1st Edition

Converging Worlds
Communities and Cultures in Colonial America, A Sourcebook

Edited By

Louise A. Breen

ISBN 9780415964975
Published December 20, 2011 by Routledge
408 Pages

USD $48.95

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Book Description

Providing a survey of colonial American history both regionally broad and "Atlantic" in coverage, Converging Worlds presents the most recent research in an accessible manner for undergraduate students.

The ideal accompaniment to Converging Worlds: Communities and Cultures in Colonial America, this Sourcebook is a collection of primary documents that contextualize and bring to life the exciting narrative of early America. The expert authors of each chapter have hand-picked multiple documents corresponding with the same chapter in the textbook to help students delve deeper into the diverse geographic regions and variety of topics covered in this time period, including:

  • Letters
  • Pamphlets and newspaper articles
  • Excerpts from diaries
  • Patents and charters
  • Court records
  • And much more!

While the Sourcebook and text make a perfectly integrated package, the Sourcebook also features general introductions and section introductions framing the documents, so students can easily use it on its own to explore the vast colonial world up close.

In addition to the helpful maps, timelines, and further resources available for students on the companion site, instructors will have access to the full text of many of the documents included in the Sourcebook.

For additional information and classroom resources please visit the Converging Worlds companion website at www.routledge.com/cw/breen.

Table of Contents


  1. European Ambitions by Timothy Walker
  2. Document 1: Spain and Portugal divide the world at the Treaty of Tordesillas, 1494

    Document 2: The Spanish way of announcing their intention to take control, 1512

    Document 3: Queen Elizabeth issues a patent to Humphrey Gilbert, 1579

    Document 4: Sir Walter Ralegh receives the Roanoke patent, 1584

    Document 5: The States General of the Netherlands establishes the Dutch West India Company, 1621

  3. Tentative Testimonies by Heather McCrea
  4. Document 1: Bartolomé de las Casas decries the "Destruction of the Indies," 1542

    Document 2: Spain enrages colonists with "new laws" that protect Indians, 1542

    Document 3: Bernal Diaz remembers the Conquest

    Document 4: Florentine Codex account of the Massacre at Cholula

  5. First Contacts by Michael Oberg

Document 1: Thomas Harriot reports on the native people at Roanoke, 1588

Document 2: Henry Hudson arrives at Manhattan, 1609

Document 3: William Bradford comments on an epidemic among native peoples of New England, 1634


  1. Chesapeake by L.H. Roper
  2. Document 1: A Jamestown planter asks permission to marry a native woman, 1614

    Document 2: An Englishman writes the Virginia Company with news of Jamestown, 1620

    Document 3: Charles I takes the Governor and Council of Virginia to task, 1637

    Document 4: Virginians complain about the founding of Maryland and the actions of their governor, 1635

    Document 5: A rebellious colonist denounces William Berkeley, 1676

    Document 6: Virginians develop laws on slavery, 1661-1705

  3. New England by Richard Gildrie
  4. Document 1: John Winthrop instructs and encourages colonists traveling to New England, 1630

    Document 2: A minister warns against the dangers of religious toleration, 1647

    Document 3: A militia officer envisions Pequot women captured in war as servants, 1637

    Document 4: The Narragansett sachem Miantonomi tries to create a pan-Indian union, early 1640s

    Document 5: An English war captive recalls her suffering and the workings of providence during King Philip’s War, 1682

    Document 6: The Massachusetts General Court legislates against the immoral behaviors thought to have "provoked" God to allow New Englanders to suffer Indian violence, 1675

    Document 7: An Englishman voices sympathy for the suffering of Indians during King Philip’s War, 1677

  5. Caribbean by James Robertson
  6. Document 1: Barbadians discover and punish a plotted slave rebellion, 1675

    Document 2: A ship master complains of being robbed by Spanish sloops, 1730

    Document 3: A patriot planter from Georgia advises his son to leave Jamaica, 1776

    Document 4: The governor of Jamaica sympathizes with the plight of his counterpart in Virginia, 1776

  7. Middle Colonies by Wayne Bodle
  8. Document 1 The Half Moon crew explores the future New Netherland while seeking a route to Asia, 1609

    Document 2 : Early colonists recall the geographical extent of Dutch holdings

    Document 3: The Mohawk Iroquois and representatives from the Chesapeake engage in diplomacy under the Covenant Chain, 1677-79

    Document 4: William Penn proposes a scheme for intercolonial cooperation, 1697

  9. Carolinas by Noeleen McIlvanna

Document 1: An Anglican missionary proclaims the evils of the Albemarle during Cary’s Rebellion, 1711

Document 2: A South Carolina official describes the Stono Rebellion, 1739

Document 3: Josiah Quincy of Massachusetts visits South Carolina, 1773


  1. Salem Witchcraft by Louise Breen
  2. Document 1: A Boston merchant denounces witchcraft beliefs and the Salem trials

    Document 2: Magistrates interrogate Tituba, 1692

    Document 3: A Boston sea captain and merchant remembers being accused as a witch, 1700

    Document 4: Cotton Mather’s advice to two witchcraft judges, 1692

  3. Purgatory – Christian Missions by David J. Silverman
  4. Document 1: Puritan Thomas Shepard describes the first encounter between the Wampanoags and John Eliot, 1647

    Document 2: Jesuit missionary Paul LeJeune writes of the hardships of life with the Montagnais, mid 1630s

  5. Slave Trade and Slavery by Ty Reese
  6. Document 1: A former slave ship surgeon reveals the horrors of the Middle Passage

    Document 2: An English traveler comments on the rape of a slave in Massachusetts, 1638

    Document 3: Virginia owners advertise for help recovering runaway slaves, 1761-66

  7. Women by Linda Sturtz

Document 1: William Bradford describes communal and church obligations using familial and gender metaphors, 1644

Document 2: A Marblehead fisherman describes how a crowd of women killed his two Indian prisoners, 1677

Document 3: An African woman, "prophetess," and freedom fighter in Jamaica, 1732

Document 4: A slave woman pleads with the Archbishop of Canterbury for religious liberty and protests her sale to the West Indies, 1760

Document 5: Georgia’s founder extols the importance of women in ensuring order and productivity during a time of chaos and war, 1742

Document 6: A war captive from Pennsylvania recalls how she made a new life among the Indians

Document 7: Advice from 18th century almanacs on family, women and marriage, 1736-1760


  1. Backcountries by Warren Hofstra
  2. Document 1 German explorer John Lederer reports on the Shenandoah Valley, 1669-70

    Document 2: Moravian missionaries trek through western Virginia, 1749

    Document 3: Ohio Company agent Christopher Gist scouts for land and trade opportunities, early 1750s

    Document 4: An English traveler presents an idyllic view of the Shenandoah Valley, 1759-60

    Document 5: Ben Franklin condemns the "Paxton Boys" as barbaric, 1764

    Document 6: The "Paxton Boys" defend their actions and express their frustrations, 1764

    Document 7: An Englishman travels the backcountry, 1774

  3. Spiritual Awakenings by Kenneth Minkema
  4. Document 1: Johann Arndt on "Dying to the World," 1606

    Document 2: George Whitefield proclaims the necessity of the New Birth, 1737

    Document 3: John Marrant narrates the "Lord’s Wonderful dealings" following his conversion, 1785

    Document 4: Handsome Lake calls for a hybridized nativism, 1799

    Document 5: Joanne Southcott’s dispute with Satan, 1802

    Document 6: Pierre Cholenec praises Catherine (Kateri) Tekakwitha, ca. 1700

    Document 7: An account of the first sighting of the Virgin of Guadalupe

  5. Enlightenment by Ned Landsman
  6. Document 1: Women correspond in efforts to help one another "improve"

    Document 2: Benjamin Franklin networks and experiments with a secular way of inculcating virtue

    Document 3: A Virginia planter expounded on the characteristics of native peoples and Africans

  7. New France by Robert Morissey
  8. Document 1: A Jesuit explains the "Polity of the Hurons, and Their Government," 1636

    Document 2: A French negotiator works to establish unity among Menominee (Malhominis) and Potawatomi refuses at Chequamegon Bay. 1660s

    Document 3: A French ceremony asserting possession at Sault Ste. Marie, 1671

    Document 4: Grand Treaty establishes peace with the Iroquois, 1701

  9. French and Indian War by James Piecuch

Document 1 Virginia governor instructs George Washington to assess French strength in the Ohio Country, 1753

Document 2 George Washington describes defeat, 1755

Document 3: The colonies contemplate union, 1754

Document 4 A French officer reflects on the direction of the war, 1758

Document 5 Indian Superintendent William Johnson explains the strategic importance of the Iroquois, 1763

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Louise A. Breen is Associate Professor of History at Kansas State University. She is the author of Transgressing the Bounds: Subversive Enterprises among the Puritan Elite in Massachusetts, 1630-1692.