Representative Americans: The Colonists
By Norman K. Risjord
This updated volume of Representative Americans highlights three generations of colonial Americans―men and women who founded, shaped, and coined traditions of this country. This is a glimpse into a time of empire and frontier, religion, and science. The breadth of this experience is represented in the book's three sections. "Pathmarkers of the Empire" are represented in the first section. Captain John Smith and Nathaniel Bacon, though living half a century apart, were frontier soldiers shaping relations between Native and European cultures. William Bradford and William Penn came to America, also half a century apart, hoping to found a community of the righteous. In the book's second section, "Swords of Empire," the imperial, triangular contest among Britian, France, and Spain for supremacy in the New World is explored. "In the vanguard of the empire were the fortune hunters," Risjord writes. Among these "Caesars of the Forest" were Pierre Esprit Radisson and his merchant brother-in-law Medard Chouart who traversed the wilds of Canada in search of the elusive Northwest Passage. The book's final section, "Bridges of Empire," presents, among others, Cotton Mather and James Logan, who stood poised between an older order of religious humility and a newer one of political will which would later blossom into national identity.