Meanings[ edit ] Predicates formed using a copula may express identity: I want only to be myself.
Colonial literature[ edit ] Because of the large immigration to Boston in the s, the articulation of Puritan ideals, and the early establishment of a college and a printing press in Cambridgethe New England colonies have often been regarded as the center of early American literature.
However, the first European settlements in North America had been founded elsewhere many years earlier. During the colonial period, the printing press was active in many areas, from Cambridge and Boston to New YorkPhiladelphiaand Annapolis.
The dominance of the English language was not inevitable. Moreover, we are now aware of the wealth of oral literary traditions already existing on the continent among the numerous different Native American groups.
Political events, however, would eventually make English the lingua franca for the colonies at large as well as the literary language of choice. For instance, when the English conquered New Amsterdam inthey renamed it New York and changed the administrative language from Dutch to English.
From toonly about separate items were issued from the major printing presses in the American colonies.
This is a small number compared to the output of the printers in London at the time. London printers published materials written by New England authors, so the body of American literature was larger than what was published in North America.
However, printing was established in the American colonies before it was allowed in most of England.
In England, restrictive laws had long confined printing to four locations, where the government could monitor what was published: London, York, Oxford, and Cambridge.
Because of this, the colonies ventured into the modern world earlier than their provincial English counterparts. Captain John Smith could be considered the first American author with his works: Topics of early writing[ edit ] The religious disputes that prompted settlement in America were important topics of early American literature.
Edward Winslow also recorded a diary of the first years after the Mayflower 's arrival. This work outlined the ideal society that he and the other Separatists would build in an attempt to realize a "Puritan utopia". Other religious writers included Increase Mather and William Bradfordauthor of the journal published as a History of Plymouth Plantation, — Others like Roger Williams and Nathaniel Ward more fiercely argued state and church separation.
And still others, like Thomas Mortoncared little for the church; Morton's The New English Canaan mocked the religious settlers and declared that the Native Americans were actually better people than the British.
Nicholas Noyes was also known for his doggerel verse.
John Eliot translated the Bible into the Algonquin language. Of the second generation of New England settlers, Cotton Mather stands out as a theologian and historian, who wrote the history of the colonies with a view to God's activity in their midst and to connecting the Puritan leaders with the great heroes of the Christian faith.
Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield represented the Great Awakeninga religious revival in the early 18th century that emphasized Calvinism. Less strict and serious writers included Samuel Sewall who wrote a diary revealing the daily life of the late 17th century and Sarah Kemble Knight.
New England was not the only area in the colonies with a literature: The diary of William Byrd and The History of the Dividing Line described the expedition to survey the swamp between Virginia and North Carolina but also comments on the differences between American Indians and the white settlers in the area.
At this time American Indian literature also began to flourish. Two key figures were Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine.
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Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin are esteemed works with their wit and influence toward the formation of a budding American identity. Paine's pamphlet Common Sense and The American Crisis writings are seen as playing a key role in influencing the political tone of the time.
Major satirists included John Trumbull and Francis Hopkinson. Philip Morin Freneau also wrote poems about the War. During the 18th century, writing shifted from the Puritanism of Winthrop and Bradford to Enlightenment ideas of reason.The Moments That Make Us Who We Are. Life provides turning points of many kinds, but the most powerful of all may be character-revealing moments.
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