Property, Identity and Place in Seventeenth-Century New England

Southard, Elizabeth (2013) Property, Identity and Place in Seventeenth-Century New England. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis presents a study of the construction and defence of English settler-colonies
in New England during the seventeenth century, focusing upon the relationship between
ordinary people and their environment. This work initially examines the preexploration
reports and the first few decades of settlement and how commodification
and naming practices helped in translating the landscape into a familiar, useful and,
most importantly, English place. This continues in Chapter Two with a study of the
distribution and construction of towns, boundaries and familiar patterns of agricultural
usage. This patterning reveals how early settlers perceived their world, and how they
secured traditional English customs and patterns onto this uncultivated landscape. The
final two chapters will examine challenges to this system, from within New England
and across the Atlantic. Chapter Three focuses on the challenge of native land rights,
which threatened to undermine the initial basis of conquest and discovery as claims to
the land. However, this was overcome due the flexibility of narratives of ownership and
possession and the addition of native land rights to English property regimes. Chapter
Four examines the network of authority and ownership which crossed the Atlantic and
throughout New England, and what happened when these systems and ideas were
challenged by the creation of a new government under the Dominion of New England.
This final chapter reveals how all of these concepts and themes about property wove
together to re-create the relationship between English settlers and their land, albeit
through new concepts and methods.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2014 12:40
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2014 12:40


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