|Chapter Summaries (Ch.1-4) for Out of Many
Chapter 1 Summary
AMERICAN COMMUNITIES: CAHOKIA: THIRTEENTH-CENTURY LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI In the mid-1200s, an urban center called Cahokia existed just across the Mississippi River from present-day St. Louis. About 30,000 people lived there, supported by a network of farms in the surrounding area. A wide variety of objects were buried in a series of mounds there. The opening vignette focuses on this community as an example of the sophisticated cultures developed by Indian peoples before the arrival of Europeans.
SETTLING THE CONTINENT Indians represent a wide variety of cultural traditions and physical types. In the early sixteenth century, when Native Americans and Europeans first encountered one another, there were over 2,000 indigenous cultures. Despite evidence to the contrary, Europeans called Native Americans “Indians,” and imagined that the Americas had been inhabited for only a few thousand years.
Genetic studies show that Native American and Asian populations began to separate about 30,000 years ago. A land bridge – Beringia – between Siberia and Alaska emerged when glaciers locked up enough water to lower sea levels. This enabled humans to travel from Asia to North America, probably in small bands of hunter-gatherers following migrating mammals. Migrants spread out across the North and South American continents, though disagreement persists about how and when this happened. There were also smaller migrations into North America, dating to approximately 5000 B.C.E. and 3000 B.C.E. Native American origin stories offer clues regarding these ancient migrations.
About 11,000 years ago Indians developed new techniques of tool making (the Clovis tradition), enabling them to hunt more efficiently. Clovis technology spread rapidly throughout North America.
NEW WAYS OF LIVING ON THE LAND About 15,000 years ago, a global warming trend ended the North American Ice Age and left the continent with a variety of regions that were distinct in climate and geography. Indians produced many different cultures as they adapted to these ecologies.
The earliest cultures grew up around hunting. Climate change stressed big game animal populations, and many New World mammals became extinct. Hunters developed specialized techniques to hunt one of the surviving species, the American bison, and developed the Folsom technology with new spear points. Archaeologists have found the remains of nearly 200 bison on the Plains that had been slaughtered and butchered on a single occasion. This indicates a complex division of labor, the cooperation of several communities, and knowledge of food preservation.
During the Archaic period (approximately 10,000 to 2,500 years ago) desert dwellers developed a culture based on foraging for plants and hunting small animals. They lived in caves and rock shelters where a strong sense of community developed. Desert foraging techniques spread to more fertile Pacific Coast areas, allowing for a dense population and the first permanent settlements in North America.
In the forest areas in the East, what archaeologists call “forest efficiency” – mixed hunting, fishing, and farming – led to larger populations and permanent settlements. Indians hunted small game and gathered plant food. They also burned the woodlands to stimulate the growth of wild food crops. Labor appears to have been divided by gender.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF FARMING About 5,000 years ago inhabitants in what is today central Mexico began cultivating maize. Agriculture stimulated the development of sedentary, increasingly complex urban communities with large populations. Complex societies with systems of governance and sexual division of labor began to emerge. Greater population density fostered the development of elaborate kinship systems. Farming communities were more complex, but less stable, than foraging communities. Protracted warfare and violent death became more common, and elite classes emerged. Teotihuacan, for example, had 200,000 residents around 500 C.E., but declined in the following centuries for unclear reasons.
In some regions, climate and/or abundant resources led some peoples to reject farming. Foragers generally had better diets than farmers, and though they often went hungry, they were less vulnerable to devastating famine. In many regions, farming allowed for greater production of food, and was gradually adopted.
In the Southwest, the Mogollon, the Hohokam, and the Anasazi succeeded despite the harsh climate. The Anasazi developed densely populated, multi-storied apartment complexes in the Four Corners area of the Southwest. They grew high-yield maize, and hunted with bows and arrows. Their culture extended over an immense area, until a thirteenth-century drought coupled with the invasion of Athapascan warriors led them to resettle in Pueblo communities along the Rio Grande.
Inhabitants of the eastern woodlands combined hunting and gathering with settled agriculture. They grew tobacco, and built mounds. The most significant cultures were the Adena and Hopewell of the Ohio and Mississippi-Ohio river valleys, respectively.
Spreading along the Mississippi River and into the Southeast, the Mississippian culture was agricultural, urban, and highly sophisticated. This culture adopted the bow and arrow from the Great Plains, and a new maize variety from the East. They built earthworks, traded widely, and developed political hierarchies. They shared many traits of European civilization, except writing.
A combination of climatic changes and migration created political tension in this area that, after the thirteenth century, increasingly led to war.
CULTURAL REGIONS OF NORTH AMERICA ON THE EVE OF COLONIZATION Geography and climate affected the Native American populations in North America’s ten “culture areas” – Arctic, Subarctic, Great Basin, Great Plains, California, Northwest, Plateau, Southwest, South, and Northeast – just as these regions shaped European settlers in America.
Anthropologists estimate the population north of Mexico in the fifteenth century to have been 7 to 10 million and up to 25 million in the Mexican highlands. The population of the Western Hemisphere was over 50 million, comparable to Europe’s. The Southwest, South, and Northeast had the largest populations and were also the first areas conquered by Europeans.
In the Southwest, desert farmers lived in dispersed oasis communities where they cultivated corn, beans, and other crops. East of the Grand Canyon were the Pueblo peoples. Far more communal than their neighbors, they inhabited the oldest continuously occupied towns in what is now the United States. Surrounding them were bands of nomadic hunters.
In the South there emerged a variety of small villages and larger towns following the Mississippian cultural pattern. Great tribes like the Natchez dominated the lower Mississippi delta along with confederacies like the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee. In general the Southern Indians subsisted on a combination of settled agriculture supplemented by fishing and hunting. Agricultural festivals brought clans together for rituals and socializing.
In the Northeast, the Iroquois built longhouses for their extended matrilineal families. The longhouse served as a metaphor for the Iroquois Confederacy, established in 1451. The other northeastern Indians spoke Algonquian and were grouped into over fifty different patrilineal cultures.
CONCLUSION Indians adapted to their varied environments and created a rich multitude of cultures. As J. H. Perry writes, “Columbus did not discover a new world. He established contact between two worlds, both already old.”
Chapter 2 Summary
AMERICAN COMMUNITIES: THE ENGLISH AND THE ALGONQUINS AT ROANOKE Sir Walter Raleigh founded the Roanoke colony off the North Carolina coast in 1585. Raleigh hoped to find furs to sell, develop plantation agriculture and discover gold or silver. He planned to exploit Indian labor, while some of the settlers had more respectful attitudes toward the Algonquins. From the Indian side, too, attitudes towards the English varied. A new group of colonists arrived in 1587, more committed to cooperation with the Indians, but conflicts emerged. When the English returned after a three year hiatus, all of the colonists were gone. The vignette illustrates how European imperialist goals created conflicts with Indians.
THE EXPANSION OF EUROPE Christopher Columbus’s contact with the Americans in 1492 changed the world. Europeans had come to the Americas before – Norsemen probably settled in Newfoundland in the tenth or eleventh century – but there was no permanent impact.
Western Europe was an agricultural society, and improvements in farming technology in the Middle Ages greatly increased productivity. The feudal system divided land into small areas owned by powerful landlords who commanded labor and tribute from the peasants. The majority of Europeans were Christians and the Jewish minority was persecuted by them. Living conditions were harsh for most people—famine was prevalent and one-third of Western Europe’s population was wiped out by the bubonic plague between 1347 and 1353.
Commercial growth contributed to the expansion of markets and towns. Beginning in the late fourteenth century, the monarchs of Western Europe began to ally with merchants. Western European culture had weaknesses, but one of its strengths was that it was capable of generating immense capital for overseas ventures.
Stimulated by the Crusades, several Italian cities had begun trade with the civilizations of Asia. Along with products such as the compass and gunpowder, and techniques such as movable type, Muslim civilization reintroduced Europeans to the learning of Greece and Rome, which was essential for the Renaissance in the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries. Motivated by earthly concerns, Europeans adopted a humanistic view, which was part of the inquisitive and acquisitive spirit that motivated exploration.
Portugal began exploring distant lands by sea. Prince Henry the Navigator established an academy to train seafarers who embarked on new trading expeditions. By 1488 the Portuguese had established several colonies, reached the southern tip of Africa, and had begun the Atlantic slave trade. Ten years later, Vasco de Gama sailed around the southern tip of Africa to India.
Christopher Columbus, who sailed with the Portuguese, proposed sailing westward to reach the Indies, drastically miscalculating the distance. He convinced Isabel and Ferdinand of Spain to finance his “Enterprise of the Indies.” In October 1492 he arrived at a series of Caribbean islands. He returned with six natives and talk of fabulous wealth, and suggested that the inhabitants could be enslaved. He later made several more trips to the Caribbean, where he engaged in violent slave raiding and an obsessive search for gold. He died thinking he had opened the way to Asia, but Amerigo Vespucci was already describing the land as a New World.
THE SPANISH IN THE AMERICAS Spain created a lucrative empire in the Americas. A caste system ensured settler control, while reproduction across racial lines created new peoples.
Armies of Spaniards marched across Caribbean islands, slaughtering the inhabitants. Soon the Spaniards had depleted the islands of inhabitants and gold. In 1517 the Spaniards arrived in Mexico, home of the Aztec empire. The Aztecs dominated central Mexico, extracting tribute and sacrificing human captives. Hernán Cortés arrived in 1519. Forging an alliance with victims of Aztec oppression and aided by a devastating smallpox epidemic, he overthrew the Aztec empire. The Spanish then plundered Aztec society, capturing vast riches.
Many different Indian peoples resisted Spanish conquest. But they were no match for mounted warriors carrying steel swords and commanding man-eating dogs. Bartolomé de Las Casas was one of the most vocal European opponents of the conquest, which he likened to genocide. The population of Mexico, for example, which had been 25 million in 1519, fell to just a million only a century later. Some losses were due to battle, some due to starvation and overwork, but most were due to the introduction of European diseases. Epidemics of smallpox, measles, influenza, and other diseases were a secret weapon of the Spanish that weakened the Indians even before Europeans arrived in large numbers. By 1900, the Indian population had declined by ninety percent.
Diseases were only one of many exchanges between Europe and the Americas. Silver that flowed from American mines into Europe resulted in runaway inflation. Corn, potatoes, and other crops went west to east; corn and potatoes became staples that greatly reduced the incidence of famine in Europe. Sugar, rice, coffee, horses, and cattle went east to west.
In 1513 the first of a series of unsuccessful attempts to colonize what is now the United States began in Florida. Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s published account of golden cities prompted further expeditions. Hernan de Soto traveled through the South, spreading disease that depopulated and undermined Indian societies. Soon various would-be conquerors were searching for golden cities. In 1539, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado left on a tour that took him through the Great Plains. Though he defeated the Pueblo Indians, Coronado did not find gold.
By the late sixteenth century the Spanish had a powerful American empire. Some 250,000 Europeans and 125,000 Africans lived there. Since few European women came, a racially mixed population developed. The empire was governed by the Council of the Indies which oversaw a centralized bureaucratic system. In practical terms, however, local autonomy prevailed.
NORTHERN EXPLORATIONS AND ENCOUNTERS Spain had a significant head start in the New World, but France and England were eager for transatlantic opportunities.
European fishermen plied the coastal waters off Newfoundland. Between 1534 and 1541 Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence River, establishing French claims in Canada. Fur was highly valued but scarce in Europe; the French and Indians traded textiles, glass, copper, and ironware for American furs. The fur trade led to competition between tribes and the introduction of European diseases. Indians increasingly came to depend on European knives, firearms, and other products.
The Protestant Reformation was critical to the expansion of the northern Europeans presence in North America. Martin Luther challenged the religious dominance of the Roman Catholic Church and the religious notion that salvation could be obtained by good works or service to the church. Other critics like John Calvin maintained that only a small number were chosen for “election” and that his followers ought to demonstrate thrift and sobriety as a sign of election. Calvin’s French followers, Huguenots, participated in a series of civil wars, though they were unable to gain control of the country. Early French Huguenot efforts to colonize present-day South Carolina and Florida came to naught.
The Enclosure movement stimulated English colonization when the woolen trade expanded and a growing number of farmers lost their land to make way for sheep; this created a large, unemployed population. England became caught up in the Reformation when the Pope refused to annul Henry VIII’s marriage. In 1534 Henry declared himself head of a separate Church of England and initiated a series of reforms. When Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558, she inherited a fierce rivalry between England and Catholic Spain. Elizabeth encouraged Raleigh and others to brutally colonize Catholic Ireland. The brutality and sense of superiority the British displayed towards the Irish would be repeated in English dealings with Native Americans.
Privateers like John Hawkins and Francis Drake raided Spanish New World ports. Various plans were made for colonies, including an expedition to Newfoundland and the ill-fated Roanoke colony. These incursions into the New World angered King Phillip II of Spain who tried to destroy England. The defeat of the Spanish Armada ended the Spanish monopoly on the New World.
CONCLUSION The European colonization of the America had disastrous consequences for the Indians. The Spanish, French, and English developed different colonial systems.
Chapter 3 Summary
AMERICAN COMMUNITIES: COMMUNITIES STRUGGLE WITH DIVERSITY IN SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY SANTA Fé The Pueblo community in Santa Fé clashed with Spanish authorities. The Indians had converted to Christianity, but maintained many of their pre-Christian beliefs and practices. Spanish authorities cracked down on pagan practices until 1680, when a Pueblo priest named Pope led a revolt that temporarily overthrew the Spanish rule. The Spanish regained authority in the 1690s. This time they imposed fewer religious restrictions. The Pueblos still observed Catholicism in the chapels while the missionaries tolerated the Indians’ traditional practices away from the missions. The vignette illustrates how although colonists and Indian communities remained autonomous and often had violent conflicts, learned to live with one another.
SPAIN AND ITS COMPETITORS IN NORTH AMERICA Early in the seventeenth century, France, Holland, and England joined Spain in establishing substantial colonies in North America. New Spain and New France were “frontiers of inclusion,” in which indigenous peoples were converted to subjects and there was cultural mixing between colonists and Native Americans. The Dutch, after briefly following the French model, soon turned to the English model, creating “frontiers of exclusion” in which settlers and indigenous peoples were segregated.
Motivated by tales of gold and religious fervor, the Spanish reached the Rio Grande valley in 1598, brutally putting down Indian resistance. The Spanish set up the colony of New Mexico, centered in Santa Fé. The colonial economy depended on forced Indian labor for modest, small-scale farming and sheep herding.
The French established an outpost on the Bay of Fundy in 1605 where Samuel de Champlain sought to monopolize the fur trade. Unlike the Spanish, who lived primarily in towns, the French were dispersed throughout the region to exploit the fur trade. French missionaries introduced Christianity as a supplement to the Indian way of life. French traders frequently married Indian women. Their sons fanned out across the Great Lakes region and by the 1670s were exploring the upper Mississippi River. By 1700, France claimed a vast inland empire based on the fur trade but had few settlers. The French empire depended on alliances with independent Indian nations. French Jesuit missionaries attempted to integrate Christianity into existing Indian ways of life.
The Dutch established trading outposts around the world, including Manhattan Island. Despite Holland’s small size, the nation was able to organize powerful companies that combined military power and economic strength, making Holland the world’s commercial superpower in the seventeenth century. The Dutch allied with the Iroquois, and traded furs throughout the Hudson River valley.
ENGLAND IN THE CHESAPEAKE England’s early attempts at colonization in North America were failures. After defeating Spain in the early seventeenth century, England returned to the colonization project, with more success.
The English issued charters to joint-stock companies that sold shares to investors hoping to reap profits from gold mines or plantation agriculture. In 1607 the Virginia Company founded the colony of Jamestown. The English saw themselves as latter-day conquistadors. At first the Indians supplied the starving colonists with food, seeking trade benefits, but abandoned that policy in the face of English greed and treachery. Only continuing supplies and new colonists from England saved the struggling community. Meanwhile, worn down from disease and war – and the British kidnapping of his favorite daughter, Pocahontas – Powhatan accepted a peace treaty, but died several years later.
The popularity of Virginia-grown tobacco in England made the colony economically viable. Between 1619 and 1624, 4,500 English settlers arrived, though most died off. Conflicts between the English and Indians continued. One-third of the English community was wiped out in 1622. But by 1632 the Indians sued for peace. Another defeat in 1644 ended the last Indian resistance.
Maryland was a proprietary colony, granted by King Charles to the Calvert family in 1632. The Calverts were Catholics, and Maryland became the only English colony in North America with a substantial Catholic population. The economy, like Virginia’s, relied on tobacco.
The main labor force for the Chesapeake was white indentured servants who served for two to seven years in return for passage. African slaves, though available, were too expensive, and with so many servants dying before completing their terms, the distinction between slave and servant may have seemed academic.
By 1650 the Chesapeake colonies had spread across the land, but had developed few community institutions. There were few women, and, because of high mortality rates, families were small. Chesapeake colonists maintained close ties with England.
THE NEW ENGLAND COLONIES The northern colonies were not hospitable to tobacco or other cash crops. Instead they became havens for Protestant dissenters from England.
Puritan followers of John Calvin sought to purify the English church by rooting out vestiges of traditional Catholic practices. They found themselves increasingly in conflict with royal authorities, especially King Charles I. This stimulated English Protestant emigration to New England.
The French and Dutch had established trade connections with the Indians along the North Atlantic coast. Between 1616 and 1618, a devastating plague decimated the native population, disrupting trade and weakening Indian ability to resist colonization.
The first English colony in New England was founded by Separatists, who believed they needed to establish independent congregations to separate themselves from the corrupt English church. In 1620 these “Pilgrims” founded the Plymouth colony at an abandoned Indian village. After an initial winter of starvation, the Pilgrims (with considerable Indian assistance) succeeded in establishing a community of self-sufficient farms.
In 1629 a group of wealthy Puritans received a charter to found the Massachusetts Bay Company and settle in America. Between 1629 and 1643, 20,000 Puritans relocated to Boston and other settlements in Massachusetts. Many Puritan leaders had experience with local government in England, and they exploited loopholes in their charter to lay the groundwork for democratic suffrage.
Unlike the French and Dutch who preceded them, the English were primarily interested in acquiring land for agriculture. Consequently, conflicts between English and Indians grew. The English took advantage of the Indian population which was weakened by disease and used various pressure tactics to acquire land, including war.
Unlike the Chesapeake region, New England developed a diversified economy. The initial element was the cod fishery, but by 1700 Boston’s seaborne trade in a variety of products made it the third-largest English commercial center.
Puritans valued closely knit families and communities. Puritans stressed male-dominated, well-ordered communities. The colony was governed locally by a governor and elected representatives. Boys in Massachusetts and Connecticut were well-educated.
The Puritans expected religious uniformity. Dissenters such as Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson who challenged the status quo either left voluntarily or were banished from the colony.
THE PROPRIETARY COLONIES After two decades of civil war, Parliament restored the Stuart monarchy in 1660 under King Charles II.
In 1663, to reward those who had helped him, Charles issued a charter to the proprietors of Carolina. The southern part was settled by Barbadians who set up plantations worked by African slaves.
The Dutch had created a trading empire all over the world. They had founded the North American colony of New Netherlands and allied with the Iroquois to control the fur trade. A series of wars between the English and Dutch resulted in the English conquest of New Netherlands. King Charles II granted the former Dutch colony to his brother the Duke of York who renamed it New York.
In 1681 Charles settled a large debt owed to the father of William Penn, by granting the younger Penn a huge territory west of the Delaware River. Penn was a Quaker who wanted the colony to be a “holy experiment.” Pennsylvania enjoyed good relations with the Indians and the colony later became America’s breadbasket.
CONFLICT AND WAR The last quarter of the seventeenth century was a time of great violence throughout colonial America. In Massachusetts the expansion of English settlements and extension of English law over Indians ended an alliance with the Algonquians. In 1675, Metacom (“King Philip” to the English) led an Indian alliance that attacked towns only twenty miles from Boston. By 1676 King Philips’s War ended in defeat, as the English forged a new alliance with the Iroquois Confederacy. In proportion to the size of the population, King Philip’s War had one of the highest casualty rates of any war in American history.
At the same time clashes between backcountry Virginians and Indians had created an explosive situation. When the Royal governor tried to suppress unauthorized attacks on Indians, Nathaniel Bacon led his frontier followers against Virginia’s authorities. The antipathy and distrust sowed between frontier settlers and settled planters, and accelerated the transition to slave labor.
In South Carolina, the trade in Indian slaves destroyed both indigenous communities and, because so many Florida Indians were captured, the Spanish mission system.
Upon ascending the English throne, James II attempted to re-exert the monarchy’s control over the American colonies. Traditions of local autonomy were suppressed, both in the colonies and in England. Resentment, and fears of a Catholic monarchy, led to the Glorious Revolution and the creation of England’s constitutional monarchy. After revolts in Boston, New York, and elsewhere, self-government was largely restored in America.
In 1689, King William’s War began, marking the beginnings of 75 years of Anglo-French conflict. In 1701, the governments of most colonies were reorganized, to bring them under more direct royal control.
CONCLUSION The 17th century saw vast changes as hundreds of thousands of Europeans moved to North America. Different European nations carved out distinctive types of colonies.
Chapter 4 Summary
AMERICAN COMMUNITIES: AFRICAN SLAVES BUILD THEIR OWN COMMUNITY IN COASTAL GEORGIA In coastal Georgia, planters depended on a “veritable orgy” of slave trading to provide rice cultivators. Africans struggled to make a place for themselves in this brutal world. They forced masters to operate on the task system which gave slaves more control over their time. Some ran away or directly attacked their masters. But most remained on the plantations and built a community that created and sustained an African American culture. The vignette illustrates how slaves had become in the words of one contemporary, a “nation within a nation.”
THE BEGINNINGS OF AFRICAN SLAVERY Europeans had a long history of keeping household slaves, but by the early fifteenth century the pope, among others, expressed disapproval of enslaving Christians. In 1441 Portugal exploited the obvious loophole and started trading in slaves from Africa.
Mediterranean sugar plantations relied on African slave labor. Sugar production spread to the Caribbean as Portugal, Holland, Spain, and England established colonies to produce the crop, which dominated the New World economy. This in turn led to a heavy demand for slave labor.
Slaves taken from West Africa came from polygamous societies based on sophisticated systems of agriculture. Wide networks of trade enriched the kingdoms that developed along the upper Niger River. Slavery was an established institution in Africa, but not necessarily a permanent condition.
THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE The movement of Africans across the Atlantic was the largest forced migration in history.
Ten to eleven million African slaves came to the New World, though only about one in twenty came to what became the United States. Most Africans who were brought to the Americas were young, and men outnumbered women two to one.
Traders from various European nations plied the lucrative slave trade. Europeans rarely went inland into Africa. Instead they worked out arrangements with local headmen and chiefs and bought slaves from local African traders.
Most slaves were taken by African armies or small bands of Africans who raided villages and took prisoners. As the demand for slaves increased, raiders went deeper into the African interior. Once captured, slaves were marched hundreds of miles to the coast, many dying along the way. Slaves were collected in barracoons, separated from families, branded, and systematically dehumanized.
Slaves were crammed into ships with poor food and no sanitation. One in every six slaves died in the Middle Passage. Some slaves revolted or tried to jump overboard. During the eighteenth century, historians estimate that one African in six died during the Middle Passage.
Upon arrival in the Americas, Africans experienced the humiliation of being sold. The slave trade devastated the interior African kingdoms and made them dependent on European trade. Ultimately, slave trading paved the way for European colonization of Africa.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF NORTH AMERICAN SLAVE SOCIETIES Slavery expanded greatly in the eighteenth century. By 1770, more than 20 percent of the population in British North America was African or African American.
The first Africans arrived in 1619 but only a small number followed over the next fifty years. Slavery did not establish itself as an institution until the last quarter of the seventeenth century. After Bacon's Rebellion and other social conflicts of the 1670s many colonial leaders saw slavery as a way of insuring social peace. Increased life spans also made slavery economical. By 1700 the number of African slaves surpassed the number of indentured servants. As slavery became more important the legal status of slaves became more clearly defined.
Tobacco became the most important export in eighteenth-century North America. Unlike other slave areas, by 1730 the slave population in the Chesapeake had achieved self-sustained growth.
In the lower South, initially the Indian slave trade was important. By the mid 1700s, the economy revolved around rice and indigo. Large plantations dominated the region, and the population was 60% black.
Although the Spaniards had doubts about slavery's morality, their Cuban sugar plantations were as brutal as any. But elsewhere the system was more benign: Spanish Florida was a refuge for fugitive slaves from British colonies. In New Mexico, the Spanish employed Indian slaves.
French settlers used slaves in their Gulf Coast colonies, but slaves made up only one-third of the population.
North of the Chesapeake slavery was more of an urban phenomena. Quakers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey were among the earliest colonial opponents of slavery.
AFRICAN TO AFRICAN AMERICAN Increasingly the North American slave population became “creole”—native-born—and created an African American culture.
Most slaves were agricultural laborers, who received a meager subsistence, which they supplemented. When large plantations developed, labor specialization arose.
Despite having no legal sanction, slaves built stable families. The eighteenth century was the formative period in the development of an African American culture. Kinship-based forms of address helped unify groups of unrelated individuals.
There was no large-scale effort to Christianize slaves until after the 1760s. Slaves maintained African traditions in various parts of life, especially in their burial ceremonies. Slaves’ music, dance, and language indicate an emerging hybrid culture as European and African patterns merged. The slaves' common language facilitated communication between American-born and African slaves.
Just as the English were shaping African culture, so was English culture was also being shaped by both the Africans and Indians. New foods, words, accents, musical and dance forms became a part of white culture.
Slavery was based upon the use of force and violence, but slaves found ways of resisting. Through day-to-day acts of resistance like malingering, breaking tools or running away as individuals or into maroon colonies, they maintained a rebellious spirit. Several full-scale revolts broke out, but revolts were rare compared with other New World slave societies.
SLAVERY AND EMPIRE Slavery helped create the conditions for industrialization. The European New World empires grew rich off of the great profits earned in the slave trade and plantation agriculture. Slavery stimulated a tremendous growth in manufacturing, commerce and commercial towns, as well as helping finance the rise of modern banks, insurance companies, and the textile industry.
With great profits at stake, Europeans sought controls over their imperial system. They governed their empires through the principles of mercantilism. Trade had to be regulated to insure maximum accumulation of wealth. These goals put them in conflict with other empires. England, France, and Spain struggled for control over North America and the Caribbean in a series of wars that had their European counterparts.
In an effort to control trade the British chartered state trading monopolies and enacted a series of regulations known as the Navigation Acts. Merchants from other nations were forbidden to trade in the colonies. Certain enterprises could not be conducted in the colonies. The British did not enforce their restrictions to the detriment of trade, pursuing a policy of “salutory neglect.”
Within this system, the colonial economy grew rapidly as American products were sold throughout Europe and the port cities expanded their trade. The port cities became part of an expanding trade network, linking slave plantations with Atlantic markets.
SLAVERY AND FREEDOM Slavery produced a society with a small elite of wealthy planters in the South and a comfortable urban population in the North.
Most whites throughout the colonies were privileged only in contrast to the exploitation suffered by slaves and indentured servants. Wealthy Virginians emerged as a self-perpetuating governing class that was active in politics. A similar elite ruled the lower South, though the planters resided in fashionable Charleston. About half of the white males were small farmers and the gap between them and the wealthy planters grew steadily. In the plantation regions, about 40 percent of the population owned no land.
Yet however poor a white might be, having white skin was a tremendous advantage. Laws stated that the mother determined a baby’s free or unfree status, meaning many white men’s children were raised as slaves. Laws also insured that privileges of citizenship were restricted to whites, helping to insure a sense of distance between the races and a sense of superiority among the white population.
CONCLUSION In large part it was the labor of African slaves that produced the goods that made the New World economies grow.