1600-1800 Early American Writing

(Beginnings of American Literature, Review of Persuasive Writing, Language, and Vocabulary)

Synopsis:  The Colonial Period in American literature will be introduced with sample literary works from the period. Emphasis will be placed on nonfiction Colonial texts, as well as on persuasive and expository writing.

Students will research and analyze the various contributions of the American Colonial Period by developing both written and oral presentations.  A review of persuasive texts will also help students incorporate persuasive

writing techniques into an essay and presentation. Throughout the unit, various forms of nonfiction texts will be utilized by students to explore the characteristics of the Colonial Period in American literature.  Content and SAT vocabulary will be studied, acquired, and applied throughout the unit. Students will apply this vocabulary throughout their study of American literature.

Week 1: Texts Covered

“”Horrors ofa Slave Ship”, “He Purchases his Freedom” p.272-280

from The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano


Week 2: Texts Covered

from Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God p. 168

On Puritanism

Puritanism and Predestination

Lesson on “Sinner” and resources

On Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinner”

“To My Dear and Loving Husband” p. 77

The Crucible by Arthur Miller                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Week 3:

 “Information about Non-Fiction Literature” (hand-out)

 “On Reading Trash (hand-out)                              “Graduation” (hand-out)




Literary Terms

Figurative Language

Writing Strategies

Range Finders

Analyze Visual Representations

Exposure to non-fiction articles that will promote analytical thinking and synthesis.





Unit 1 (cont.): 1600-1800- Writers of the Revolution (Revolutionary Ideas in Revolutionary Literature)


Synopsis:  Non-fiction texts from the American Revolutionary period will be studied and analyzed with an emphasis on their use of persuasive rhetorical strategies. Emphasis will be placed on the lasting impact of these texts and their role in shaping an emerging and new form of government on the world stage.  After whole class discussion of specific strategies and stylistic devices (parallelism, repetition, allusion, etc.), students will work in pairs and groups to analyze text and evaluate persuasive techniques. Students will practice incorporating newly learned rhetorical and stylistic devices into their own persuasive writing.  Students will read and discuss representative American poetry and evaluate emerging American voices.  The culminating project will allow students to showcase their persuasive skills in writing and speaking.


Week 4: Texts Covered

Philip Freneau, To the Memor of the Brave Americans p288

The Wild Honey Suckle p.289

James Cooper “fromteh Pioneers” p.336

Week 5: Texts Covered

The Declaration of Independence p. 259

Speech in the Virginia Convention p. 265

Letter to John Adams p. 267



Week 6: Texts Covered

Thomas Paine from Common Sense p. 242




Literary Terms

Figurative Language

Writing Strategies

Range Finders

Analyze Visual Representations

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