LITR 4340 American Immigrant Literature

Lecture Notes



Decision not to hold final class

odd position, love MLK but






last class not necessary, didn't fit exam



might be last ever of this course

retiring but not being replaced

new professor will have ideas of her own


I'm history--unique and awkward status as a southern white man teaching multicultural literature, what hired to do

don't exactly represent a typical ethnic or minority group

perceptions and experience of literature shaped by history

grew up in 1950s and 60s, Civil Rights Movement; father a journalist

Scotch-Irish culture but somehow a liberal church influenced by New England

worked a couple summers in New England

advantage of being an outsider? Downside: too analytical about issues of identity

go with what you've got: terms and definitions by which different groups can know and talk with each other 

Course Objectives: yardstick to measure 


such a bright class

toughest part of any class is building trust so students don't feel like they'll get jumped for saying something they don't know exactly how to say

participate in discussion or learn to listen with others

first couple classes cautious, but then supportive

thanks for helping





Early immigrants sets standard for itself and later immigrants

Pilgrims / Puritans (1600s): godly community

Founding Fathers (1700s): secular society, individualistic capitalism, minimal government

later immigrants assimilate, more or less > acculturation



Settler culture: are later immigrants responsible for their sins?

(Taking Indian land and African American slavery as "America's original sins")



dominant culture as bad guys

but what immigrants journey to join, assimilate to



conclude Of Plymouth Plantation

5. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy is a recent expression of white or Anglo culture from the Scotch-Irish, who immigrated from Northern Britain in the later 1700s. What is the profile of these white people compared to the New England Puritans in the 1600s or the USA's Founders in the 1700s? In what ways may the Scotch-Irish resemble the USA's dominant culture and a minority culture? (Rust Belt maps)

Questions for J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy, ch. 9: How much does Vance's story belong in Immigrant Literature? What similar crises and transformations to other immigrant narratives in this course? What is the value of learning the Scotch-Irish dimension of the USA's dominant culture?

dominant culture needs maintenance, support from citizens, and needs to support citizens in turn


4b. Combined with Of Plymouth Plantation, how does Hillbilly Elegy provide a composite sense of the USA's dominant culture and a sense of its strengths and limits?

poverty of sources



3 Working class white Americans of Scots-Irish descent . . . no college degree

3 day laborers, share croppers, coal miners, machinists and millworkers

3 hillbillies, rednecks, white trash > neighbors, friends and family


In what ways may the Scotch-Irish resemble the USA's dominant culture and a minority culture?

3 x-abandonment of tradition (x-assimilation)

4 low social mobility to poverty to divorce and drug addiction

4 more socially isolated

5 divorcing more, marrying less . . . if only better access to jobs [minority]

6 fired, Bob lashed out at his manager

7 lack of agency, willingness to blame everyone but yourself [grievance or victim culture]

[caught between two worlds of social migration]

130 lawyer, doctor, businessman x high school dropout

136 malpractice but didn't believe in using the legal system

136 [my family] was more non-traditional than most. And we were poor.

136 Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle [class markers + plain style]

137 giant menthol cigarette [class marker]

137 tested into honors Advanced Math class [meritocracy] [contrast bomb threat]

141 blast govt for doing too much or too little

141 ballot failures of school improvement tax

144 [two phases of migration: first everybody, then educated and well-off]

147 even the best and brightest of us will go to college close to home [cf. Distance Between Us]






J.D. Vance, "Introduction," Hillbilly Elegy (PDF fromemailed 1 November); J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy page; (> Scotch-Irish)

subtitle: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

1 [American Dream?] a nice job, a happy marriage, a comfortable house, and two lively dogs [note delay of childbearing]

1 poor, Rust Belt, Ohio steel town hemorrhaging jobs and hope

2 x-high school, x-college

2 avoid welfare, heroine overdose?

2 deep anger and resentment harbored by everyone around me

2 loving people rescued me

2 American dream as my family and I encountered it

how upward mobility really feels

2 American dream + demons

2 ethnic component

3 x-wasps

3 Working class white Americans of Scots-Irish descent . . . no college degree

poverty is the family tradition

3 day laborers, share croppers, coal miners, machinists and millworkers

3 hillbillies, rednecks, white trash > neighbors, friends and family

3 Scots-Irish . . . most distinctive subgroups

3 unchanging regional subculture

3 x-abandonment of tradition (x-assimilation)

3 good traits: loyalty, family and country

bad: do not like outsiders or people who are different; most important, how they talk

3 geography

4 Appalachian mountains, culture of greater Appalachia remarkably cohesive

cf. Louisian, Alabama

4 switch from Dem to Repub

4 fortunes of working-class whites eem dimmest

4 low social mobility to poverty to divorce and drug addiction

4 a pessimistic bunch, most pessimistic group in America

4 more socially isolated

religion has changed . . . churches heavy on emotional rhetoric but light on the kind of social support necessary to enable poor kids to do well

4 dropped out of labor force, chosen not to relocate

4 peculiar crisis of masculinity

5 traits that our culture inculcates make it difficult to succeed in a changing world

5 divorcing more, marrying less . . . if only better access to jobs [minority]

5 lost economic security and stable home and family life that comes with it

5 this story at least incomplete

6 Bob was 19 with a pregnant girlfriend . . terrible workers, chronically late, bathroom breaks

6 fired, Bob lashed out at his manager

7 manufacturing jobs have gone overseas and middle-class jobs are harder to come by for people without college degrees

7 reacting to bad circumstances in the worst way possible . . .  culture increasingly encourages social decay instead of counteracting it

7 he thought something had been done to him

7 lack of agency, willingness to blame everyone but yourself [grievance or victim culture]

8 known many welfare queens, all were white

8 upward mobility fell off in the 1970s and never really recovered, some regions fared worse

8 tell a true story about what that problem feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck

8 not just a personal memoir but a family one

8 two generations ago, grandparents got married and moved north in hope of escaping dreadful poverty [immigrant]

8 grandchild graduated from one of the finest educational institutions [American Dream / meritocracy]

9 short version

9 deeply flawed . . . but I love these people

[caught between two worlds of social migration]


J.D. Vance, Chapter 9, Hillbilly Elegy (PDF emailed 7 November

129 grandma, importance of doing well academically, if anyone in the family "made it," it would be me

130 lawyer, doctor, businessman x high school dropout

130 Mom needs clean urine, a half dozen prescription drugs (cf. Elvis)

130 Mom a survivor, survive encounter with nursing board

131 smoked new stepfather's pot

131 this isn't right, but she's your mother

131 Mamaw always found a way to believe in the people she loved

132 stay with Mamaw permanently

133 get good grades, get a job, and get off your ass and help me

134 I wanted to escape to Jackson; she wanted to escape from it

134 cf. the Sopranos

134 Tony a killer, objectively terrible person x loyalty, family honor

134 [male privilege] sleeping around

136 malpractice but didn't believe in using the legal system

136 [my family] was more non-traditional than most. And we were poor.

136 Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle [class markers + plain style]

137 giant menthol cigarette [class marker]

137 tested into honors Advanced Math class [meritocracy] [contrast bomb threat]

137 obtain calculators

138 grades improve

138 talk about problems of community, got a job > amateur sociologist

138 more harried the customer, more they purchased precooked food, more likely they were poor [stress > poverty]

138-9 why only poor people bought baby formula, x-breast feed children

139 class divide > resentment

139 Cadillac trustworthy

139 people gamed welfare system

139 view working people with distrust

139 tax deductions x T-bone steaks

140 x-Dems as party of working man

140 Appalachia and South to Republicans: race relations, religious faith, social conservatism

140 paying people on welfare to do nothing

140 Plan B vouchers bring bad people into neighborhood, drive down housing values

140-1 shared a lot in common

141 blast govt for doing too much or too little

141 aircraft carriers x drug treatment centers

141 ballot failures of school improvement tax

142 in Mamaw's contradictions lay great wisdom [?]

143 our neighbor's teenage daughter's prospects?

143 other people didn't live like we did [American Dream]

144 books about social policy and the working poor

144 [two phases of migration: first everybody, then educated and well-off]

144 Wilson writing about black people in inner cities

144-5 no single book or theory could explain the problems of hillbillies in America

145 sociology, psychology, culture, community, faith

146 her mother never held a job and seemed interested only "in breeding"; her kids never had a chance

146 truly irrational behavior, spend our way into poorhouse

147 even the best and brightest of us will go to college close to home

147 the lies we tell ourselves to cover our cognitive dissonance, broken connection between the lives we live and the values we preach

148 two separate sets of mores and social pressures [traditional and modern?]

148 not to romanticize my grandparents' world

149 I've always straddled those two worlds

149 work so you can spend weekends with your family, go to college

149 Mamaw showed me what was possible and showed me how to get there.

149 positive effect of a loving and stable home

150 Facebook friend constantly changing boyfriends

151 just wanted a home, strangers stay out


J. D. Vance, "How the White Working Class Losts its Patriotism." Washington Post 25 July 2016

Significant percentages of white conservative voters — about one-third — believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim. In one poll, 32 percent of conservatives said that they believed Obama was foreign-born and another 19 percent said they were unsure — which means that a majority of white conservatives aren’t certain that Obama is even an American. [cf. denial of evolution, climate change]

I regularly hear from acquaintances or distant family members that Obama has ties to Islamist extremists, or is a traitor, or was born in some far-flung corner of the world. In my new life, as an uncomfortable member of what folks back home pejoratively call the elite, my friends blame racism for this perception of the president. There is, undoubtedly, some truth to that theory. But most of the people I know dislike Obama for reasons that have nothing to do with skin color. They think of him as an alien because, compared to them, he is.

At my high school, ranked for a time in the bottom 10 percent of public schools in the state, none of my classmates attended an Ivy League college. Barack Obama attended two of them and excelled at both. He is brilliant, wealthy and speaks like the law professor that he is. Nothing about him bears any resemblance to the people I admired growing up: His accent — clean, perfect, neutral — sounds almost foreign; his credentials are so impressive that they’re frightening; he made his life in Chicago, a dense metropolis; and he conducts himself with a confidence that comes from knowing that the modern American meritocracy was built for him.

And as president, his term started just as so many in the white working class began believing that the modern American meritocracy was not built for them. We know we’re not doing well. We see it every day: In the obituaries for teenagers that conspicuously omit the cause of death (reading between the lines: overdose), in the deadbeats we watch our daughters waste their time with, and in the fast food jobs that offer little money and even less pride.

Obama strikes at the heart of our deepest insecurities: He is a good father while many of us struggle to pay our child support. He wears suits to his job while we wear overalls, if we’re lucky enough to have a job at all. His wife tells us that we shouldn’t be feeding our children certain foods, and we hate her for it—not because we think she’s wrong but because we know she’s right.



Mayflower compact: govt of laws, not of men (universal)

Discussion Questions: 1. How do the Pilgrims both exemplify the American immigrant story and vary from it? How do their variations make them exemplify the USA's dominant culture?

11.1, 11.2 mutinous speeches, Mayflower Compact

ch. 14 community breaks down, each to his own

14.13 fancied; as if they would be great men and rich, all of a sudden; but they proved castles in the air. . . . [American Dream]

15.2-3 keep close tog3etehr, dangerous man

23.1 strength into weakness

23.2 no longer any holding them together

23.4 church divided

33.6 Many having left this place [Americans don't stop moving]

33.9 like an ancient mother


2. What are the attractions and threats of comparing the Pilgrims' experience to that of the ancient Jews' Exodus story? What prestige but also what cultural limits? How is the USA's dominant culture comparable to or different from that of the ancient Jews or the early Christians?

religion as most universal but most threatening to other religions; community?

religion as narrative, story, with characters--similar appeals as Literature.

12.12 [promised land, milk and honey]

14.10 no Egypt

19.9 changed the name of their place again, and called it Mount Dagon





3. How do the Pilgrims relate to the American Indians--i.e., the culture and population that pre-existed them in the Promised Land? How does the American Indians' backstory correspond to or call into question the Pilgrims' perception of their presence as part of the divine plan?

Squanto speaks English, so he assimilates to the Pilgrims

The only Puritans to learn Indian languages are a few missionaries

Squanto 11.11, 11.12 ("But to return"), 12.2 (fish)

12.5 great mortality

12.12 Thanksgiving

13.3 Squanto deals, adapts, assimilates? acculturates?

13.3 Pilgrim leaders play Squanto and Hobomok off each other [alternative story]

13.7 go to Englishman's God in heaven [assimilation]

19.8 inviting the Indian women [x-intermarriage]

19.10 guns to Indians

28.1 terror

28.2-3 Pequots & Narragansetts

28.5 destroyed about 400 . . . praise thereof to God



4. How or to what extent do the Pilgrims / Puritans contribute to the creation of the USA's dominant culture? What consistencies or differences between the "Pilgrim Fathers" and the "Founding Fathers?" (literacy, Protestantism; middle-class community vs. freemarket individualism)

Literacy--refer to dominant culture page > scripture, written laws, government of laws, not men > universal

chapter 11: Mayflower compact

14.3 Plato and other ancients

15.1 Seneca, Pliny, Christian Humanism

Work ethic

12.16 stool-ball (Protestant Work Ethic)

19.8 drinking, maypole, atheism


14.4 profit motive

14.12 international trade

19.3 wampum bubble (boom-bust economics < profit motive)


literacy as continuity + change; evolution


Bradford Reading notes

11.1 discontented and mutinous speeches that some of the strangers [passengers besides Pilgrims] amongst them had let fall from them in the ship—That when they came ashore they would use their own liberty; for none had power to command them, the patent they had being for Virginia, and not for New England

11.2 in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience

11.3 begun some small cottages for their habitation, as time would admitte, they met and consulted of laws and orders, both for their civil and military Government

11.4 discontents and murmurings arise amongst some, and mutinous speeches and carriages [behaviors] in other; but they were soon quelled and overcome by the wisdom, patience, and just and equal carriage [bearing] of things by the Governor and better part,

11.4 two or three months time, half of their company died, especially in January and February, being the depth of winter, and wanting houses and other comforts; being infected with the scurvy . . . so as there died some times two or three [persons] a day, in the foresaid time; that of 100-odd persons, scarce 50 remained.

11.5 six or seven sound persons, . . . did all the homely and necessary offices for them which dainty and queasy stomachs cannot endure to hear named; and all this willingly and cheerfully, without any grudging in the least, showing herein their true love unto their friends and brethren. A rare example and worthy to be remembered.

11.7 a proud young man, and would often curse and scoff at the passengers; but when he grew weak, they had compassion on him and helped him; then he confessed he did not deserve it at their hands, he had abused them in word and deed. 0! saith he, you, I now see, show your love like Christians indeed one to another, but we let one another lie and die like dogs

11.8 about the sixteenth of March a certain Indian came boldly amongst them, and spoke to them in broken English, . . . that he was not of these parts, but belonged to the eastern parts, where some English-ships came to fish, with whom he was acquainted, and could name sundry of them by their names, amongst whom he had got his language.


12.5 the people not many, being dead and abundantly wasted in the late great mortality which fell in all three parts about three years before the coming of the English, wherin thousands of them died, they not being able to bury one another; their skulls and bones were found in many places lying still above ground, where their houses and dwellings had been; a very sad spectacle to behold.

12.6 the Narragansett lived but on the other side of that great bay, and were a strong people, and many in number, living compact together, and had not been at all touched with this wasting plague

12.7 John Billington, lost in woods

12.7 Pilgrims restore corn

12.12 All the summer there was no want. And now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). [Here is the other side of modern growth-economics, whose high levels of consumption exhaust nature’s resources, requiring further immigration to satisfy the needs of growing populations.]

12.15 On the day called Christmas day, the Governor [Bradford] called them out to work, (as was usual,) but the most of this new company excused themselves and said it went against their consciences to work on that day

12.16 stool-ball*, and such like sports. So he went to them, and took away their implements, and told them that was against his conscience, that they should play and others work. If they made the keeping of it matter of devotion, let them keep their houses, but there should be no gaming or reveling in the streets.


13.3 Squanto sought his own ends, and played his own game, by putting the Indians in fear, and drawing gifts from them to enrich himself; making them believe he could stir up war against whom he would, and make peace for whom he would. Yea, he made them believe they kept the plague [that killed many Indians in previous years] buried in the ground, and could send it amongst whom they would, which did much terrify the Indians, and made them depend more on him, and seek more to him then to Massasoit, which procured him envy, and had like to have cost him his life.

13.4 fort = meeting-house

13.7 Manamoyick Bay and got what they could there. In this place Squanto fell sick of an Indian fever, bleeding much at the nose (which the Indians take for a symptom of death), and within a few days died there; desiring the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven, and bequeathed sundry of his things to sundry of his English friends, as remembrances of his love; of whom they had a great loss.


14.1 that they should set corn every man for his own particular [each person or family with their own plot of land], and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number

14.2 made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than other ways would have been by any means the Governor [Bradford] or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little-ones with them to set [plant] corn, which before would allege weakness, and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

14.3 the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients, applauded by some of after times;—that the taking away of property, and bringing in communities into a commonwealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser then God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.

14.4 young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine [complain] that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children, with out any recompense

14.5 Let none object this is men’s corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them. [This conclusion to cooperate with nature anticipates later Enlightenment ideologies in the Declaration of Independence and elsewhere.]

14.7 a company, that did not belong to the general body [non-Separatists, that is], but came on their particular, and were to have lands assigned them, and be for themselves, yet to be subject to the general Government; which caused some difference and disturbance amongst them, as will after appear. . . .

14.9  The best dish they could present their friends with was a lobster, or a piece of fish, without bread or any thing else but a cup of fair spring water.

14.10 no Egypt to go to

14.12 Now God gave them plenty

14.13 fancied; as if they would be great men and rich, all of a sudden; but they proved castles in the air. . . .


15.1 setting corn for their particular [individually, not collectively], having thereby with a great deal of patience overcome hunger and famine. Which makes me remember a saying of Seneca’s Epistle 123. That a great part of liberty is a well-governed belly, and to be patient in all wants. They began now highly to prize corn as more precious then silver, and those that had some to spare began to trade one with another for small things

15.2 they made suit to the Governor [Bradford] to have some portion of land given them for continuance [private ownership in perpetuity], and not by yearly lot, for by that means, that which the more industrious had brought into good culture (by much pains) one year, came to leave it the next, and often another might enjoy it; so as the dressing of their lands were the more slighted over, and to less profit. Which being well considered, their request was granted.

15.2 that they might be kept close together both for more safety and defense, and the better improvement of the general employments.

15.3 not counted a good, but a dangerous man, that would not content himself with seven acres of land.


19.1-2 Dutch bring wampum, inflate value

19.4 a drug in time; firearms

19.7 you will also be carried away and sold for slaves with the rest

19.8 Morton became Lord of Misrule, and maintained (as it were) a school of Atheism. And after they had got some goods into their hands, and got much by trading with the Indians, they spent it as vainly, in quaffing and drinking both wine and strong waters in great excess and as some reported, 10 Pounds worth in a morning. They also set up a May-pole, drinking and dancing about it many days together, inviting the Indian women, for their consorts, dancing and frisking together, (like so many fairies, or furies rather,) and worse practices

19.9 changed the name of their place again, and called it Mount Dagon

19.10 when they [the Indians] saw the execution that a piece [firearm] would do, and the benefits that might come by the same, they [the Indians] became mad, as it were, after them, and would not stick to give any prize they could attain to for them; accounting their bow and arrows but baubles in comparison of them.

19.13 before their colonies in these parts be overthrown by these barbarous savages, thus armed with their own weapons,

19.16 first resolved jointly to write to him, and in a friendly and neighborly way to admonish him to forbear these courses, and sent a messenger with their letters to bring his answer. But he was so high as he scorned all advice, and asked who had to do with him; he had and would trade pieces [firearms] with the Indians in despite of all,


21 the light here kindled hath shone to many, yea in some sort to our whole nation [cf. city on a hill]


23.1 many were much enriched, and commodities grew plentiful; and yet in other regards this benefit turned to their hurt, and this accession of strength to their weakness.

23.2 No man now thought he could live, except he had cattle and a great deal of ground to keep them; all striving to increase their stocks.

23.3 the town [Plymouth], in which they lived compactly [close together] till now, was left very thin, and in a short time almost desolate.

23.4 Duxbury become a body of themselves

23.6 and this, I fear, will be the ruin of New England, at least of the churches of God there, and will provoke the Lord’s displeasure against them.


28.1 Indians as terrorists

28.2-3 Pequots and Narragansetts as allies or traditional enemies

28.4 Narragansetts bring English to Pequot fort

28.5 destroyed about 400 [of the Pequots] at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the praise thereof to God,

28.7 Uncas


32 Marvelous it may be to see and consider how some kind of wickedness did grow and break forth here, in a land where the same was so much witnessed against, and so narrowly looked unto, and severely punished

32 here, they [sins] are, as it were, brought into the light, and set in the plain field, or rather on a hill, made conspicuous to the view of all. [cf. John Winthrop's "city on a hill" in A Model of Christian Charity]


33.1 marvelous providence of God, that notwithstanding the many changes and hardships that these people went through, and the many enemies they had and difficulties they met withal, that so many of them should live to very old age!

33.5 not by good and dainty fare, by peace, and rest, and heart’s ease, in enjoying the contentments and good things of this world only, that preserves health and prolongs life. [heroic generation]

33.6 Many having left this place

33.6 the church began seriously to think whether it were not better jointly to remove to some other place, than to be thus weakened, and as it were insensibly dissolved.

33.7 Some were still for staying together in this place, alleging men might here live, if they would be content with their condition; and that it was not for want or necessity so much that they removed, as for the enriching of themselves

33.9 And thus was this poor church left, like an ancient mother, grown old, and forsaken of her children, (though not in their affections,)

33.9 Thus she that had made many rich became herself poor



Strategy: start with the immigrant narrative as a standard by which to measure American cultures

Objective 1. To identify the immigrant narrative as the fundamental story-line of the dominant or majority culture in the USA . . . 


But in fact Pilgrims are not there to "share" with Indians

Instead of assimilating to Indian culture, sticking with their own culture and language


Besides first Thanksgiving, most famous Indian encounter for Pilgrims is with Squanto


Many older white communities have a "Squanto myth" about a lone Indian who still lived in a newly settled area, told stories and showed whites how to hunt or fish

Bradford 89 Squanto, interpreter, . . . directed them how to set their corn, where to take fish, and to procure other commodities + pilot

compare to Pocahontas in Virginia--implication that Indians really like whites despite everything

"The Leatherstocking Tales" including The Last of the Mohicans with Indian sidekick Chingachgook

Dances with Wolves and other popular films where whites and Indians are happy and compatible


89 Squanto, interpreter, special instrument sent of God

directed them how to set their corn, where to take fish, and to procure other commodities + pilot

89 He was a native of this place, and scarce any left alive besides himself

Bradford 97 the late great mortality, which fell in all these parts about three years before the coming of the English, wherein thousands of them died

Squanto and Native Americans have their own story, but it is absorbed into the Pilgrims' story

The power of God, or the power of the dominant culture?

Bradford 89 Squanto, interpreter, special instrument sent of God

directed them how to set their corn, where to take fish, and to procure other commodities + pilot

Squanto and Native Americans have their own story, but it is absorbed into the Pilgrims' story

(Mourt's Relation)

51 [Samoset] told us the place where we now lived is called Patuxet, and that about four years ago all the inhabitants died of an extraordinary plague, and there is neither man, woman, nor child remaining, as indeed we have found none, so as there is none to hinder our possession, or to lay claim unto it.


Compelling story, but shifts focus and takes eye off dominant culture, casts them as oppressors or villains rather than the designers of our lifestyle

+ Thanksgiving as brief moment of inter-racial balance and exchange


How do relations between Indians and Pilgrims correspond to relations between Jews and Canaanites?


Question: How do the Indians appear like a minority in relation to the Pilgrims?

Prohibitions on intermarriage: ch. 19 of Plymouth Plantation

American dream or American nightmare: ch. 11, par. 11.11


Protestantism as emphasis on literacy, society built on written laws

Notes from Of Plymouth Plantation 

83 liberty; none had power to command them

> covenant; cf. Constitution (recent election)

83-84 Mayflower Compact

83 for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith

84 in presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic [Ex. 2, 6]


printing press as important vehicle of Protestant Reformation



Capitalism and "Protestant Work Ethic" + effects of profit motive on community

example of Protestant work ethic--New England didn't celebrate Christmas until 1800s

107 Christmas day, stool-ball

[no gaming: work or worship; Protestantism strips out Catholic holidays; at length Capitalism violates Sabbath (remember "Blue Laws?")]

Ex. 32.6 rose up to play



2 churches of God revert to their ancient purity and recover their primitive order

19 came as near the primitive pattern of the first churches as any other church of these later times 

Church of Christ of Santa Clara CA




American dominant culture attempts to maintain stability--attempts to move forward or change without losing control, changing too fast

balances future shaped by capitalism and desire with past shaped by old-time religion and restraint (commitment to family, honoring father and mother, etc.)

individual and community?


How does it hold together?



overall, dominant culture creates impression of "natural order"

takes advantage of "human nature" in terms of profit motive, drive, competition

but some of these impulses are anti-social, emphasizing individualism over community, ambition over service, etc.

counter-impulse: bow or submit to earlier order

American marriage of God and mammon, righteousness and excess

Who can resist?