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Lecture 1

English 2308E Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Puritans, Making Money, America One


Department
English
Course Code
English 2308E
Professor
John Kelly
Lecture
1

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September 16, 2015
American Lit: Lecture 1
From Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume A: John Smith’s “A
Description of New England,” John Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian
Charity,” Roger Williams’ “The Bloody Tenet of Persecution” and William
Bradford’s
Of Plymouth Plantation
Puritans: idea that they all wore black, not necessarily true – wore colour if they
were wealthier
John Locke
- Locke – second treatise on government “in the beginning all the world was
America”
oEchoes the bible in a sense
- America as a natural place – represented a state of nature at the time
- State of nature for Locke = meant that all men are free and equal, no men
who are naturally subordinate or superior
- Thus he thought America was a type of paradise (garden of Eden) – somehow
things became corrupted, America represented the ideal that was before
- Lots of opportunities in America – utopian place to pursue dreams and desires
- Locke had never set eyes on America, didn’t even know the people in
America – but he had an idea of what America represented
- Willing to incorporate idea of America into his philosophy and ideals
- Clean slate – beginning of the American dream – idea that you can go to
America and start your life anew
John Smith - “A Description of New England”
- Rebirth/recreate
oSuggests you can start anew
- Creates own myths about self and America
- What he’s writing here is an immigration tract – something published to try
and attract people to America in order to start a colony – tract promise
people they can remake themselves in America
- Vision attached to franklin’s vision – franklin modernized the vision
- Cynical statement – trying to encourage people to come live in his colony –
tough to encourage people to come to land they didn’t know about at this
time
- Appels to people on terms of materialism (come make money) – also wants to
appeal to puritans
- Smith is an entrepreneur not a puritan
- This tract is a hard sell to encourage people to come to America and he had
competition – other colonies developing at this time
- Place where you can become rich; set a life for yourself; don’t have to work
as hard as in the old world; can escape class, social structures, religious
persecution
- Locke projecting aspirations on what seems to be an empty continent
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