American colonies

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Advanced Placement/Dual Credit U.S. History Summer Assignment
Book Analysis for THE AMERICAN COLONIES. By Alan Taylor
Directions: Students are to carefully read the book by Alan Taylor. Each chapter will have a set of questions/list of topics for which short answer responses will be asked to probe for understanding. Each student currently enrolled in either Advanced Placement or Dual Credit U.S. History is receiving a hard copy of this assignment. Additionally, the assignment may be found on the websites of both Mrs. Shaunfield (Advanced Placement) and Ms. Duke (Dual Credit). Since this assignment is done in MICROSOFT WORD, the student need only to load the file on the computer and then bring it up on the computer screen where they can provide answers in paragraph or bulleted form based upon what is asked for in the question. If preferred the student may answer by hand. The goal is not to fish for a specific answer(s), but to ask the student probing questions for a critical understanding of what the questions are asking. Short analytical quotes are permissible; however, we do not want the student to copy the material directly from Taylor’s book. It should be written in the student’s own voice as a summary of understanding. A reader could expect the student to make three to five points on each topic listed here below.

There are approximately 10 weeks in the summer. There are 19 chapters in the book. Students should strive to complete two chapters per week.

DO NOT WAIT until the last minute for this assignment. It will be impossible to complete in a short amount of time.
Quizzes and a major grade assignment in the beginning week of school will be based on this reading.
Books are available for purchase at Barnes and Noble in the Woodlands (about 50 but they can order more). They may also be ordered through Borders or purchased on-line at
TITLE: American Colonies: The Settling of North America

AUTHOR: Alan Taylor

PUBLISHER: Penguin Books

ISBN #: 978-0-14-200210-0

If students or parents have questions about this assignment they may talk with Ms. Duke at school (room C209) before the end of school. They may also contact either teacher by email.
Wanda Duke (Dual Credit)

Lene’ Shaunfield (Advanced Placement)

Part One: The Encounters

Chapter One: Natives:

  • Old world explorers encountered in the new world complex and diverse peoples—who, where, etc?

  • Pre-Columbian America is “fraught with controversy.” What conflicts were they?

  • Without making Europeans out to be vile, cruel and violent, we should recognize that they had superior power but they gave new additions to Native Americans.

  • Some natives had a culture that demanded less of the environment than that of other natives—such as:

  • What are Taylor’s three ideas which he argues about migration?

  • ________________________________________________________________________

  • ________________________________________________________________________

  • ________________________________________________________________________

Chapter Two: Colonizers:

  • Taylor makes a big issue over environmentalism—why?

  • What caused the expansion of Europe—and why?

  • What were the two major religions of the age of expansion? How do they come to impact the new world?

  • Why is the Atlantic Ocean such a central vital environmental concern for the colonizers?

  • Once across the Ocean, what were contributions of the colonizers to the New York area?

  • What does Taylor say about slavery in the new world?

  • How significant was Renaissance science and technology for the colonizers?

Chapter Three: New Spain. [Using bullets or short paragraphs, summarize Taylor’s assessment of]

  • Conquests:

  • Conquistadores:

  • Consolidation:

  • Colonists:

  • Empire:

  • Gold & Silver:

Chapter Four: “The Spanish Frontier”:

  • Make a list of the achievements of Cabeza de Vaca

  • Where did Hernando de Soto explore? What was his legacy?

  • What did Coronado do and how does the seven cities myth develop? What happened to his money?

  • Florida became the focus of Spain—why? How?

  • Spain reaches west to New Mexico—use of the Adelanto system. Who was Onate?

  • What significance can be attached to New Mexico Missions? Franciscans, Benedictines, Dominicans.

  • What was the Pueblo Revolt, how did it begin and what happen to cause the fanaticism?

Chapter Five: Canada & Iroquoia [a shift in geography, a new culture, and very different group of Native Americans]

  • Northern parts of North America became the base of the French—discuss the map area.

  • What were the two major Native American cultural groups? How were they distinct?

  • The key for economic development was the fur trade of New France. Why was that so?

  • How and why did trade develop? Discuss.

  • How did the fur trade operate in its widest applications

  • What was the role of Canada in development of New France?

  • Analyze and characterize The Five Nations. Who were they?

  • What impact did old world disease have upon new world natives?

  • How important was the formation and development of Dutch trade system & involvement?

  • In the new world the French brought the militant Jesuits to catholicize the new world. Did it work?

  • Finally, how did destruction befall the organized settling of the new world

Part Two: The Colonies
Chapter Six: Virginia 1570-1650

  • Who were the promoters and what did they desire to do?

  • What was the social composition of the Virginia colony?

  • Who were the “sturdy beggars”?

  • What does the map reveal about the topography and land/water ratio of the Chesapeake

  • What was the role of Roanoke?

  • Who was Powhatan? What is the character of the Native Americans in the area?

  • There are 8 paragraphs in the above section, what is topic of each paragraph?

  • What was the encounter of Powhatan Indians and colonies? According to Taylor, who had the higher culture upon the encounter of the two peoples?

  • Jamestown becomes significant because: 1)___, 2)___, 3)___, 4)___

  • What was the cause of violence?

  • What is the significance of tobacco? Discuss this in detail.

Chapter Seven—Chesapeake Colonies

  • What significant difference is there from Virginia to the Chesapeake Colonies? Which were they?

  • What does it mean to be a commonwealth?

  • Why are labor, health, and profit the driving motives of Chesapeake settlers?

  • What sources of labor were there in the Chesapeake?

  • Why is prosperity a concern of the area? What is there about the class structure? Discuss the five tiered pyramid.

  • Rebellion—why did it come? For how long would it endure and remain an issue?

  • What significance can be attached to the frontier? Who was this character Berkeley?

  • Who were the great planters? Where did they come from? How and why did this arrangement come about? What were the characteristics of the planters?

  • Discuss the whole issue of the coming of slavery—why, when, from where, and for what purpose?

Chapter Eight—New England:

  • Define the area of land commonly referred to as New England. [See map p.163] Why is the etching of Richard Mather so important to the development of the territory of the northeast?

  • Analyze and identify the Puritan values of the period and place?

  • Who were the “Puritans”? Why are they so incredibly important to the study of American history?

  • Why were the Puritans concerned with a: Theocracy? Education? Morality? Were they as bad as contemporary writers have alleged? Or, are modernist engaging presentism as a value judgment?

  • Why were Puritans concerned over the British Monarchy? Also, with the Anglican Church?

  • What was the “Great Migration all about?”

  • Can you explain the religion and profit issues of New England.

  • Why did New England attract a different set of immigrants from the Old World?

  • What was the advantage of climate and population ratio more beneficial than in the Chesapeake?

  • Discuss the relationship of land and labor in New England. What was the social relationship of Puritans?

  • Analyze and compare and contrast family life in New England. Pay attention to the role of women.

  • Why was commerce the major source of economic sustenance and development?

  • Why was Massachusetts known as the “Bible Commonwealth” Why all the concern over education?

  • What was the pull of puritans to the New World? From whence came the disputes & discontent?

  • Why was there such a flap over the Witchcraft issue? Where did it occur?

  • For what reason was there declension according to Alan Taylor? Was the declension myth or fact?

Chapter Nine—Puritans and Indians:

  • Alan Taylor in this chapter reveals an insightful awareness of the culture and contributions of the Natives. Give a bulleted list of his concerns:

  • What was the issue of property? What was meant by tribute? Were the natives exploited? Why?

  • Discuss the issues and causes of the Pequot War.

  • What was the deal about “praying towns?” What did it purport to do?

  • Why 1676 did war break out as “King Philip’s War?” It eventually became what type of war?

  • What ultimate end came as victory, and yet, end in defeat?

Chapter Ten—The West Indies:

  • In this chapter Taylor takes us off the mainland continent of North America to explore the West Indies—Why? What was the motivation?

  • What significance does he attach to Barbados? Discuss or bullet several points!

  • The development of the sugar industry became the major economic back-bone of Indies—why?

  • What is revealing to the reader from the map of the West Indies?

  • Discuss the major demand for the use of slavery, from whence did it come and who benefitted? Give multiple ideas for Taylor’s arguments and analysis:

  • Taylor boldly declares that sugar was a rich man’s crop. Why, what demand did have outside the western hemisphere? Why the need for commercialization and hence colonization?

  • Discuss the planter aristocracy. Analyze the social strata for the West Indies population.

  • Finally, what does Taylor have to say about the importance of Jamaica? What is his central argument?

Chapter Eleven—Carolinas—A Century of Develop: (1670-1760)

  • What is the general area covered by the Carolinas as Taylor lays it out on the map 1740? The large coastal area south of Virginia, east of the Appalachian Mountains, north of Florida and of course encased by the Atlantic Ocean. What was economic, political, social, cultural, and environmental character of this great swath of land during the century identified?

  • Who were the colonists? Why did they come, what was their environmental fate?

  • Why does Taylor have a section in which he discusses the gun trade?

  • Raiders—what is being revealed about these groups?

  • Just as sugar was the crop of the West Indies, so did rice become the crop of Carolinas? Why?

  • What good reasons does Taylor have for discussing “terror” in the territory?

  • Finally, the issue of Georgia is discussed. What role does Oglethorpe play?

  • What is Taylor’s final conclusion about this area during this century?

Chapter Twelve—Middle Colonies—The 17th Century of Development:

  • Concurrently with the development of New England there came an equally significant establishment in the area we will now call the “Middle Colonies”

  • Between the Chesapeake and New England a multi-cultural, racial and ethnic diverse society established itself—why? From the broad Hudson River, West to the Appalachian Mtns, south to Virginia boundary lay an area of land with a new vibrant economy and a diverse society developed—why?

  • What was Taylor’s assessment of the Dutch Empire?

  • Why can this be called the Germanic area of development? Was it more than just ethnic culture of central Europeans to establish this area?

  • Make a list of Dutch (New Netherland) contributions to the area: (bullet points)

  • What was the status of religious dissenters in the Middle Colonies?

  • How many nations, cultures, and languages were brought together to form the diverse culture?

  • Why did “New Netherlands” falter? What vacuum was created by it? How did England become the heir of the territories?

  • What was the issue involved in the conquest? Discuss the “covenant chain?”

  • What is the background account for establishing New Jersey?

  • More important, how did Pennsylvania become the center of the Middle Colonies?

  • What was the status of religion in the Middle Colonies? This is detailed section—why?

  • What argument can be made of Taylor’s contention that there was widespread diversity?

Part Three: The Empires: [SECOND HALF OF BOOK]
Chapter Thirteen—The Revolutions: [1685-1730] Hereafter follow the topics Taylor discusses with the student whose job is to outline why they are historically significant and what impact they had on colonial development

  • Dominion

  • Glorious Revolution

  • Resolution

  • Compromise

  • Men and Money

  • Colonial and Indian War

  • War of Spanish Succession

  • Union

  • Pirates

  • Commerce and Empire

  • Finally, does Taylor buy into John Adams argument that the revolution began in the hearts and minds of the colonists long before the war broke out? Explain.

Chapter Fourteen—The Atlantic Empire [1700-1780]

  • News—what was it?

  • Trade

  • Poverty

  • Goods

  • English Immigrants

  • Germans

  • Scots

  • Pluralism

  • Africans

  • New Negroes

  • African Americans

  • Conclusions—what are they?

Chapter Fifteen—Awakenings: [1700-1775]

  • Establishments

  • Growth and Limits

  • Revivals

  • Whitefield (George)

  • Old Lights vs New Lights—who was what?

  • Radicals

  • Southern Revivals

  • Race

  • Legacies

Chapter Sixteen—French in America [1650-1750]

  • Emigrants

  • Geography

  • Opportunity

  • Authority

  • The Upper Country

  • Louisiana

  • Rebels and Allies

  • Dependence

Chapter Seventeen—The Great Plains [1680-1800]

  • Villagers and Nomads

  • The Bread Basket of the World

  • Genizaros

  • Horses and guns

  • Texas

  • Comanche and Apache

  • Bourbon Reforms

  • The Northern Plains

Chapter Eighteen—Imperial Wars and Crisis [1739-1775]:

  • Renewed War

  • Balance of Power

  • Seven Years War

  • Indian Rebellions

  • Imperial Crisis

  • Empire of liberty

Chapter Nineteen—The Pacific [1760- 1820]

  • Russians

  • Transcontinentalism

  • Alta California

  • Crossings

  • Missions

  • Islands

  • Nootka

  • Kamehameha

  • Conclusions: What are they?

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