In “Changes in the Land,” William Cronon embarks on a journey to explain why and how New England habitats changed during the colonial period. He shows the important shift of dominance between Indians and Europeans. Changes are measurable against the dissent between the two cultures in regards to land, animals, property, deeds and even work related methods. He makes it clear that he is centrally interested in how Native Americans and Europeans changed the landscape of New England, and how the changes Europeans made forced Native Americans to abandon their earlier ways of interacting with the land.
Cronon supports this thesis by providing the reader with contrasts of both the ecosystems and the economies in pre-colonial New England to those at the beginning of the 19th century. Cronon explains how much the landscape and the environment were radically changed by the arrival of the Europeans. He argues that the shift from Indian to English domination in New England saw English property systems take control and the emerging dominance of domesticated animals as well. Cronon's argument reveals that the change in New England's landscape and environment was not only brought on by the arrival of the Europeans but also made possible by the active involvement of the Indian people.
Cronon reveals that the New England landscape during the 1800s was significantly different from what the first Europeans described. “Those who sought to promote colonial enterprises tended to put the best possible face on everything they encountered in the new world. Selective reporting, exaggeration, and outright lies could all be useful tools in accomplishing this task.”(Cronan, 34) Their myths told them of a place abundant with food but failed to realize at first, the differences between their new environment and that of their old environment.
One of the major differences between the two, are their seasonal cycles. Establishing cycles of production turned out to be a far more difficult...