• What Is an American?
– Americans came from a variety of
– although they never completely abandoned
their various heritages, they became
different from their relatives who remained
in Old World
– Even the most rebellious seldom intended
to create an entirely new civilization, but
physical separation and a new
• Spanish Settlements in New Mexico
and Florida
– Franciscan friars shaped life in Spanish
North America
– Franciscans established strings of mission
settlements along the upper reaches of the
Rio Grande, in northern Florida, and along
the coastal regions of present-day Georgia
and South Carolina
– friars instructed thousands of Indians in the
rudiments of Catholic faith and taught them
European agricultural techniques
– Franciscans exacted heavy price in labor
from Indians
– Indians built and maintained missions,
tilled fields, and served friars; this
treatment led to rebellions in many of the
– although most rebellions were isolated and
easily repressed
– in 1680, the Pueblo Indians combined
under a religious leader named Pope,
razed the town of Santa Fe, and pushed
Spaniards back to El Paso
– by the 1690s, Spanish had regained
• The Chesapeake Colonies
– southern colonies of English North America
consisted of three regions: the
Chesapeake Bay, the “low country” of the
Carolinas, and the “back country”
extending into the Appalachians
– Not until the eighteenth century would
common features prompt people to think of
this as a single region
– although Virginia grew in decade after it
became royal colony, death rate remained
– newcomers underwent a period of
“seasoning,” or illness; those who survived
developed immunities to the diseases of
the region
– life expectancy remained short, resulting in
a society where living grandparents were a
– more often than not, before children
reached maturity they had lost at least one
parent; loss of both parents was not
• The Lure of Land
– agriculture remained the mainstay of life in
the Chesapeake and in the South
– London Company saw little profit from
agriculture, so it used land, its only asset,
to pay off debts and to raise capital
– availability of land attracted landless
Europeans, many of whom could not afford
– thus a system of indentured servitude
evolved to bring those with land and
money together with those who wished to
go to America
– indentured servants worked for a period of
years in exchange for their passage
– those who survived the seasoning period
and an often harsh period of servitude
became free
– many became landowners, but the best
lands already belonged to large planters
– ever-increasing need for labor and
expense of meeting that demand with
• “Solving” the Labor Shortage: Slavery
– first African blacks to arrive in America
landed in Jamestown in 1619
– by about 1640, some, although certainly
not all, blacks were slaves
– racial prejudice and the institution of
slavery interacted to bring about complete
degradation of Africans in English colonies
– although it spread throughout the colonies,
slavery grew slowly at first
– most colonists preferred white servants
– in the 1670s, improving economic
conditions in England led to a slow flow of
new servants
– at the same time, slaves became more
readily available
– for a variety of reasons, indentured
servitude gave way to slavery as a solution
to the colonies’ need for labor
• Prosperity in a Pipe: Tobacco
– unlike wheat, tobacco required no
expensive plows to clear the land; it could
be cultivated with a hoe
– the crop required extensive human labor,
but it produced a high yield and returned a
high profit
– the Tidewater region had many navigable
rivers, and the planters spread along their
– the Chesapeake did not develop towns and
roads because commerce traveled along
the rivers
– tobacco rapidly exhausted the soil, which
worked to the advantage of larger
agricultural units that could leave some
fields to lie fallow
• Bacon’s Rebellion
– distance from centers of authority made
settlers in the Chesapeake difficult to
subject to authority
– a split developed between the ruling faction
in Jamestown under Sir William Berkeley
and settlers at the western edge of
– when Berkeley refused to authorize an
expedition against Indians who had been
attacking outlying settlements, western
planters took matters into their own hands
– under Nathaniel Bacon, the westerners
demonstrated a willingness to attack not
only Indians but the governor as well
– Bacon and his followers marched on
Jamestown and forced Berkeley to grant
them authority for further attacks on
– later they burned Jamestown
– not long after, Bacon became ill with a
“violent flux” and died
– an English squadron then arrived and
restored order
• The Carolinas
– like their fellow colonists to the north,
English and Scotch-Irish settlers in the
Carolinas relied on agriculture
– tobacco flourished in North Carolina
– the introduction of Madagascar rice at the
end of the 17th century provided South
Carolina with a cash crop
– in the 1740s, indigo was introduced into
South Carolina
– the production of cash crops meant that
the southern colonies could obtain
manufactured goods and various luxuries
from Europe
– despite the obvious benefits of the
situation, it prevented the development of a
diversified economy in the southern
– slavery emerged early on as the dominant
form of labor on South Carolina’s
– Blacks constituted a majority of the
– each colony promulgated regulations
governing behavior of blacks, which
increased in severity with the density of the
black population
– slaves came from different places and
performed different tasks; there was no
single “slave experience”
– more skilled a slave, more difficult it
became to prevent that slave from running
– few runaways became rebels
– a few isolated reformers, mostly Quakers,
– even some Quakers owned slaves, and
racial prejudice was common even among
• Home and Family in the Colonial South
– except for the most affluent planters, life in
the southern colonies was primitive and
– houses were small; furniture and utensils
were sparse and crudely made
– clothing for most was rough and, because
soap was expensive, usually unwashed
– women only rarely worked in the fields, but
their duties included tending animals,
making butter and cheese, pickling and
preserving, spinning, and sewing
– women also cared for their own and often
orphan children as well
– education in the South was less
widespread than in New England
– in the early 18th century only a handful of
planters achieved real affluence
– these large planters controlled politics
– the spread-out population made it difficult
to support churches
– in spite of its standing as the official religion
with the support of public funds, the
Anglican church never became a powerful
force in the South
– in this society, social events such as births,
marriages, and funerals were great
• Georgia and the Back Country
– this region included the Great Valley of
Virginia, the Piedmont, and Georgia
– Georgia was founded by a group of
philanthropists in London, who conceived
the idea of taking honest persons
imprisoned for debt and resettling them in
the New World
– the idealistic regulations governing the
colony swiftly fell into disuse
– Georgia developed an economy similar to
South Carolina’s
– settlers began to settle farther inland
– in North Carolina, a dispute over
representation in the assembly led to a
pitched battle between frontiersmen and
troops dispatched by the assembly
– the Regulators, as the frontiersmen called
themselves, were crushed and their
leaders executed
• Puritan New England
– New England enjoyed several advantages
over the southern colonies, for example:
– Boston had a dependable supply of water
– the terrain and climate made for a much
healthier habitat.
• The Puritan Family
– the Puritans brought more supplies with
them than other colonists, which helped
ease their adjustment
– in addition to supplies, Puritans brought a
plan for an ordered society
– Central to that plan was a covenant, an
agreement to bind individuals to the group
– Puritan families were nuclear and
• Puritan Women and Children
– mortality among infants and children was
lower in New England than in the
– few families escaped the loss of a child
– the outbreak of the English Civil War ended
the Great Migration
– thereafter, high birthrate and low mortality
rate accounted primarily for growth of the
– as a result, the population of New England
was more evenly distributed by age and
sex than in colonies to the south
– Women’s childbearing years extended over
two decades
– social standards required that husbands
rule over wives and that parents rule over
– children were expected to take on duties of
adults at an early age, and liberal use of
corporal punishment ensured strict
– older children might be sent to live with
another family or apprenticed to a
• Visible Saints and Others
– Puritans believed that church membership
should be a joint decision between the
would-be member and the church
– obvious sinners were rejected out of hand
– with the Great Migration, large numbers of
applicants enabled the churches to restrict
membership to “visible saints”
– a decade later, new conditions led to a
– fewer than half of all adults in New England
were church members by the 1650s, and
many young people refused to submit to
the zealous scrutiny necessary for
– growing numbers of nonmembers led to
– could they be compelled to attend
– could they be taxed but not allowed to
– if baptism were restricted to church
members and a majority of the community
did not qualify, the majority of people would
be living in a state of original sin
– the solution was the Half-Way Covenant,
which provided for limited membership for
any applicant not known to be a sinner who
would accept the church covenant
• Democracies Without Democrats
– the colonies were largely left to govern
– in spite of seemingly repressive laws
passed by the governments of
Massachusetts and Connecticut, primary
responsibility for maintaining order rested
with the towns of the region
• Dedham: A “Typical” Town
– in 1635, the heads of thirty households
from Watertown established a new town at
– they set up a form of representative
government and a church; structure of
government permitted all male adults who
subscribed to the covenant to vote
– but was colonial New England democratic?
– most male New Englanders could vote
– they tended to elect men from the
wealthiest; most established levels of the
– many voters did not bother to vote,
because many offices were uncontested
• The Dominion of New England
– during Restoration, the English
government sought to bring colonies under
effective royal control
– Massachusetts’s charter was annulled, and
it became a royal colony
– Edmund Andros, a professional soldier,
became governor
– after the Glorious Revolution, colonists
overthrew Andros
• Salem Bewitched
– Salem Village, a rural settlement near
Salem, petitioned General Court for a
church of their own
– after a few years, the General Court
granted their request
– a series of preachers failed to unite feuding
factions of village
– Samuel Parris became minister in 1689
and proved equally unable to unite the
– church voted to dismiss him
– Parris’s daughters and Ann Putnam began
to behave in ways their elders diagnosed
as bewitched
– they accused three socially marginal
women of witchcraft
– the three were brought before a court, but
the accusations spread and worked up the
social ladder
– a group of ministers intervened
– Governor Phips adjourned the court
– 19 persons had been hanged and one
more pressed to death by heavy stones
– the episode also revealed some anxieties
Puritan men felt toward women
– many Puritans believed that Satan used
the allure of female sexuality to work his
– in addition, many accused witches were
widows of high status or older women who
owned property; such women potentially
subverted the patriarchal authorities of
church and state
• Higher Education in New England
– demand for educated ministers outstripped
supply in the 1630s
– Massachusetts General Court appropriated
money for “a schoole or colledge”
– John Harvard left double the appropriation
and his library to what became Harvard
– Massachusetts and Connecticut passed
laws requiring towns of any size to
establish grammar schools
– as a result, New England had a remarkably
high rate of literacy
– several ministers in Connecticut became
disenchanted with the growing religious
toleration at Harvard and founded a new
college named after its first benefactor,
Elihu Yale
• Prosperity Undermines Puritanism
– colonists in New England turned early to
– they also grazed cattle, sheep, and hogs
– game and firewood abounded in the
forests, as did fish in the Atlantic
– yet a short growing season and rocky, hilly
terrain meant that farmers produced little
– the products New Englanders grew were
available in Europe
– thus, while fed and sheltered, New
Englanders had little surplus and nowhere
to sell it
– more pious settlers welcomed the situation
as protection against becoming too worldly
– Massachusetts had laws against usury and
• A Merchant’s World
– early efforts to produce manufactured
goods in New England failed
– fur seemed a likely item to trade for English
manufactured goods, but fur-bearing
animals retreated away from settlements
– fish provided merchants with a marketable
– this was the start of the “triangular trade”
– trade became the driving force of the New
England economy
– Portsmouth, Salem, Boston, Newport, and
New Haven grew rapidly
– Boston became the third most populous
city in the British Empire
• The Middle Colonies
– Middle Colonies, located between New
England and Chesapeake, contained
elements of the distinctive features of
colonies to north and south
• Economic Basis for the Middle Colonies
– New York and Pennsylvania contained
ethnically and religiously diverse
– Scandinavian and Dutch settlers
outnumbered the English in New Jersey
and Delaware
– Pennsylvania drew German Quakers,
Mennonites, and Moravians
– Scotch-Irish settlers came to Pennsylvania
in the early eighteenth century
• “The Best Poor Man’s Country”
– land was easy to obtain in Pennsylvania
– ordinary New Yorkers could become
landowners fairly readily
– Philadelphia grew more rapidly than
Boston and New York
– due largely to navigable rivers that
penetrated deep into the back country
– by the middle of the 18th century,
Philadelphia became the largest city in
English America
– not only did merchants do well, but artisans
often left substantial estates
• The Politics of Diversity
– the Middle Colonies developed a more
sophisticated political culture than either
New England or the southern colonies
– All of the Middle Colonies had popularly
elected representative assemblies
– New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians were
less likely than southern colonists to defer
to the landed gentry
– Leisler’s Rebellion shaped New York
politics for two decades
– political divisions led to the trial for
seditious libel of John Peter Zenger, the
editor of an opposition newspaper
– the Zenger trial established truth as a
defense against libel, which was contrary
to English common law
– Pennsylvania was split between the
proprietary party and a Quaker party
– settlers in western Pennsylvania, resentful
of eastern indifference to the threat of
Indian raids
– the Paxton boys slaughtered an Indian
village and marched on the capital
– Ben Franklin talked them out of attacking
the town
• Rebellious Women
– Anne Hutchinson incurred the wrath of
Puritan leaders by criticizing their
teachings and challenging them in public
– the authority of husbands differed over time
and place
– the general trend was away from a rigidly
hierarchical family
– nevertheless, women found themselves
increasingly relegated to the margins of
political life during the 18th century
– by the middle of the century, the general
expectation was that white women would
confine themselves to matters relating to
the home