Analyze the cultural and economic responses of the French and Spanish to the Indians of North America before 1750.
this is an essay topic for my APUSH class, and i've considered the fur trade, and french and indian war for the french, and the black legend, cortez and his conquistadors, and father junipero-serra for the spanish, along with the anglo-spanish wars
Okay... you've gotten a lot in there, but I have a couple of points for you.
1. If you're only supposed to be going up to 1750, don't put the French and Indian War in there as it happens after 1750.
2. I'd encourage you to think about the amount of interbreeding/intermarriage that went on between the Europeans and the Native Americans. This is very much in contrast to the British colonies.
3. This goes along with the idea of the fur trade, but you might want to think systematically about the place of the Indians in the two economies -- with the French doing mostly trading with the Indians whereas the Spanish did encomiendas and such.
4. Might want to think about (I might even structure my essay around this) *why* the French and Spanish had different cultural and economic responses to the Indians. I'd be thinking about the number of people they each sent to the colonies and the overall goals of the respective colonies.
The bloodline of the native Indians, the fur trade are pointers you can use in your essay.
There is a very significant difference to the approach by the French and the Spanish who came to the Americas. Basically the French arrived in small numbers, with few settlers primarily looking for economic niches to exploit. On the other hand the Spanish had a two pronged plan: find gold and convert natives. There was an attempt at remaking the culture inherent in the "encomienda" concept but that still feature large numbers of native peoples and few settlers so in that they were similar.