Key Concept 2.3: The increasing political, economic, and cultural exchanges within the Atlantic World” had a profound impact on the development of colonial societies in North America.
I. “Atlantic World” commercial, religious, philosophical, and political interactions among Europeans, Africans, and American native peoples stimulated economic growth, expanded social networks, and reshaped labor systems. (WXT-1) (WXT-4) (WOR-1) (WOR-2) (CUL-4)
The growth of an Atlantic economy throughout the 18th century created a shared labor market and a wide exchange of New World and European goods, as seen in the African slave trade and the shipment of products from the Americas.
Several factors promoted Anglicization in the British colonies: the growth of autonomous political communities based on English models, the development of commercial ties and legal structures, the emergence of a trans-Atlantic print culture, Protestant evangelism, religious toleration, and the spread of European Enlightenment ideas.
• Maryland Toleration Act of 1649, founding of Pennsylvania, John Locke
The presence of slavery and the impact of colonial wars stimulated the growth of ideas on race in this Atlantic system, leading to the emergence of racial stereotyping and the development of strict racial categories among British colonists, which contrasted with Spanish and French acceptance of racial gradations.
• Casta system, mulatto, Métis
Britain’s desire to maintain a viable North American empire in the face of growing internal challenges and external competition inspired efforts to strengthen its imperial control, stimulating increasing resistance from colonists who had grown accustomed to a large measure of autonomy. (WOR-1) (WOR-2) (ID-1) (CUL-4)
As regional distinctiveness among the British colonies diminished over time, they developed largely similar patterns of culture, laws, institutions, and governance within the context of the British imperial system.
Late 17th-century efforts to integrate Britain’s colonies into a coherent, hierarchical imperial structure and pursue mercantilist economic aims met with scant success due largely to varied forms of colonial resistance and conflicts with American Indian groups, and were followed by nearly a half-century of the British government’s relative indifference to colonial governance.
• dominion of New England, Navigation Acts
Resistance to imperial control in the British colonies drew on colonial experiences of self-government, evolving local ideas of liberty, the political thought of the Enlightenment, greater religious independence and diversity, and an ideology critical of perceived corruption in the imperial system.