Unit 1: Pre-Columbus Americas through John Adams’ Administration America and Europe on the Eve of Discovery The Americas on the Eve of Discovery



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New England’s Puritan Founders- Although King Henry VIII broke with the Roman Catholic church in the 1530s, creating the Church of England (or Anglican Church), there were some who felt the church retained too much of their Catholic rituals. These Protestants were called Puritans, who wanted to “purify” or reform the church of its Catholic rituals. A much smaller group of uber-Puritans, known as Separatists, wanted to break away from the church entirely.
Separatists Plight to Plymouth

  • Fearing persecution by King James, the most famous group of Separatists decided to flee England.

    • 1608: Left England for Holland

      • Lived there 12 years

      • Worried about the “Dutchification” of their children, they decided to try and make it to America where they could carry out their faith as English Puritans

    • 1620: After receiving a charter from the Virginia Company, these “Pilgrims” set sail for America on the Mayflower

      • Missed their mark of Chesapeake Bay, and finally chose a spot at the inhospitable Plymouth Bay in present-day Massachusetts.

    • 1620: Prior to their landfall, the Pilgrims leaders drew up the Mayflower Compact

      • A simple agreement to form a government and submit to the will of the majority.

      • NOT a constitution at all, BUT a precedent for later written constitutions

      • A promising first step to self-government

        • Adult males would assemble to make laws in town meetings


Puritans Mold a Model Colony at Massachusetts Bay

  • More moderate Puritans, fearing persecution, secured a royal charter to form the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1629.

    • 1630: Eleven ships, with nearly 1,000 immigrants, crossed the Atlantic to plant the colony, with Boston as its hub.

  • The colony was blessed with visionary leaders

    • John Winthrop, the colony’s first governor, believed the Puritans had a duty to create a model society that would serve as an example to others.

      • “We shall be as a City upon a Hill; the eyes of all people are on us.”

  • Governing the Bay colony- it was NOT a democracy

    • Only male members of the Puritan church could vote

    • Eligible males would meet at town meetings to elect leaders and vote by majority on issues such as taxes, which were used to support the Puritan, or Congregational, church

    • The purpose of government was to enforce God’s laws


Dissent in the Bible Commonwealth (Mass. Bay Colony)

  • While the Puritans came to America for religious freedom, they certainly did not grant that same right to those who beliefs differed from theirs.

  • Several people would speak out in dissent against the stuffy Puritans

    • Roger Williams- One of the most famous dissenters, Roger was a Separatist who challenged the Puritan church

      • Challenged the legality of the colony’s charter

      • Criticized the colony for taking land from Indians without fairly compensating them

      • Denied the authority of the government to regulate religious behavior

      • After being banished from the Massachusetts Bay, Williams founded the colony of Providence, which would later become the capital of Rhode Island

        • Roger William’s colony was the first to guarantee religious freedom for all

        • A charter was granted to the colony by Parliament in 1644

    • Anne Hutchinson- Taught that worshippers did not need the church to interpret the Bible, and claimed God revealed truths directly to believers.

      • She and her family were banished from the colony in 1638

        • She fled to Rhode Island, then to New York where she was killed by Indians

        • John Winthrop saw “God’s hand” in her death



New England Sprawl Leads to Trouble with Indians

  • As more settlers fanned out, several new colonies were created, including Connecticut and New Hampshire

  • The growth of the colonies led to conflicts over land with Native Americans

    • Indians feared losing the land and their way of life

    • They also resented attempts of conversion to the Puritan faith

  • Tension mounted for nearly 40 years until war finally broke out between the colonists and Native Americans

    • Wampanoag chief Metacom, called King Philip by the English, organized an alliance of tribes to attack white settlers

    • King Philip’s War erupted in 1675

      • A series of coordinated attacks throughout New England

      • 52 Puritan towns attacked, twelve destroyed, and hundreds of colonists killed

      • The attackers were finally crushed in 1676, with Metacom being captured, beheaded, then drawn and quartered

      • While King Philip’s War slowed the westward march of English settlement, it also proved to be a lasting defeat for the Native Americans in New England


Settling the Middle Colonies
Another European Country Has a Short Run In North America- At the same time the Puritans were planting colonies in New England, the Dutch were exploring the Hudson River area, establishing fur trade with the Iroquois and building trade posts on the Hudson River.
Dutch New Netherland…later to become New York

  • In 1621, the Dutch West India Co. colonized what was called New Netherland.

    • Its capital, New Amsterdam, was founded in 1625.

    • The Dutch extended their colony by taking over New Sweden, along the Delaware River

  • 1664: England’s King Charles II granted the area around the Hudson River to his brother, the Duke of York.

    • An English squadron soon forced the Dutch to surrender without a fight.

    • New Amsterdam was renamed New York

    • The English now had an uninterrupted stretch on colonies along North America’s east coast, from Maine south to the Carolinas


William Penn, Quakers, and Pennsylvania

  • 1681: William Penn acquired a grant of land from King Charles II, as a repayment of a debt the King owed Penn’s father

    • Penn hoped to establish an asylum for Quakers as well as to experiment with liberal ideas in government…and of course, he hoped to make a profit.

      • Quakers, a Protestant sect that allowed any person to speak, refused to serve in the military, opposed war, and were general persecuted by Puritans and Anglicans alike.

      • Penn guaranteed every male settler 50 acres of land and the right to vote

      • Pennsylvania’s representative assembly promised freedom of religion for all, though Catholics and Jews could not vote or hole office.

      • Native Americans were treated quite fairly by the Quaker founders of the colony, although as non-Quakers settled, that tolerance for Indians soon ran dry.

  • Delaware was granted its own assembly in 1703, but remained under the control of the governor of Pennsylvania until the American Revolution.


England and Its Colonies Prosper
England’s North American Empire Grows- Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, England founded several more colonies in North America, each for different reasons.

  • Lord Baltimore was granted the charter for the colony he named Maryland, after the Catholic Queen Maria.

    • Baltimore hoped Maryland would be a refuge for Catholics

    • 1649: Catholics of Maryland’s local assembly passed the Act of Toleration, which granted religious freedom to all Christians

      • It also decreed the death penalty for Jews and atheists who denied the divinity of Jesus

  • Carolina was officially created in 1670

    • Was created to be a source of foodstuffs to provision the English sugar plantations in Barbados

    • North Carolina developed as a haven for poor squatters from Carolina and Virginia, and officially separated from South Carolina in 1712

  • Georgia was formally founded in 1733, the last of the thirteen colonies.

    • The King intended Georgia to be a buffer colony against the Spanish in Florida and French in Louisiana

    • Leaders like James Oglethorpe also hoped Georgia would serve as a haven for those imprisoned for debt.


The Mercantilist System and Navigation Acts- According to the theory of mercantilism, a nation’s wealth was based on the amount of gold and silver in its treasury. To amass this metallic wealth, a country needed to export more than it imported (sell more than it bought). The key to this process was the establishment of colonies.

  • Colonies provided raw materials to the mother country, which in turn created finished products to be sold back to the colonies at a profit.

  • To control colonial trade and ensure the success of the mercantilist system to the mother country, England passed a series of measures known as the Navigation Acts. The acts enforced the following rules:

    • No country could trade with the colonies unless the goods were shipped in either English or colonial ships.

    • All vessels had to be operated by crews that were at least three-quarters English or colonial

    • The colonies could export certain products, including tobacco and sugar- and later rice, molasses, and furs- only to England.

    • Almost all goods traded between the colonies and Europe first had to pass through an English port

  • Another law passed by Parliament to stop illegal colonial trade with the French West Indies was the Molasses Act

    • Colonists retaliated by bribing officials or outright smuggling

    • ***foreshadowed trouble between the colonies and England


Colonial Governments- By the mid 1700s, most colonies were similar in the structure of their governments. Most importantly, the colonial governments were basically allowed to rule themselves for nearly a century, a phenomenon we call “salutary neglect.”

  • In most colonies, the governor was appointed by the King, as served as the highest authority.

    • He presided over an advisory council which he appointed

    • He also presided over the local assembly elected by landowning males

    • The governor could appoint and dismiss judges to colonial courts

  • The local assemblies raised money through passing taxes, and wrote and passed other laws

    • While the governor could veto laws passed by the assembly, he did so at his own risk.

      • The assembly paid the governor’s salary for most of the colonial era

  • The participation in local assemblies throughout the colonies allowed the colonists to develop a reverence for self-government, despite the fact the northern and southern colonies were developing distinct societies based on very different economic systems.

The Colonies Come of Age
Growing Pains of the 1700s- As the colonies grew and prospered into the 18th century, diverse economies and societies emerged. In the South, a plantation economy reliant on slaver labor and sharply stratified social hierarchy took root. In the North, an economy invested in commerce and trade thrived, while a more diverse society grew through immigration and natural production of a society rooted in a tightly-knit family structure. Meanwhile, religious and intellectual movements swept through the colonies, challenging different levels of authority. Finally, the rivalry between England and France would embroil the colonies in a war for survival which would ultimately begin to unite the colonies down the road to revolution.
The South’s Plantation Economy

  • The southern colonies developed a rural society based agriculture

    • Plantations sprang along rivers, and as planters exhausted soil, they pushed ever inward.

    • Plantations were largely self-sufficient

  • Plantations in the South specialized in raising a single cash-crop, grown primarily for sale rather than for livestock feed

    • Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina specialized in tobacco

    • South Carolina and Georgia grew rice and later indigo


Southern Society

  • Southern society was made up of English, as well as German, Scots and Scots-Irish immigrants.

  • Women endured a largely second-class citizenship, without the right to vote

    • Accommodations gave married women the right to retain separate title to their property, and gave widows the right to inherit their husband’s estates

  • At the top of Southern society were the wealthy landowning planters

    • Controlled much of the economy as well as political and social institutions

  • Under the wealthy planters, small farmers made up the majority of Southern population.

    • Typically worked alongside family members, indentured servants, or perhaps one or two slaves.

  • At the bottom of Southern society was the increasing number of African slaves

    • In 1690, there were roughly 13,000 slaves in the Southern colonies, by 1750 that number had increased to more than 200,000.

      • “Slave codes” chained blacks and their children property (or “chattels”) for life.



Triangular Trade and the Middle Passage

  • During the 17th century, Africans became a part of the transatlantic trade patterns known as triangular trade.

    • Goods and people were exchanged across the Atlantic

      • Example: Rum and other goods manufactured in New England would be traded for African slaves off the coast of Africa. Those slaves would then be transported to the West Indies (in the Caribbean) where they were sold for sugar and molasses. Those goods would then be sold to rum producers in New England, and the cycle began again.

  • The leg of the triangular trade that brought African slaves across the Atlantic was called the middle passage. It was a horrific journey.

    • Slaves were beaten, branded, chained, and crowded onto horribly cramped ships.

      • Slave traders stuffed the ships beyond capacity, knowing that roughly 13% of their human cargo would perish and be thrown overboard during the passage

Life” for Slaves of the South



  • Life on Southern plantations could be extremely difficult for African slaves

    • 80-90 percent worked in the fields

    • The other 10-20 percent performed domestic work or as artisans.

      • cooked, cleaned, helped raise their master’s children

      • artisans worked as carpenters, blacksmiths, and bricklayers

  • Slaves found ways to cope with their reality by developing a way of life based on their cultural heritage

    • Kept alive their music, dance, and storytelling traditions

      • ex. the banjo, drums, and even mixed African language of “Gullah”

  • Slaves also found ways to resist their condition of forced labor.

    • faked illness, broke tools, and work slowdowns were common ways to reduce their hardships

    • some slaves tried to run away, although the punishment of being caught made this prospect quite risky

  • Other slaves openly revolted, though slave revolts were very rare.

    • 1739: The Stono Rebellion

      • 20 slaves gathered at the Stono River south of Charleston, SC

      • With stolen guns and other weapons, they killed several planter families and marched south, trying to raise their numbers and reach Spanish Florida.

      • The uprising was put down with many killed in the fighting, while those captured were hanged.

      • ***The rebellion worried many Southern colonists, who tightened their noose on slaves through even harsher slave codes

Commerce Grows in the North and Middle Colonies

  • Gradually, the North differentiated itself from the South through the development of commercial cities and a diverse economy.

    • Fishing, timber, and naval stores- tar, pitch, rosin, and turpentine—along with grain crops were the staples of Northern and middle colonies

      • By the 1770s, colonists had built 1/3 of all British ships

  • Colonial cities were also blossoming in the North and middle colonies, becoming the hub of commercial activities for all the British North American colonies

    • Philadelphia had become the second largest port in the British empire, and New York City and Boston were steadily growing in population and importance.

      • Colonists embarked on far flung commerce from colonial port cities to trade in the West Indies, South America, and as far west as California

  • The Northern and middle colonies also attracted an ethnically mixed population of immigrants

    • Large numbers of Germans and Scots-Irish immigrated throughout, as well as Dutch in New York, Scandinavians, in Delaware, and Jews in Rhode Island and Philadelphia

  • Around 90% of all colonists were farmers, and agricultural played an important role in the middle and Northern colonies

    • Farms were typically smaller than Southern plantations and grew several cash crops

      • The middle colonies are often called the “bread colonies” due to high production of grain crops like wheat and corn


Society of Middle and Northern Colonies

  • While grain crops were less labor intensive, slavery did exist in New England and could be found throughout the middle colonies.

    • Enslaved blacks, like their southern counterparts, found ways to resist their condition.

      • Ex. The New York slave revolt of 1712 cost the lives of nine whites and the execution of twenty-one blacks, some even burned at the stake

  • Like the South, women in the North had extensive work responsibilities but few legal and social rights

    • New England women lost property rights when they married, although laws protected property rights of widows

  • New England society centered around the family.

    • Families tended to be larger and the citizens in New England had a life expectancy of about 70 years



The Great Awakening and The Enlightenment
The Great Awakening
Reasons for Religious Recharge- By the early 1700s, throughout colonial churches, religious zeal was waning. The loss of piety was found most acutely in the Puritan church. Why?

  • The need and desire to enforce the strict Puritan codes lessened as colonies prospered

  • New doctrines, preaching free will and that ALL humans could receive God’s salvation through good works, sapped the religious rigor from many churches, not just the Puritan church

  • ***The stage was set for a religious revival to sweep through the colonies


Religious Revival Sweeps Through the Colonies

  • The Great Awakening refers to the series of religious revivals aimed at restoring the intensity and dedication of the church, focusing on emotional spirituality.

    • Started in 1734 in Northampton, Massachusetts by a fiery pastor, Jonathan Edwards

      • Edwards preached that it was not enough to just come to church or do good works.

      • In order to be saved, people need to feel their sinfulness and feel God’s love for them.

      • His most famous sermon- “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

    • Revivals swept through the colonies from the 1730s through the 1750s

      • Preachers traveled from village to village, attracting thousands to huge outdoor revival meetings.

      • Some churches were restored while others split, including the Congregationalists (Puritans) and Presbyterians

      • Other churches saw their memberships swell, including the Baptists and Methodists

  • Significance of the Great Awakening

    • Undermining the doctrine of old preachers split many churches, but also led to a growth in new denominations

    • A fresh wave of missionary work to convert Indians and black slaves was undertaken

    • “New light” centers of higher education to train preachers, including Princeton, Brown, Rutgers, and Dartmouth were opened.

    • ***The Great Awakening was the first spontaneous movement of the American people

      • It crossed denominational, regional, and colonial borders, leading to a growing sense that Americans in the various colonies were a single people, with a common history and shared experiences


The Enlightenment
Roots of the Enlightenment- During the Renaissance period, scientists and philosophers like Copernicus, Galileo, and Isaac Newton made profound discoveries that challenged the traditional, and more drastically, the religious view of the world. Their ideas and nature led to a movement called the Enlightenment.

  • Enlightenment thinkers suggested people cold use science and logic, rather than faith, to arrive at truths.

    • The Enlightenment spread from Europe to the colonies during the 1700s.

      • Ideas were spread through pamphlets and books

        • high rates of literacy in New England, in large part due to Puritan laws requiring public education, helped facilitate the growth of the Enlightenment

  • The Enlightenment also profoundly affected political thought, owing to the writings and philosophies of influential European thinkers.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      • The best form of government is monarchy where the main job of the ruler is to maintain order.

      • Hobbes social contract claimed that people gave up some rights to an authoritarian ruler who in turn protected the people

    • Rousseau

      • Advocated the idea of popular sovereignty- that people are the source of a government’s authority

    • John Locke

      • Governments only have authority by the consent of the people

      • Governments purpose is to protect peoples’ natural rights (life, liberty, and property)

      • If government fails to protect, or actively infringes, natural rights, then the people can and should overthrow the government

    • Montesquieu

      • Advocated three separate branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial

        • This separation of powers helps avoid power consolidating in one group of people

    • Voltaire

      • Strong advocate of freedom of speech

        • “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    • Beccaria

      • Spoke out against torture, secret trials, corrupt judges, and the death penalty

        • “The punishment should fit the crime.”

    • Wollstonecraft

      • Spoke out for equal rights for women

  • Ultimately, the Enlightenment would spread to the colonies and have a profound effect on colonial politics, the American Revolution, and the US Constitution

    • Benjamin Franklin

      • Scientist (electricity), inventor, diplomat

        • “The Way to Wealth”- a book about practices and behaviors that lead to betterment

    • Thomas Jefferson

      • Lawyer, statesman

        • wrote the Declaration of Independence

    • Thomas Paine

      • Author of the pamphlet “Common Sense”

        • This book blamed King George III for the colonies’ problems, and urged Americans to declare independence

  • The Enlightenment coincided with the Great Awakening in the colonies

    • Colleges were founded to train clergy in the rational approach to inquiry

      • Princeton, Yale, Brown etc…

Significance of the Great Awakening and the Enlightenment in the Colonies



  • While the Great Awakening emphasized emotionalism, and the Enlightenment emphasized reason, the two movements had similar effects.

    • Both stressed the importance of the individual

      • Enlightenment emphasized human rights

      • The Great Awakening de-emphasized the role of church authority

    • By contributing to the colonists distrust and questioning British authority, both movements contributed to the intellectual and social atmosphere that eventually led to the American Revolution



The French and Indian War
Origins of the Conflict
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