The denomination of this period must be understood both in the political sense of dependence on the English crown, and in the cultural sense of an indigenous literature, largely with a religious background, whose beginnings remain almost entirely under the influence of the English model. 2.1 The founding fathers. A hundred men settled in 1607 at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, forming, under the guidance of Captain John Smith, a small town which in homage to James I, who succeeded Elizabeth, they called Jamestown. Smith is usually cited in the stories of American literature for the reports he wrote on the events of the small settlement and on the explorations he made on the Atlantic coast to the north. ● Still a European spirit had the hundred men who landed on the Mayflower ship in Cape Cod in 1620. These settlers, who the Americans later called Pilgrim Fathers, belonged to the sect of the ‘separatists’. Having fled the British Isles to escape persecution, they had taken refuge in Holland; finally (6 September 1620), set sail from Plymouth, landed in what is now the port of Provincetown on Cape Cod to settle, on the opposite side of the bay, at a point which they gave the same name as the English town of origin. That first group of emigrants was followed by another of about 800, Calvinists like the first and motivated by the same reasons. It should be noted that the rigid Calvinism of these emigrants and the manifestation of what today would be called a persecution complex contributed to giving life to a form of fanaticism which, combined with the theory of predestination, kept consciences in a state of alarm, favoring the practice of introspection. In turn, the constant seeing behind every fact a manifestation of the divine will strongly fueled the tendency to symbolism. W. Bradford, one of the emigrants who arrived with the Mayflower, was the creator of the small initial state, gave the fundamental institutions to the colony of Plymouth of which he was governor and wrote a History of Plymouth plantation (posthumous, 1856) which, although not immune from partisan, remains a document of historical and literary value. What Bradford was to the colony of Plymouth, J. Winthrop was to the other colony of Massachusetts Bay, where he arrived in 1630 sent there from England as governor. He also kept a diary of his work which, without literary pretensions, records bare facts. ● Opposing the intolerance of the Puritans, R. Williams, banished from Massachusetts in 1635, gave birth to the colony of Providence, open to the practice of any cult, arguing, in The bloody tenent of persecution for cause of conscience discussed between truth and peace (1644), the right of man to freedom of conscience and, later, the need for a separation between the State and Church. 2.2 Poets and poetesses. Arrived in Massachusetts in 1630, A. Bradstreet she is the first among the poets of the colonies to see her book published, The tenth muse (1650), a collection of mostly conventional passages of English derivation. On the other hand, M. Wigglesworth was intellectually educated in America and no European influences are noted in his only poetic work, The day of Doom (1662), a work as a craftsman of verse and rhyme, which brought him enormous success. But the best poetry written in America in the seventeenth century is due to E. Taylor, one of the major representatives of the American baroque or colonial baroque, who writes in the tradition of English metaphysicians, Anglo-Catholic conceptists, and reconnects to the greater of them, J. Women ; his lyrics are animated by a sincere and ardent religious sentiment and by the sense of poetry as an art. 2.3 Diaries. To the second generation of settlers belongs the so-called Mather dynasty, Richard, his son Increase and his nephew Cotton, clergymen and writers, champions of a theocracy that the changing times were making less current and less easy to administer. The last of the three, a highly educated man, should be remembered for his ecclesiastical history of New England, Magnalia Christi Americana (1702), a work of great historical breadth and ecclesial rhetoric which aims to pass on the sacredness of spirit and experience colonial. In the enormous activity of C. Mather the writing of a diary also included, in which an introspection dominated by the fear of the devil prevails. ● The diary of S. Sewall is quite different, one of the judges, in the so-called witch-hunt period, of the notorious Salem trials that ended with the death sentence of many innocents: admirable for the sincerity and modesty that go through his writing, The diary of S. Sewall (1674- 1729) remains one of the most intense and dramatic reflections on the public and private contradictions of the Puritan spirit. ● Vivacity and a sense of the picturesque characterize the diary of SK Knight, the daughter of a merchant, who in 1704 made a business trip to New York and recorded her shrewd observations on manners, customs and types, not without a few moments of humor. In a literature dominated by political, religious, uplifting concerns, humor is the rarest thing, but it is also found in W. Byrd. Born in Virginia, he studied in England, where he had illustrious friends including playwrights W. Wycherley and W. Congreve, and returned to his homeland as a perfect English gentleman of the Restoration. He was one of the commissioners in charge of establishing the boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina, and he wrote the report in what is his most important work, entitled The history of the dividing line (1841), in which he recounts the not infrequently humorous events of the expedition and the customs of the Amerindians. He also kept a very detailed and very frank diary of his everyday life, using a kind of shorthand of his own invention that was deciphered only in 1941. ● Diaries, travel reports and works with a religious and uplifting background that dominate the first century of life of a literature still strongly anchored to English models, however, they allow us to grasp the emergence of an autochthonous note which sees in the American geographical reality and in the political experience of the colonies the first, important signs of a, albeit limited, autonomy. It is along this line, reinforced by a marked introspective tendency and by the first hints of a narrative propensity not devoid of embryonic fantastic ideas, that a recognizable American prose would later be formed. 2.4 The ‘great awakening’. But the age of sermons was not yet over, thanks to the last defender of Calvinism, that a recognizable American prose would later be formed. 2.4 The ‘great awakening’. But the age of sermons was not yet over, thanks to the last defender of Calvinism, that a recognizable American prose would later be formed. 2.4 The ‘great awakening’. But the age of sermons was not yet over, thanks to the last defender of Calvinism, J. Edwards, who fought for a return to the religious zeal of the first immigrants. In his parish he instituted a very strict regime, inculcating the terror of divine justice with sermons that drove many to suicide, and he succeeded in sparking a movement he called Revival. Born in 1773, the movement died out in 1775, only to be reborn in the following decade, again at the impulse of Edwards, with the name of Great awakening. Considered the first philosopher who was born and wrote in America, in his many publications (including the famous treatise on freedom Freedom of the will, 1754), Edwards tried, although contrary to Arminianism, to reconcile Calvinism and deism. ● The series of diarists closes on a note of serenity: that of J. Woolman, whose Journal (posthumously, 1774), characterized by a genuine sense of solidarity towards the Amerindians, the poor and dispossessed in general, remains as one of the most tolerant documents of the diary tradition which, in the epoch preceding the civil war, had already had the opportunity to take root with the American public.