The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century

By Francis Parkman | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION TO THE BISON BOOKS EDITION

Conrad E. Heidenreich and José A. Brandão

Francis Parkman was among the first and most widely read of New France's historians. Born to wealth 16 September 1823 in Boston, the son of a New England minister, Parkman later used the freedom that money conferred to study, travel, and write. The subject of his interest was the early history of colonial North America, in particular the struggle between England and France for control of the northeastern part of the continent. Parkman produced nine major historical works. Seven of these, published between 1865 and 1892, were dedicated to outlining the history of France and England in North America. First published in 1867, The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century was Parkman's fourth book and the second volume of France and England in North America.

While in his late teens Parkman developed the ambition to become a writer. He was fascinated by the American frontier and especially admired the novels of authors such as James Fenimore Cooper but was not sure if he had the necessary imaginative skills to become a writer of fiction. While he was a law student at Harvard University he decided to turn to history, specifically the long struggle between France and England for control of North America. This story contained much of the romance, adventure, and heroism usually found in novels, as well as the historical roots of what was to become the United States. About the same time, his love for the frontier led him to take long, strenuous camping trips in the wilds of New England. These

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