Multidimensional Colonial Relations Among Southeastern Nations

Multidimensional Colonial Relations Among Southeastern Nations

Nations of the Southeastern were colonized by the Americans and it was a unique process, because there were nations, which did not accept the colonial change, and even those that accepted it at different times. It is thus, important to discuss the cultural, political, and economic changes, which occurred for Southeastern nations under the influence of the Americans. This will entail pointing out the geopolitical environment and exploring changes in every stage, understanding how the market brought about classes, as well as the rise in capitalism and subsistent economy (Champagne, 2007). Capitalism as a part of the American culture, including the constitutional government, will be explained from the perspective of cultural exchange. The current paper will also criticize the multidimensional theory that explains colonization process through the incorporation of both colonized and the colonizers.

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Geopolitical Environment

Geopolitics can be defined as the study of international relations, as well as national diplomatic policies (Champagne, 1998). It is suggested that the main geopolitical change, which occurred among the four Southeastern nations, was secularization of political institutions. Prior to American hegemony, religious rituals and priest had not been included in the politics and thus, decision making. Hegemony in this context refers to the domination of one power against the other, in which America was dominant over the Southeastern nations between 1820 and 1870 (Ben-Porath). American political hegemony accompanied the constitutional governments. World system incorporation brought changes for the four nations in all aspects of being. With the rise of cotton price after 1812 war, trading families shifted to cattle raring and cotton production (Champagne, 2004). This paved a way for the American hegemony as the entrepreneur class in all the four nations could participate in making the political decisions.

The interaction with the American culture and education, as well as pressure from the missionaries, enhanced the adoption of the American order. Therefore, it is considered that the American constitutional government model comes to be adopted from some southeastern nations, but not without civil wars especially in Creek during the period between 1812 and 1814 (Kromkowski). Nevertheless, during the removal period, Cherokee was successful in forming a centralized constitutional government, while similar efforts among the Choctaw were unsuccessful due to the political loyalty of the traditional governance (Ben-Porath). However, among the Creek and Chickasaw, no efforts were put to bring about political changes as the conservative resistance was so high that implementation of such changes would certainly appear unsuccessful. The differentiated political changes among the Choctaw, Creek, and Chickasaw only happened after receiving support from the American planter alliance, since the conservative majority was too strong for the planter class.

The post-American government model contrasted with the traditional political order. In all nations, non-differentiated worldview was typical, where peoples maintained their traditions and believed their breaking would lead to bad luck (Champagne, 2007). Due to the social-cultural integration and American pressure, Chickasaw and Cherokee were the first secular governments in around 1840s (Champagne, 2007). However, Chickasaw formed a constitutional government later than Cherokee due to higher level of conservatism. In 1834, American influence coerced Choctaw to adopt constitutional government, however, they still refused to adopt centralized government, remaining conservative to their regional orders until 1860, when Choctaw planters and American official’s alliance forced the integration under a compromise constitution (Champagne, 2007). The creek was the last to form a constitutional government that turned out to be unstable due to lack in a secular government. Conclusively, nations with lower level of social differentiation, such as Chickasaw, Creek, and Choctaw, the formation of constitutional government took longer than in the case of Cherokee.


The American hegemony was marked by increased trade in the southeastern nations with both fur and cotton trade, which were becoming dominating economic activities. During the 1920s, there was a decline in fur trade, making the southeasters concentrate on raring hogs and cattle for trade, while carrying out small-scale cotton farming (Champagne, 1998). Trading activities had limited the agricultural practices, making them dependent on imported manufactured goods. At the same time, these activities led to interaction with the Americans, who demanded adoption of their capitalistic system. However, some nations did not accept the suggested changes, and it created division among the natives. Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, and Choctaw planters allied with the South, while both Creek and Cherokee had confrontation with the North during the American civil war (Champagne, 2004). After the war, most of the slaves were lost and this made most planters employ U.S tenants to work on their land, as they practiced large-scale cattle rising. There was an increased rate of intermarriages among the two groups and thus, mixing of cultures, that promoted capitalism in some areas, while others remained subsistent.

During the period between 1828 and 1867, all the four southeastern nations had adopted the constitutional government, making them embrace capitalism (Champagne, 1998). The rise of cotton farming and intermarriages helped in facilitation of capitalism as traders from other regions brought cultural skills and values of this system. British industrial revolution raised demand for cotton, leading to commercialization of labor from the conservatives (Champagne, 2007). It was the new way of life that contributed to development of classes, in which the upper class was referred to as the capitalist, the middle class was those that worked for the capitalist, while the lower class comprised of the laborers that supplied their labor in the cotton fields. Thus, capitalism was as a result of the market opportunity for the cotton and the availability of labor. Class stratification, on the other hand, was derived from the variation in roles played by different groups in the economy. This was due to the emergence of the owners of labor and the laborers.

The emergence of the subsistence economy was as a result of the conservatives that had felt no need for change and had continued to cultivate their own crops on a small scale, while keeping their cattle for personal use. They also traded their agricultural products only to support their family with the imported basic necessities, but not for the profit conservatives (Champagne, 2004). It is, therefore, evident that subsistence economy involved the natives that avoided change.

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Cultural Exchange

Cultural exchange is the transfer of values, internalization of symbol codes, including ethics, economy, religion, and worldview, as well as other cultural aspects (Ben-Porath). The first cultural exchange, which the southeasterners experienced, was the constitutional government that led to centralized leadership in the nations of Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, and Choctaw. Secondly, the capitalism has been part of the American culture and during the American hegemony, the southeasterners embraced capitalism. This was due to the market opportunities and the desire to make profits. The profit-making ethics was not popular among the natives prior to the arrival of the colonizers. Thirdly, there was also an exchange of language, which enabled different groups to communicate effectively. The Christians performed actions to spread their religion as the planters got the American education. The rise of class, capitalism, and constitutional government can be deduced from the cultural exchange. The class was created as a result of American education, which created elite groups, the idea of capitalism contributed to business for the owners, who were considered upper class, while the rest were either second or lower class. Capitalism can be defined as an idea that was carried and introduced by the Americans to Southeasterners and this is why only a small number, about only 5%, produced cotton for profit, while 95% remained conservative in their attitude to agriculture and house holding (Champagne, 1998). The constitutional government, on the other hand, was as a result of implementation of the Christian values, as well as the ideas, enforced by the natives. It was a change that they did not accept at first, but gradually embraced later.


Conclusively, it is evident that American hegemony contributed to a number of changes for the four nations. The political pattern was distorted and rebuilt in a different manner. The nations had to abandon their undifferentiated political order and, instead, embraced the constitutional government. However, it was not out of their will, as many conservatives resisted these changes. Cultural values and beliefs were also altered due to interaction between the Southeasterners, missionaries, and the American officials. There was the adoption of capitalism, Christianity, as well as the American education. Economically, the region gave rise to capitalists, who grew crops for profits, and native conservatives, who grew crops and reared cattle for their own needs (Champagne, 1998). Colonialism was the reason for development and introduction of capitalism, since it was the American idea that was implemented during hegemony. Nationalism also came as a result of colonialism due to the cohesion that the nations developed, while resisting constitutional government and foreigners in general. It also promoted cultural practices of the natives, since it allowed the groups having a choice of leading their traditional lives, which  thus. promoted cultural conservatism. The colonialism also altered the traditional continuity with the development of differentiated government that made the nations to refuse from their traditions under the new political system. The subsistence sector came as a result of the failed influence by the colonialist among the huge population to embrace capitalism with its differentiated classed. The capitalists were identified as the upper class, while laborers were representatives of the lower class.

Critique of the Multidimensional Theory of Cultural, Political, and Economic Colonialism

The multidimensional theory was very important for explanation of colonization by its inclusion into the views of the colonized nations. The entire process of colonization can be understood better, if the position of the colonized is taken into account, because they played the significant role in this process as well. The cultural exchange, for instance, could not be performed without the participation of the colonized. During this interaction, the planters acquired education and the Americans were able to advance their interests in the four nations (Champagne, 2004). In terms of trade and economy, it is evident that the main laborers were the natives and it was also their decisions that gave rise to capitalists and workers with respect to the position they took under the American influence. Political perspective of the natives reveals that colonization was a struggle as the nation fought to retain their identity and independence. The multidimensional theory has incorporated both the colonized and the colonizer in the explanation of the process and it can also pose a challenge for its understanding, since the historical versions of both may not be always coherent (Champagne, 1998). It is, therefore, important to acknowledge the understanding of the colonizers at a point of disagreement in the two versions, since they were the dominant part and thus shaped the social change patterns.


Thus, colonization is an interaction between the colonized and the colonizers, in which political, cultural, and economic changes are made. The American hegemony resulted in major political changes for the four nations, during which they all finally accepted the constitutional governments. The introduction of market increased trade among the Southeasterners and contributed to increased interaction with the Americans. The capitalist community was created, when the cotton growing opportunity enhanced commercialization of farming. This also led to the rise of classes, as entrepreneurs accumulated wealth, while the laborers sold their labor. Cultural exchange was witnessed in numerous ways, including the adoption of the American language and Christianity. The multidimensional theory has been critical by incorporating the colonized for explanation of colonization process, which seriously contributes to the existing knowledge.

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