A STUDY ON SOCIAL ALLIANCES IN THE PAST
SOCIAL ALLIANCES: ITS FORMATIONS, MOTIVATIONS AND PURPOSES
Looking at the structure of nations, culture, and communities today, it suggests that at some point of history, people who are identified with various peculiarities joined one another. Today, there are particular countries wherein different people speak the same language; clans that consist of different people of different races; and places where people of various races and ethnicity live together. And these things happen only because of social alliances, which were formed in the past. However, these social alliances are distinctive according to when, why, and how they are formed. The formation of social bonds between people and other societies mostly depend on the purpose of that bond or what motivated it to take place.
In an overview, these alliances are mostly formed either through peaceful or forceful ways. For instance, social alliances can be formed during wars or military conquests. Throughout the history, in every war, whoever loses in battle will be subject to the other one. And during this subjection, the conquering nation makes diplomacy with the subject people for an alliance. This is one of what French rulers did to maintain their alliance with the native Indians1. Such form of alliances – which is through colonialism or subjection – is often made for some purposes. One is for further expansion of the colony or empire. When one society becomes subject to another, it becomes part of military conquests as well. This can also be known as strategic alliances, wherein the joint societies make efforts for the same pursuit. Another purpose of such alliance is for trade purposes. Colonized nations often act as networks for the nation in power. In fact, these subject people are sometimes the means of providing resources for the conquering nation. Alliance formed through colonialism can also be rooted from the purpose of making use of the resources available in a particular country. Moreover, such formation of alliance can take place with religious intents. For the case of Spanish colonists, for example, they also used their power in sharing their faith to the Indians and to other people they have encountered. Nevertheless, this intention also shows that the absolute objective of the colonists was to keep their relationship with the Indians – which they also used for economic motives. They offered their faith and goods to Indians hoping that they will eventually become converts, customers, and allies2.
However, this form of alliance can be inconvenient in some case. For instance, despite formal diplomacy, the subject country could rebel or betray the nation in power over it. In 1835, for instance, the alliance of Mexican liberals and American settlers was broken through rebellion towards independence3. In many form of partnerships, this condition often takes place.
Another, social alliances can be formed through family relationships. Champlain4, for example, made alliances with Algonquins, Montagnais, and Hurons to reach out for the areas rich in fur in the western part of America5. And this He accomplished through sending traders to Indian villages in order to learn their language and lifestyles, and eventually have marriage with Indian women. Wider network of interfamily alliances can lead to cooperation, social cohesion, and survival6. Having marriage with persons of another family or society makes a peaceful society with increased alliance and heightened chance of survival. In fact, this pattern is an important factor incorporated in the Indian society7.
Such formation of alliance can also be for the purpose of goods and other resources. As with the case of Champlain, it is clear that the intention of such partnership is for the establishment of the French empire in the fur trade. Somewhat similar to alliances formed through power and wars, this alliance can be formed for economic intentions as well.
Furthermore, formation of social alliances between countries also takes place through trades. Goods reflect trade relations, which in turn, signify social alliances8. Since societies can see that they cannot be self-sufficient (that is because no country can possess all kinds of needs and wants of everyone), the need for trade eventually came up. Like the other formation of alliances, such as through marriage and wars, this alliance can also be for the purpose of survival and for increase of wealth. Moreover, in trading, people mostly hold feasts especially when resources became scarce and the traded goods are the ones that helped them. Here, when feasts are held together, social alliances are formed9.
As far as motives and purposes are concerned, these formations have specific similarities and differences. Alliance through wars can be for the purpose of greater wealth, power, glory, trade networks, and land. Alliance through marriages can be for survival, love, wealth, trade networks, and status. Alliance through trades can be for survival, wealth, and trade networks. Nevertheless, the necessary thing about alliances is the partnership or bond – which helps the parties involved in the alliance to grow and develop.
Calloway, Colin G. First Peoples: A Documentary Survey of American Indian History. Boston:
Kelly, Robert L. and David Thomas. Archaeology. Belmont, CA: Cengage, 2009.
Bulliet, Richard, Pamela Crossley, and Daniel Headrick, eds. The Earth and Its Peoples: A
Global History. Belmont, CA: Cengage, 2010.
Ferraro, Gary P. and Susan Andreatta, Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective. Belmont,
CA: Cengage, 2009.