American history I: final exam review



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Life in New England and the Middle Colonies

  • Limited Farming

  • New England’s soil was thin and rocky, making farming difficult

  • As a result, New Englanders could not rely on cash crops to earn a living

  • New England farmers grew food only for their own consumption

  • The Bounty of the Sea

  • Many New Englanders turned to the sea to earn their living.

  • They exploited the rich fishing grounds of the Grand Banks, exporting salted fish back to Europe

  • They built far-ranging whaling boats (whales were a source of both lamp oil and ivory)

  • Lumber Resources

  • The old-growth forests of New England provided the lumber needed for building the fishing, whaling, and merchant fleets, so many settlers worked in the lumber industry and operating sawmills

  • A great deal of lumber was also exported to other colonies and back to England

  • Merchants

  • New England’s shipbuilding abilities, good harbors, and high demand for European goods also opened opportunities for some settlers to become merchants and engage in trade

  • The (New) Triangular Trade

  • New England merchants carried colonial products (lumber, fish, southern cash crops) to the Caribbean sugar plantations

  • The Caribbean sugar planters would then trade sugar, or simply exchange British bills of exchange (a form of money), for the American goods

  • New England merchants then brought the sugar back home to be distilled into rum and used the bills of exchange to buy British finished goods (or slaves, which could be mostly traded to the southern colonies)

  • Towns Instead of Plantations

  • While southern life was centered on the plantations, northern life was centered on towns, and all towns were centered on their church

  • The Puritans strongly believed that God wanted men to live in tight-knit communities where they could regularly worship together

  • Town Meetings

  • Towns were governed through “town meetings” where the entire community came together and the adult landowning men elected leaders and passed local laws

  • Those elected to govern were called selectmen; they served for 1 year at a time and appointed all the other local officials (clerks, constables, justices)

  • Self-Government

  • The town meeting tradition was important in developing the idea that people had a right to govern themselves

  • Once the settlers became used to autonomy, they would resent efforts by the British to limit their independence and govern from afar.

  • Puritan Morality

  • Puritans were expected to attend church every Sunday for worship and every Thursday night for religious education. Failure to attend was a punishable offense under the law.

  • Puritans were also expected to watch over their neighbors and report immoral behaviors as a religious responsibility to the community

  • Despite being opposed to gambling, acting, and dancing, the Puritans did enjoy themselves.

  • They believed that God had made the world for man to both use and enjoy and that wealth was acceptable, since it was the result of hard work

  • They drank alcohol, enjoyed music, and flaunted their wealth through fine clothing, furniture, and the construction of beautiful homes, churches, and public buildings

  • Salem Witch Trials

  • This “Holy Watching” sometimes led to major social injustices, however

  • In 1692, accusations of witchcraft rocked the town of Salem Massachusetts when a group of teenage girls claimed that an African slave and other local outcasts were placing curses on individuals in the community

  • The trials led to mass hysteria and neighbors accusing neighbors in order to deflect suspicion from themselves

  • In the end 20 people were executed and many others tortured before the girls finally recanted their stories

  • In the years that followed, public outrage over the injustice of the trials put an end to further “witch hunts” in the colonies

  • Rise of Cities

  • The focus on community, coupled with the need to maintain good ports for trade, led to the rapid development of large towns in the northern and middle colonies (such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia)

  • With the development of cities came all the problems associated with cities – crime, pollution, rapidly spreading disease outbreaks, higher prices for goods, and high poverty rates

  • New England Society

  • Within these larger towns and cities, a different pattern of social stratification began to develop than what had appeared in the more rural south

  • At the top were the wealthy merchants, who built large homes and lived a luxurious lifestyle

  • Next were the artisans, those people who practiced a useful trade – carpenters, masons, smiths, tailors, shoemakers, etc., and other local businessmen, such as innkeepers and tavern owners

  • Next on the social ladder were the common laborers – people with no property and no specific skills, who worked for set wages at other people’s businesses

  • At the bottom were the slaves, who made up as much as 20% of population even in northern cities

  • The Middle Colonies

  • In between New England and the southern colonies were New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware

  • These colonies enjoyed good farmland, but not the type of climate that made southern cash crops possible, so they primarily produced wheat, producing flour both for local consumption and for use in Europe and the Caribbean

  • The Middle Colonies also had good rivers (like the south) and good ports (like the north), putting them in the best economic position of perhaps any of the colonies

  • This created the opportunity in these colonies for individuals to rise to the top of society through either commercial farming or through trade

  • Class Conflict in the Southern Colonies

  • Early Southern Cash Crops

  • Tobacco (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina)

  • Through the mid-1600s, tobacco demand exceeded supply in Europe, so huge profits were made by tobacco planters

  • Tobacco is labor-intensive: had to be tended, harvested, cured, and packed

  • Rice (South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia)

  • Grown in the humid, mosquito-infested lowlands of the Carolinas and Georgia

  • Many settlers of South Carolina had come from Barbados and Jamaica, where slavery was already well-established, so they were more inclined to import slaves for the heavy labor of rice cultivation

  • Additionally, since rice had been a staple crop of West Africa for centuries, African slaves already knew how to grow, harvest, & process it

  • Indigo (South Carolina, North Carolina)

  • Developed as a complimentary crop to rice – grew in dry, sandy soil (opposite of rice) and required care and harvesting in seasons opposite of rice as well

  • Indigo is used to create a valuable blue dye for cloth manufacture

  • The Plantation System

  • Plantations = large commercial estates where many laborers (usually slaves) live on the land and grow crops for the landowner

  • To maximize profits, planters needed to use large amounts of labor to produce large crops

  • The Chesapeake Bay

  • The Chesapeake Bay region provided the perfect combination of climate and navigable rivers to allow planters to both grow their crop and easily ship it to market

  • As a result, few roads or towns were built, since they not only weren’t needed, they would actually make business more costly

  • Indentured Servants

  • Many poor farmers in England had been forced off their land and left unemployed

  • Some of these chose to “sell” themselves into indentured servitude – in exchange for their passage to America, they agreed to work a set term for the landowner who paid their way (usually 4 - 7 years)

  • The landowner had to feed, clothe and shelter them for the duration of their contract

  • Once the indenture ended, the servant was free to claim his own land and start his own farm

  • About half of indentured servants died before their contracts expired

  • Those who survived often found that they could not afford the tools and goods needed to prosper on their own farms

  • The Headright System

  • To further encourage plantation owners to import indentures, landowners were granted a 50 acre “headright,” or bonus land, for each indenture brought over

  • Since the average indenture also earned their master roughly 5 times what they cost each year, the indenture system made many landowners quite wealthy

  • The Planter Elite

  • The plantation system was designed to help the rich get richer – those who could afford to buy slaves or pay for indentured servants grew even wealthier off of the labor and headrights such workers provided. MOST settlers never joined the ranks of the plantation-owning elite

  • With wealth comes economic and political power

  • The planters dominated local governing bodies, commanded the local militias (because they paid for them), and often served as de facto judges

  • As the planter-class’ wealth grew, they also began to distance themselves culturally from the rest of colonial society

  • Built elaborate mansions, amused themselves with hunting, fishing, gambling, intellectual pursuits

  • They had essentially made themselves the nobility of Colonial America

  • Yeoman Farmers

  • Most indentures and other immigrants were forced to move further inland (the “backcountry”) to find unused land to farm

  • These farmers found it difficult to accumulate the wealth of the planters and were forced to live as subsistence farmers – growing just enough to feed themselves, with little room for profits

  • As a result, the yeomen farmers could not afford to spend their time or land on “cash crops” and were unable to afford to buy slaves of their own

  • For labor, they were forced to have large families

  • Social Pyramid

  • Planters – wealthy estate owners who grew cash crops and could afford to own slaves/indentures

  • Yeomen farmers – free “backcountry” farmers who owned their own land, but lacked the resources to grow cash crops or own slaves

  • Tenant farmers – free laborers who rented land from others to farm for themselves

  • Indentured servants – Europeans who had agreed to limited terms of indenture in exchange for their passage to the colonies

  • Slaves – African or Indians held in involuntary servitude and used as manual labor to work the plantations of the planter class

  • Sir William Berkeley (Governor of Virginia from 1641 – 1677)

  • Controlled the Virginia House of Burgesses (legislature) by gifting land to members who supported his policies

  • Exempted himself and his advisors from taxation and restricted voting privileges by putting minimum property requirements in place

  • Berkeley, like the rest of the other planter elite, had no interests in making new land available to the yeomen farmers, especially if it endangered his own holdings by creating conflict with the Native American tribes of the “backcountry”

  • In 1675, when war broke out along the frontier between settlers and the Susquehannock tribe, Berkeley refused to provide military force to fight the Indians and instead ordered the construction of forts along a set frontier and engaged in peace talks with the Indians which would have denied access to Native lands for new white settlers

  • Nathaniel Bacon

  • Angered over Indian attacks against his own plantation on the frontier, Bacon led the yeomen and organized his own militia to continue the fight against the Indians

  • Berkeley was not pleased, but sought a compromise

  • The House of Burgesses, seeking to calm Bacon and his followers, voted to expand voting privileges, revoke tax-exemptions for the wealthiest planters, and authorized Bacon to raise 1000 men to battle the Indians, but Bacon was not satisfied

  • Declaration of the People of Virginia: Issued by Bacon in July 1676

  • Bacon and his followers formal complaint against Berkeley’s administration for levying unfair taxes, appointing only his planter peers to high positions, and refusing to protect the frontier against Indian attacks

  • Bacon’s Rebellion

  • July 1676, Bacon led his militia to the capital at Jamestown and seized control of the Virginia colony

  • Berkeley fled across the Chesapeake Bay and raised his own army to battle the rebels, but it was unnecessary, since Bacon died from dysentery in October and the rebellion fizzled

  • Outcomes of Bacon’s Rebellion

  • Berkeley was relieved of his governorship by the king and formal British troops were sent to Virginia

  • Since Jamestown had been burned during the rebellion, nearby Williamsburg assumed the position of capital of Virginia in 1699

  • The House of Burgesses changed policy and began to support expansion of the frontier at the expense of the Native American tribes

  • The biggest change, however, was an expansion of the use of slave labor – slaves, unlike indentured servants, would never be freed and, therefore, would never need their own land or the privileges that came with land ownership

  • The Growth of Slavery

  • Planters began to realize that the use of slaves grew their wealth faster, since slaves had no contract term and could be bred to create new generations of slaves, so the indenture system died out

  • Pennsylvania began offering free land to the poor, dramatically reducing the number of English poor interested in indentured servitude

  • In 1672, King Charles II granted a royal charter to the Royal African Company, essentially legalizing the slave trade in the English colonies and reducing the cost of slaves

  • New laws passed in Virginia and Maryland made slavery hereditary, so the children born to slaves became slaves as well

    • Mercantilism

    • Colonial-era economic theory that supported the belief that nations become wealthy and powerful by accumulating gold and silver

    • Gold and silver are accumulated by exporting (selling) more than you import (buy)

    • In the mercantilist model, a nation must be self-sufficient in natural resources

    • The American Colonies, rich in natural resources, become valuable in supporting the wealth of England

    • The Colonies also become valuable markets for the manufactured goods produced by English businesses

    • English Mercantilism

    • As a result, England did not allow the Colonies to sell natural resources to other nations, nor did they allow the Colonies to buy manufactured goods from other nations

    • In essence, the economy of the Colonies was monopolized by the English, for the benefit of England – not the Colonies

    • So, the Colonies had to sell their raw materials to English merchants at relatively low prices because that was the only legal outlet available

    • English merchants, however, could charge the Colonies high prices for manufactured goods, because the merchants faced no outside competition

    • Consequences of Mercantilism

    • British merchants grew wealthy

    • Many colonists began to go into debt due to having to borrow money to buy the things they needed or wanted

    • Some colonists, especially in New England, began to engage in illegal smuggling to avoid the mercantilist system

    • Navigation Acts (First issued in 1660)

    • All goods imported or exported by the Colonies had to be carried on English ships

    • Limited what goods could be manufactured in the Colonies for export

    • Tobacco, sugar, lumber, cotton, wool, and indigo could only be sold to England or other English colonies

    • Staple Act (1663)

    • All imports to the Colonies had to come through England

    • Foreign goods had to first be brought to England and taxed before they could be delivered to the Colonies on English ships

    • This raised the price on imports to the Colonies

    • Customs Inspectors

    • When angry Colonists began to break the new laws, Parliament (the English legislature) appointed customs inspectors to serve in the Colonies and inspect all arriving and departing ships to ensure that taxes had been paid and that all shipments were legitimate

    • Smuggling

    • 1675: King Charles II discovered that New England merchants were routinely ignoring the Navigation and Staple Acts by trading with the Dutch, Africa, and islands in the Caribbean

    • Massachusetts’ governor argued that the colony was not bound to obey laws passed by Parliament

    • The Dominion of New England

    • 1686: King James II (Charles II’s brother and heir) decided to punish New England by merging the Massachusetts, Plymouth, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, & New York colonies into one royal colony called the Dominion of New England

    • The Dominion was administered by a royally appointed governor-general who answered directly to the king

    • James ordered all colonial assemblies and courts abolished and gave the governor-general the power to make laws, impose taxes, administer justice, and manage all land grants

    • Sir Edmund Andros

    • Appointed first governor-general of the Dominion

    • Immediately declared all deeds and charters issued in Massachusetts to be invalid and made landholders reapply to have their deeds recognized

    • To get a new deed, landholders had to agree to pay a new annual tax

    • Used military force to enforce the Navigation and Staple Acts

    • Attacked the Puritan church by declaring that all marriages must take place in Anglican churches (the king was head of the Anglican church) and by banning Puritans from teaching in schools

    • New Englanders were primed for a violent showdown when ….

    • The Glorious Revolution

    • King James II was overthrown in a bloodless revolution in favor of his daughter, Mary II and her husband William III

    • Parliament had become suspicious of James because he was a Catholic, so they offered the throne to his Protestant daughter after James fled to France

    • The English Bill of Rights

    • Parliament required that William & Mary swear to abide by a new set of rules before they could take the throne

    • This agreement came to be known as the English Bill of Rights and would later strongly influence the U.S. Constitution

    • Important terms of the English Bill of Rights (in regards to U.S. History)

      • King cannot quarter soldiers in people’s private homes

      • Citizens get trial by jury

      • No cruel or unusual punishment

      • Writ of Habeas corpus – no one can be arrested and imprisoned without being charged with a crime

      • Citizens have the right to bear arms

    • Back in America …

    • Andros and his councilors were imprisoned and later deported back to England

    • William & Mary dissolved the Dominion of New England, but did not restore the old colonial order

    • The New Massachusetts

    • The colonies of Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey were restored, but Massachusetts was merged with Plymouth and the sparsely populated region of Maine into a new royal colony of Massachusetts

    • Under Massachusetts’ new charter, the king appointed a governor, but colonists were allowed to elect an assembly and appoint advisors to the governor

    • Freedom of religion (and voting privileges, if you owned land) was also granted to all Protestants, breaking the Puritans’ monopoly on the colony

    • Growing Diversity and Independence

    • Population Growth

    • American Population in 1776 = 2.5 million (100x the 1640 population level)

    • Birth rates were high (average woman gave birth 7 times)

    • Better housing, sanitary living conditions, and medical care reduced the number of deaths from disease (except in overcrowded cities)

    • Immigration & slavery added to growth

    • The Pennsylvania Dutch

    • German immigrants, including the Mennonites, who came to Pennsylvania seeking religious freedom

    • By 1775, over 100,000 Germans had settled from Pennsylvania to NC

    • Moved to just east of the Appalachian Mountains and set up prosperous farms

    • The Scotch-Irish

    • Left Ireland for Pennsylvania due to economic and religious pressures

    • These immigrants typically pushed as far west as possible, settling along the mountain frontier, where land was unclaimed and, therefore, free

    • Spread as far south as Georgia

    • African Slaves

    • Brought to the Colonies as plantation labor

    • Came from many different West African cultures and were then thrown together on the plantations, forcing them to adapt and develop new, American-specific cultures such as the Gullah culture of the South Carolina Low-Country plantations

    • South Carolinian Slavery

    • Slaves greatly outnumbered whites on the plantations, so order was maintained with harsh punishments – whippings, brandings, mutilations, executions

    • Whites maintained night watches to prevent rebellion, and regularly patrolled for runaway slaves

    • Virginian Slavery

    • Ratio of slaves to whites was much smaller and working conditions were less unpleasant than in SC

    • Planters were less watchful and demanding of their slaves, allowing them to move around unchecked and often rewarding them with time off or extra rations for completing jobs ahead of schedule or unusually well

    • Slaves were still severely punished for disobedience and other transgressions

    • Slave Resistance

    • Slaves sometimes ran away to join the Native Americans

    • Often used passive resistance techniques: refused to work hard, worked slowly, broke or lost tools or other supplies, deliberately made mistakes

    • Stono Rebellion (1739)

    • 75 South Carolinian slaves attacked their overseers and seized a supply of weapons

    • The slaves made for Spanish Florida, which had promised freedom to any runaways

    • The local militia caught up with the slaves and ended the rebellion by killing most of the runaways

    • Resulted in much harsher laws in SC regarding slaves
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