At the 400th anniversary of the pilgrims’ arrival (1620-2020), it’s time to look back, commemorate, and reflect on what New England has meant to its people, and to the world. New England at 400: From Plymouth Rock to Present Day will be a narrative of how every generation of immigrants and natives, Puritans and patriots, has defined this land anew. It is a story of transformation, but also continuity, since “New England” embodies both a collective philosophy and a shared past.
Along with a short introduction, there will be forty chapters each dealing with a decade from 1620 to 2020, focusing on important incidents and events that defined or shaped the regional character, land, and culture. Each will focus on a central event, though related events will be mentioned.
The thematic focus will be on the formation of local identity. For example, in the 1740s, I will give a brief history of what is going on at that time, but focus on how Fort Louisburg in Nova Scotia was taken by ‘colonial’ troops from New England, and how that was important to forming a separate regional identity, particularly when the fort was given back to the French at the end of the war, which did not make the New Englanders who had shed blood for it happy. This in turn created a feeling of regional identity and unity that would increase in the succeeding decades.
Eric D. Lehman is the director of creative writing at the University of Bridgeport and his work has been published in dozens of journals and magazines. He has written or edited fourteen books of history, travel, and fiction, including Yankee’s New England, Insiders’ Guide to Connecticut, A Connecticut Christmas, and The Quotable New Englander. His novella Shadows of Paris was a finalist for the Connecticut Book Award, won a silver medal in romance from the Foreword Review, and was judged the novella of the year by the Next Generation Independent Book Awards. He lives in Hamden, Connecticut