A Tough Beginning: Teaching “The Puritan Vision Altered”

“Let us thank God for having given us such ancestors; and let each successive generation thank him, not less fervently, for being one step further from them in the march of ages.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Main Street” (1849) For the undergraduates in my American Social Thought course, beginning Volume I of The American Intellectual Tradition can feel like being tossed into the deep end of the pool. In many ways, the Puritans represent the most challenging readings of the semester. They are furthest removed from my 21st-century students in language and thought.  And, due to the continuing mythic presence of Read more

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