Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. John T. Kneebone


Historians often describe how the ideas of national identity, race, religious affiliation, and political power greatly influenced the development of societies in colonial America. However, historians do not always make clear that these ideas did not exist independently of one another. Individuals in colonial Americans societies often conflated and incorporated one or more of these ideas with another. In other words, individuals did not always think of national identity and race and religious affiliation as independent entities. The specific case of the Reverend Morgan Godwyn illuminates just how connected these ideas were in the minds of some colonial Americans. As a minister in the Church of England, Godwyn spoke and wrote within an overtly religious context. His words, however, reveal that to him, religion and politics, national identity and race and ethnicity, could not be unpacked and viewed separately-each heavily influenced the others. Godwyn used his position as a cleric to challenge the authority of English colonial elites. He attempted to convince the English public of the necessity of reining in the growing powers of colonial elites in order to preserve the authority of the English monarch and the Church of England clergy. From studying Morgan Godwyn, one can see how complex and convoluted ideas-and simultaneously important-ideas of national identity, race, religion and political influence were in seventeenth-century colonial American societies.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

History Commons