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Literature of Early America. Beginnings-1750. The Native Americans. Native Americans- First to inhabit North America (at least 30 time longer than Europeans). No written history. Information from archaeologists and folklorists. Earliest settlers greeted as friends.

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the native americans
The Native Americans
  • Native Americans- First to inhabit North America (at least 30 time longer than Europeans).
  • No written history.
  • Information from archaeologists and folklorists.
  • Earliest settlers greeted as friends.
  • Introduced settlers to maize, beans, squash, etc. and taught them survival skills.
pilgrims and puritans
Pilgrims and Puritans
  • 1620- Mayflower sailed from England
  • Pilgrims- Known as Puritans (religious reformers)- Attempting to “purify” the Church of England
  • Also called Separatists
  • Established Plymouth, Massachusetts- Eventually overtaken by Massachusetts Bay Colony.
pilgrims and puritans1
Pilgrims and Puritans
  • Wanted a theocracy- A state guided completely by God.
  • Believed in predestination.
    • God has already decided who will go to Heaven and who will not.
    • They searched for signs they were chosen for Heaven.
    • Believed they only did good through hard work and discipline.
      • Referred to as “Puritan ethic”
pilgrims and puritans2
Pilgrims and Puritans
  • Rise in Protestants led to decline in Puritanism in early 1700s.
  • 1720- The Great Awakening
    • Reaction to decline.
    • Ministers such as Jonathan Edward and George Whitfield tried to revive Puritanism.
the southern planters
The Southern Planters
  • New England and southern coastal cities established.
  • Also established- Plantations in the South.
  • Plantations:
    • Large scale
    • Up to 1000 workers (most slaves)
  • 1619- First black slaves brought to Virginia.
  • Slavery existed in every colony.
  • 1750- Plantation system’s peak.
    • Most plantation owners were aristocrats.
native american tradition
Native American Tradition
  • Oral tradition:
    • The story could change with each telling.
    • No set versions of any Native American myths, songs, etc. exist.
    • Instead of famous authors, they had famous orators.
      • Logan
      • Red Jacket
  • Literature shows deep respect for nature
explorers accounts
Explorers’ Accounts
  • First Europeans to come to the Americas:
    • Vikings- Canada- around 1000 AD
  • Christopher Columbus-
    • Italian
    • Trying to reach Asia by sailing west.
    • Financial backing- Queen Isabella of Spain
    • August 1492- Set sail
    • October 12- Landed in Bahamas (thought it was Asia).
    • Wrote about it in Journal of the First Voyage to America.
  • Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca- 400-man expedition to Texas (4 survivors)
  • Garcia Lopez de Cardenas- Grand Canyon
in adams fall we sinned all
“In Adams Fall/We Sinned All”
  • Puritan writing:
    • Religious- hyms, biographies, autobiographies, theological studies
    • Purpose of all writing- Religious insight
    • Fiction, drama- Sinful
    • Did write poetry-
      • No clear form, only meant to send a spiritual message
      • Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor
in adams fall we sinned all1
“In Adams Fall/We Sinned All”
  • Valued education:
    • Harvard- 1636
    • First printing press- 1639
    • Free public schools- 1647
  • New England Primer- 1690
    • Like a textbook that combined education and religion.
  • Bay Psalm Book- One of the first books printed in the colonies (hymnal)
in adams fall we sinned all2
“In Adams Fall/We Sinned All”
  • Increase Mather- Wrote more than 130 books:
    • One of books about Salem Witch Trials (1692)
    • 20 people hanged as witches
  • Cotton Mather (Oldest son)- Wrote more than 400 books, very informative style
  • Puritan literary style: plain
    • Fancy writing is a sign of vanity.
southern writers
Southern Writers
  • John Smith- The General History of Virginia
  • 1716- First theater opened in Williamsburg, Virginia
    • Southerners did not object to drama.
the planter from westover
The Planter from Westover
  • William Byrd
    • Westover- Plantation on the James River
    • Journal- served as basis for The History of the Dividing Line
    • Published almost 100 years after his death
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