Chapter Outline

I. The New England Timber Economy

Discussion Questions

1. How do William Bradford, John Winthrop, and Thomas Morton use Biblical images and ideas to interpret the New World? What environmental role might such imagery have played?

2. What similarities and differences can you find between William Bradford's and Thomas Morton's descriptions of the New England environment and how do you account for them?

3. How according to William Wood and Roger Williams do Indian men and women produce subsistence? Were the two sexes equal in their contributions? How do their roles in subsistence production compare to those of the Pueblo and Micmac?

4. What social and ecological consequences might the diseases that struck the Indians (as described by William Bradford) have had? How might Merchant's concept of biological and social reproduction help to explain these consequences?

5. Compare and contrast Indian, colonists', and the English King's use, management, and conservation of the New England forest. What ecological changes might have resulted from each approach?

6. How does the history of New England told from the standpoint of the beaver differ from the same history told from the standpoint of the colonial settler? What different assumptions underlie the two histories? What are some consequences of writing environmental histories from the perspectives of nonhuman components of the ecosystem--such as a white pine tree, a rock, a river, or another animal?

7. How did the ecology of New England change between 1600 and 1700? What concepts (such as those introduced in chapter 1) do you find most useful for explaining the transformation? Which of these concepts are key to your own historical explanation?