Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Major Problems in American Colonial History, 3rd Edition

  • Karen Ordahl Kupperman
  • ISBN-10: 0495912999
  • ISBN-13: 9780495912996
  • 496 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2000, 1993
  • COPYRIGHT: 2013 Published
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About the Product

Designed to encourage critical thinking about history, the MAJOR PROBLEMS IN AMERICAN HISTORY series introduces students to both primary sources and analytical essays on important topics in American history. The collection of essays and documents in MAJOR PROBLEMS IN AMERICAN COLONIAL HISTORY introduces students to American colonial history and, in this third edition, presents a radically new vision of the subject in accordance with developments in the way the subject is currently taught. Most importantly, this new edition takes a more continental and thematic approach. Each chapter contains an introduction, headnotes, and suggestions for further reading.


  • Including both primary and secondary sources in a single collection provides a rich analytical experience for students. The primary sources give students evidence to explore; the secondary sources expose students to key historical debates. Often the secondary essays refer to one of the primary documents, so students can see how historians integrate evidence in an interpretation.

  • Each chapter begins with a brief introduction to its topic, while headnotes that place the readings in historical and interpretive perspective introduce each chapter’s primary sources and essays.

  • A Further Reading section provides students with a wealth of classic and cutting-edge scholarship that relates to key themes in each chapter.

About the Author

Karen Ordahl Kupperman

Karen Ordahl Kupperman is Silver Professor of History at New York University. She received her Ph.D. from Cambridge University and is the author of many award-winning books and articles, including the American Historical Association’s Albert J. Beveridge Award for her book PROVIDENCE ISLAND, 1630-1641: THE OTHER PURITAN COLONY(1993), and most recently, The American Historical Association Prize in Atlantic History.

Table of Contents

1. Karen Ordahl Kupperman, American, African and European Polities Compared. 2. J. H. Elliott, Imperial Competition in the Early Atlantic.

1. Maushop Leaves New England: An Indian legend About Colonization, 1787. 2. In the Beginning: Tewa creation story, oral tradition from pre-contact times. 3. Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca acts as a curer and shaman across the American Southwest, 1527-36. 4. Canadian natives recount their traditions of the first sight of men dressed in iron, 1633. 5. Sir Thomas Dale Describes Two Conversions in Early Virginia: Pocahontas Becomes a Christian and the Chickahominy Indians Become “King James His Men,” 1614. 6. Edward Waterhouse, Powhatan empire strikes back at expanding Virginia colony, 1622. 7. Pueblo Indians see the apparition of the Lady in Blue and Fray Alonso de Benavides identifies her as the Spanish nun Sor Maria de Ágreda. 8. Mohegan Indians petition the king in their dispute with the colonial government of Connecticut. The "Major Part" of the Mohegans protests Connecticut's recognition of Ben Uncas as sachem, 1738. Ben Uncas asks for recognition of his status as sachem, 1739. 9. Choctaw leaders come to negotiations accompanied by women to indicate their peaceful intentions.
1. Natalie Zemon Davis, Iroquois Women, European Women. 2. Jenny Hale Pulsipher, New England Indians adopt a political relationship to the English government.

1. Coronado Explores the Southwest, 1540-1542. 2. Pedro Menendez de Aviles visits the Calusa king Carlos after the foundation of St. Augustine. 3. Menendez encounters Spaniards who had lived as captives among the Indians and finds that female captives sometimes chose to stay with their native families. 4. Don Juan de Oñate describes the founding of New Mexico. 5. Fray Alonso de Benavides Reports New Mexico Indians Eager for Conversion, 1634 6. Virginia Company acknowledges that the colony will never be successful without women and family life. 7. Certificates attesting to the good preparation of prospective wives for Virginia planters. 8. Pocahontas and John Smith meet in London where she accuses him of cowardice and lying. 9. John Rolfe reports large amounts of tobacco planted in Virginia, 1616. 10. Richard Frethorne begs his parents for support, 1623.
1. Juliana Barr, The Colonial Sunbelt: St. Augustine to Santa Fe. 2. James Horn, Tobacco and the Peopling of Virginia.

1. Pilgrim Leaders create the Mayflower Compact and describe the first Thanksgiving, 1620, 1621. 2. The Reverend Thomas Hooker warns of England's impending punishment by God, 1631. 3. Governor John Winthrop gives a Model of Christian Charity, 1630. 4. Colonist John Pond writes to his mother and father for help, 1631. 5. Maryland enacts religious toleration for all Christians, 1649. 6. A blank servant indenture form, 1635. 7. Robert Cole provides for education and property for his daughters and sons in his Will. 8. George Alsop argues that servants in Maryland have a good deal, 1666.
1. Virginia DeJohn Anderson, Religion, the Common Thread of Motivation. 2. Lois Green Carr and Lorena S. Walsh, The Experience of White Women in the Chesapeake.

1. John Easton tries to avert the war by hearing King Philip's grievances, 1675. 2. Cotton Mather describes the Indians of Massachusetts and John Eliot's mission to them, 1702. 3. Mary Rowlandson interprets her captivity during King Philip's War, 1676. 4. Nathaniel Bacon's Manifestos, 1676. 5. Thomas Mathews describes the outbreak of Bacon's Rebellion. 6. Virginia's leaders appeal to the Queen of Pamunkey for aid. 7. New Mexico's Indians Rebel Against Suppression of their Native Religion, 1680. Alonso García to Fray Francisco de Ayeta. Fray Antonio de Sierra to Fray Francisco de Ayeta. Statement of One of the Rebellious Christian Indians. Statement of Pedro García. 8. Pedro Naranjo describes Popé's vision and leadership, 1680.
1. Jill Lepore, John Sassamon Between Two Cultures. 2. April Lee Hatfield, Conflicting Interests in Expanding Virginia Lead to Bacon's Rebellion.

1. Jasper Dankaerts calls on the planter Maria van Rensselaer, 1680. 2. Sarah Kemble Knight encounters Dutch and English in New York, 1704. 3. William Penn offers a Prospectus for Merchants, 1683. 4. Gabriel Thomas promises High Wages and Great Opportunities in Pennsylvania, 1698. 5. Gottlieb Mittelberger describes the system of recruiting German colonists, and the suffering they endured, 1754. 6. Huguenots in North Carolina write to their sponsor, Agnes van Wassenaer Obdam, describing their experiences, 1688. 7. Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg reports on Moravian Plans for the Settlement of Wachovia, 1752. 8. Dr. Alexander Hamilton encounters Scots-Irish colonists.
1. Rosalind J. Beiler, German-Speaking Immigrants in the British Atlantic World. 2. Patrick Griffin, The People with No Name: Ulster's Migrants and Identity Formation in Eighteenth-Century Pennsylvania.

1. Richard Ligon describes the beginnings of sugar cultivation and planters' adaptation to the climate in Barbados, 1654. The Sugar Revolution. English Adaptation in Barbados. Treatment of Slaves and Servants. 2. English official Edward Randolph reports to the Board of Trade on Economic Prospects and the Spanish Threat in South Carolina, 1699. 3. Thomas Nairne reassures prospective settlers about the environment and trade of South Carolina, 1710. 4. Indian Trader John Lawson's Journal of Carolina, 1710. 5. James Oglethorpe, "Persons Reduc'd to Poverty May be Happy in Georgia," 1732. 6. William Byrd Praises the Plan to prohibit slavery in Georgia, 1736. 7. Governor William Tryon Assesses the Prospects for Life in the North Carolina Backcountry, 1765. 8. J. Hector St. John Crevecoeur contrasts the culture of Charlestown and the situation of slaves, 1782. 9. Eliza Lucas Pinckney on the Perfection of Indigo, 1785.
1. Jack P. Greene, Barbados as a Colonial Model. 2. Alan Gallay, Jonathan Bryan's Plantation Empire in Georgia.

1. The Board of Trade Seeks Information on the Slave Trade, 1708 Replies: Rhode Island Governor William Cranston. Maryland Governor John Seymour. Edmund Jennings of Virginia. 2. The Reverend Hugh Jones describes Virginia slavery in 1724. 3. Johann Martin Bolzius describes the slaves' lives in Georgia, 1750s. 4. Supplies needed to set up plantation, including enslaved women and men, cattle, and equipment, along with the work the slaves will do. 5. Order Presented for Clothing “Joan, a Negroe Woman” Who “Belongs” to the Eaton Free School in Virginia, 1690s.6. Advertisement for sale of enslaved girl named Esther.
1. Ira Berlin, Time, Space, and the Evolution of Afro-American Society. 2. Jennifer L. Morgan, Enslaved women's labor.

1. Benjamin Franklin listens to his Friend George Whitefield, 1739. 2. Nathan Cole Describes the Crowds Going to Hear Whitefield at Middletown, 1740. 3. George Whitefield describes the mixed congregations he preached to. 4. Jonathan Edwards describes the awakening in his congregation in Northampton, Massachusetts. 5. Sarah Pierpont Edwards's own account of her religious experience. 6. Susannah Anthony's description of her religious conversion, ca. 1740s. 7. John Marrant's narrative of his conversion. 8. Joseph Fish Reveals the Activities of Samuel Niles, Narragansett New Light Preacher, 1765.
1. Frank Lambert, George Whitefield, the Grand Itinerant. 2. Catherine A. Brekus, Euroamerican Women's and Men's Experiences in the Great Awakening. 3. Frank Lambert, African-Americans' Experience of the Revivals.

1. James Blair tells the Bishop of London of the Ministers' Persecution in Virginia, 1704. 2. Several ministers in New Jersey attest to their suffering and ask for a bishop to protect them, 1714. 3. The Anglican Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts on Massachusetts Governor Dudley's treatment of Anglicans, 1713. 4. Governor Dudley presents his defense and counter-accusations, 1714. 5. Governor Bellomont of New York writes home of his money problems and the dishonest ways of the colonists he is forced to deal with, 1700. 6. Commissioner William Stephens describes his meeting with Coosaponakeesa [Mary Musgrove], 1737. 7. Mary Musgrove Bosomworth's statement to Col. Alexander Heron and Heron's reply. 8. Statement of sovereignty by Georgia Indian leaders, 1747.
1. Alison M. Olson, Transatlantic Interest Groups and the Colonial Governors.
2. Julie Anne Sweet, Mary Musgrove Maneuvers Between Empires.

1. Conrad Weiser describes Madame Montour, 1737. 2. Moravian Leader Count Zinzendorf records his impressions of Madame Montour and Andrew Montour, 1742. 3. Mary Jemison recounts her experience of capture and adoption as a Seneca, 1755. 4. Sir William Johnson confers with Iroquois leaders, 1762.
5. Multiple versions of Teedyscung speaking to a treaty negotiations, July 28, 1756. 6. Benjamin Franklin, A Narrative of the Late Massacres, in Lancaster County, of a Number of Indians, Friends of this Province, by Persons Unknown. With Some Observations on the Same, 1764. 7. The Apology of the Paxton Volunteers addressed to the candid and impartial World.
1. James H. Merrell, Reading Andrew Montour. 2. Nicole Eustace, The Sentimental Paradox: Humanity and Violence on the Pennsylvania Frontier.

1. Merchant and Massachusetts Bay Mint-Master John Hull Appeals for Freedom to Trade, 1677. 2. Benjamin Franklin Advises Readers How to Get On in Philadelphia (c. 1730-c. 1750), 1793. 3. Letter from a Widow on The Abuses of the Road, and City-Watch December 14 1752. 4. Club of widowed matrons meets to send their thanks for publishing letter. 5. Will of Margrieta van Varick, New York merchant, 1695. 6. Self-fashioning by servants and the enslaved to free themselves from servitude.
1. Serena R.Zabin, New York as a Commercial Center and Women's Roles in Trade. 2. David Waldstreicher, Unfree Workers Take Advantage of Their Economic Experience to Free Themselves.

1. Missionary David Brainerd describes his encounter with a Delaware prophet, 1745. 2. James Kenny dreams of new relationships on the frontier at the end of the French and Indian War. 3. Neolin's journey to the Master of Life, described in 1763. 4. Pontiac Seeks Allies and Plans Attack, 1763. 5. Royal proclamation of 1763 prohibiting movement of settlers into the trans-Appalachian West
1. Gregory E. Dowd, The Indians’ Great Awakening and Pontiac’s War. 2. Fred Anderson, The Consequences of Victory.

1. Jean-Bernard Bossu advises newcomers on the way to health in Louisiana, 1762. 2. Dr. Alexander Hamilton Surveys the Variety of Pennsylvania, 1744. 3. Pelatiah Webster Describes the Uniqueness of Charleston, 1763. 4. Janet Schaw Visits Wilmington, North Carolina, 1774. 5. William Eddis praises the society of Annapolis, Maryland and speculates on the fate of American Indians, 1771.
1. T. H. Breen, Consumption, Anglicization, and the Formation of American Identity. 2. John M. Murrin, The Dilemma of American National Identity.

New to this edition

  • This new edition takes a more continental and thematic approach. Early chapters look at the earliest impulse to colonization within the future United States by Spanish as well as English promoters, and examine their similarities as well as their differences. They also present new research on Indian responses and strategies for managing the colonists’ presence in a variety of settings.
  • Rather than isolating the New England puritan colonies as completely different from other ventures, this volume looks at all the English colonies in a more comparative way, particularly in chapters 4 and 5. This treatment compares the colonies in distinct periods or phases of development, so that both similarities and differences stand out.
  • The approach of looking at phases of development and encompassing regions within them continues in subsequent chapters as colonial enterprise extended into the South and the middle colonies. Comparison of Carolina and Pennsylvania is particularly interesting, as they shared ethnic diversity and radical Protestantism while introducing wholly different labor systems.
  • The comparative and thematic approach continues in chapters on the Great Awakening, the development of the Atlantic economy, the struggle for empire, and the colonies at mid-century. The responses of enslaved Africans and American Indians figure in these chapters as well.
  • The new edition also includes the voices and activities of women to a greater degree than earlier editions. In this, it reflects recent research and emphases within colonial history, demonstrating the crucial roles that women played as home managers, entrepreneurs, and cultural go-betweens. Other voices that had been silenced or ignored in older scholarship, such as those of African Americans and Indians, play a larger role in this edition. This volume allows teachers to introduce students to interconnections as well as contrasts, and to present a wide range of authentic actors in colonial America.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Doing History: Research and Writing in the Digital Age  (ISBN-10: 0534619533 | ISBN-13: 9780534619534)

DOING HISTORY: RESEARCHING AND WRITING IN THE DIGITAL AGE presents a "soup to nuts" approach to researching and writing about history, with an eye for making the most of current technology. The authors begin their straightforward approach with an overview of the discipline. Then, they lay out a systematic approach to research, cover how to analyze sources and write the paper, and finally offer examples of various citation styles.

Student Supplements

Doing History: Research and Writing in the Digital Age  (ISBN-10: 0534619533 | ISBN-13: 9780534619534)

Whether you're starting down the path as a history major, or simply looking for a straightforward and systematic guide to writing a successful paper, you'll find this text to be an indispensable handbook to historical research. This text's "soup to nuts" approach to researching and writing about history addresses every step of the process, from locating your sources and gathering information, to writing clearly and making proper use of various citation styles to avoid plagiarism. You'll also learn how to make the most of every tool available to you-especially the technology that helps you conduct the process efficiently and effectively.