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1.1: Introduction

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    19005
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    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Part One: Pre- and early COlOnial literature

    1

    1.1 Learning Outcomes

    1

    1.2 Introduction

    1

    1.2.1 Native American Accounts

    1

    1.2.2 European Exploration Accounts

    4

    1.3 Native American

    6

    1.3.1 Creation Story (Haudenosaunee (Iroquois))

    7

    1.3.2 How the World Was Made (Cherokee)

    8

    1.3.3 Talk Concerning the First Beginning (Zuni)

    10

    1.3.4 From the Winnebago Trickster Cycle

    24

    1.3.5 Origin of Disease and Medicine (Cherokee)

    25

    1.3.6 Thanksgiving Address (Haudenosaunee (Iroquois))

    27

    1.3.7 The Arrival of the Whites (Lenape (Delaware))

    27

    1.3.8 The Coming of the Whiteman Revealed: Dream of the White Robe and Floating

    Island (Micmac)

    27

    1.3.9 Reading and Review Questions

    28

    1.4 Christopher Columbus

    29

    1.4.1 Letter of Discovery 30

    1.4.2 Reading and Review Questions

    35

    1.5 Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

    36

    1.5.1 From The Relation of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

    37

    1.5.2 Reading and Review Questions

    43

    1.6 Thomas Harriot

    44

    1.6.1 From A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia

    46

    1.6.2 Reading and Review Questions

    58

    1.7 Samuel de Champlain

    59

    1.7.1 From The Voyages and Explorations of Sieur de Champlain

    59

    1.7.2 Reading and Review Questions

    75

    1.8 John Smith

    76

    1.8.1 From The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles

    77

    1.8.2 Reading and Review Questions

    85

    1.9 Adriaen van der Donck

    86

    1.9.1 From A Description of New Netherland, the Country

    86

    1.9.2 Reading and Review Questions

    94

    Page | iii

    Part twO: Seventeenth Century engliSh

    COlOnial literature

    95

    2.1 Learning Outcomes

    95

    2.2 Introduction

    95

    2.3 William Bradford

    99

    2.3.1 Of Plymouth Plantation

    101

    2.3.2 Reading and Review Questions

    135

    2.4 John Winthrop

    135

    2.4.1 A Model of Christian Charity

    136

    2.4.2 Reading and Review Questions

    146

    2.5 Roger Williams

    147

    2.5.1 Christenings Make Not Christians

    148

    2.5.2 Reading and Review Questions

    155

    2.6 Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore

    156

    2.6.1 From A Relation of the Lord Baltemore’s Plantation in Maryland 156

    2.6.2 Reading and Review Questions

    169

    2.7 Anne Bradstreet

    169

    2.7.1 “The Prologue”

    171

    2.7.2 “The Author to Her Book”

    172

    2.7.3 “To My Dear and Loving Husband”

    173

    2.7.4 “Contemplations”

    173

    2.7.5 “Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House”

    180

    2.7.6 “In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet”

    182

    2.7.7 “In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Anne Bradstreet”

    182

    2.7.8 “On My Dear Grandchild Simon Bradstreet”

    183

    2.7.9 Reading and Review Questions

    183

    2.8 Michael Wigglesworth

    184

    2.8.1 The Day of Doom

    185

    2.8.2 Reading and Review Questions

    237

    2.9 Mary Rowlandson

    237

    2.9.1 From The Captivity and Restoration of Mary Rowlandson

    238

    2.9.2 Reading and Review Questions

    264

    2.10 Edward Taylor

    265

    2.10.1 “Prologue” to Preparatory Meditations

    265

    2.10.2 “Preface” to God’s Determination 266

    2.10.3 “Meditation 8” (First Series)

    267

    2.10.4 “Medication 32” (First Series)

    268

    2.10.5 “A Fig for Thee, O Death”

    268

    Page | iv

    2.10.6 “Upon Wedlock, and Death of Children”

    268

    2.10.7 Reading and Review Questions

    270

    2.11 Samuel Sewall

    270

    2.11.1 “The Selling of Joseph: A Memorial”

    272

    2.11.2 Reading and Review Questions

    275

    2.12 Gabriel Thomas

    275

    2.12.1 From An Historical and Geographical Account of the Province and Country of

    Pensilvania; and of West-New-Jersey in America 275

    2.12.2 Reading and Review Questions

    289

    2.13 John Norris

    289

    2.13.1 From Profitable Advice for Rich and Poor

    289

    2.13.2 Reading and Review Questions

    290

    Part three: revOlutiOnary and early natiOnal

    PeriOd literature

    291

    3.1 Learning Outcomes

    291

    3.2 Introduction

    292

    3.3 Jonathan Edwards

    297

    3.3.1 “Personal Narrative”

    298

    3.3.2 Reading and Review Questions

    298

    3.4 Benjamin Franklin

    299

    3.4.1 “The Way to Wealth”

    301

    3.4.2 “An Edict by the King of Prussia”

    307

    3.4.3 “Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One”

    310

    3.4.4 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

    316

    3.4.5 Reading and Review Questions

    375

    3.5 Samson Occom

    375

    3.5.1 A Short Narrative of My Life 376

    3.5.2 Reading and Review Questions

    376

    3.6 J. Hector St. John de Crèvecœur

    377

    3.6.1 From Letters from an American Farmer 378

    3.6.2 Reading and Review Questions

    432

    3.7 John Adams and Abigail Adams

    433

    3.7.1 From Familiar Letters of John Adams and his Wife Abigail Adams,

    During the Revolution 434

    3.7.2 Reading and Review Questions

    439

    Page | v

    3.8 Thomas Paine

    440

    3.8.1 Common Sense

    441

    3.8.2 Reading and Review Questions

    479

    3.9 Thomas Jefferson

    479

    3.9.1 From Notes on the State of Virginia

    481

    3.9.2 Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson

    501

    3.9.3 Reading and Review Questions

    513

    3.10 The Federalist

    514

    3.10.1 Federalist #1 515

    3.10.2 F ederalist #10 518

    3.10.3 Reading and Review Questions

    524

    3.11 Olaudah Equiano

    524

    3.11.1 From The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano:

    Or, Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself 525

    3.11.2 Reading and Review Questions

    556

    3.12 Judith Sargent Murray

    557

    3.12.1 “On the Equality of the Sexes”

    558

    3.12.2 Reading and Review Questions

    566

    3.13 Philip Freneau

    566

    3.13.1 To Sir Toby

    568

    3.13.2 “The Indian Burying Ground”

    569

    3.13.3 “On Mr. Paine’s Rights of Man”

    571

    3.13.4 “A Political Litany”

    572

    3.13.5 Reading and Review Questions

    573

    3.14 Phillis Wheatley

    574

    3.14.1 “On Being Brought from Africa to America”

    575

    3.14.2 “To the Right Honorable William, Earl of Dartmouth”

    575

    3.14.3 “On the Death of Rev. Mr. George Whitefield. 1770”

    576

    3.14.4 “To S. M., a Young African Painter, on Seeing his Works”

    578

    3.14.5 “Letter to Rev. Samson Occom”

    579

    3.14.6 Reading and Review Questions

    579

    3.15 Royall Tyler

    580

    3.15.1 The Contrast

    580

    3.15.2 Reading and Review Questions

    645

    3.16 Hannah Webster Foster

    645

    3.16.1 From The Coquette: Or; the History of Eliza Wharton 646

    3.16.2 Reading and Review Questions

    670

    3.17 Tecumseh

    670

    3.17.1 Speech to the Osages 671

    3.17.2 Reading and Review Questions

    671

    Page | vi

    3.18 Cherokee Women

    671

    3.18.1 Cherokee Indian Women To Pres. Benjamin Franklin, September 8, 1787

    672

    3.18.2 Reading and Review Questions

    673

    3.19 Charles Brockden Brown

    673

    3.19.1 Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist

    674

    3.19.2 Reading and Review Questions

    716

    Part FOur: nineteenth Century rOmantiCiSm

    and tranSCendentaliSm

    717

    4.1 Learning Outcomes

    717

    4.2 Introduction

    718

    4.3 Washington Irving

    724

    4.3.1 From The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. 725

    4.3.2 Reading and Review Questions

    760

    4.4 James Fenimore Cooper

    761

    4.4.1 The Pioneers

    762

    4.4.2 Reading and Review Questions

    779

    4.5 Catharine Maria Sedgwick

    780

    4.5.1 From Hope Leslie 781

    4.5.2 Reading and Review Questions

    789

    4.6 Lydia Howard Huntley Sigourney

    790

    4.6.1 “To the First Slave Ship”

    791

    4.6.2 “Indian Names”

    792

    4.6.3 “Our Aborigines”

    793

    4.6.4 “Fallen Forests”

    795

    4.6.5 Reading and Review Questions

    796

    4.7 William Cullen Bryant

    797

    4.7.1 “Thanatopsis”

    798

    4.7.2 “To a Waterfowl”

    800

    4.7.3 “The Prairies”

    801

    4.7.4 Reading and Review Questions

    804

    4.8 David Walker

    805

    4.8.1 An Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World

    806

    4.8.2 Reading and Review Questions

    850

    4.9 William Apess

    850

    4.9.1 “An Indian’s Looking-Glass for the White Man”

    851

    4.9.2 Reading and Review Questions

    856

    Page | vii

    4.10 Jane Johnston Schoolcraft

    857

    4.10.1 Mishosha, or the Magician and his Daughters

    858

    4.10.2 Reading and Review Questions

    858

    4.11 Ralph Waldo Emerson

    858

    4.11.1 “The American Scholar”

    860

    4.11.2 “The Divinity School Address”

    873

    4.11.3 “Self-Reliance”

    884

    4.11.4 “Experience”

    901

    4.11.5 “Merlin”

    901

    4.11.6 “Hamatreya”

    904

    4.11.7 “Brahma”

    905

    4.11.8 Reading and Review Questions

    906

    4.12 Lydia Maria Child

    906

    4.12.1 “The Quadroons”

    907

    4.12.2 Reading and Review Questions

    915

    4.13 Nathaniel Hawthorne

    915

    4.13.1 “My Kinsman, Major Molineux”

    917

    4.13.2 “The Minister’s Black Veil”

    930

    4.13.3 “Young Goodman Brown”

    939

    4.13.4 “The Birth-Mark”

    949

    4.13.5 “Rappaccini’s Daughter”

    960

    4.13.6 Reading and Review Questions

    982

    4.14 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    982

    4.14.1 “A Psalm of Life”

    983

    4.14.2 “The Jewish Cemetery at Newport”

    985

    4.14.3 “My Lost Youth”

    986

    4.14.4 Reading and Review Questions

    989

    4.15 John Greenleaf Whittier

    989

    4.15.1 “The Hunters of Men”

    990

    4.15.2 “The Farewell”

    991

    4.15.3 Reading and Review Questions

    993

    4.16 Edgar Allan Poe

    994

    4.16.1 “Sonnet—To Science”

    995

    4.16.2 “The Raven”

    996

    4.16.3 “Annabel Lee”

    999

    4.16.4“Ligeia”

    1000

    4.16.5 “The Fall of the House of Usher”

    1011

    4.16.6 “The Tell-Tale Heart”

    1024

    4.16.7 “The Purloined Letter”

    1028

    4.16.8 “The Cask of Amontillado”

    1041

    4.16.9 Reading and Review Questions

    1046

    Page | viii

    4.17 Margaret Fuller

    1046

    4.17.1 The Great Lawsuit: Man versus Men, Woman versus Women 1048

    4.17.2 Reading and Review Questions

    1081

    4.18 Harriet Beecher Stowe

    1082

    4.18.1 Uncle Tom’s Cabin 1083

    4.18.2 Reading and Review Questions

    1145

    4.19 Fanny Fern (Sara Willis Parton)

    1145

    4.19.1 “Male Criticism on Ladies’ Books”

    1146

    4.19.2 “Hints to Young Wives”

    1147

    4.19.3 Reading and Review Questions

    1148

    4.20 Harriet Jacobs

    1149

    4.20.1 Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl 1150

    4.20.2 Reading and Review Questions

    1168

    4.21 Henry David Thoreau

    1169

    4.21.1 “Resistance to Civil Government”

    1171

    4.21.2 From Walden, or Life in the Woods 1186

    4.21.3 Reading and Review Questions

    1260

    4.22 Frederick Douglass

    1260

    4.22.1 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself 1262

    4.22.2 Reading and Review Questions

    1317

    4.23 Herman Melville

    1318

    4.23.1 “Bartleby, the Scrivener”

    1320

    4.23.2 “Benito Cereno”

    1346

    4.23.3 “The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids”

    1404

    4.23.4 “The Portent”

    1419

    4.23.5 “A Utilitarian View of the Monitor Fight”

    1420

    4.23.6 “Shiloh: A Requiem”

    1421

    4.23.7 Reading and Review Questions

    1421

    4.24 Walt Whitman

    1422

    4.24.1 “Song of Myself”

    1423

    4.24.2 “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”

    1462

    4.24.3 “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”

    1466

    4.24.4 “Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night”

    1466

    4.24.5 “The Wound-Dresser”

    1467

    4.24.6 “Reconciliation”

    1469

    4.24.7 “When Lilies Last in Dooryard Bloom’d”

    1469

    4.24.8 Reading and Review Questions

    1476

    4.25 Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

    1476

    4.25.1 “The Slave Mother”

    1477

    4.25.2 “Ethiopia”

    1479

    Page | ix

    4.25.3 “Learning to Read”

    1480

    4.25.4 Reading and Review Questions

    1481

    4.26 Emily Dickinson

    1482

    4.26.1 #122 [These are the days when Birds come back]

    1483

    4.26.2 #194 [Title divine, is mine]

    1484

    4.26.3 #207 [I taste a liquor never brewed]

    1484

    4.26.4 #225 [I’m “wife” – I’ve finished that]

    1485

    4.26.5 #236 [Some keep the Sabbath going to Church]

    1485

    4.26.6 #260 [I’m Nobody! Who are you?]

    1486

    4.26.7 #269 [Wild nights – Wild nights!]

    1486

    4.26.8 #320 [There’s a certain Slant of light]

    1486

    4.26.9 #340 [I felt a Funeral, in my Brain]

    1487

    4.26.10 #341 [‘Tis so appalling it exhilarates]

    1487

    4.26.11 #348 [I would not paint – a picture]

    1488

    4.26.12 #353 [I’m ceded – I’ve stopped being Their’s]

    1489

    4.26.13 #355 [It was not Death, for I stood up]

    1489

    4.26.14 #359 [A Bird, came down the Walk]

    1490

    4.26.15 #372 [After great pain, a formal feeling comes —]

    1491

    4.26.16 #381 [I cannot dance upon my Toes]

    1491

    4.26.17 #407 [One need not be a Chamber – to be Haunted]

    1492

    4.26.18 #409 [The Soul selects her own Society]

    1492

    4.26.19 #466 [I dwell in Possibility]

    1493

    4.26.20 #479 [Because I could not stop for Death]

    1493

    4.26.21 #519 [this is my letter to the World]

    1494

    4.26.22 #598 [The Brain – is wider than the Sky]

    1494

    4.26.23 #620 [Much Madness is divinest Sense]

    1494

    4.26.24 #656 [I started Early – Took my Dog]

    1495

    4.26.25 #675 [What soft – Cherubic Creatures]

    1495

    4.26.26 #764 [My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun —]

    1496

    4.26.27 #857 [She rose to His Requirement – dropt]

    1497

    4.26.28 #1096 [A narrow Fellow in the Grass]

    1497

    4.26.29 #1263 [Tell all the truth but tell it slant]

    1498

    4.26.30 #1773 [My life closed twice before it’s close]

    1498

    4.26.31 Reading and Review Questions

    1498

    4.27 Rebecca Harding Davis

    1499

    4.27.1 Life in the Iron Mills

    1500

    4.27.2 Reading and Review Questions

    1527

    4.28 Louisa May Alcott

    1527

    4.28.1 “My Contraband”

    1528

    4.28.2 Reading and Review Questions

    1543

    Page | x

    1Pre- and Early Colonial Literature

     

     

     

     

    1.2.1 Native American Accounts

    It is well to bear in mind that the selections here should not be understood as representative of Native American culture as a whole. There are thousands of different Native American tribes, all with distinct practices. It would not be possible in the space of a typical anthology to represent just the tribes with whom the colonists had the most contact during the early years of European settlement, or even to say with any precision exactly how many tribes the colonists did interact with since European colonists were often unable to distinguish among different tribes. Additionally, we must realize that these works come to us with Page | 1

    omissions and mediations. Many Native American tales are performative as well as oral—the meanings of the words supplemented by expressions, movements, and shared cultural assumptions—and so the words alone do not represent their full significance. That being said, the examples of Native American accounts that follow give us some starting points to consider the different ways in which cultures explain themselves to themselves.

    First among a culture’s stories are the tales of how the earth was created and how its geographical features and peoples came to be. The Native American creation stories collected here demonstrate two significant tropes within Native American creation stories: the Earth Diver story and the Emergence story. Earth Diver stories often begin with a pregnant female falling from a sky world into a watery world, such as the ones here from the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people of the eastern United States and from the Cherokee people from the southern United States.

    Various animals then work together to create dry land so that the woman may give birth there, starting the process of creating the familiar world and its population.

    With Emergence stories, here represented by the Zuni creation story, animals and people emerge from within the earth, a distinction from the Earth Diver story that is likely connected to the topography familiar to this tribe from the southwestern United States. Creation stories feature a “culture hero,” an extraordinary being who is instrumental in shaping the world in its current form. Other examples in addition to the works here are the Wampanoag culture hero Moshup or Maushop, a giant who shared his meals of whale with the tribe and created the island of Nantucket out of tobacco ash, and Masaw, the Hopi skeleton man and Lord of the Dead who helped the tribe by teaching them agriculture in life and caring for them in death. Some creation tales show similarities to Judeo-Christian theology and suggest parallel development or European influence, quite possible since many of these stories were not put into writing until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

    Some Native American creation tales show motifs of movement from chaos to duality to order and beings of creation and destruction paired together, themes also found in European accounts of creation. However, these tales feature significant differences to the European way of understanding the world. These tales often show the birth of the land and of the people as either contemporaneous events, as with the Earth Diver stories, or as the former figuratively birthing the latter, as with the Emergence stories. This suggests the context for some tribes’ beliefs in the essentialness of land to tribal and personal identity. As Paula Gunn Allen (Laguna Pueblo) asserts in The Sacred Hoop (1986), “The land is not really the place (separate from ourselves) where we act out the drama of our isolate destinies . . . It is rather a part of our being, dynamic, significant, real.” In addition, Native American creation tales often depict the relationship between man and animals in ways sharply different from European assumptions. In the Haudenosaunee tale and many other Earth Diver tales like it, animals and cultural heroes create the earth and its distinctive features collaboratively.

    Like creation stories, Native American trickster stories fulfill an explanatory function about the world; they also explain why social codes exist and why they are needed. The trickster character—often represented as an animal such as a coyote, a raven, or a hare—is a figure of scatological humor, frequently focused on fulfilling and over-fulfilling physical needs to the detriment of those around him. However, above all things the trickster represents fluid boundaries. The trickster can shift between sexes, interacts with both humans and animals, rarely settles down for any period of time, and is crafty and foolish at the same time. Furthermore, the Trickster transgresses what is socially acceptable and often what is physically possible. In one of the best known trickster cycle, that of the Winnebago tribe originating in the Wisconsin region, the trickster Wakdjunkaga has a detachable penis that can act autonomously and sometimes resides in a box. These tales entertain but also function as guides to acceptable social behavior. Through the mishaps the trickster causes and the mishaps s/he suffers, the trickster tends to reinforce social boundaries as much as s/he challenges them and also can function as a culture hero. Much like the culture heroes described previously, the Winnebago trickster Wakdjunkaga also benefits the tribe. In the last tale of the cycle, s/he makes the Mississippi River Valley safe for occupation by killing malevolent spirits and moving a waterfall.

    As is apparent in both the creation stories and the Trickster stories, Native American cultures did not differentiate between animal behavior and human behavior to the extent that Europeans did. While the European concept of the Great Chain of Being established animals as inferior to humans and the Bible was understood to grant man dominion over the animals, the Native American stories to follow suggest a sense of equality with the animals and the rest of nature.

    Animals contributed to the creation of the world upon which humans live, were able to communicate with humans until they chose not to, and followed (or refused to follow) the same social codes as humans, such as meeting in councils to discuss problems as a group and agreeing together on a course of action. Nonetheless, like with the laxative bulb story, there is tension between the helpful and harmful aspects of nature, and these works teach the lesson that nature must be given due respect lest one lose its benefits and suffer its anger.

    “In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue”: the European perspective on the first contact between Native peoples and European explorers has been taught to Americans from pre-school onward, but the Native American perspective on these events is less familiar. Just like their counterparts, Native American depictions of first contact with European explorers situated them within their accustomed natural, spiritual, and social contexts. The explorers’ large ships were interpreted as whales, houses, or islands; their paler complexions were a sign of illness or divinity. The gifts or drinks offered by the strangers are accepted out of politeness and social custom, not naiveté or superstition. As these tales were recorded with hindsight, they often ruefully trace how these explorers and colonists disingenuously relied on the natives’ help while appropriating more and more land to themselves and their introduction of alcohol and European commodities into native culture.

    1.2.2 European Exploration Accounts

    Spain, the first European country to establish a significant foothold in the Americas in the fifteenth century, was not looking for previously unknown lands at all. It was looking for a westward passage to Asia. Earlier in the century, the Ottoman Empire had captured Constantinople and after that point, controlled the territory through which the traditional land-based trade routes to China and India ran, effectively giving the Ottoman Empire a monopoly on trade between Europe and Asia. Spain, like other European nations, looked for a solution by seeking a westward route. Spain at that time did not exist as a unified nation but rather was a collection of kingdoms, sometimes collaborating but more often competing with each other. The move toward nationhood began when King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile married in 1469 and unified two of the more powerful Iberian kingdoms. To consolidate their economic and regional power, these monarchs were very interested in securing trade routes for the very lucrative commodities coming from the east. Additional motivation came from a powerful rival within the same peninsula. Portugal had already circumnavigated Africa and looked poised to discover that westward passage. Those influences encouraged King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to support Christopher Columbus’ proposal of finding a western route. Unaware that a landmass intervened between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and miscalculating the distance between western Europe and eastern Asia, Columbus thought he had succeeded in his quest when he landed on islands in the Caribbean. He hadn’t, but Spain discovered that the New World had desirable commodities too, namely gold and silver mines that funded Spain’s empire-building aspirations.

    Just as the powerful European nations fought for supremacy within the confines of the European continent, they also grappled over territory in the Americas. Like Spain, other European countries sought new trade routes and, failing that, coveted the new land as a source of commodities such as precious metals, fur, timber, and agricultural products and as an extension of their empires.

    Spain primarily explored and appropriated areas in South and Central America and in the southeastern and southwestern parts of North America. Holland has the smallest territory for the briefest amount of time in the Americas, controlling the Hudson River Valley from New York City to Albany as well as the western tip of Long Island for little more than fifty years before losing it to the English in 1664

    as part of the settlement of the Second Anglo-Dutch War. The French territories concentrated primarily in the Canadian areas of Newfoundland to Quebec as well as around the Great Lakes and a large swath of land in the midsection of the country from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River delta. England, one of the last major European powers to create settlements in North America, ultimately ended up having the largest and most lasting colonial reach, starting with their first permanent settlement in Jamestown in 1608, and expanding along the eastern seaboard where they frequently clashed with Spanish territories to the south and Dutch and French territories to the north and west. A small and densely populated island with a system of primogeniture which increasingly invested land in fewer and fewer hands, England was the European country most in need of agricultural settlements in North America. In addition to supplying food and goods to a mother country, it provided land for younger sons and those without prospects at home as well as a convenient place to send unruly groups within the population.

    The relationship between imperialism and the spread of religion in the new world was first cemented during Spanish exploration. In a 1493 papal bull, Pope Alexander VI granted Ferdinand and Isabella and their heirs the right to any lands they “discovered towards the west and south” of a demarcation line that was not already in the possession of a Christian monarch so that “the Catholic faith and the Christian religion [would] be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread.”

    Like the Spanish, French explorers were also accompanied by missionaries to convert North American natives to Catholicism, though they did so with less fervor and less coercion than their co-religionists from Spain. Dutch explorers showed little interest in converting the natives, as Holland had a policy of religious toleration during the time in which it colonized North America. The Church of England had already seceded from the authority of the Catholic Church by the time Jamestown was established, and though the charter from King James emphasized the motive of spreading the Christian faith and church attendance was mandatory in Jamestown’s early years, more energy was put into survival and trade than into proselytizing the natives. It was the later colonies founded by Separatists and Puritans that came to the new world with the primary intention of spreading the beliefs of their denominations.

    The initial function of the exploration accounts to follow in this section was to report back to the governments and organizations that funded the expeditions.

    However, the invention of the Gutenberg press with its movable type and increased productivity meant that these accounts could be more easily printed and more widely disseminated. Speaking to a wider audience, these accounts fulfilled other purposes as well. They served as written records of a nation’s claim to a territory, as tales of exotic lands and thrilling adventure, and as testimonials to lure more people into investing in and emigrating to these fledgling colonies.


    1.1: Introduction is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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