English Superiority in Roanoke Propaganda
Confidence Building through Indian Portrayals in 16th Century English Travel Writing
“Roanoke Propaganda” is an analysis of 1580s English travel literature that encouraged American colonization. The English were reluctant to colonize due to pressing concerns at home and intimidating Indian portrayals from travelers from other nations. The Roanoke propagandists colored their portrayals of Native Americans to emphasize English superiority and to promote confidence in their potential for success in America. They claimed that the English religious doctrine had the power to turn native enemies into allies. They also used religious arguments to justify expropriating Indian land. Despite contrary popular sentiment, they also claimed that Indian desire for English merchandise ensured profitable settlements and more Indian allies. They claimed that the Indians were practically harmless due to the crude quality of their weapons, fear of firearms, and weak political structures. The paper concludes with the correlation between superiority based on points of difference and historian Jordan Winthrop’s description of racism, as well as an assessment of the propagandists’ degree of success.
LicenseAuthors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).