The Americans: The Colonial Experience
Daniel J. Boorstin
Winner of the Bancroft Prize. "A superb panorama of life in America from the first settlements on through the white hot days of the Revolution." - Bruce Lancaster, Saturday Review
literature less rich and gave much of their writing a quaint and crabbed sound, but for a time at least, it was a source of strength. Theirs was not a philosophic enterprise; they were, first and foremost, community-builders. The energies which their English contemporaries gave to sharpening the distinctions between “compulsive” and “restrictive” powers in religion, between “matters essential” and “matters indifferent” and to a host of other questions which have never ceased to bother reflective
planters’ libraries, which contained many books about religion. In the library of Edmund Berkeley, a fairly typical planter-aristocrat who died in 1718, of one hundred and thirteen titles, the largest group (thirty-two) dealt with religion. So too in the libraries of William Fitzhugh, Ralph Wormeley II, Richard Lee II, Robert Carter, and William Byrd II, to mention only a few. In these collections, works of theological controversy were extremely rare; religious books consisted mainly of such
Common Prayer be read before the sermon! The Virginians can hardly be blamed if they trembled at revivalist antics. Was it tyrannical simply to require erratic preachers to register the places of their preaching? Many refused even to do this. The cause célèbre during this wild evangelical campaign was the “case” of the Rev. Samuel Davies, whom the authorities had willingly licensed as the minister of seven meeting-houses in five different counties in 1748. But they refused to license him as
They had seen diversity in their own well-ordered community. 23 Citizens of Virginia NOTHING could be more misleading than to think of Virginians as “Citizens of the World.” In common with American leaders since their day, they preferred to start from their own problems. Their point of departure was their location in time and space. If George Washington seems colorless to us today it is partly because our latter-day democratic prejudices have blinded us to the colors of his Virginia. It
Century, be more than the People of England, and the greatest Number of Englishmen will be on this Side of the Water. What an Accession of Power to the British Empire by Sea as well as Land! What Increase of Trade and Navigation! What Numbers of Ships and Seamen! Franklin saw that already American facts were destroying European theories. For example, the theory of “mercantilism” by which England and her rivals justified their contest for empire had been shaped by the facts of a crowded Europe.