Early American Writing by Giles B
Early American Writing. 1600-1800. POWER. A huge part of Colonial Lit (and the history of the U.S.) is the concept of power. Who has it? Who doesnât? Who SHOULD? Writers of the time often focused on this as well as what was important to them. 4 Questions of the Times. Who owns the land?
Mapping Region in Early American Writing is a collection of essays that study how early American writers thought about the spaces around them. The contributors reconsider the various roles regions—imagined politically, economically, racially, and figuratively—played in the formation of American communities, both real and imagined. These texts vary widely: some are canonical, others archival; some literary, others scientific; some polemical, others simply documentary. As a whole, they recreate important mental mappings and cartographies, and they reveal how diverse populations imagined themselves, their communities, and their nation as occupying the American landscape.
Early Native American writing exhibited the struggle they experienced by the authors to find their own voice within the culture of
America, but it was later in the 1960’s that their writing began to express the humiliation felt by Native American peoples over their “less
than human” treatment by the dominant society. These early writers were driven by their awareness of the power of writing as a tool in
changing attitudes, but it would be a long time before this could overcome the deep prejudices shaped during the conflicts between
Euro-Americans and Natives in the bloody Indian Wars of the 18th and 19th centuries. Early American Writing I. Historical Context BEGINNINGS TO 1800 EQ: What kinds of challenges did early Americans face? Why would writers of the time want to record these challenges?
*Manuscript letters used with permission from:
Reading early American handwriting, by Kip Sperry
Baltimore, Md. : Genealogical Pub. Co., c1998In addition to the Puritans, another type of writing that has had a wide influence on America is that of early American political writing. As the colonies began to succeed as settlements, they began to look at politics and social issues. In the hundred years before the American Revolution, political writing became a major part of American literature. III. Early American Literature How did early American writing impact the colonists? A. The Native American Experience Native Americans 1. Were culturally diverse 2. Had an oral tradition 3. Had many genres of spoken literature 4. Explored common themes, such as a reverence for nature and the worship of many gods
Early American literature does a tremendous job of revealing the exact conditions and challenges that were faced by the explorers and later by the colonists of the New World. From early shipwrecks to the later years of small colonies barely surviving through dreadful winters, the literary works of the time period focus on some very recognizable themes. The theme of any given work – being simply the unifying subject or idea – is a very important element of any piece of writing. As one reviews some of this early literature, it becomes obvious that several themes appear repeatedly, and it is these subjects that were clearly very common among people from all over the New World. While a number of themes can be found in early American literature, the only dominant and recurring themes are exploration, hardship, and religion. It is these central ideas around which all early American writing is based.