The Schlager Anthology of Early America
A Student's Guide to Essential Primary Sources
Published by: Schlager Group Inc.
The Schlager Anthology of Early America offers a modern, original sourcebook covering a pivotal era in U.S. history. From the creators and publishers of Milestone Documents in American History, this new title is built on the principles of inclusivity and accessibility. While presenting the essential primary sources from the period ranging from the arrival of Europeans in North America to the eve of the American Revolution, this anthology also emphasizes often-marginalized voices, from women to Native Americans to African Americans. In addition, document texts are abridged to remain brief and accessible, even to struggling readers (including ESL students), while activity questions range in difficulty from basic to more advanced. Edited by Christine Eisel (University of Memphis) and featuring the contributions of numerous scholars, The Schlager Anthology of Early America covers 80 milestone sources from this period of American history.
An Inclusive Approach
The Schlager Anthology of Early America is organized thematically into eight units. It begins with the chapter “Motivations for Exploration and Colonization.” The documents in this section invite readers to consider the events and environments that triggered European quests for acquiring goods, resources, land, and people in places an ocean away. Classic documents like Christopher Columbus's Letter to Raphael Sanchez and John Smith's Generall Historie of Virginia give insights on the potential and limitations that continued exploration and settlement could bring. Lesser known but equally valuable sources like Adriaen Van der Donck's Description of the New-Netherlands share similar themes and also point to the growing competition among European nations to exploit “new world” labor and resources, allowing readings to make connections between documents that demonstrate how explorers and eventual colonizers understood their own place within what became bigger colonization projects.
The collection continues with a chapter focusing on “Culture, Contact, and Contest.” The process of colonization was long and complicated, and colonization never assured a sphere of influence for any party involved. The struggle for power resulted in conflicts among different European groups, native people, and colonists, and ultimately between colonists and the British empire. Readers can compare and contrast documents like the Iroquois Thanksgiving Address and the Declaration of Pedro Naranjo of the Queres Nation, which share indigenous perspectives, with the Spanish Requerimiento and Bartolomé de las Casas's classic, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, which demonstrate both Europeans' exploitation of native populations and native resistance to that exploitation, but from a European perspective. John White's map “Americæ pars, nunc Virginia dicta” gives readers some insight into how Europeans visually captured the east coast of North America and allows them to grapple with the reasons this map became so influential with later mapmakers. Taken together, the documents in this chapter can lead to more profound discussions on historical perspective and historical contingency.
The documents in Chapter 3, “Founding Ideals,” demonstrate the concepts and practices that shaped the evolving colonial experience, as immigrants and American-born colonists adapted aspects of European culture to their own American environments, aspects that were then institutionalized in government, economy, and society. Many of these ideals would later serve as the basis of the creation of the United States. Readers may recognize the philosophies of government and governing found in the Habeas Corpus Act of the Restoration, the English Bill of Rights, and John Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government that so influenced early America's founding generation. Margaret Brent's Request for Voting Rights adds a new layer to any investigation into seventeenth-century beliefs on who could participate in government and politics, and the ways that gender and socio-economic rank intermingled to inform those beliefs.
Chapter 4, “Experiments in Government,” provides sources that focus on the diverse concepts and experiences of governing in early America and connects to the documents in the previous chapters by further exploring how concepts were put into practice. New Laws of the Indies shows the tension between Spanish colonizers' desire to exploit indigenous labor and Catholic Church doctrine on the nature of the human soul as seen in earlier documents from the first chapter. This was a tension not easily resolved, as Spanish laws to end the encomienda system were met with harsh backlash. Readers are invited to interrogate New Laws of the Indies alongside the Lawes Divine, Morall and Martiall, the Mayflower Compact, and the Frame of Government of Pennsylvania and question how early Americans' visions of perfecting governance were met with twists and turns, successes and failures.
As readers examine the documents in Chapter 5, “Wars and Empires,” they will recognize that early America was an inherently violent space of near constant conflict. The contact between cultures examined through the documents in earlier chapters connect to the conflicts depicted through the sources in this chapter. Mary Rowlandson's captivity narrative gives an intimate account of a woman caught between warring factions, while sources from the likes of John Mason and Henry Bouquet recount warfare in more removed ways. Together, though, the documents in this chapter help explain the continuing battle for resources, one that culminated in the Proclamation of 1763, which would play a significant role in the radicalization of American colonists living in far-flung spaces.
Chapter 6, “Rank, Raids, and Rebellions,” uniquely gathers sources that highlight opposite ends of socio-economic and political perspectives—from the desperation of indentured servants to the fall of an English monarch. Servant's voices, like those of Elizabeth Sprigs and Richard Frethorne, convey the melancholy and danger that many servants surely felt. This chapter also provides varying uses of “speech, ”from the speeches given by King Charles I and Oliver Cromwell to those made by women considered so dangerous that Virginia's leaders singled them out in their Act for Punishment of Scandalous Persons. Government and church officials long considered it essential to control speech as way to limit rebellion. Many would have argued the same in the light of Nathaniel Bacon's Manifesto, written in the midst of the Virginia rebellion. These sources and others draw together themes of gender, socio-economic rank, political factions, and race and ethnicity.
Chapter 7 deals with an issue that came to define early America. This chapter, “Slavery and Slade Trades,” includes themes explored in earlier chapters. For example, the tensions that arose from enslaving indigenous populations in New Spain, as seen in New Laws of the Indies, were just as palpable throughout early North America as those arising from the enslavement of African slaves. Some of the earliest laws institutionalizing slavery in Virginia are juxtaposed with anti-slavery treatises and stories of rebellion, giving voice not just to the enslavers but also to the enslaved, and shedding light on the early ideological and physical conflicts that long pre-date the sectionalism that eventually would divide the nation.
The anthology ends with documents on “Religion and Social Order.” Readers can tease out the centrality of religion (and sometimes its absence) in forming individual and group identity as early Americans sought to create and maintain order within communities large and small, familiar and foreign. John Winthrop's utopian vision in “A Model of Christian Charity” lies in tension with Roger William's Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience and some familiar experiences from the Salem Witch Trials. Samson Occom's “Short Narrative of My Life” gives readers a window into the world of a Mohegan Presbyterian minister, as he struggled to marry his indigenous and Christian identities.
A Focus on Accessibility
The Schlager Anthology of Early America features carefully curated primary sources along with highly targeted activities to help students engage with and analyze primary documents from this important era. Document texts are carefully abridged to remain brief and accessible, even to struggling readers (including ESL students), both at the high school as well as early college levels. The commentary that accompanies each source is simple and straightforward. First, a fact box contains the key information about the source: document title, author name, date, document type, and a brief statement of the document's significance. Next, each document includes a concise overview section that places the source in its proper historical context. Following the document text is a list of activity questions that prompt students to think more deeply about the source and its meaning and impact, as well as a glossary that defines any unfamiliar words or references in the document text.
In addition to the 80 sources and accompanying commentary, The Schlager Anthology of Early America includes chapter introductions and Further Readings sections for each of the eight chapters in the set. The set also features a comprehensive subject index and an appendix of document categories.
The Schlager Anthology of Early America represents a modern approach to historical reference. It is an essential resource for students, researchers, and teachers of this important era in U.S. history and is appropriate for high school, academic, and public libraries.
Chapter 1: Motivations for Exploration and Colonization
- Christopher Columbus: Letter to Raphael Sanxis on the Discovery of America
- Hernán Cortés: Second Letter to Charles V
- Lope de Aguirre: Letter to King Philip of Spain
- “A True and Sincere Declaration of the Purpose and Ends of the Plantation Begun in Virginia”
- Samuel de Champlain: Voyages
- Fray Antonio de la Ascension: A Brief Report of the Discovery in New Spain
- John Smith: The Generall Historie of Virginia
- Father Paul Le Jeune: “Brief Relation of the Journey to New France”
- Adriaen Van der Donck: Description of the New-Netherlands
Chapter 2: Culture, Contact, and Contest
- Iroquois Thanksgiving Address
- The Journey of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
- Hernando Pizarro: Letter to the Royal Audience of Santo Domingo
- Bartolomé de las Casas: A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies
- Bernal Díaz del Castillo: The True History of the Conquest of New Spain
- John White: “Americæ pars, nunc Virginia dicta”
- Johannes Megapolensis Jr.: A Short Account of the Mohawk Indians
- Declaration of Pedro Naranjo of the Queres Nation
Chapter 3: Founding Ideals
- Letter of Edward Winslow to a Friend
- Margaret Brent’s Request for Voting Rights
- Maryland Toleration Act
- Habeas Corpus Act of the Restoration
- By the King, a Proclamation for the More Effectual Reducing and Suppressing of Pirates and Privateers in America
- Declaration of the Gentlemen, Merchants and Inhabitants of Boston, and the Country Adjacent
- English Bill of Rights
- John Locke: Second Treatise on Civil Government
- William Byrd II: Representation Concerning Proprietary Governments
- Benjamin Franklin: “Proposal for Promoting Useful Knowledge among the British Plantations in America”
- Benjamin Franklin: “The Way to Wealth”
- John Carwitham: “A South East View of the Great Town of Boston in New England in America”
Chapter 4: Experiments in Government
- New Laws of the Indies
- For the Colony in Virginea Britannia: Lawes Divine, Morall and Martiall
- Mayflower Compact
- An Ordinance and Constitution of Treasurer and Company in England for a Council and Assembly in Virginia
- Frame of Government of Pennsylvania
- Edmund Andros: Report of His Administration
- Letters of Governor Alexander Spotswood
- Benjamin Franklin: “Exporting of Felons to the Colonies”
- Roger Sherman: A Caveat against Injustice
- Benjamin Franklin: Letter to Peter Collinson on the Plan of Union
- Benjamin Franklin: Albany Plan of Union
Chapter 5: Wars and Empires
- Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson
- Father le Petit: Letter to Father d’Avaugour, Procurator of the Missions in North America
- John Mason: A Brief History of the Pequot War
- Henry Bouquet: Letter to William Allen in the Expedition to Fort Duquesne
- Simeon Ecuyer: Journal from Fort Pitt
- Proclamation of 1763
Chapter 6: Ranks, Raids, and Rebellions
- Richard Frethorne: Letter to His Parents
- Charles I: Speech on the Scaffold
- Oliver Cromwell: Speech at the Opening of the Protectorate Parliament
- Virginia’s Act V: An Act for Punishment of Scandalous Persons
- Nathaniel Bacon: Manifesto
- Daniel Horsmanden: The New-York Conspiracy
- Elizabeth Sprigs: Letter to Her Father
- Benjamin Franklin: The Paxton Boys’ Murder of the Conestoga India
- “A Few Lines on Magnus Mode, Richard Hodges & J. Newington Clark”
Chapter 7: Slavery and the Slave Trade
- John Rolfe: “Letter to Sir Edwin Sandys”
- Virginia’s Act XII: Negro Women’s Children to Serve according to the Condition of the Mother
- Virginia’s Act III: Baptism Does Not Exempt Slaves from Bondage
- Richard Ligon: A True & Exact History of the Island of Barbados
- “A Minute against Slavery, Addressed to Germantown Monthly Meeting”
- James Oglethorpe: “An Account of the Negroe Insurrection in South Carolina”
- South Carolina Slave Code
- John Woolman: Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes
- Briton Hammon: A Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings, and Surprizing Deliverance of Briton Hammon, a Negro Man
- Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre: “Reflections on Slavery”
Chapter 8: Religion and Social Order
- John Winthrop: “A Model of Christian Charity”
- Massachusetts Bay Colony Trial against Anne Hutchinson
- Roger Williams: The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience
- Anne Bradstreet: “Before the Birth of One of Her Children”
- Anne Bradstreet: “To My Dear and Loving Husband”
- Declaration of Protestant Subjects in Maryland
- Cotton Mather: Late Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions
- Answer of Mary Bradbury and Testimony of Thomas Bradbury
- Ann Putnam: Confession
- Benjamin Colman: Some Observations on Receiving the SMALL-POX by Ingrafting or Inoculating
- Jonathan Edwards: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
- Samson Occom: “A Short Narrative of My Life”