A lot of ignorant people like to spout off that America was settled/founded by Puritans. Sure they were here. But they settled a small area of North America – not every where. But they were so stick-up-your-ass intolerant and unfun that they aren’t around anymore. Nobody wanted to be a Puritan anymore. Can you blame them?
On the other hand, the Quakers, who were, and still are, gentle and kind folk, not to mention smart, are still around.
That brings us to Thanksgiving. I have to say a few words on that day before I go on. Please don’t make it political. People around the world celebrate feasts of THANKS. We should all be thankful for something, and we should all be thankful for the free thinking individuals who had the courage to go do new stuff and think new things and come up with cranberry sauce. President Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday during the Civil War. Look it up. It was a horrible time in United States history. We all needed to stop and reflect. That is a good thing. Being with family, friends, and even strangers is a good thing, no matter where your family is from and no matter what your religious or political beliefs are. On Thanksgiving we are all family. Take a day off from the BS and enjoy each other’s company guilt free. Now back to the history lesson…
Like now, the world in the 17th Century (the 1600’s for those of you who don’t know history) was not always a happy place for those who wished to worship, THINK, or live as they pleased. I say THINK out loud because it wasn’t all about religion. People left their countries of origin to go into the great unknown for a lot of reasons. I will explain this in a moment.
And you think, for someone to get onto a tiny ship and sail across an ocean for months takes a lot of guts. Things must be pretty bad where you came from.
Least we not forget those who did not come here of their own free will.
So witch burning aside I will give you a list of many of the groups who DID come over to the New World and groups who were already here.
- Already here (Native American Tribes – and there were many)
- Came over of their own free will for religious freedom
- Came over because they were free thinkers
- Came over for a job, commerce, or trade
- Come over for the Millitary
- Came for adventure
- Came over to hide or escape
- Forced to be here (slaves and indentured servants and prisoners)
- Kicked out of everywhere else
- Kind of came and went (Vikings etc)
For more information on any of the groups above please look it up on the Internet or at your local public library. Wikipedia is a good option if you’re in a hurry. Except the Vampire… I’ll give you the rundown on that really quick.
The first Vampires came to the colonies in the mid 1600’s. While a few came as individuals, most came in small groups organized by Nathaniel Chase. The first groups were from England, but they also came from France, Holland, Scotland and Ireland. Most left to flee persecution by both humans and other less progressive old guard Vampires. They established themselves as successful business and trade leaders, keeping their identities as Vampires secret. Their community grew and prospered. Today there are several groups still established, including my group, the “Modern Vampires.”
Still feeling the Colonial America Vibe? Here is a list of some of my favorite books, movies and plays on the subject. Disclaimer: I’m stealing descriptions from other sites.
Books (not the movie, the book. Read the book.)
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (1959)
You may have read this one in school or your kids might have. If you haven’t now is time to do so. I love this book.
Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.
Elizabeth George Speare won the 1959 Newbery Medal for this portrayal of a heroine whom readers will admire for her unwavering sense of truth as well as her infinite capacity to love.
The Orphan Master by Jean Zimmerman
I can’t say enough good things about this book. Wow. This is one of the best books I’ve read – EVER. And one of my favorites. This is on the love list. THANK YOU JEAN ZIMMERMAN for writing this wonderful book.
It’s 1663 in the tiny, hardscrabble Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, now present-day southern Manhattan. Orphan children are going missing, and among those looking into the mysterious state of affairs are a quick-witted twenty-two-year-old trader, Blandine von Couvering, herself an orphan, and a dashing British spy named Edward Drummond.
Suspects abound, including the governor’s wealthy nephew, a green-eyed aristocrat with decadent tastes; an Algonquin trapper who may be possessed by a demon that turns people into cannibals; and the colony’s own corrupt and conflicted orphanmaster. Both the search for the killer and Edward and Blandine’s newfound romance are endangered, however, when Blandine is accused of being a witch and Edward is sentenced to hang for espionage. Meanwhile, war looms as the English king plans to wrest control of the colony.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Heart and soul I love this book. Hester Prynne rocks!
Here is a rather dry description but believe me, it is part of American History and literary tradition.
The Scarlet Letter: A Romance is an 1850 work of fiction in a historical setting, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and is considered to be his magnum opus. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.
Note and WARNING: Every time someone watches the movie “The Scarlett Letter” with Demi Moore a puppy dies. Every time someone says they like that movie they forfeit their soul to HELL. Plus you will lose ALL of my respect.
Young Goodman Brown, a story by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The story starts like this:
YOUNG GOODMAN BROWN came forth at sunset, into the street of Salem village, but put his head back, after crossing the threshold, to exchange a parting kiss with his young wife. And Faith, as the wife was aptly named, thrust her own pretty head into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons of her cap, while she called to Goodman Brown.
“Dearest heart,” whispered she, softly and rather sadly, when her lips were close to his ear, “pr’y thee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed to-night. A lone woman is troubled with such dreams and such thoughts, that she’s afeard of herself, sometimes. Pray, tarry with me this night, dear husband, of all nights in the year!”
“My love and my Faith,” replied young Goodman Brown, “of all nights in the year, this one night must I tarry away from thee. My journey, as thou callest it, forth and back again, must needs be done ‘twixt now and sunrise. What, my sweet, pretty wife, dost thou doubt me already, and we but three months married!”
“Then God bless you!” said Faith, with the pink ribbons, “and may you find all well, when you come back.”
“Amen!” cried Goodman Brown. “Say thy prayers, dear Faith, and go to bed at dusk, and no harm will come to thee.”
So they parted; and the young man pursued his way, until, being about to turn the corner by the meeting-house, he looked back and saw the head of Faith still peeping after him, with a melancholy air, in spite of her pink ribbons.
It all starts off nice and sweet but then it gets as sick and twisted as any slasher film. You can find a copy at your local library or bookstore or read it for free online.
Plays/Films (READ or SEE)
The Crucible by Arthur Miller (1953)
A powerful play about the Salem Witch Trials which also echoes the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950’s. This will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up because the truths of this play still run true today.
The Crucible is a 1953 play by the American playwright Arthur Miller. It is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693. Miller wrote the play as an allegory of McCarthyism, when the U.S. government blacklisted accused communists. Miller himself was questioned by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 and convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to identify others present at meetings he had attended.
If you can find a live production of this play to see or know of a movie version that FOLLOWS THE PLAY then by all means please see this.
The Devil’s Disciple (1959 movie, 1897 play)
The Devil’s Disciple is an 1897 play written by Irish dramatist George Bernard Shaw. The play is Shaw’s eighth, and after Richard Mansfield’s original 1897 American production it was his first financial success, which helped to affirm his career as a playwright. It was published in Shaw’s 1901 collection Three Plays for Puritans together with Captain Brassbound’s Conversion and Caesar and Cleopatra. Set in Colonial America during the Revolutionary era, the play tells the story of Richard Dudgeon, a local outcast and self-proclaimed “Devil’s disciple”. In a twist characteristic of Shaw’s love of paradox, Dudgeon sacrifices himself in a Christ-like gesture despite his professed Infernal allegiance.
OMG I love this movie. I love this play. Such a fun story. The movie stars Kurt Douglas and Burt Lancaster (who are both hotter than a room full of Helmsworth brothers.)
Either see the play or the film version. This is one of my favorite movies.
Last of the Mohicans (1992)
This is not a feel good movie but it is so beautifully filmed and acted. And Daniel Day Louis is absolutely stunning.
A Toast of Thanksviging… and other stuff
Over the next week I’ll be posting more Thanksgiving fun. So keep checking back. Have fun going over the river and through the woods – and don’t forget to watch for Werewolves.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman