Opening with the crisis of King Philip’s War, this chapter concentrates on the reasons behind colonial crises as well as the unifying experience of a uniquely Anglo- American understanding of liberty. The chapter begins with a description of the growth of the English commercial empire in North America through mercantilism, slavery, and the establishment of colonies in New York, Carolina, and William Penn’s Pennsylvania, whose “holy experiment” offered many liberties for all of its residents. However, many inhabitants of these new colonies were indentured servants and non-English immigrants, who had varying views on the freedoms offered in the new lands. The next section, which examines the origins of American slavery, discusses the sometimes ambiguous line between slavery and freedom in the seventeenth century. Another colonial crisis highlighted is Bacon’s Rebellion, which demonstrated many poor farmers’ frustration with Virginia’s privileged elite. The Glorious Revolution in England, which placed the Protestant William of Orange and his wife Mary on the throne and gave England a constitutional monarchy, threw the colonies into crisis once again, as American colonists began to demand that they be given certain liberties. The chapter also discusses population growth in colonial America and touches on its religious and regional diversity. It concludes with a broad look at eighteenth-century colonial society, which was becoming increasingly diverse, stratified, and consumer driven.
Points For Discussion: (Some may overlap with Chapter 2.)
1 How (and where) did the British empire expand in North America during the mid-17th century? Compare and contrast the various colonies.
2. React to Foner’s statement that “Prejudice by itself did not create American slavery.”
What do the causes of Bacon's Rebellion suggest about the sociopolitical system of Virginia in the 1670s? Why was Bacon considered a hero by some and a traitor by others? What impact did the outcome of the "rebellion" have on Virginia politics?
3. How did King Philip’s War, Bacon’s Rebellion and the Salem witch trials illustrated a widespread crisis in British North America?
4. How did England apply the principles of mercantilism to its North American and West Indian colonies, and how did the various colonial interests respond? What part did Spain’s American colonies play in English efforts?
5. What factors caused friction between English colonists and Native Americans? Could these problems have been avoided? Explain why or why not, incorporating examples and results of such friction in the various colonies.
6. Freedom and lack of freedom existed side-by-side in the English colonies. Using examples, illustrate how different groups defined freedom and how the tension between freedom for some meant lack of freedom for others.
Key Terms: You should definitely be able to identify these things, explain their significance, and group them thematically by finding connections within the list. Do this for each chapter.
Mercantilism Nathanial Bacon Navigation Acts slave codes
House of Burgesses Headright System City upon a hill Quakers
Glorious Revolution New Netherland Rights of Englishment
Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina Leisler’s Rebellion Puritans
Salem Witch Trials Indentured Servants Pequot War Jamestown
King Philip’s War Dominion of New England William Penn Tobacco
George Carteret and John Berkeley