Arrival of the French


     It is October 1700’s, in The Great Water, “Plan for Detroit”, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac is addressing an unknown source giving him an account on all that he has done thus far with the establishment of Detroit. The unnamed source is his employer, Cadillac giving him a summary of his plan (to an extent) to eradicate the Native Americans that he views as weak and barbaric. Cadillac also views Native Americans as “savages”. Currently, the post had a lack of French women. He has a plan to use Native American women as pawns to rid the Native Americans while making the Native men feel less like masculine (Thick 20).

     Cadillac then “instills” into the minds and hearts of the Native American women the “law of religion”, here women were used as political pawns. His plan was to use female “savages” by letting the soldiers and Canadians  marry them because “they always prefer a Frenchman for a husband to any savage”. He would then educate the “young savages” on the French language. This would be the only way to “civilize and humanize” them. They would use the Native American women to populate the post, due to the lack of women at that time in the “new world” so to say. It would also cause the children to have mixed bloodlines and would ween out the Native American bloodlines (Thick 20).

At this point he is suggesting that Native women should be taken from their homes and married off to French men. Therefore, trying to make the Native men look weak. “When we are the neighbors of that tribe and are within easy reach of them, they will be kept in awe.” Here Cadillac is talking low about the Indians, expressing how he had more power over them and how they were naïve to think nothing more of than being savages. Cadillac states how unless the Indians want to ruin themselves irretrievably, then they would be an easy push over (Thick 21, 22).

To conclude, in this piece there are many gender norms at stake. The European gender norms were changing. For women it was taking care of the children and sewing and men working to sustain them. As the French moved across the sea, they would all be taking part in the establishment of this post. Eradicating the Native American tribes was a process that Cadillac wrote out in detail just to establish this post. His whole plan was to win over the Native American’s trust, so that in the end, he could get rid of them (DHS p.2).

Works Cited

8 thoughts on “Arrival of the French

  1. Cadillacs’ plan was quite crafty. Get the “savages” (as he refers to the Native Americans), to rely upon the white men and then ruin them. His plan did indeed call for the use of the women as pawns in more ways then one. As you pointed out, he planned to take the women away from their families and marry them off to the white men. This would emasculate the Indian men. Also, he of course felt like this was good for the women, since they would much rather be married to a Frenchman than to a savage. Plus, in Cadillacs’ way of thinking, the women get an even better deal since he is going to teach them French and change their religion. It’s amazing how much power Indian women really held since Cadillac looked down on them the way he did.

    1. This post was really informing because prior to this post i didn’t know anything about Cadillac. I took the time to do extra research on him and i found out he founded Detroit and the Vehicle “Cadillac is named after him. I find it very crazy that Cadillac would try to ruin the Native Americans lives in such a way. It seems like his motives could of been out of jealousy or something because why did he get the Women to only marry Frenchmen and not Savages. Maybe he thought they had better qualities about them but since he was in a position of power holding authority he could favor his own people. Emasculating Indian men seemed quite envious to me because i don’t see any reason you would degrade someone unless you have self conscious issues about yourself and that’s what it seemed like.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this blog. It was very informative and easy to understand. While reading the last paragraph, I couldn’t help but think about how different things have changed from then to now. Women nowadays have so much say and back then, they just were like pawns in a game to men. Cadillac was an ignorant man in the text. The book is portraying him out to be a terrible man with goals only for himself. Him thinking about ridding the Native Americans was a crazy thought. He definitely was striving for success, but only for himself. Greedy man. However, he has helped set up nowadays cities and state. At least I can appreciate that. Thank you again for this post, it filled me up with loads of knowledge. Very good summary of the pages!

  3. Hey David,

    In your post you acknowledge that Cadillac had a plan to make the men in the tribe feel inadequate and less masculine which I like that you brought up especially with the examples you gave. I didn’t think of that point of view during the reading or while I was writing my post but now going back and looking I do see how that would be going on.

    Desirae Benn

    1. Thank you! With the way it was worded in the text, I wanted to make sure to point out that Cadillac’s plan involved making Native men feel weak. His plan was to use the women like pawns to make the men feel weak and keep them wrapped around his finger. Cadillac’s plan was quit crafty and was taken back by his motivation to ruin the Native Americans. It took me numerous times to read the text and gather research to write about this subject. I am pleased to hear that my point of view helped you!

  4. Cadillac crafted his plan to destroy the Indian tribe from the inside out. He wanted to conquer them is a way that didn’t involve violence and I feel that he accomplished this goal very well. Not only did he influence the Indians with the French lifestyle but he actually made it a part of their own lifestyles. He did this by marrying off the women thus making the Indian men less desirable and the women who married the French would obviously have children with the French men thus limiting the growth of the tribe. He haltered every aspect of development for the tribe thus making them easy to conquer.

    Very well wrote!

  5. This blog made it a lot easier for me to understand the text by the way you worded it. I think that the French men were fearful of the natives so they thought this was a good plan to break them down and make them more like they are. They used women to try to “blend” them together and “weaken the blood line” this was a good plan to keep the control over them. They pushed that the French men are more powerful than the native men and that the women would much rather marry them. The French also used religion as a way to change them and make the natives more like them. I thought all of this was interesting ways to try to keep the power over the natives.

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