Ira Berlin, “Time, Space, and the Evolution…”
Colonial period, from settlement to the American
1. The North
Blacks work in close proximity to whites (49). Enhances
rapid “acculturation.”
White surety in their dominance (large preponderance of
European-descended people over African-descended)
No staple crop across the entire region
Domestic labor, artisans in white homes
Not large families
Agricultural work, too (47): no large plantation regimes,
but they still worked on farms. Agricultural labor not
confined to blacks. 46: on Long Island, raising crops for
export to the Caribbean (provisioning colonies for the
British West Indies).
In mid-atlantic, some industry includes black.
Wheat: doesn’t reward economies of scale. Mixed labor
Relatively low density of African-descended people in the
1740s: new infusions of Africans (52-53) (as opposed to
from the Caribbean), bring their culture.
2. The lowcountry (lower South)
“Urban creole” population: Mixed-race, lightcomplected, often free elite. Urban.
Began as provisioning colonies for the Caribbean.
“frontier” environment of rough racial equality.
Rice. Requires lots of water, complex irrigation systems,
paddies you can flood and drain. Capital and laborintensive. Only happen in climates tropical (or close).
Rewards investments in slaves. West African slaves
brought knowledge of rice production to the New World.
African culture: big separation between slave laborers
and urban creoles. Most worked on plantations.
Heavy concentrations of enslaved workers, frequent
infusions of new African laborers, … meant strong
retention of African culture, lots of autonomy.
3. Chesapeake