Somewhat to my surprise this morning, I discovered that Conservapedia actually has an entry on the Pequot War. For you non-colonialists out there, the Pequot War was a war of extermination waged by the Puritans in Massachusetts and Connecticut against the Pequots in 1637. Unlike traditional indigenous warfare, the Puritans sought to maximize enemy casualties and destroy Pequot society completely. Essentially, they took the brutal practices of 17th century European religious warfare and applied it to Native Americans. This shocked even the Puritans’ Narragansett allies, who had certainly never seen anything like it before. The war culminated in the Puritan burning of the Pequot settlement at Mystic, Connecticut, killing 500 men, women, and children. As William Bradford said, “It was a fearful sight to see them frying in the fire.” Most of the survivors were enslaved and sent to the death traps of the Caribbean sugar plantations.
Turns out the people behind Conservapedia see historians calling this genocide, which it certainly was, as part of the broader “revisionist” academic attack upon good white people who were just defending their homes or something even though they were part of a conquering force who introduced total warfare to the….oh why bother. A choice quote, based upon their (mis)interpretation of a Steven Katz 1991 article:
Such a view, founded on presentist notions of outrage and moral sanctimony, obfuscates the fact that native tribes fought on the side of the English, both sides were mutually responsible for the onset of hostilities, and the colonists were rightfully concerned with threats to their survival. Historians holding to the thesis of genocide overinterpret and occasionally misinterpret their sources to advance their argument.
This is what happens when historiography gets enslaved to the desires of conservatives to shut up criticism of historical white people. While it is possible that using terms like “genocide” may apply modern ideas to the past, it is absolutely certain that conservatives absolving the Puritans because, hey everybody does it!, is also applying modern ideas to the past. If “revisionism” is an actual thing, no one can do it like the modern conservative, whether to the Pequot War or Ronald Reagan.