Colonial Period Literature

Topics: History

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Last updated: May 8, 2019

Colonial Period (time frame?)
1620s to 1776

Puritanism
The Puritan religious faith originated in England during the early 1600s. Puritans wished to rid the Church of England of all Catholic influence; focus from ceremony/materialism and turn to simplicity and literal reading of the Bible/G-d and religion most important–> angry at Enlightenment, outspoken concerning faith and lifestyles

John Winthrop
Wrote “City Upon a Hill”, an example of good behavior and citizen purity.

Captain John Smith
President of the Jamestown colony. Supported English colonization in the “New World”. Wrote of account with Pochahauntus saving his life.

Anne Bradstreet
“The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America”. Wrote about husband and children, role in society.

Jonathan Edwards
“Revivalist Preacher”. Wrote “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, which relays that God has given humanity a chance to rectify their sins.

Edwards says that it is the will of God that keeps wicked men from the depths of Hell. This act of restraint has given humanity a chance to mend their ways and return to Christ Helped shaped the first “great awakening”

William Bradford
Wrote “Mayflower Compact”-established government. Puritan governor.

Pilgrims
The Separatists who left England because they were being persecuted, even so far as to have some of their members charged with rebellion and high treason.

Cotton Mather
A socially and politically influential New England Puritan minister, prolific author and pamphleteer. Often remembered for his role in the Salem witch trials.

Edward Taylor
Wrote “.Huswifery” Minister; considered the finest Puritan poet

The Enlightenment
intellectual movement, marked by immense advances in science and philosophy rather than religious

Great Awakening
against Enlightenment, made Christianity personal to the individual

Samuel Sewall
The Selling of Joseph (1700) came out strongly against slavery, making him one of the earliest colonial abolitionistsin-apologized for involvement in the Salem Witch trials

William Byrd
Byrd is best known today for his lively History of the Dividing Line, a diary of a 1729 trip of some weeks and 960 kilometers into the interior to survey the line dividing the neighboring colonies of Virginia and North Carolina. The quick impressions that vast wilderness, Indians, half-savage whites, wild beasts, and every sort of difficulty made on this civilized gentleman form a uniquely American and very southern book. He ridicules the first Virginia colonists, “about a hundred men, most of them reprobates of good families,” and jokes that at Jamestown, “like true Englishmen, they built a church that cost no more than fifty pounds, and a tavern that cost five hundred.” Byrd’s writings are fine examples of the keen interest Southerners took in the material world: the land, Indians, plants, animals, and settlers.

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