Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

History

Major Professor

Philip Levy, Ph.D.

Keywords

Pedestrian, Communication, Colonial, Peddler, Networks

Abstract

The earliest attempt to form a confederation among the British colonies in North America occurred with the creation New England confederation in 1643. For the next one hundred thirty-four years various attempts would be made to organize British America colonies into a confederacy. "Smole Trifeles": The Itinerant in British America moves beyond traditional histories which analyze how the social and political elite worked to bring the colonies together. This work focuses on the peddlers, the hawkers, petty chapmen, and the itinerant preachers who roamed the primitive roads and highways of early America. These wanderers knit together a nation and helped each unique colony communicate with its neighbors. The itinerant traveler is celebrated in folklore, but largely ignored by historians. "Smole Trifeles": The Itinerant in British America works to alleviate this oversight by pulling from travel narratives, criminal cases against vagabonds, and merchant records that chronicle their travels. Looking at itinerants and their world opens new windows on early American business practices, social networks, entertainment, and community-building.

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