History 41: The American Colonies

Swarthmore College, Spring 1999
Professor Bruce Dorsey

MWF 9:30-10:20 Trotter 215
Office Hours: M. 1-3pm; W. 3:30-5pm Trotter 219

This course explores the history of the social, cultural, and political developments in the British North American colonies from the first contact between indigenous and colonizing cultures to the eve of the American Revolution. Since the colonial era of American history covers more than 250 years of historical developments, this course cannot cover every topic or colony. Rather, it will be a thematic exploration into some of the important historical problems during this era. Many of those problems remain central to the history of American life and culture -- the origins of slavery; the origins of capitalism, consumerism, and religious revivalism; as well as the future of indigenous peoples amid a migrating and colonizing people of European ancestry.


REQUIRED READINGS:

The following books are required readings and are available at the College Bookstore:

Additional optional books have been made available at the bookstore for paper assignments. Reserve readings are available at McCabe Library under the title of the book or journal, and in the reserve binder.


COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

Reading and class participation
Students are expected to attend all class meetings, complete the readings, and be prepared for discussion of the assigned reading each week. Classroom discussions are an integral part of the course, and all students are expected to participate. The following is the History Department policy on attendance: "Students are required to attend all classes for the successful completion of the course. Unexcused absences will result in a lower grade."

Written Assignments
The written assignments for this course are designed to provide students with a diversity of projects as well as expose them to the essential kinds of writing done by historians. Although there will not be a research project, students will work on discovering and analyzing primary source documents from the colonial past, summarizing and evaluating historians' debates, and reviewing the written arguments of other historians. Handouts will be distributed to provide greater detail on the expectations and requirements for each assignment. All assignments are due as stated in the syllabus. No extensions will be granted. Late papers will receive grade reductions.

Book Review
Each student will write one scholarly review of a recent book in colonial American history. Book reviews will be approximately 1,000 words. Book reviews will be spaced out throughout the semester, and students will sign up for a book that interests them. The writer of the book review during a given week will be responsible for making a brief oral presentation to the class on the thesis, methods, and sources, as well as his or her own evaluation of the book.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ASSIGNMENT

Historiographical Debate
One paper (4-6 pages / 1,200-2,000 words) will be written on an on-going point of controversy and debate among historians of the American colonies. Students will be given a list of readings on that topic, and then asked to summarize the debate while developing their own positions on the controversy. Students will likely be asked to contribute their opinions on this controversy during class discussions.

Document Analysis
Three
papers will be written based on the discovery and/or analysis of primary source documents. The first paper (2-3 pages / 600 words) will be an analysis of a short document in the context of the assigned readings or other secondary source background. The second paper (3-4 pages / 1,000 words) will be based upon a primary source document that the student discovered by perusing document collections or the special collection library (Friends Historical Library). The third document analysis paper (6-8 pages / 1,800-2,500 words) will involve an extended analysis of a book-length primary source. Several of these works (which include historians' introductions and additional sources) are available as optional books at the bookstore, and others are on reserve at McCabe Library.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ASSIGNMENT

Examinations
An in-class essay will be given for a midterm examination, and a comprehensive final examination will be given on the date and time determined by the College Registrar.

 
CLASS SCHEDULE:

(WEEK 1)

Jan. 18 PICK UP SYLLABUS -- NO CLASS: MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY

Jan. 20 INTRODUCTION & RETHINKING THE MEANING OF COLONIAL HISTORY

Jan. 22 THE ATLANTIC WORLD BEFORE COLONIZATION

Readings:
Colin Calloway, The World Turned Upside Down, v-vii, 1-61.
James Merrell, "The Indian's New World: The Catawba Experience,"
William and Mary Quarterly 41 (1984), 537-65.

Documents:
Christopher Columbus, Journal.
Bartoleme de Las Casas, Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies. (1542)

(WEEK 2)

Jan. 25 THE ORIGINS OF ENGLISH COLONIZATION

Reading:
Nicholas P. Canny, "The Ideology of English Colonization: From Ireland to America,"
William and Mary Quarterly 30 (1973), 575-98.
William Cronon, Changes in the Land, vii-ix, 3-81

Documents:
Richard Hakluyt, "Discourse on Western Planting," (1584)
Arthur Barlowe, First Voyage to Virginia (1584)

Jan. 27 CONTACT & CONFLICT BETWEEN EUROPEAN AND AMERICAN INDIAN CULTURES

Reading:
William Cronon, Changes in the Land, 82-170.
Colin Calloway, The World Turned Upside Down, 78-114.

Documents:
Thomas Hariot, A Report of the New Found Land in Virginia (1588)
Father Andrew White's First Impressions of Maryland & Native Inhabitants (1634)
Dutch Minister Describes the Iroquois (1644)
Thomas Morton, Description of Indians in New England (1637)

Bk. Review: Ramon Gutierrez, When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away.
Matthew Dennis, Cultivating a Landscape of Peace: Iroquois-European Encounters in 17th-Century America.

Jan. 29 DISCUSSION

Film: Black Robe ________________________________

(WEEK 3)

Feb. 1 ENGLISH SOCIETY DURING THE AGE OF COLONIZATION

Reading:
Kathleen Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs, 1-41.
Edmund S. Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom, 44-70.

Documents:
Chart of Rank and Status, 17th-Century England

Feb. 4 JAMESTOWN & THE EARLY CHESAPEAKE

Reading:
K. Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs, 42-104.
E. Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom, 71-130.

Documents:
Captain John Smith, General Historie of Virginia (1624)
Laws Divine, Moral, and Martial (1611)
Letter from John Pory, Secretary of Virginia (1619)
Richard Frethorne, Letter to Mother and Father (1623)

Feb. 6 DISCUSSION

(WEEK 4)

Feb. 8 PURITANISM AND THE "GREAT MIGRATION" TO NEW ENGLAND

Reading:
Edmund Morgan, The Puritan Dilemma, ix-xii, 3-68.

Documents:
William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation. (1620-47)
John Winthrop's Reasons for Emigrating (1629)
John Winthrop, Modell of Christian Charity (1630)
William Pond, Letter to Mother and Father (1631)
Conversion Narratives from Thomas Shepard's Confessions.

Bk. Review: Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Providence Island, 1630-1641: The Other Puritan Colony.

Feb. 10 CHURCHES, STATE & SOCIETY IN NEW ENGLAND

Reading:
E. Morgan, The Puritan Dilemma, 69-184.

Documents:
Thomas Morton, Revels in New Canaan (1637)
John Cotton on the Just Price (1639)
John Cotton, Letter to Lord Say and Seal (1636)
Samuel Willard, The Character of a Good Ruler (1694)

Bk. Review: Daniel Vickers, Farmers and Fishermen: Two Centuries of Work in Essex County, Massachusetts, 1650-1850.
Stephen Innes, Creating the Commonwealth: The Economic Culture of Puritan New England.

Feb. 12 DISCUSSION

First Document Analysis Paper Due

(WEEK 5)

Feb. 15 WHITE SERVITUDE IN COLONIAL CHESAPEAKE

Reading:
Russell Menard, "From Servant to Freeholder: Status Mobility and Property Accumulation in Seventeenth-Century Maryland,"
William and Mary Quarterly 30 (1973), 37-64.
Lois G. Carr and Lorena Walsh, "The Planter's Wife: The Experience of White Women in Seventeenth-Century Maryland,"
William and Mary Quarterly 34 (1977), 542-71.

Documents:
Blank Servant Indenture Form (1635)

Feb. 17 ORIGINS OF SLAVERY

Reading:
Betty Wood, The Origins of American Slavery, 5-93.
K. Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs, 107-38.

Documents:
Virginia Slave Laws, 1660s.

Feb. 20 DISCUSSION

Debate: The Origins of Slavery


(WEEK 6)

Feb. 22 SLAVERY AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF RACE IN AMERICA

Reading:
K. Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs, 137-244.

Feb. 24 AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE 17th CENTURY

Reading:
T.H. Breen and Stephen Innes, Myne Owne Ground.
Betty Wood, The Origins of American Slavery, 94-117.

Documents:
Accounts of the Middle Passage.
Venture Smith, Narrative of a Slave's Capture (1798)

Feb. 26 DISCUSSION

Debate: The Construction of Race

(WEEK 7)

Mar. 1 THE WEST INDIES AND THE LOWER SOUTH

Reading:
David Barry Gaspar, "From 'the Sense of Their Slavery': Slave Women and Resistance in Antigua, 1632-1763," in Gaspar and Hine, eds., More than Chattel, 218-38.

Documents:
Robert Horne, A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina (1666)
Letters of Thomas Newe to His Father, from South Carolina (1682)
James Oglethorpe, Founding Vision for Georgia (1733)

Mar. 4 MID-TERM EXAMINATION

Mar. 6 DOCUMENT ANALYSIS -- Individual Meetings with the Professor

SPRING VACATION -- No classes, March 8-12

(WEEK 8)

Mar. 15 SOCIAL STRESSES IN 17th-CENTURY NEW ENGLAND

Reading:
Carol F. Karlson, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman, xi-xv, 1-116.

Documents:
Trial and Interrogation of Anne Hutchinson (1637)
Roger Williams, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution (1644)
Apologia of Robert Keayne (1653) -- Just skim this article for statements from Keayne's Will.
Michael Wigglesworth, God's Controversy with New England (1662)
A "Jeremiad" - Results of the General Court Synod (1679)

Mar. 17 WITCHCRAFT

Reading:
Carol F. Karlson, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman, 117-265.

Documents:
Witchcraft Trial Documents

Bk. Review: Elizabeth Reis, Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England.

Mar. 20 DISCUSSION

Debate: Anne Hutchinson & Antinomian Controversy

Debate: Explaining Witchcraft


(WEEK 9)

Mar. 22 DIVERSITY IN THE MID-ATLANTIC: COLONIAL HISTORY WITHOUT PURITANS OR PLANTATIONS

Reading:
A.G. Roeber, "'The Origin of Whatever is Not English among Us': The Dutch-speaking and the German Speaking Peoples of Colonial British America," in Bernard Bailyn and Philip D. Morgan, eds., Strangers within the Realm, 220-83.

Bk. Review: Sally Schwartz, "A Mixed Multitude": The Struggle for Toleration in Colonial Pennsylvania.

Mar. 24 MIDDLE COLONIES

Reading:
Gary Nash, "The Early Merchants of Philadelphia . . ." in The World of William Penn, 337-51.
Barry Levy, "The Birth of the Modern Family in Early America: Quaker and Anglican Families . . .," in M. Zuckerman, ed., Friends and Neighbors, 26-56.

Documents:
Gabriel Thomas, An Account of West Jersey and Pennsylvania (1698)
George Fox, Journal (while in the middle colonies, 1672)
William Penn, Some Account of Pennsylvania (1681)
William Penn, Preface to First Frame of Government.(1682)
Gottlieb Mittelberger, Journey to Pennsylvania (1750)

Bk. Review: James Merrell, Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier.

Debate: Regional Focus of Colonial Historians - Which Region is Most American?

Mar. 26 FILM: TO BE ANNOUNCED

(WEEK 10)

Mar. 29 NO-CLASS

Mar. 31 REBELLIONS & THE GLORIOUS REVOLUTION

Reading:
K. Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs, 137-86 (Reread)
Richard S. Dunn, Puritans and Yankees, 229-57.

Documents:
Nathaniel Bacon's Manifesto (1676)
Samuel Prince's Letter Describing the Boston Uprising (1689)
A Letter from a Gentleman of the City of New York (1698)
Loyalty Vindicated, New York (1698)

Bk. Review: Jill Lepore, The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of AmericanIdentity.

Apr. 2 BRITISH EMPIRE & COLONIAL WARS

Reading:
Gary B. Nash, The Urban Crucible, ch. 3.
Stephen S. Webb, "Army and Empire: English Garrison Government in Britain and America,"
William and Marty Quarterly 34 (1977), 1-31.

Documents:
Edward Randolph's Description of King Philip's War (1675)
Thomas Oliver to Queen Anne, Complaining of Colonial Wars (1708)
Mary Jemison, Captivity Narrative (1750s) (1824)

Bk. Review: John Demos, The Unredeemed Captive.

Second Document Analysis Paper Due

(WEEK 11)

Apr. 5 GENDER AND FAMILY

Reading:
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Good Wives, ch. 2.
Carr and Walsh, "The Planter's Wife," [Re-read your notes.]
Cornelia Dayton, "Taking the Trade: Abortion and Gender Relations in an 18th-Century New England Village"
William and Mary Quarterly 48 (1991), 19-49.

Documents:
William Penn to Wife and Children (on Family), (1682)
Benjamin Wadsworth, A Well-Ordered Family (1719)
Divorce Petitions. (Not available at this time)

Bk. Review: Cornelia Hughes Dayton, Women Before the Bar.
Mary Beth Norton, Founding Mothers and Fathers.

Apr. 7 SEX & SEXUALITY

Reading:
Richard Godbeer, "'The Cry of Sodom': Discourse, Intercourse, and Desire in Colonial New England," William and Mary Quarterly 52 (1995), 259-86.

Documents:
William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation. (1620-47)
Miscellaneous Court Records and Laws.
Benjamin Franklin, Advice to a Young Man on the Choice of a Mistress (1745).

Apr. 9 DISCUSSION

Debate: A Golden Age for Women?


(WEEK 12)

Apr. 12 18th-CENTURY SOCIETY

Reading:
K. Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs, 247-373.
T. H. Breen, "An Empire of Goods: The Anglicization of Colonial America," Journal of British Studies 25 (1986), 467-99.

Documents:
Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth (1758).
George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour.

Bk. Review: Marcus Rediker, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

Apr. 14 18th-CENTURY POLITICS

Reading:
Gary B. Nash, "The Transformation of Urban Politics, 1700-1764,"
Journal of American History 60 (1973), 605-32.

Documents:
William Livingston, "Of Party Divisions," The Independent Reflector (1753)

Bk. Review: Patricia Bonomi, The Lord Cornbury Scandal.

Apr. 16 DISCUSSION

Debate: Consumer Revolution -- Was there a Revolution?

Debate: Iroquois Influence Thesis


(WEEK 13)

Apr. 19 RELIGION, POPULAR CULTURE, & TOLERATION

Reading:
Patricia Bonomi, Under the Cope of Heaven, vii-viii, 3-127.

Documents:
Rev. Nathaniel Ward Against Toleration (1647)
Maryland Act of Religion (1649)
Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges (1701)

Apr. 21 THE GREAT AWAKENING

Reading:
Patricia Bonomi, Under the Cope of Heaven, 131-222.

Documents:
"Spiritual Travels of Nathan Cole,"
William and Mary Quarterly 33 (1976), 89-126.

Bk. Review: Frank Lambert, "Pedlar in Divinity": George Whitefield and the Transatlantic Revivals, 1734-1770.

Apr. 23 DISCUSSION

Debate: Was There Really a Great Awakening?

(WEEK 14)

Apr. 26 CONSTRUCTING A SLAVE SOCIETY

Reading:
Mechal Sobel, The World They Made Together, 3-99.

Documents:
Laws on Slaves & Religion in Southern Colonies
Morgan Godwyn, Proposals for the Carrying on the Negro's Christianity," (1681)
Robert Beverley, The History and Present State of Virginia (1705)
Devereaux Jarratt, The Life of Devereaux Jarratt. (1806).

Apr. 28 FORGING AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN CULTURE

Reading:
Mechal Sobel, The World They Made Together, 100-242.
Ira, Berlin, "From Creole to African: Atlantic Creoles and the Origins of African-American Society in Mainland North America," William and Mary Quarterly 53 (1996), 251-88.

Apr. 30 DISCUSSION

Third Document Analysis Paper Due

 

Final Examination: Date & Time: Sat. May 8th - 2:00pm-5:00pm. Trotter 215.