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Ch 2: Colonial and Early National Period in Literature

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons on literature in the colonial and early national period. Discover more about a range of writers from this period, including Anne Bradstreet and Thomas Paine. Take the quizzes that follow each lesson to gauge your understanding of this period in American literature.

Colonial and Early National Period

In the early times in America, literature had its roots in many different areas. Explore poetry, religious pieces, politically charged works and Native American work in our lessons. Discover the different periods in early American literature and the styles used.

Take a look at the Native American contribution to early American literature. Study the characteristics that made this style unique. Look at the oral storytelling tradition of Native Americans, and see how this tradition and the Native American heritage played into the stories told.

Get an introduction to Anne Bradstreet, who she was, and what she contributed to American literature. Analyze some of the poetry from this individual, who is defined as the first American and first female poet of the time. Also, discover how Puritan lifestyle and religion molded her writing. See more about how religion influenced works of this time period by watching our video lessons, which give you a look at poets such as Phillis Wheatley and Jonathan Edwards. See how Wheatley's African roots, along with her Christian viewpoints, influenced her poetry. Discover the focus of an angry god in Edwards' work. Then, study sermons from him and Mark Edwards.

Finally, move into lessons about politically and socially-influenced literature of the early colonial period. Learn more about St. Jean De Crevecoeur and the life of the American farmer. Study the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and how he helped develop the American identity. Get insight into Thomas Paine and how far-reaching his influence was on the people and the atmosphere of the day. Thanks for watching!

13 Lessons in Chapter 2: Colonial and Early National Period in Literature
Native American and Colonial Literature

1. Native American and Colonial Literature

What types of writing were popular during the early days of the United States? In this lesson, we'll look at three major categories of 17th and 18th century American writing in more detail: Native American oral stories, Puritan writing, and early American political writing.

Native American Oral Tradition: Heritage and Literary Influence

2. Native American Oral Tradition: Heritage and Literary Influence

Native American nations have a rich oral tradition of storytelling. In this lesson, we'll explore the heritage and themes of American Indian stories and look at how they influenced later American literature.

Mary Rowlandson's A Narrative of the Captivity: Summary and Analysis

3. Mary Rowlandson's A Narrative of the Captivity: Summary and Analysis

Mary Rowlandson wrote a book about her time as a captive during King Philip's War. That book was the first American bestseller and the start of the popular genre of captivity narratives. In this lesson, we'll look closer at Rowlandson's narrative and its influence on American literature.

James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans: Themes, Summary & Analysis

4. James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans: Themes, Summary & Analysis

James Fenimore Cooper, an early American settler, wrote a famous book called 'The Last of the Mohicans.' In this lesson, we'll look closer at the book and one of its themes, interracial relationships.

Early American Writers: John Smith, John Winthrop & Roger Williams

5. Early American Writers: John Smith, John Winthrop & Roger Williams

John Smith, John Winthrop, and Roger Williams were early American settlers who influenced the politics and literature of the colonies. In this lesson, we'll look closer at each of these men and their important writings.

The Federalist Papers: History, Writers & Summary

6. The Federalist Papers: History, Writers & Summary

The Federalist Papers were a collection of political essays from the 18th century written by several Founding Fathers of the United States. In this lesson, we'll learn more about the Federalist Papers and why they are still important today.

Anne Bradstreet: Poems and Biography

7. Anne Bradstreet: Poems and Biography

Anne Bradstreet was America's first published poet. Her poems both upheld and criticized the Puritan faith that she was a part of. In this lesson, we'll look closer at two of Anne Bradstreet's poems and their relationship with Puritanism.

Phillis Wheatley: African Poetry in America

8. Phillis Wheatley: African Poetry in America

Phillis Wheatley was a slave and poet in 18th century America who wrote about religion and race. In this lesson, we'll learn more about her and examine one of her poems for the themes of religion and race.

Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening: Sermons & Biography

9. Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening: Sermons & Biography

Jonathan Edwards was an American minister whose sermon 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God' became one of the most famous sermons of the 18th century. In this lesson, we'll look at Edwards' sermon and analyze it for Puritan beliefs and style.

Cotton Mather's Writings: Magnalia Christi Americana, Pillars of Salt & Other Writings

10. Cotton Mather's Writings: Magnalia Christi Americana, Pillars of Salt & Other Writings

Cotton Mather, an important Puritan minister, wrote the first American true crime book and an influential book about the religious history of the New World. In this lesson, we'll learn more about Mather and his two most influential books.

St. Jean De Crevecoeur: Letters from an American Farmer

11. St. Jean De Crevecoeur: Letters from an American Farmer

St. Jean de Crevecoeur was a French American writer whose book 'Letters from an American Farmer' discussed life and society in early America. In this lesson, we'll look closer at 'Letters from an American Farmer' and its influence on American literature.

Benjamin Franklin: Quotes and Autobiography

12. Benjamin Franklin: Quotes and Autobiography

Everyone knows Benjamin Franklin flew a kite in a storm and that he signed the Declaration of Independence. But how much do you know about his writing? In this lesson, we'll look at two of his most famous works and how they influenced American literature.

Thomas Paine: Common Sense and The Crisis

13. Thomas Paine: Common Sense and The Crisis

Thomas Paine was an influential writer during the American Revolution. In this lesson, we'll explore the content and style of two of his most famous pamphlets and how they helped shape American history.

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