Offers an honest, often startling portrait of Plymouth Colony, including the legal system, religion, agriculture, family life, women's roles, alcohol use, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, suspicious deaths, and violent crimes. Reprint. 12,500 first printing.
This volume fills a gap in traditional women's history books by offering fascinating details of the lives of early American women and showing how these women adapted to the challenges of daily life in the colonies. * Nearly 200 A–Z entries on women's lives, contributions, and struggles during the years of early America * Illustrations of the habits of dress, material goods, and buildings that reflect the culture of these women * Extensive annotated bibliography of recommended readings covering legal issues, ethnic groups, customs, and novels set during the era * Sidebars highlighting interesting experiences of early American women
For the Puritan separatists of seventeenth-century New England, "godliness," as manifested by the body, was the sign of election, and the body, with its material demands and metaphorical significance, became the axis upon which all colonial activity and religious meaning turned. Drawing on literature, documents, and critical studies of embodiment as practiced in the New England colonies, Martha L. Finch launches a fascinating investigation into the scientific, theological, and cultural conceptions of corporeality at a pivotal moment in Anglo-Protestant history. Not only were settlers forced to interact bodily with native populations and other "new world" communities, they also fought starvation and illness; were whipped, branded, hanged, and murdered; sang, prayed, and preached; engaged in sexual relations; and were baptized according to their faith. All these activities shaped the colonists' understanding of their existence and the godly principles of their young society. Finch focuses specifically on Plymouth Colony and those who endeavored to make visible what they believed to be God's divine will. Quakers, Indians, and others challenged these beliefs, and the constant struggle to survive, build cohesive communities, and regulate behavior forced further adjustments. Merging theological, medical, and other positions on corporeality with testimonies on colonial life, Finch brilliantly complicates our encounter with early Puritan New England.
With the recent explosion of high-profile court cases and staggering jury awards, America's justice system has moved to the forefront of our nation's consciousness. Yet while the average citizen is bombarded with information about a few sensational cases--such as the multi-million dollar damages awarded a woman who burned herself with McDonald's coffee-- most Americans are unaware of the truly dramatic transformation our courts and judicial system have undergone over the past three decades, and of the need to reform the system to adapt to that transformation. In Reforming the Civil Justice System, Larry Kramer has compiled a work that charts these revolutionary changes and offers solutions to the problems they present. Organized into three parts, the book investigates such topics as settlement incentives and joint tortfeasors, substance and form in the treatment of scientific evidence after Daubert v. Merrell Dow, and guiding jurors in valuing pain and suffering damages. Reforming the Civil Justice System offers feasible solutions that can realistically be adopted as our civil justice system continues to be refined and improved.
Beginning in January 1692, Salem Village in colonial Massachusetts witnessed the largest and most lethal outbreak of witchcraft in early America. Villagers--mainly young women--suffered from unseen torments that caused them to writhe, shriek, and contort their bodies, complaining of pins stuck into their flesh and of being haunted by specters. Believing that they suffered from assaults by an invisible spirit, the community began a hunt to track down those responsible for the demonic work. The resulting Salem Witch Trials, culminating in the execution of 19 villagers, persists as one of the most mysterious and fascinating events in American history. Historians have speculated on a web of possible causes for the witchcraft that stated in Salem and spread across the region-religious crisis, ergot poisoning, an encephalitis outbreak, frontier war hysteria--but most agree that there was no single factor. Rather, as Emerson Baker illustrates in this seminal new work, Salem was "a perfect storm": a unique convergence of conditions and events that produced something extraordinary throughout New England in 1692 and the following years, and which has haunted us ever since. Baker shows how a range of factors in the Bay colony in the 1690s, including a new charter and government, a lethal frontier war, and religious and political conflicts, set the stage for the dramatic events in Salem. Engaging a range of perspectives, he looks at the key players in the outbreak--the accused witches and the people they allegedly bewitched, as well as the judges and government officials who prosecuted them--and wrestles with questions about why the Salem tragedy unfolded as it did, and why it has become an enduring legacy. Salem in 1692 was a critical moment for the fading Puritan government of Massachusetts Bay, whose attempts to suppress the story of the trials and erase them from memory only fueled the popular imagination. Baker argues that the trials marked a turning point in colonial history from Puritan communalism to Yankee independence, from faith in collective conscience to skepticism toward moral governance. A brilliantly told tale, A Storm of Witchcraft also puts Salem's storm into its broader context as a part of the ongoing narrative of American history and the history of the Atlantic World.
Seasons of Misery offers a boldly original account of early English settlement in American by placing catastrophe and crisis at the center of the story. Donegan argues that the constant state of suffering and uncertainty decisively formed the colonial identity and produced the first distinctly colonial literature.
A fascinating examination of how Americans think about and write about witches, from the 'real' witches tried and sometimes executed in early New England to modern re-imaginings of witches as pagan priestesses, comic-strip heroines and feminist icons. The first half of the book is a thorough re-reading of the original documents describing witchcraft prosecutions from 1640-1700 and a re-thinking of these sources as far less coherent and trustworthy than most historians have considered them to be. The second half of the book examines how these historical narratives have transformed into myths of witchcraft still current in American society, writing and visual culture. The discussion includes references to everything from Increase Mather and Edgar Allan Poe to Joss Whedon (the writer/director of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which includes a Wiccan character) and The Blair Witch Project.
Veteran historian Robert Tracy McKenzie sets aside centuries of legend and political stylization to present the mixed blessing that was the first Thanksgiving. Like good narrative history, McKenzie's critical account of our Pilgrim ancestors confronts us with our own unresolved issues of national and spiritual identity.
In recent years more of his papers have been discovered and stand alongside his journal as important source material for the early colonial period in the Atlantic region. Transcribed from original documents and extensively annotated by Marianne Stopp, the
Though few of us now live close to the soil, the world we inhabit has been sculpted by our long national saga of settlement. At the heart of our identity lies the notion of the family farm, as shaped by European history and reshaped by the vast opportunities of the continent. It lies at the heart of Jane Brox's personal story, too: she is the daughter of immigrant New England farmers whose way of life she memorialized in her first two books but has not carried on. In this clear-eyed, lyrical account, Brox twines the two narratives, personal and historical, to explore the place of the family farm as it has evolved from the pilgrims' brutal progress at Plymouth to the modern world, where much of our food is produced by industrial agriculture while the small farm is both marginalized and romanticized. In considering the place of the farm, Brox also considers the rise of textile cities in America, which encroached not only upon farms and farmers but upon the sense of commonality that once sustained them; and she traces the transformation of the idea of wilderness--and its intricate connection to cultivation--which changed as our ties to the land loosened, as terror of the wild was replaced by desire for it. Exploring these strands with neither judgment nor sentimentality, Brox arrives at something beyond a biography of the farm: a vivid depiction of the half-life it carries on in our collective imagination.