Chapter 2 The Road to Independence Lesson 1



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Chapter 2

The Road to Independence

Lesson 1

Founding the American Colonies




Settlements in America

  • By the 1600s, most Spanish colonies were in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America, and most French and English colonies were in North America.

  • During the 1600s, the Spanish built settlements along the edge of their American empire, such as those in Florida and New Mexico.

  • These settlements were intended to keep Europeans out of Spanish territory.

  • The Spanish also set up missions, or religious communities, in the north to teach Christianity to the Native Americans.

  • The French came to America to make money in the fur trade.

  • Samuel de Champlain was a French explorer who set up a trading post named Quebec, in what is now Canada.

  • From Quebec other French fur trappers traveled into other parts of North America.

  • Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle, followed the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, naming the region Louisiana in honor of France’s king.

  • The Dutch founded settlements in North America.

  • They set up a trading post in the area of present-day New York State.

  • The capital of their new settlement, New Amsterdam, was located at the tip of Manhattan Island, where New York City is today.

The Virginia Colony

  • A group of English colonists financed by Sir Walter Raleigh set up a colony on Roanoke Island off the coast of present-day North Carolina.

  • After six years, the colonists disappeared.

  • This colony became known as the “Lost Colony.”

  • The Virginia Company, an English joint-stock company, received a charter, or right to organize a settlement.

  • It founded the first permanent English settlement in North America.

  • The settlement was named Jamestown after King James I.

  • Life in Virginia was difficult.

  • Many settlers starved, and others were killed in clashed with Native Americans.

  • Captain John Smith, the leader of the colony, forced the settlers to farm.

  • The Virginia colony might have failed if John Rolfe had not discovered that tobacco could be grown.

  • Tobacco became the first crop in the English colonies to be grown in large quantities and sold for profit.

  • The Virginia Company gave the colonists the right to elect burgesses, or representatives, from among the male landowners.

  • The first House of Burgesses, which set an example for representative government, met in 1619.

The Thirteen Colonies

  • Some English colonists, such as the Puritans and the Separatists, settled in North America to practice their religion freely, not to gain wealth.

  • A group of Separatists called Pilgrims arrived in 1620.

  • They were headed for Virginia, but a strong wind blew them off course, causing them to land north of Cape Cod in present-day Massachusetts.

  • They called this landing place Plymouth.

  • The Pilgrims signed a formal document called the Mayflower Compact to set up a civil government.

  • The signers promised to obey laws passed for the general good of the colony.

  • The Pilgrims governed themselves for 70 years before becoming part of a Puritan colony called Massachusetts.

  • The Puritans were encouraged by the Pilgrims’ success and began leaving England for North America.

  • They founded the colony of Massachusetts and its capital, Boston.

  • The Puritans created a colonial legislature and made their faith the official religion.

  • Settlers in Connecticut, led by Thomas Hooker, adopted a plan of government called the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in 1639.

  • This was the first written constitution, or formal plan of government, in America.

  • Roger Williams founded the colony of Rhode Island.

  • He was banned from Massachusetts for his radical ideas.

  • Rhode Island had a policy of religious toleration, the acceptance of difference beliefs, and became a safe place for dissenters, or people who disagreed with established views.

  • England had two clusters of colonies, the New England Colonies such as Massachusetts in the north, and the agricultural colonies such as Virginia in the south.

  • The land between the English colonies was controlled by the Dutch and became known as the Middle Colonies.

  • They included New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

  • Settlers who went to the area that is today New York were searching for wealth.

  • The English took control of the port of New Amsterdam, and the Dutch surrendered.

  • England’s king gave the area of New Netherland to his brother, who renamed it New York.

  • New Amsterdam became New York City.

  • An appointed governor and council directed New York’s affairs.

  • The Quakers had been persecuted, or treated harshly because of their beliefs or differences in England.

  • They founded the colony of Pennsylvania on land received by William Penn.

  • Penn granted colonists the right to elect representatives to the legislature.

  • Virginia was part of the Southern Colonies.

  • Virginia prospered because of tobacco.

  • New settlers settled inland on land belonging to Native Americans.

  • After a Native American revolt, the Virginia Company lost its charter, so the colony became a royal colony, with a governor and council appointed by the king.

  • George Calvert wanted a safe place for Catholics.

  • He received a grant to settle a colony north of Virginia.

  • His son, Cecilius Calvert, took charge of the colony after George’s death and named it Maryland.

  • Conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Maryland led to the Act of Toleration, which was an early step toward the later acceptance of religious diversity, or variety, in the colonies.

  • King Charles II issued charters to create a colony called Carolina.

  • The eight Carolina proprietors created large estates for themselves and gave money to colonists to move there.

  • In 1719, settlers seized control of the colony from its proprietors, an the Carolina colony became two royal colonies – North Carolina and South Carolina.

  • General James Oglethorpe received a charter to create a colony where English debtors – people who are unable to repay their debts – could settle.

  • The British government wanted Georgia to protect other British colonies from Spanish attack.

Lesson 2

Life in Colonial America




The Colonies Grow

  • Long winters and rocky soil made large-scale farming difficult in New England.

  • Farmers there practiced subsistence farming, which means they generally produced just enough to meet the needs of their families.

  • Shipbuilding was an important New England industry.

  • New England was the center of the shipping trade in America.

  • Some ships followed the route that came to be called the triangular trade because the routes formed a triangle.

  • On one leg of the route, ships brought sugar and molasses from the West Indies to New England.

  • The molasses was made into rum, which was shipped to West Africa.

  • On the last leg of the route, enslaved Africans were shipped to the West Indies to be sold to planters.

  • Farmers in the Middle Colonies farmed larger pieces of land.

  • In New York and Pennsylvania, farmers grew large quantities of wheat and other cash crops, crops that could be sold easily in markets in the colonies and overseas.

  • Farmers sent wheat and livestock to New York City and Philadelphia for shipment.

  • These cities became busy ports.

  • Industries in the Middle Colonies included home-based crafts, lumbering, mining, and small-scale manufacturing.

  • Cash crops in the South included tobacco, rice, and indigo.

  • Most cash crops were grown on plantations.

  • Plantation owners at first used indentured servants, laborers who agreed to work without pay for a certain period of time for their passage to America.

  • Later Southern farmers used enslaved Africans.

  • Slavery and the slave trade were important to the economies of the Southern colonies.

  • The shipping of enslaved Africans to the Americans was called the Middle Passage.

  • Most enslaved Africans in southern colonies lived on plantations.

  • Plantation owners hired overseers, or bosses, to keep the slaves working hard.

  • African families were often torn apart by slavery.

  • Slaves who worked on plantations found a source of strength in their African roots.

  • Some colonists, such as the Quakers and Puritans, opposed slavery.




An Emerging Culture

  • The Great Awakening was a religious revival that occurred in the 1730s and 1740s.

  • The great effect of the Great Awakening was greater religious and political freedom in the colonies.

  • Most colonists valued education.

  • Massachusetts Puritans passed a law calling for public education in 1647.

  • Schooling in the Middle Colonies was not as universal as it was in New England.

  • Young children in southern colonies were usually taught by their parents.

  • Schools in the colonies had few books, and instruction was given only a few months of a year.

  • Most girls received little formal education.

  • The first colleges were established to train ministers.

  • The Enlightenment spread the idea that knowledge, reason, and science could improve society.

  • Books, newspapers, and almanacs helped spread knowledge.

  • Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod, bifocal glasses, and the Franklin stove.

  • He later became a statesman and supporter of American independence from England.

Colonial Government

  • The 13 colonies began as either charter colonies or proprietary colonies.

  • Charter colonies had a charter granted by the monarch to stockholders.

  • Proprietary colonies were owned by an individual proprietor or by a small group of proprietors.

  • English monarchs began changing colonies into royal colonies, which were under direct English control.

  • Colonial legislatures gave only some people a voice in government.

  • White male landowners could vote; women, indentured servants, landless poor, and African Americans could not.

  • The British government controlled the colonies’ trade according to the ideas of mercantilism.

  • To control trade, Britain passed a series of laws called Navigation Acts in the 1650s.

  • Under these laws, colonists had to sell their raw materials to Britain, even if they could get a better price elsewhere.

  • Any goods bought by colonists from other countries also had to go to Britain first to be taxed, and the law stated that all trade goods had to be carried on British-made ships with British crews.

  • The colonists began to resent the new laws.

Lesson 3

Trouble in the Colonies

New British Policies

  • The French and Indian War broke out in 1754.

  • Colonial leaders met in Albany to find a way for the colonies to defend themselves against the French, adopting the Albany Plan of Union.

  • The plan was not approved, however.

  • Britain won the war in 1763 and issued a proclamation that prohibited colonists from moving west of the Appalachian Mountains.

  • Feelings of distrust between the colonists and the British began.

  • Britain planned to tax the colonies to pay for the costly French and Indian War.

  • In 1764, Britain passed the Sugar Act, which lowered the tax on molasses that had been imported, or bought from foreign markets, by the colonists.

  • The British government hoped the lowered tax would convince colonists to pay the tax instead of smuggling, or trading illegally with other nations.

  • In 1765 Britain passed the Stamp Act, which placed a tax on newspapers and other printed materials.

  • All of these items had to bear a stamp showing that the tax was paid.

  • Delegated from nine colonies met and drafted a letter to Britain, stating they would no pay tax nor levied by their own assemblies.

  • They also boycotted, or refused to buy, British goods.

  • In 1766 Britain repealed the Stamp Act,

  • In 1767 British Parliament passed another set of tax laws known as the Townshend Acts.

  • These new laws applied to imported goods, with the tax being paid at port of entry.

  • These imported goods, however, included basic items the colonists could not produce.

  • The colonists responded to the Townshend Acts by boycotting goods.

Tax Protests Lead to Revolt

  • Worried about a rebellion, Parliament sent two regiments of troops to Boston.

  • On March 5, 1770, a crowd of colonists began insulting British soldiers and throwing things at them.

  • After a soldier was knocked down, the soldiers began firing at the colonists, killing five of them.

  • Crispus Attucks was the one colonists who was killed.

  • This incident was called the Boston Massacre.

  • Colonists began to call for stronger boycotts, and Parliament repealed all of the Townshend Acts, except the tax on tea.

  • Samuel Adams revived the Boston committee of correspondence, which circulated writings about colonists’ grievances against Britain.

  • In 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act, which allowed the British East India Company to ship tea to the colonies without paying the taxes colonial merchants had to pay.

  • This allowed the company to sell its tea very cheaply, threatening colonial businesses.

  • Angry colonists boarded several British ships and dumped their tea overboard in what became known as the Boston Tea Party.

  • Parliament passed the Coercive Acts in 1774, which closed down Boston Harbor and put Massachusetts under military rule.




A Call to Arms

  • The Continental Congress was a group of delegates from all the colonies except Georgia who met to represent American interests and challenge British control.

  • Samuel and John Adams were the delegates from Massachusetts; John Jay was the delegate from New York; and Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, and George Washington were from Virginia.

  • The Continental Congress first drafted a statement of grievances calling for the repeal of 13 acts of Parliament passed since 1763.

  • They also voted to boycott all British goods and trade.

  • The Continental Congress’s most important resolution, or formal expression of opinion, concerned the armed forces.

  • Congress decided to form militias, or groups of citizen soldiers.

  • Militias began training, and some companies, known as minutemen, boasted they would be ready to fight on a minute’s notice.

  • King George III instructed Sir Thomas Gage in Boston to take away the weapons of the Massachusetts militia and arrest the leaders.

  • Gage ordered his troops to seize artillery in the town of Concord.

  • On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere and William Dawes rode to Lexington, east of Concord, to warn colonists that the British were coming.

  • British troops encountered minutemen in Lexington, and a battle began.

  • After reaching Concord, the British found that most of the militia’s gunpowder had been removed.

  • They turned back for Boston, and along the way, the militia fired on them.

  • By this time, more than 20,000 militiamen held the town of Boston under siege.

  • Colonial leaders appealed for a separation from Great Britain.

Lesson 4

War of Independence




Moving Toward Independence

  • The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and began to govern the colonies.

  • It created the Continental Army and chose George Washington to be the army’s leader.

  • The delegates also appointed a committee to draft a declaration of independence.

  • The Continental Congress sent a petition, or formal request, to King George III.

  • The petition, called the Olive Branch Petition, assured the king of the colonists’ desire for peace and asked the king to protect the colonists’ rights.

  • King George refused.

  • Thomas Paine was a writer who published a pamphlet called Common Sense.

  • In the pamphlet, Paine condemned the king and called for complete separation from Britain.

  • The Battle of Bunker Hill, which the British won, began on June 16, 1775.

The Colonies Declare Independence

  • In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson drew from earlier English documents that established the idea that governments are not all powerful and that rulers have to obey the laws and treat citizens fairly.

  • John Locke’s ideas also influenced the Declaration of Independence.

  • The Declaration has four major sections.

  • The preamble, or introduction, states that people who wish to form a new country should explain their reasons for doing so.

  • The next two sections list the rights colonists believed they should have and their complaints about the British.

  • The final section proclaims the existence of a new nation.

  • The Declaration of Independence states that government serves to protect citizens’ rights.

The American Revolution

  • Patriots – Americans who suspected independence – thought the British would give up after losing a few major battles.

  • Some Americans were neutral, taking neither side in the conflict, and others were known as Loyalists, people who remained loyal to Great Britain.

  • In the summer of 1775, the British sent a large number of troops to New York, hoping the large army would convince Patriots to surrender.

  • British armies defeated George Washington’s forces on New York’s Long Island.

  • By November, the Patriots had retreated into Pennsylvania.

  • On Christmas night 1776, Washington took his troops across the icy Delaware River and surprised the British troops in Trenton.

  • In 1777, the British decided to take control of the Hudson River valley.

  • When British troops reached Saratoga, New York, they found themselves surrounded by the American army.

  • The British surrendered.

  • This is known as the Battle of Saratoga.

  • George Washington camped with his troops at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777.

  • Despite the challenges the Continental Army survived the winter.

  • France declared war on Britain in 1778 and began aiding the Americans.

  • Spain also helped the Americans.

  • Bernardo de Galvez, Spanish governor of Louisiana, raised an army that forced British troops from towns and forts along the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Marquis de Lafayette, a French nobleman, was a trusted aide to Washington.

  • Life changed for Americans during the war.

  • Thousands of men left home to serve in the military, and women took over the duties that had been their husbands’.

  • The ideals of freedom and liberty inspired people to question slavery.

  • African American soldiers fought with American troops for freedom.

  • In 1778 and 1779, Americans seized British posts in present-day Illinois and Indiana.

  • This strengthened American positions in the West.

  • John Paul Jones was an American naval officer who raided British ports.

  • The British seized Charles Town and Savannah, but they could not control their conquered areas because of guerrilla warfare, hit-and-run technique conducted by small forces of Patriots.

  • The Americans won the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, but the war did not end.

  • Fighting continued in some areas for two more years.

  • The Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, and Great Britain recognized the United States as an independent nation.

  • The Americans won the war because they fought on their own land, they had help from other countries, and they had the determination and spirit to win.

  • The French were influenced by the Declaration of Independence and later fought for their own liberties in the French Revolution.



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