand culture of the native Indians almost became extinct since the fewsurvivors who still opposed British supremacy. The intensiveoperation to banish the Indians aimed at reducing culture clash.Majority of the native people who were spared being sold into slaveryhad converted into Puritanism (Lepore 61).

Insummary, King Philip’s War inlate 17thcentury, New England served as a strategy for the settlers to“reclaim their Englishness.” They fought a grueling battle thatproved their war superiority to the Indians. Besides, they managed toacquire more land to construct the frontier cities after driving outthe original inhabitants.


Lepore,Jill. TheName of War: King Philip`s War and the Origins of American Identity.New York: Vintage Books, 1999. Internet resource.