Chapter 4
Provincial America and the Struggle for
a Continent
How did the economies of the southern colonies
compare with those of the northern colonies in 1700s?
What part did the Enlightenment play in the
intellectual and social structure of the colonies?
What was the Great Awakening and how did it change
colonial society? Did it relate to the Enlightenment?
Discuss the causes and effects of the Seven Years War.
Did it have an effect on British–Colonial Relations?
Expansion versus Anglicization
Hampered by increased importation of English goods
during 17th century
As colonial population increased, some English traditions
were altered
– Colonies had to educate and train their own ministers
Emergence of colonial class of “gentlemen”
Women became more English the 1600s
– Dowry and dower right
– Coverture
Loss of inheritance rights
Adoption of double standard of sexual behavior
Freehold Society in New England
Farm Families: Women’s Place
Abundant land in the American colonies, which
allowed the average farmer considerable social and
political autonomy and freedom, continued to draw
streams of immigrants from Great Britain and
northern Europe in the eighteenth century.
Wherever they settled, these immigrants created a
pluralist society and political order that prefigured
the nature of American life a century later.
Men claimed power in the state and
authority in the family; women were
Women in the colonies were raised to be
dutiful “helpmates” to their husbands.
The labor of the Puritan women was crucial
to rural household economy.
Bearing and rearing children were equally
crucial. Most women married in their early
twenties and by their early forties had given
birth to six or seven children.
More women than men joined the churches
so that their children could be baptized.
A gradual reduction in farm size prompted
couples to have fewer children.
With fewer children, women had more time
to enhance their families’ standard of living.
Most New England women’s lives were
tightly bound by a web of legal and cultural
restrictions; they were excluded from an
equal role in the church and overall abided
by the rule that they should be employed
only in the home and only doing women’s
Expansion, Immigration, and Regional
African slave trade reached its peak between
1730 and 1775
– Transformed political life, as great planters assumed
leadership positions
– Rice Planters of Carolina became richest members
of colonial society
– Life for slaves in Upper South (Maryland, Virginia,
Albermarle region of North Carolina)
– Paternalism
• Task system
• Gullah
Slavery in the Chesapeake and South
After 1700 planters in Virginia and
Maryland imported thousands of slaves and
created a "slave society."
Slavery was increasingly defined in racial
terms; in Virginia virtually all resident
Africans were declared slaves.
Living conditions in Maryland and Virginia
allowed slaves to live relatively long lives.
By the middle of the 1700s, American-born
slaves formed a majority among
Chesapeake blacks.
The slave population in South Carolina
suffered many deaths and had few births;
therefore, the importation of new slaves "reafricanized" the black population.
There were no American colonies in which
any one African people or language became
African American Community
The acquisition of a common language and
a more equal gender ratio were prerequisite
for the creation of an African American
As enslaved blacks forged a new identity in
America, their lives continued to be shaped
by their African past.
African creativity was limited because
slaves were denied education and had few
material goods.
Slaves who resisted their rigorous work
routine were punished with bodily harm,
including amputation.
Regional Differentiation (cont)
• Utilized gang system to supervise slaves
• A small percentage of slaves learned skills
• Encouraged family life among slaves
– Life for slaves in Lower South (from Cape Fear
in North Carolina through South Carolina and
eventually Georgia)
• Utilized task system of slave supervision
• Relied on white artisans for manufactured products
• Slaves in deep South slower to assimilate into the
British world
As the southern colonies became slave
societies, life changed for whites as well as
As men lived longer, patriarchy within the
family reappeared.
The planter elite exercised authority over
yeomen and black slaves.
To prevent rebellion, the southern gentry
paid attention to the concerns of middling
and poor whites.
By 1770 the majority of English
Chesapeake families owned a slave, giving
them a stake in the exploitive labor system.
6. Taxes were gradually reduced for the
poorer whites, and poor yeomen and some
tenants were allowed to vote.
7. In return, the planter elite expected the
yeomen and tenants to elect them to office
and defer to their power.
By the 1720s the gentry took on the
trappings of wealth, modeling themselves
after the English aristocracy.
The profits of the South Atlantic system
helped form an increasingly well-educated,
refined, and stable ruling class.
Farm Property: Inheritance
Men who migrated to the colonies escaped
many traditional constraints, including lack
of land.
Parents with small farms who could not
provide their sons and daughters with land
placed them as indentured servants.
When indentures ended, some propertyless
sons climbed from laborer to tenant to
Children in successful farm families
received a “marriage portion.”
Parents chose their children’s partners
because the family’s prosperity depended on
Brides relinquished ownership of their land
and property to their husbands.
Fathers had a cultural duty to provide
inheritances for their children.
Farmers created whole communities
composed of independent property owners.
The Crisis of Freehold Society
With each generation the population of New
England doubled, mostly from natural
Parents had less land to give their children,
so they had less control over their children’s
By using primitive methods of birth control,
many families were able to have fewer
Families petitioned the government for land
grants and hacked new farms out of the
Land was used more productively; crops of
wheat and barley were replaced with high
yielding potatoes and corn.
Gradually New England changed from a
grain to a livestock economy.
A system of community exchange helped
preserve the freeholder ideal.
Mid-Atlantic Colonies:
the “Best Poor Man’s Country”
The Middle Atlantic: Toward a New Society,
Economic Growth and Social Inequality
Fertile lands and long growing seasons
attracted migrants to the Middle Atlantic
and profits gained from grain exports
financed their rapid settlement.
The manorial lords of New York’s Hudson
River Valley attracted tenants by granting
long leases and the right to sell their
improvements, such as barns and houses, to
the next tenant.
Inefficient farm implements kept most
tenants from saving enough to acquire
freehold farmsteads.
Rural Pennsylvania and New Jersey were
initially marked by relative economic
The rise of the wheat trade and an influx of
poor settlers created social divisions,
resulting in a new class of agricultural
By the 1760s, one-half of all white men in
the Middle Atlantic owned no property.
Merchants and artisans took advantage of
the supply of labor and organized an
“outwork” manufacturing system.
As colonies became crowded and socially
divided, farm families feared a return to
peasant status.
Cultural Diversity
The middle colonies were a patchwork of
ethnically and religiously diverse
Migrants tried to preserve their cultural
identities by marrying within their own
ethnic groups or maintaining the customs of
their native lands.
Quakers, the dominant social group in
Pennsylvania, were pacifists who dealt
peaceably with Native Americans and
condemned slavery.
The Quaker vision attracted many Germans
fleeing war, religious persecution, and
Germans guarded their language and
cultural heritage, encouraging their children
to marry within the community.
Emigrants from Ireland formed the largest
group of incoming Europeans.
Most were Presbyterian Scots-Irish who had
faced discrimination and economic
regulation in Ireland.
Thousands of Scots-Irish sailed for
Philadelphia beginning in the 1720s, first
moving to central Pennsylvania and
southward down the Shenandoah Valley
into Maryland and Virginia.
The Scots-Irish also held onto their culture
by holding firm to the Presbyterian faith.
Most pluralistic region of North America from
the start
Ireland and Germany main sources of
immigrants after 1720
– Ulster
– Germans often arrived as “redemptioners”
New immigrants populated backcountry and
created distinct society there
– Violent, heavy drinking
– Hated Indians
Religious Identity and Political
German ministers criticized the separation
of church and state in Pennsylvania,
believing the church needed legal power to
enforce morality.
Religious sects in Pennsylvania enforced
moral behavior through communal selfdiscipline.
Communal sanctions sustained a self-contained
and prosperous Quaker community.
In the 1750s, the Scots-Irish Presbyterians
challenged the Quaker political dominance by
demanding a more aggressive Indian policy.
Many German migrants opposed the Quakers
because they were denied fair representation in the
assembly and wanted laws that respected their
inheritance customs.
The region’s cultural and religious diversity
prefigured the ethnic and social conflicts
that would characterize much of American
society in the centuries to come.
New England: A Faltering Economy and
Paper Money
Economy weakened after colonial wars ended
in 1713
– Wheat blast
Molasses act of 1733
– Imposed tax on West Indies molasses
– Increased bribery and smuggling
Region made its mark on Atlantic commerce
through shipbuilding
Massachusetts invented fiat money in 1690
– Problems with depreciation
Anglicizing Provincial America
Influence of newspapers and the printed word
– Few settlers owned books
– Newspaper printing widespread in the colonies by 1700s
• John Peter Zenger
• Seditious libel
• Benjamin Franklin at the Pennsylvania Gazette began
branching out to other sources and original works
Spread of Enlightenment values through the colonies
– Found ready audience among colonial elites
Rise of professions
– Emergence of trained lawyers and doctors also helped to spread
Enlightenment ideas through the colonies
The Enlightenment and the Great
Awakening, 1740–1765
The Enlightenment in America
The Enlightenment in America
Many early Americans believed in folk wisdom
while others relied on a religion that believed that
Earth was the center of the universe and that God
intervened directly and continuously in all kinds
of human affairs.
In the century between Newton’s Principia
Mathematica (1687) and the French Revolution in
1789, the philosophers of the European
Enlightenment used empirical research and
scientific reasoning to study all aspects of life,
including social institutionsand human behavior.
Enlightenment thinkers advanced four
fundamental principles:
– the law like order of the natural world
– the power of human reason
– the natural rights of individuals (including the
right to self-government)
– and the progressive improvement of society.
John Locke, 1632-1704, Englishphilosopher,
political theorist, and founder of Empiricism
John Locke proposed that lives were not
fixed but could be changed through
education and purposeful action.
In Locke’s Two Treatises on Government,
he advanced the theory that political
authority was not divinely ordained but
rather sprang from social compacts people
made to preserve their natural rights to life,
liberty, and property.
The function of the state is to protect the
natural rights of its citizens, primarily to
protect the right to property.
Society is rational, tolerant, and
The social contract is an implicit agreement
between all members of a society to respect
a legal authority, a supreme sovereign, so as
to enable the pursuit of happiness.
In his Two Treatises of Government he advocated
removing a ruler who fails to live up to his end of
the social contract
– this had a great deal of influence on the intellectuals
who spawned the American Revolution
European Enlightenment ideas began to
affect influential colonists’ beliefs about
science, religion, and politics.
Some influential colonists, including inventor
and printer Benjamin Franklin, turned to
deism, the belief that God had created the
world to run in accordance with the laws of
nature and natural reason without his
The Enlightenment added a secular
dimension to colonial intellectual life.
Georgia: The Failure of an Enlightenment
Founded in 1733 as experiment in Enlightenment belief
in social improvement
– James Oglethorpe
Land would be given away rather than sold
Founders planned to produce silk and wine, items no
other colony had yet succeeded in producing
Banned slavery and hard liquor
In practice, the experiment failed miserably
– Land unsuited for planned crops
– Settlers demanded access to alcohol
– Gradually came to accept need to use slave labor
The Great Awakening
Swept Protestant world in 1730s and early 1740s
– Evangelical
Emphasis on personal conversion experience
– Revival
– Presbytery and Synod
More women than men experienced conversion
Split established denominations
– Evangelical and non-evangelical sects
Gave rise to Baptists, Methodists, and other
evangelical denominations
Spawned founding of several new colleges
– George Whitefield
Resulted in religious transformation of
American Pietism and the Great
While educated Americans turned to deism,
other colonists turned to Pietism, which
came to America with German migrants in
the 1720s and sparked a religious revival.
Pietism emphasized pious behavior,
religious emotion, and the striving for a
mystical union with God
In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the Dutch
minister Theodore Jacob Frelinghuysen
preached rousing, emotional sermons to
German settlers
in New England, Jonathan Edwards did the same
for Congregational churches in the Connecticut
River Valley
Beginning in 1739, the compelling George
Whitefield, a follower of John Wesley’s preaching
style, transformed local revivals into a “Great
Hundreds of colonists felt the “New Light”
of God’s grace and were eager to spread
Whitefield’s message throughout their
Religious Upheaval in the North
Conservative, or “Old Light,” ministers
condemned the emotional preaching of
traveling “New Light” ministers for their
emotionalism and their allowing women to
speak in public.
In Connecticut, traveling preachers were
prohibited from speaking to established
congregations without the ministers’
Some farmers, women, and artisans condemned
the Old Lights as “unconverted” sinners.
The Awakening undermined support of traditional
churches and challenged their tax supported status;
“separatist” churches were founded that favored
the separation of church and state.
The Awakening gave a new sense of religious
authority to many colonists through its challenge
to the authority of ministers and reaffirmed
communal values as it questioned the pursuit of
One tangible and lasting product of the
Awakening was the founding of colleges —
such as Princeton, Rutgers, Columbia, and
Brown — to train ministers for various
The true intellectual legacy of the
Awakening was not education for the few
but a new sense of religious — and
ultimately political —authority among the
Social and Religious Conflict in the
The Great Awakening in the South
challenged both the dominance of the
Church of England and the planter elite.
The social authority of the Virginia gentry
was threatened as freeholders left the
established church for New Light revivals.
Religious pluralism threatened the
government’s ability to impose taxes to
support the established church.
Anglicans closed down Presbyterian
meeting houses to prevent the spread of the
New Light doctrine.
During the 1760s, many poorer Virginians
were drawn to enthusiastic Baptist revivals,
where even slaves were welcome.
The gentry reacted violently to the Baptist
threat to their social authority and way of
life, though Baptist congregations continued
to multiply.
The revival in the Chesapeake did not bring
radical changes to the social order; Baptist
men kept church authority in the hands of
"free born male members."
As Baptist ministers spread Christianity
among slaves, the revival helped to shrink
the cultural gulf between blacks and whites,
undermining one justification for slavery
and giving blacks a new religious identity.
Political Culture in the Colonies
Came to resemble English politics, adopting values that
took hold after the Glorious Revolution
Important powers vested in colonial assemblies
– Patronage
Suffrage more widespread than in England
Dominance of “country” ideas in the South
– Politics of harmony
– Tensions remained in Maryland
Dominance of “Court” principles in North
– Governors sought to keep the peace by rewarding all factions and
The triumph of the South Atlantic system
changed the politics of empire. The British
were content to rule the colonies with a
gentle hand.
American representative assemblies wished
to limit the powers of the crown and
maintain their authority over taxes.
The colonial legislatures gradually won
partial control of the budget and the
appointment of local officials.
The rising power of the colonial assemblies
created an elitist rather than a democratic
political system.
Neither elitist assemblies nor wealthy
property owners could impose unpopular
edicts on the people.
Crowd actions were a regular part of
political life in America and were used to
enforce community values.
By the 1750s most colonies had
representative political institutions that were
responsive to popular pressure and
increasingly immune to British control.
Salutary Neglect
"Salutary neglect," more relaxed royal
supervision of internal colonial affairs, was
a byproduct of the political system
developed by Sir Robert Walpole.
Radical Whigs argued that Walpole used
patronage and bribery to create a strong
Crown Party.
Renewal of Imperial Conflict
The French and Indian “republics”
Stono Rebellion, 1739
– Rebellion south of Charleston
– Stemmed from Spanish promises of freedom to any slave who
reached Florida
Raised fears of Spanish treachery
War of Jenkin’s Ear, 1741–1742
– Conflict between Spain and England over Atlantic coast supremacy
– Inconclusive; large losses on both sides
King George’s War, 1744–1747
– France joined Spain in its battle with England and the colonists
– Ended with Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748
Stono Rebellion
The Stono rebellion in South Carolina was
the largest slave uprising of the eighteenth
White militiamen killed many of the Stono
rebels and dispersed the rest, preventing a
general uprising.
Slave Rebellion and Revolution
Collective (group) actions also included
running away together, but could also mean
organized rebellion.
Most important rebellions:
– Stono Rebellion, South Carolina, 1739
– New York City, 1712, 1741
– Gabriel’s Rebellion, Richmond, 1800
– Vesey’s Rebellion, Charleston, 1822
– Nat Turner, Virginia, 1830
• Religious prophet led revolt of 60 slaves
• Killed 55 whites
War of Jenkin’s Ear
To resist British expansion, Spanish naval
forces sparked the War of Jenkins's Ear in
Walpole used this provocation to launch a
predatory war against Spain's American
The War of Jenkins's Ear became a part of a
general European conflict bringing a new
threat from France
Militiamen captured the French naval
fortress of Louisbourg but had to return it at
war's end in 1748.
Colonial merchants took advantage of a
loophole in the Navigation Acts that
allowed Americans to own ships and
transport goods.
King George’s War
a precursor to the French and Indian War
(1754-63), and an outgrowth of British and
French antagonisms in the War of the
Austrian Succession (1740-48).
The War for North America
French and Indian (Seven Years War), 1756–1763
– Origins in desire of English colonists to expand west
• Led to clashes with both the French and the Indians
– Colonies not united
• 1754 plans for joint action at Albany Congress failed
Irregular war
– Fort Duquesne
• Washington and Braddock
– War went initially against British
• William Pitt
– Colonist forces changed course of war
• Canada surrendered after fall of Montreal in 1760
The French and Indian War Becomes a War
for Empire
Indians, who in 1750 still controlled the
interior of North America, used their control
of the fur trade to bargain with both the
British and the French.
The Iroquois strategy of playing off the
French against the British was breaking
down as European resentment of the costs
of "gifts" of arms and money rose.
Indian alliances crumbled in the face of
escalating Anglo-American demands for
The Ohio Company obtained a royal grant
of 200,000 acres along the upper Ohio
River —land controlled by Indians.
To counter Britain’s movement into the
Ohio Valley, the French set up a series of
The French seized George Washington and
his men as they tried to support the Ohio
Company’s claim to the land.
Britain dispatched forces to America, where
they joined with the colonial militia in
attacking French forts.
In June 1755, British and New England
troops captured Fort Beauséjour in colonial
Nova Scotia (Acadia) and deported 10,000
French Catholic Acadians to France,
Louisiana, or the West Indies.
In July, General Edward
Braddock and his British
and colonial troops were
soundly defeated by a
small group of French
and Indians at Fort
By 1756, the fighting in America had spread
to Europe, where it arrayed France, Spain,
and Austria against Britain and Prussia in a
conflict known as the Seven Years' War in
Europe and the French and Indian War in
the colonies.
Britain saw France as its main obstacle to
further expansion in profitable overseas
William Pitt, a committed expansionist,
planned to cripple France by attacking its
The fall of Quebec, the heart of France's
American empire, was the turning point of
the war.
The British in India, West Africa, the French
sugar islands of Martinique and
Guadeloupe, the Spanish colonies in Cuba,
and the Philippines seized French trade and
Conquest of Canada, 1758–1760
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The Treaty of Paris of 1763 granted British
sovereignty over half the continent of North
America; French territory was reduced to a
handful of islands in the West Indies and
two islands off the coast of Newfoundland.
– Major British/Colonial victory
– Peace of Paris in 1763
• France surrendered North America east of the
Mississippi, except for New Orleans, to England
• Spain ceded Florida to England
• France gave Louisiana west of the Mississippi and New
Orleans to Spain
• Western Indians, whose lands were being transferred,
were not consulted
Cherokee War
In an effort to take advantage of the great
burden of England’s war with France,
southern Indians commenced the Cherokee
War, while the Spanish intervened in the
The Cherokee War was fought from 1759 to 1761
between Cherokee Native Americans and settlers
along the western borders of Virginia and the
Carolinas. The Cherokee became British allies as
the result of a treaty negotiated in 1730.
In 1758 they assisted in capture of the Fort
Duquesne, a French stronghold on the site of
present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but on the
road home they quarreled with the Virginian and
Carolinian settlers. Several people were killed on
both sides. Cherokee chiefs went to Charleston,
West Virginia, to settle the dispute but were badly
treated by the governor.
An armed force of settlers were sent against
the Cherokee, although only a few Native
American hostages were taken when it was
found that the Cherokee were ready for war.
Soon after, the hostages were murdered by
the settlers and the Cherokee went to war in
earnest. It was not until June 1761 that the
Cherokee began negotiations for peace.
Britain's victory also alarmed Indian
peoples who feared an influx of AngloAmerican settlers.
In 1763, the Ottawa chief Pontiac led a
group of loosely confederated tribes in a
major uprising known as "Pontiac's
rebellion" against the British, capturing
many British garrisons and killing or
capturing over 2,000 settlers.
The Indian alliance gradually weakened,
and they accepted the British as their new
political "fathers.“
In return, the British established the
Proclamation Line of 1763 barring settlers
from going west of the Appalachians.
British Economic Growth and the
Consumer Revolution
Britain had unprecedented economic
resources and, by 1750, its combination of
strong commerce and industry made it the
most powerful nation in the world.
The new machines and business practices of
the Industrial Revolution allowed Britain to
sell goods at lower prices, particularly in the
mainland colonies.
Americans paid for British imports by
increasing their exports of wheat, rice, and
The Peace of Paris of 1763 marked the
pinnacle of the first British Empire. Britain
gained control over half the North American
continent, including French Canada, all
French territorial claims east of the
Mississippi River, and Spanish Florida. In
return, Britain gave Cuba and the
Philippines back to Spain, and France
compensated its Spanish ally for the loss of
Florida by giving it title to all of Louisiana
west of the Mississippi River.
As the colonists of provincial America
struggled to secure more land and greater
security, they created a socially stratified
society of richer and poorer, ins and outs
that increasingly resembled England
through the eighteenth century. The costs
and consequences of a succession of
imperial struggles set the stage for the
demise of the empire.