Document a: Why did the French hold such good relations with the Indians?

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Chapter 5: Document Based Questions

Identify compare and contrast the differences that separated Spanish and French colonial societies from those colonial societies established by the British in North America.


  • Why did the French hold such good relations with the Indians?

      • They used them for labor and work, however also shared cultures briefly, because it was said that there were French houses but mostly covered in bark like Indian style homes, and Frenchmen wearing Indian stockings and shoes. It was a mixed community where they got along with the Indians and vice verse. This is unlike the English. There were fewer French colonists and the French’s strategy was to build alliances with them.

  • What systems did the French establish in the French Crescent for social and political organization?

      • They established the bishopric of Quebec which laid the foundation of an only Catholic culture in New France. They also established great ports in Louisburg.

  • What form of government did they establish in New France?

      • They had a close church and state and were highly centralized. Royal governor. Highly bureaucratized.

  • What was the purpose of this form of property organization in New France?

      • The Southern and Northern approaches were protected. They also had a great commercial empire which limited the British colonies to the coastline. They had very profitable French enterprises. They had sugar plantations in Louisiana, Fur trade in Quebec, farmers all along the Mississippi River; they were very prosperous.

  • What economic incentives drew French settlers to the New World?

      • The Prime ministers laid out a fundamentally Catholic imperial policy, and wanted a second Catholic empire in North America.

  • Why did the French develop a fairly sizable Mestizos population while the English did not?

  • Explain the extraordinary imbalance in populations between the French, Spanish, and English colonies by the middle eighteenth century.

      • The French controlled their population by keeping it solely Catholic, and the Spanish rejected migrating people. However the British colonies experienced too many migrations. Also the English sent 400,000 people to the North American colonies. Moreover, the British were the only imperial power to encourage migrants.


  • How were Indians treated under these missions?

      • Indians were not subject to join but if they did they couldn’t leave. The Spanish resorted to cruel and violent means of controlling the Indians, like whippings, solitary confinement, and shackles. Many people said they never seen them smile or laugh, and they were overworked, with inadequate nutrition, were overcrowded and had bad sanitation.

  • What was the organization of these missions?

      • There was a headquarters at Monterey Bay. They did this to expand northward into the Indians by getting the Indians on their side with the missions, and attracting missioners. They included 21 missions and had 6 presidios.

  • Why did the Spanish regularly intermingle and establish families with the Indian while the British did not?

      • There was no tradition or religious dissent stopping them from intermingling, however with the Brits they were very religious and help religious persecutions. They also didn’t need the work that much up North, and were not religiously tolerant. They were frontiers of inclusion meaning they included Indians.

  • What were “Espanoles” and “Castas”? Where did they fit into Spanish society on the frontier?

      • Castas were people of mixed backgrounds and Espanoles were Spaniards or people of reason. The Espanoles were top rung in the class system, followed by the castas who were like middle class, lower than the Espanoles however higher than the Indians and African slaves.

  • What was the social and political structure of the Spanish world on the frontier?

      • New Spain was governed by the Council of the Indies. They had direct authority over all political affairs. Socially they had the Encomienda system that granted Spanish settlers a certain number of Indian subjects who would pay in goods and labor.


  • What was different about English settlement of North America from the kind of settlement that occurred in New France or New Spain?

      • British colonies were marked with increasing ethnic diversity, economic growth and self government. New ideas and writings were created. New Spain and New France on the other hand, wanted to suppress these writings and new cultural ideas.

  • What was different about the kinds of settlers who arrived in British North America?

      • More than half became indentured servants. They were many diff kinds of people too.

  • Why was self-government more common in British colonies that in those of Spain or France?

      • Because British thought self government would present fewer problems. Spain and France were more culturally diverse in that they both had Indians to deal with and their own people, and other Castas. They needed royal government like in the French or the Council of the Indies to rule to keep order. The British found self government better because they were all highly religious and had a sense of what they needed to do anyways, because of their beliefs.

  • What differences existed in how the governments of the British colonies were organized against those of France and Spain?

      • See above. British had self government. France and Spanish had highly centralized.

  • How did the British, Spanish, and French differ in their relationships with the Indians? Why?

      • The British didn’t have a relationship with the Indians because they were frontiers of exclusion. They didn’t want involvement with the Indians; however the Spanish and French needed the Indians for labor and for missions.

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