Order, Ethic, and Industry: The Beehive as a Model in Transatlantic English Migration
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Though the English generally saw wild nature as crude in late sixteenth and early seventeenth century England, they considered the beehive to be a powerful symbol of order. The beehive influenced how the English saw themselves, and due to the available flexibility in interpreting the hive’s structure, the beehive became an enduring model for utopian social, political, and religious order in England. Once the English began to consider the idea of colonization, the beehive model helped influence their efforts in developing New World societies from the ground up. This thesis looks at the influence of the hive model in the early development of the Massachusetts and Virginia colonies. How each colony interpreted the hive model depended on the specific motivations for each colony’s settlement, but both colonies used the hive as a model. And because the hive was a model of organization from wild nature, its use survived the transatlantic transfer of ideas and prospered in the colonies due to the agricultural nature of the New World colonies and colonists’ resulting receptiveness to ideas from nature.