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Historical Background

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Presentation on theme: "Historical Background"— Presentation transcript:

1 Historical Background
A Gathering of Voices: The Literature of Early America (Beginnings to 1750) Historical Background

2 Native Americans Widely dispersed tribes
Differed greatly in government, social organization, language, customs, housing, etc. Oral language only History studied through artifacts and songs, myths, legends

3 Native Americans Usually greeted early European settlers as friends
Instructed new settlers on North American agriculture and woodcraft Introduced corn, beans, squash, maple sugar, snowshoes, toboggans, canoes Many more settlers would have perished without the aid of Native Americans

4 Pilgrims Mayflower sailed from England in 1620
Critical of Church of England Separatists also known as Pilgrims Settled in Plymouth, MA Small colony later engulfed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony

5 Puritans Founders of Massachusetts Bay Colony
Wanted to reform the Church of England from within Goal=to establish a “city upon a hill”—a model community guided by the Bible

6 Puritan Beliefs Humans exist for the glory of God.
Bible--the sole expression of God’s will. Predestination—God has already decided who will achieve salvation BUT salvation cannot be taken for granted Good can be accomplished only through hard work & self-discipline (the Puritan ethic)

7 Puritan Ideals Hard work Frugality Self-improvement Self-reliance

8 The Rise of the Protestant Movement
Puritanism declined in early 1700’s More liberal Protestant churches gained a following Around 1720—Great Awakening—religious revival—converted many to Protestant denominations but did not revive Puritanism

9 The Southern Region Differed from New England in climate, crops, social organization, & religion Coastal cities and large plantations (not small farms)

10 Plantation Life Large scale agricultural enterprise Center of commerce
Up to 1000 people might live/work on a single plantation First black slaves=1619 in Virginia (before the Mayflower landed) Plantation owners—members of Church of England

11 Plantation Life Plantation owners saw themselves as aristocrats
Shared work ethic and ideals of Puritans in many ways Life was more social and elegant, however. 1750—Puritanism declining, plantation system peaking

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