Michelle Burnham
Santa Clara University

Studies in Early American Literature:  Rebellion and the Law in Early America

This course focuses on some of the most notable lawbreakers and lawmakers in early America, including men and women who were exiled, punished, or marginalized as dissenters, criminals, or rebels.  Our readings begin with the Pilgrims and Puritans--both groups of religious rebels--who arrived in America in 1620 and 1630.  Our readings conclude with literature written in the years after the American Revolution--surely the most celebrated event of lawlessness in American history.  Along the way we will encounter figures, like William Bradford and John Winthrop, who had a hand in establishing and enforcing the law, as well as figures like Thomas Morton and Patience Boston, who transgressed and subverted the law.  Perhaps most interesting, however, will be those figures who broke the law but somehow got away with it, and whose rebellion sometimes even made them heroes or heroines.  In the course of our readings and discussions, therefore, we will ask how this strange, third category works, and how the figures who inhabit it got there.

Required Texts
Jehlen and Warner, eds., The English Literatures of America, 1500-1800 (Routledge)
William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation (McGraw-Hill)
Susanna Rowson, Charlotte Temple (Oxford)
Photocopied course packet (*)

Course Requirements

Written Work
Two papers are required, one shorter (4-5 pages) and one longer (8-10 pages).  Suggested topics for the shorter paper will be distributed to the class.  Topics for the longer paper should be chosen in consultation with the instructor.

Group Presentation
All students will deliver, in small groups or pairs, an oral presentation to the class on one of the texts assigned as readings.  The presentation should include three elements:  new information discovered through research, analysis of the text(s), and questions or issues for discussion by the class as a whole.

Final Exam
The final exam is cumulative, and will consist of both a textual identification and an essay section.

Class Participation
All members of the class are encouraged and expected to participate in class discussion, by asking and responding to questions, by raising ideas and contributing observations about the readings, and by participating in students' class presentations.

5 Introduction/s
7 William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation (1-48)
9 Bradford (55-58; 66-110)

12 Bradford (110-134; 163-195; 223-234)
14 Bradford (300-303; 325-337; 351-357; 359-385)
16 Thomas Morton (1-14*)

19 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day -- No classes
21 Morton (15-22*)
23 John Winthrop (3.9, 5.1, 6.1, 6.2, 6.4)

26 Anne Hutchinson's trials (6.1; 23-31*)
28 Anne Bradstreet; Edward Taylor (8.10; 8.14)

2 Michael Wigglesworth, "God's Controversy" (8.12), diary selections (5.5)
4 Mary Rowlandson (5.8)
6 Rowlandson (5.8)

9 Rowlandson; Cotton Mather on Hannah Dustan (from Magnalia Christi Americana 32*);
    begin Mather "Brand Pluck'd Out of the Burning" (45-59*)
11 Mather "Brand . . ."*; begin Mather, Wonders of the Invisible World (60-68*)
13 Mather, Wonders of the Invisible World (69-79*)

16 Presidents' Day -- No classes
18 Mather; Deodat Lawson (6.9); Robert Calef (6.10)
20 Samuel Sewall (11.1), John Saffin (11.2), Ukawsaw Gronniosaw (10.10), Ottobah  Cuguano

23 criminal narrative of Patience Boston (33-44*)
25 Thomas Jefferson (11.12, 12.5)
27 Phillis Wheatley (14.19)

2 readings on women and revolution (11.6, 11.10, 11.16, 14.17)
4 Charles Brockden Brown and Jefferson (13.11); Susanna Rowson, Charlotte Temple
6 Rowson

9 Rowson
13 conclusions/review

 19 Final Exam 9:10-12:10