Beachcombers in New England

Nancy Shoemaker

in Native American Whalemen and the World

Published by University of North Carolina Press

Published in print April 2015 | ISBN: 9781469622576
Published online January 2016 | e-ISBN: 9781469621340
Beachcombers in New England

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This chapter discusses the racial ambiguities further complicated by the arrival and intermarriage of foreigners into the native communities of New England through whaling channels. In many ways, their experiences matched those of Americans who became beachcombers in the Pacific. The foreign diaspora had little effect on the overall cause of American imperialism, yet the United States had more racial categories, more reasons to categorize by race, more uncertainty about who belonged in which category, and more emphasis on race over other social hierarchies. In the United States at that time three groups—Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans—intermingled and intermarried, splintering race into myriad combinations. Americans often employed a number labels for nonwhites: blacks, Indians, and “mulattoes.” So many racial permutations spawned confusion while heightening the supremacy of race in American society.

Keywords: New England; United States; racial categories; race; American society; Native Americans; Europeans; Africans; racial ambiguities

Chapter.  7415 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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