Reconstructing the Past
Unlike their massive war-bred counterparts in Europe, dragons native to the Americas have seen to their own breeding for millenia, and can weigh anywhere from two to ten tons. For comparison, the largest European dragons weigh as much as 50 tons and can carry in excess of 200 people. European dragons, however, are treated as property of the government, little better than beasts of burden. When the European conquerors arrived in North America, a few attempts were made to capture and ‘domesticate’ some of the native dragons who, for centuries had been living independent existences, subject only to their own wills and accustomed to working cooperatively with the other native peoples for mutual benefit when the opportunity presented itself. Needless to say, the Europeans did not have the numbers to subjugate such powerful beings when they had not been born and bred into slavery, and the attempts were quickly abandoned to efforts to trade with the dragons they did encounter—typically in the form of goods for services. After all, the dragons were the fastest and safest means of transportation imaginable on a vast continent covered in wilderness and unknown perils. Thus, the dragons were treated much more fairly than the native tribes, and due to their natural propensity for capitalism, many integrated into European-American society. Still others remained loyal to the other native tribes, who the invading races had much less reason to treat with respect.
By the present day, dragons may enjoy citizenship in the states just as any other races. Those who choose or are born into American society typically take up work of various forms to earn their livings. Some perform farm work, others work as couriers, and there is high demand for dragons in the transportation of goods and passengers alike. While not everyone could afford to travel by dragon, it is viewed as a perfectly safe and normal thing to do, and only feared by those who fear heights in general. Some dragons have begun to go into business for themselves or with partners, and those that do often prove quite shrewd. Despite their natural intelligence, however, dragons still have a difficult time being taken seriously in academics by European Americans.
Some dragons were persuaded to fight in the Civil War, primarily on the side of the Union, although it was decided not to try to conscript them for fear of backlash. For a variety of reasons, there were never historically as many dragons in the south as in the north, after the Europeans settled. Some said that dragons had a natural disdain for slavery, while others speculated it was because the plantation class feared them. Whatever the reason, dragons may have been a major factor in the Union’s victory, although those dragons who were wounded in war were no better off after the fact than any other veteran unless they had amassed sufficient wealth to make themselves comfortable.