Abraham in Arms: War and Gender in Colonial New England by Ann M. Little

By Ann M. Little

In 1678, the Puritan minister Samuel Nowell preached a sermon he known as "Abraham in Arms," within which he suggested his listeners to recollect that "Hence it really is no wayes unbecoming a Christian to benefit to be a Souldier." The name of Nowell's sermon used to be good selected. Abraham of the outdated testomony resonated deeply with New England males, as he embodied the proper of the householder-patriarch, instantaneously obedient to God and the unquestioned chief of his relatives and his humans in conflict and peace. but enemies challenged Abraham's authority in New England: Indians threatened the protection of his loved ones, subordinates in his family threatened his prestige, and better halves and daughters taken into captivity grew to become baptized Catholics, married French or Indian males, and refused to come back to New England.In a daring reinterpretation of the years among 1620 and 1763, Ann M. Little unearths how rules approximately gender and relations existence have been vital to the methods humans in colonial New England, and their friends in New France and Indian state, defined their reports in cross-cultural struggle. Little argues that English, French, and Indian humans had commonly related rules approximately gender and authority. simply because they understood either battle and political energy to be intertwined expressions of manhood, colonial war can be understood as a competition of other kinds of masculinity. for brand new England males, what had as soon as been a masculinity in response to family headship, Christian piety, and the obligation to guard relatives and religion grew to become one equipped round the extra summary notions of British nationalism, anti-Catholicism, and soldiering for the Empire.Based on archival study in either French and English resources, court docket documents, captivity narratives, and the non-public correspondence of ministers and conflict officers, Abraham in fingers reconstructs colonial New England as a frontier borderland within which spiritual, cultural, linguistic, and geographic limitations have been permeable, fragile, and contested by means of Europeans and Indians alike.

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They played a crucial role in the adoption or execution of war captives, and they seem to have held sway over several of the most important rituals involving captives. 39 While scholars are in more general agreement that Algonquian women 30 Chapter 1 Figure 2. Indian villages from the Great Lakes region to Florida were commonly depicted as surrounded by a wooden palisade, suggesting European interest in their military technologies and readiness. The French siege engine depicted at the lower right of this heavily fortified Iroquois village is almost certainly fanciful.

This reconstruction of eighteenth-century Fort Number Four at Charlestown, New Hampshire, shows the similarity of English defensive design and the previous Indian examples. Note the spacing of the palisades, like that of the Indian forts, which would reduce the fence's vulnerability to fire in a siege. Photo by author. Chapter 1 34 gland. 40 Indian men's ideas about war are more difficult to discern than those of colonial New Englanders, as scholars must parse the language and iriter­ pretations of European observers who were often their immediate foes, and who consistently attempted to aggrandize their own manhood by under­ mining Indian masculinity.

Note the spacing of the palisades, like that of the Indian forts, which would reduce the fence's vulnerability to fire in a siege. Photo by author. Chapter 1 34 gland. 40 Indian men's ideas about war are more difficult to discern than those of colonial New Englanders, as scholars must parse the language and iriter­ pretations of European observers who were often their immediate foes, and who consistently attempted to aggrandize their own manhood by under­ mining Indian masculinity. Despite the bias of English narratives, there are consistent similarities that support the notion that war was an important proving ground for Indian men.

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