In 1700, the colonies had fewer than 300,000 people, 20,000 were black slaves. By 1775, 2.5 million people inhabited the colonies of which 500,000 were slaves (the average age was 16). On average, the colonists were doubling their numbers every 25 years. The bulk of the population lived east of the Allegheny Mountains, although some pioneering colonists had begun to settle in Tennessee and Kentucky. In 1775, the most populous colonies were Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Maryland—in that order. 90% of the population lived in rural areas. Colonial America was a melting pot. Germans constituted about 6% of the total population by 1775. Many of them had chosen to settle in Pennsylvania. They were and are still known as the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch). In parts of Philadelphia, the street signs were painted in both German and English. The Scots-Irish constituted about 7% of the total population in 1775. They were not Irish at all but were Scots who had been transplanted to Northern Ireland, where they had not prospered. The Irish Catholics that were there hated Scottish Presbyterianism and the Scots who brought it, and still do. Early in the 1700s, tens of thousands of embittered Scots-Irish came to America and many settled in Pennsylvania. They eventually pushed south into Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas. They were superb frontiersmen who regularly clashed with Indian tribes. About a dozen future presidents were of Scots-Irish descent. About 5% of the colonial population consisted of other European groups such as French, Welsh, Dutch, Swedes, Jews, Irish, Swiss, and Scots Highlanders. Many of these colonial groups felt no loyalty to the British crown. The largest single non- English group was African, accounting for nearly 20% of the colonial population in 1775. The population of the thirteen colonies was probably the most mixed anywhere in the world. As these various immigrant groups mingled, they laid the foundations for a new multicultural American national identity unlike anything known in Europe. Agriculture was the leading industry, involving 90% of the population. Tobacco was the staple crop in Maryland and Virginia. The middle colonies produced large quantities of grain and by 1759, New York was exporting 80,000 barrels of flour a year. Fishing was a major industry in New England. The fishing fleet also stimulated a shipbuilding industry and served as a nursery for the seamen who manned the navy and merchant marine. A bustling commerce, both up and down the coast and overseas, enriched all the colonies. Yankee seamen were famous in many areas not only and skilled mariners but as tightfisted traders. They provisioned the Caribbean sugar islands with food and forest products. They hauled Spanish and Portuguese gold, wine and oranges to London, to be exchanged for industrial goods, which were then sold for a juicy profit in America. Another example of this overseas commerce has been called the triangular trade. Ships would leave New England with rum and sail to the west coast of Africa where they would barter the rum for slaves. With the slaves on board, the ship would sail to the Caribbean where the slaves would be bartered for molasses. Loaded with molasses, the ship would sail north to New England where it would be distilled into rum and the process would start all over again. Most captains made a handsome profit on each leg of the trip. In 1773, Parliament passed the Molasses Act, aimed at stopping North American trade with the French West Indies. American merchants responded to the act by bribing and smuggling their way around the law. In all the colonial churches, religion was less fervid in the early 18th century than it was a century earlier. Some Puritan ministers worried that many of their parishioners had gone soft and that their souls were no longer kindled by the hellfire of orthodox Calvinism. Some worshipers proclaimed that human beings were not necessarily predestined to damnation and might save themselves by good works. The religious revival known as the Great Awakening exploded in the 1730s and 1740s and swept through the colonies like wild fire. It started in Northampton, Massachusetts by an intellectual pastor, Jonathan Edwards. He preached against believing in salvation through good works and stressed the necessity of complete dependence on God’s grace. In his sermons Edwards painted a vivid picture of hell and eternal damnation. In 1738, gifted English preacher George Whitefield began to preach in the colonies. Whitefield was an amazing orator. His voice boomed over thousands of enthralled listeners in an open field. Whitefield’s message was one of human helplessness and divine omnipotence. He was so eloquent that Jonathan Edwards was reduced to tears and thrifty Benjamin Franklin emptied his pockets into the collection plate. During these roaring revival meetings many “sinners” professed conversion and many of the “saved” groaned, shrieked, or rolled on the ground from the religious excitement. Old lights, (orthodox clergymen) were deeply skeptical of the emotionalism and the theatrics antics of the revivalists. New light ministers defended the Awakening for its role in revitalizing American religion. Congregationalists and Presbyterians split over this issue, and many of the believers in religious conversion went over to the Baptists. The Great Awakening had many lasting effects. Its emphasis on direct, emotional spirituality seriously undermined the older clergy whose authority had come from their education. The schisms it set off in many denominations greatly increased the numbers and competitiveness of American churches. It led to the founding of many centers of higher learning such as Princeton, Rutgers and Dartmouth. Most significant was that the Great Awakening was the first spontaneous mass movement of the American people. It tended to break down sectional boundaries as well as denominational lines and contributed to the growing sense that Americans had of themselves as a single people, united by a common history and shared experiences. Puritan New England, for religious reasons, was more interested in education than any other section. The Puritan church stressed the need for Bible reading by the individual worshiper. Education was primarily for boys and at a very early date New Englanders established primary and secondary schools (Old Deluder Satan Law). In the middle colonies, fairly adequate elementary schools were also set up. Some of these were tax supported In the southern colonies, wealthy families relied on private tutors to educate their children. Poorer families received very little education at all. Most early colleges were established by religious groups for the training of new ministers. Many wealthy families, especially in the south, sent their boys abroad to English colleges and universities. Hand-operated printing presses cranked out pamphlets, leaflets, and journals in all of the colonies. On the eve of the revolution, there were nearly 40 colonial newspapers. The “news” often lagged many weeks behind the event, especially in the case of overseas events. Newspapers proved to be a powerful agency for airing colonial grievances and rallying opposition to British control In 1734-1735, significant legal case arose in New York. Peter Zenger, a newspaper printer, was arrested and put on trial. His paper had printed article about the corrupt royal governor. Zenger was charged with libel and was defended by Alexander Hamilton. Zenger argued that he had printed the truth but the prosecution argued that the jury should not even consider the truth or falsity of Zenger’s statements; the mere fact that he had printed the articles was enough to convict. The jury found Zenger not guilty. The Zenger decision was a landmark decision for the freedom of the press. In time it helped establish the doctrine that true statements about public officials could not be prosecuted as libel. Colonial governments took a variety of forms. By 1775, eight of the colonies had royal governors who were appointed by the king. Three were under proprietors who themselves chose the governors (Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware). Two elected their own governors under self-governing charters (Connecticut, and Rhode Island). Practically every colony used a twohouse legislature. The upper house was appointed by the crown or the proprietor of the colony. The lower house was elected by the people—or rather those who owned enough land to qualify as voters. Most legislatures voted such taxes as they chose for the necessary expenses of colonial government. Selftaxation through representation was a precious privilege that Americans came to cherish above most others. Governors appointed by the king were generally able men but some were incompetent or corrupt. Even the best appointees had trouble with the colonial legislatures. Colonial assemblies found various ways to assert their authority and independence. Some withheld the governor’s salary unless he yielded to their wishes. Most governors were in need of money so this was a effective tactic. The London government (Parliament) was guilty of poor administration. Control over the purse by the colonial legislatures led to prolonged bickering which proved to be one of the persistent irritants that generated a spirit of revolt. The right to vote was not a right in colonial America. All colonies had religious or property qualifications for voting by 1775 and that meant that nearly 50% of all white males could not vote.