During the seventeenth century, many separate colonies were established in British North America. Before 1660 most of these colonies were private ventures chartered by the crown. These colonies were peopled largely by English Europeans, many of whom migrated across the Atlantic Ocean in search of greater opportunity, be it economic, religious, or social. After 1660 what were called proprietary colonies became the norm. Charters granted by the crown indicated a closer tie between the “owners” of the colony and the reigning monarch. By the 1680s, England had established an unbroken string of colonies stretching from Canada to the Savannah River and extending into the West Indies. Colonial expansion intensified the contact and conflict with natives. Despite a considerable and mutual exchange of information and goods, the colonists’ ceaseless desire for land led to a deterioration in relations with natives. Gradually, time and distance influenced the attitudes of colonists, who began to perceive themselves as a hybrid breed of both Old World English and New World Americans. As the colonies matured, the inhabitants began to exhibit a desire to control their own local affairs and interests that eventually would come to trouble the British Empire. It would also contribute to decisions by officials in London to tighten control over their increasingly independent-minded, not to mention increasingly valuable, possessions in the New World.
A thorough study of Chapter 2 should enable the student to understand:
1. The characteristics and individual distinctions of English colonies, starting with Jamestown, in terms of objectives, types of settlers, early problems, and reasons for success
2. How the lives of the European colonists and Native Americans were shaped and transformed by the exchanges of technology and goods in battle and agriculture
3. The causes, consequences, and significance of Bacon’s Rebellion
4. The nature of the English colonies in the Caribbean and the differences between those colonies and the English settlements in North America from the Chesapeake region southward
5. The formation of the Massachusetts Bay colony and the ideas of its Puritan founders
6. The conditions in Puritan Massachusetts that spawned such dissenters as Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, and Thomas Hooker
7. The expansion of the original coastal settlements and the influence of the New World frontier on the colonists
8. The Dutch efforts to establish a colony and the reasons for their failure
9. The reasons for the founding of each of the original thirteen colonies, and signs of differences between northern and southern colonies
10. The nature of the English imperial reorganization at the end of the seventeenth century and its consequences for colonial America
11. The effect of the “Glorious Revolution” on the development of the American colonies
1. The origins and objectives of England’s first settlements in the New World
2. How and why the English colonies differed from one another in purpose and administration
3. Why colonial attitudes and technology led to their rapid exploitation of natives
4. The problems that arose as the English colonies matured and expanded, and how the colonists attempted to solve them
5. The impact that events—and decisions—in England had on the development of the colonies of British North America
POINTS FOR DISCUSSION
1. How did the Virginia colony evolve between 1607 and 1625? What was the impact of New World conditions on English goals and expectations? How did the Virginia colonists adapt to American circumstances, and what sort of society emerged as a result?
2. To what degree did early colonists owe their survival to natives? What farming techniques did colonists adopt from natives? What was the value of corn to colonists? What advantages did the Indian canoe have over English boats in hunting and fishing?
3. What do the causes of Bacon’s Rebellion suggest about life in colonial Virginia as of the 1670s? What type of Virginian saw Bacon as a hero? To whom was he considered a traitor? What impact did the rebellion have on Virginia politics and slavery?
4. How did the goals of those who settled in Massachusetts Bay differ from those of the Virginia colonists? How and why did these goals change during the first half-century of the Massachusetts Bay colony? How did conditions in both Massachusetts and Virginia affect their respective goals and ultimate social organizations? How did opponents of change in Massachusetts deal with those changes that did occur?
5. In what ways did England apply the principles of mercantilism to its North American and West Indian colonies? Were there any critical differences in execution and/or enforcement of imperial policy? How did the various colonial interests respond to British mercantile policies?
6. Why did England begin to view Massachusetts as a troublemaker (if not an outright enemy) after about 1660? Why did the people of Massachusetts Bay hold similar opinions of England? Explain the evolution of British imperial policy toward Puritan New England between 1660 and the end of the seventeenth century. How did the Puritans respond to the various efforts to control them?
7. Compare and contrast the various “revolts” and protests that took place in many colonies during the seventeenth century. What internal divisions within individual colonies helped spark these outbursts? Were these outbursts more the result of internal tensions than of external efforts to control these colonies?
8. How had the technology of war affected relations between English colonists and Native Americans by the 1670s? What characteristics of the flintlock rifle led to its being used by both colonists and natives? What other military technologies were adopted by one side or the other?
9. Identify the “utopian” notions and/or schemes that seemed to motivate many colonists. Compare and contrast those colonies that were founded by utopian dreamers. Also compare the utopian colonies with those not founded on such a basis. Explain the reasons behind the success and failure of various types of utopian colonies, as well as the success and failure of utopian versus non-utopian colonies.
1. Identify the Chesapeake Bay colonies and their neighbors.
2. Locate the major settlements and the proprietary grants located in and near the Chesapeake Bay colonies.
3. Locate the major rivers and other geographic features of the Chesapeake Bay–Albemarle Sound region.
4. Identify the colonial grants to Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, New Haven, Hartford, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, and Maine.
5. Locate the major settlements in these colonies and note the dates they were founded.
6. Identify the major geographic features of New England: the rivers, lakes, bays, capes, and coastal islands.
7. Locate the Mason and Gorges grants and the grant to the Duke of York.
INTERPRETATIVE QUESTIONS BASED ON MAPS AND TEXT
1. Note the pattern of settlement in the Chesapeake region and in New England. What geographic features contributed to the placement of these settlements? Why did these geographic features make a difference to early settlers?
2. Become familiar with the terms “coastal plain,” “fall line,” and “piedmont.” Determine which of the settlements were in the coastal plain, which were in the piedmont, and which were along the fall line. How did the location of these settlements influence their economic growth? How did this shape the kinds of societies that developed there?
3. Note the dates these settlements were established. What conclusions about the evolution of the settlements can you draw from these dates? (Consider political events as well as geographic conditions.)
4. Many of the settlements on the Chesapeake map are forts. What geographic features helped determine where forts were placed? Note the location of Jamestown and St. Mary’s. Judging from the map, what geographic features helped determine their locations? How did these locations differ, and which seemed to be the best for settlement?
5. Note the location of Boston, Providence, Hartford, and New Haven on the New England map. What geographic features helped determine their locations? How did these features help shape the local economy of these settlements?
6. Massachusetts Bay was, or at least attempted to be, the dominant force in New England. How did that colony’s land claims and expansion contribute to this position? How did the location of new colonies check the influence of Massachusetts Bay?
7. Virginia claimed land on both sides of the Chesapeake Bay. Apart from additional territory, what advantage was ownership of this land to Virginia? What disadvantage might this be to Maryland and even to Pennsylvania?
The following exercises will require students to consult a historical atlas and other sources found in most college libraries. Using these library resources and the text, they should be able to answer the following:
1. During the period being studied, the Chesapeake region developed no major towns, whereas New England did. What geographic factors contributed to this difference? Where were the major trading centers of the Chesapeake? What factors, geographic and otherwise, caused them to develop?
2. One of the most striking features of the map of colonial Virginia in the text is the Fairfax Proprietary—a grant of some 5 million acres held by Lord Thomas Fairfax. Note the absence of settlements in this area. Research the origins of this grant and speculate on how a proprietary government might have discouraged settlement, or at least have made settlement outside the proprietary grant more appealing.
3. After the Stuart Restoration, Charles II issued charters for four new colonies, all of which were proprietary. What impact did this have on the settlement pattern of British North America? Note where these colonies were located and explain how their settlement made for a more unified colonial system and one that might be more responsible to the king.
These questions are based on the preceding map exercises. They are designed to test students’ knowledge of the geography of the area discussed in this chapter and of its historical development. Careful reading of the text will help students answer these questions.
1. Note the differences in the geographic features of New England and the Chesapeake region. Consider the different motives for settlement and the societies that settled in these regions. Now describe how geographic conditions in the New World, combined with cultural attitudes brought from the Old World, shaped the pattern of settlement of these English societies.
2. Discuss how military considerations influenced the planting of settlements and colonies in British North America.
3. Beginning with Virginia, describe the settling of British North America as if you were a historical geographer. Tell which colonies were settled when and what geographic factors (if any) were significant in their settlement.
T. H. Breen and Stephen Innes, “Myne Owne Ground”: Race and Freedom on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, 1640-1676 (1980)
Kathleen M. Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia (1996)
William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England (1983)
Andrew Delbanco, The Puritan Ordeal (1989)
David H. Fischer and James C. Kelly, Bound Away: Virginia and the Westward Movement (2000)
Richard R. Johnson, Adjustment to Empire: The New England Colonies, 1675-1715 (1981)
Janice Knight, Orthodoxies in Massachusetts: Rereading American Puritanism (1994)
Allan Kullikoff, From British Peasants to Colonial American Farmers (2000)
Barry Levy, Quakers and the American Family (1988)
John Frederick Martin, Profits in the Wilderness: Entrepreneurship and the Founding of New England Towns in the Seventeenth Century (1991)
Donna Merwick, Possessing Albany: 1630-1710: The Dutch and English Experiences (1990)
Edmund Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom (1975)
______, The Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop (1958)
I. K. Steele, 1676: The End of American Independence (1984)
Alan Taylor, American Colonies (2001)
For Internet resources, practice questions, references to additional books and films, and more, see this book’s Online Learning Center at www.mhhe.com/unfinishednation5.
Brinkley 5e, IM, Ch 02 | of