The Beginnings of Slavery in British America

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The Beginnings of Slavery in British America

  1. The demand for black servants to supplement the always scarce southern labor supply

    1. Demand grew rapidly once tobacco became the staple crop

    2. Supply of African laborers first supplied the Caribbean (by Portuguese slavers)

    3. Expanded to the colonies of the south by the late 17th century

    4. By the end of the 19th century – 11 million Africans to the New World

      1. Africans chieftains captured members of enemy tribes in battle tied them to long lines “coffles”

    5. Middle Passage

      1. African suppliers met the European traders and exchanged

      2. Black prisoners remained chained in the bowels of the slave ships

        1. Some captains took care of their cargo b/c they were valuable

        2. Others accepted the deaths as inevitable and crammed as many in as possible

          1. Packed closely together that they were unable to stand (months)

          2. Minimal food and water

          3. Those that died were thrown overboard

          4. Slaves were then auctioned off to white landowners

        3. First black laborers arrived in English North America before 1620

          1. Regardless, the Caribbean and Brazil were the main focus of the slave trade because of the SUGAR grown on the islands

          2. Less than 5% of the Africans imported to the Americas went directly to the English colonies on the mainland (1670s)

            1. Royal African Company of England

            2. Most spent time in the Caribbean before coming to colonies

      3. 1690s the Royal African Company of England’s monopoly was finally broken

        1. Allowed for more competition, lower prices, and increased number of Africans

        2. Between 1700 and 1760, the number of Africans in the colonies increased tenfold to about 250,000

          1. 16,000 lived in New England – 1763

          2. 29,000 lived in the middle colonies

          3. Virginia/Maryland and south

    6. Life as a slave

      1. Often not much different than the life of the white indentured servant

        1. South Carolina – some freed after fixed term of servitude

        2. Some became landowners

        3. Some owned slaves

      2. By the early 18th century, the relationship changed

        1. Whites were required to be released after a their servitude

        2. No requirement to free blacks

          1. Assumption grew that they were in permanent service

        3. Children of slaves provided white landowners with a self-filling labor force

        4. Whites transferred their view of other people (Irish, natives) to the black Africans.

      3. Slave codes

        1. Limited the rights of blacks in law and ensured almost absolute authority to white masters

        2. Color was the only determining factor to whether or not a person was subject to the slave codes

      4. Transition from a society with slaves to a slave society

        1. A society with slaves treated them as they treated other workers, some were freed, etc

        2. Slave society held the master at the center of the society, all of that society revolved around the possession of slaves - brutality

  2. Other sources of Immigration

    1. French, German, Swiss, Irish, Welsh, Scottish, and Scandinavian immigration increased

      1. French Calvinists – HUGUENOTS

        1. 1598 – Edict of Nantes – state within France

        2. 1685 – revoked the edict

        3. 300,000 left France

      2. Palatinate Germans – Pennsylvania Dutch

        1. 12,000 left Germany for England

        2. 3,000 to the colonies

        3. Ended up in Pennsylvania

        4. Mispronunciation of Deutsch

          1. Quaker colonies attracted the Moravians and Mennonites

        5. Also ended up in North Carolina

      3. Scots-Irish-Irish Presbyterians

        1. Could not export wool to England from Ulster, Ireland

        2. Presbyterianism was outlawed

        3. Rents doubled/tripled

    2. Rapid population growth in the colonies continued in the 18th century

      1. 1700 – non-Indian population 250,000

      2. 1775 – non-Indian population 2,000,000

        1. Population nearly doubled every 25 years

Economies of British North America

  1. General observations regarding colonial economy

    1. First established as profit making ventures by the Virginia Company, Mass. Bay Company

    2. Trade developed between the tribes and the colonies

      1. Particularly with the French

    3. Trade grew between the colonies

    4. Trade grew across the Atlantic

    5. Other parts of the New World

  2. Farming – Largest impact for trade in the European and African settlements

    1. Attempted to not just subsist: trade with local, intercolonial, & international markets

  3. Economies of the South

    1. Chesapeake

      1. Tobacco led to the entire prosperity of the region

      2. Production exceeded demand – What happens to prices?

      3. Boom & Bust pattern developed

      4. By 1700, many plantations employed several dozen slaves

    2. South Carolina & Georgia

      1. Rice cultivation was difficult

        1. How is rice cultivated? Knee deep in muddy water filled patties – blazing sun and surrounded by insects and malarial mosquitos

        2. Difficult work led to a complete reliance on slaves for cultivation

          1. African workers were much better at it because of their resistance to disease and they had come (some) from rice cultures of Africa

      2. Indigo added to the variety of crops grown in the south

    3. Overall, the reliance on cash crops led to less development of the commercial or industrial economy

      1. Trade was often handled by London merchants or northern merchants

  4. Economies of the North

    1. Agriculture was the single most important part

      1. Not as dominant as in the south

      2. Why is that?

        1. Poor soil

        2. Colder weather

    2. Home industries took root

      1. Cobblers, blacksmiths, riflemakers, cabinetmakers, printers

    3. Larger industry also developed

      1. Mills using water power

        1. Cloth, grain, lumber

      2. Shipbuilding

      3. Metalworks

        1. Iron ore production throughout the colonies

        2. Did not take hold because of the Iron Act of 1750 limiting production of iron in the colonies – Why would they do that?

      4. The biggest reason for lack of industrialization early on was a shortage of labor

    4. Extractive Industries

      1. Fur Trade – early

      2. Lumber

      3. Mining

      4. Fishing (New England)

  5. Technologies in British North America

    1. Lacked basic technology found in England

      1. 50% of farmers didn’t own a plow

      2. Many households did not have pots and pans for cooking

      3. 50% of the households owned a firearm

      4. Few farmers owned wagons

      5. What was the one item that all farmers had? - Axe

    2. Why did they not have these products?

      1. Too poor to purchase them or the materials to make them

  6. Colonial Commerce

    1. Managed to produce enough goods to trade

      1. No medium of exchange

        1. Beaver skins, tobacco certificates, etc.

      2. Impossible to impose order on their trade

        1. Very little information existed about products

        2. Merchants that purchased didn’t know if they could resell

    2. New World Trade

      1. Colonies to West Indies – rum, ag products, meat, fish

      2. West Indies to Colonies – Sugar, molasses, and slaves

    3. Triangular Trade

      1. Colonies – Fish, livestock, rice, lumber, flour, tobacco, indigo, hides, rum

      2. England – linen, horses, manufactured goods

      3. Africa – slaves, gold

    4. Merchant class prospered because of this trade

  7. Rise of Consumerism

    1. The growth of consumerism was a product of the early stages of the industrial revolution

      1. Relatively little industry in America

      2. England and Europe were producing goods quickly and efficiently

    2. Consumption grew because

      1. Consumers demanded products

      2. Increasing allowance by merchants to offer credit

      3. Owning of material goods equated to refinement “ladylike” “gentleman”

    3. Products

      1. Tea

      2. Household linens

      3. Glassware

      4. Manufactured cutlery

      5. Crockery

      6. Furniture

Patterns of Society

Owning land in the New World wasn’t that big of a deal – everyone owned land – controlling a large workforce gave people power!

  1. The Plantation

    1. Emerged in Virginia and Maryland once tobacco become the economic basis of the Chesapeake

      1. Charles Carroll of Carrollton, MD – wealthiest man in the colonies

      2. 40,000 acres of land and 285 slaves

    2. Most plantations were relatively small with few slaves

      1. Seldom larger than 30 slaves

    3. Self-sustained communities

      1. “Great House” of the planter

      2. Service buildings

      3. Barns

      4. Cabins of the slaves

      5. Sometimes – school, chapel

    4. Wives of large plantation owners didn’t have house chores to do

    5. The largest population of people were small farmers

    6. Plantation owners dominated the economy

  2. Plantation Slavery

    1. Rigid social separation was not present on small farms with just a few slaves

    2. By the mid-1700s, ¾ of all blacks lived on plantations with more than 10 slaves

      1. 50% living with more than 50 slaves

    3. Slaves developed a large kinship network and informally formed complex family structures

      1. Gullah – hybrid of English and African language

      2. Combination of Christianity and African religion

      3. Mulatto – black and white children – were recognized as a part of the slave community

      4. Brutality was not present on every plantation

    4. Stono Rebellion – South Carolina – 1739

      1. 100 Africans rose up, seized weapons, killed several whites, attempted to escape to Florida

    5. Runaways were the most common

    6. Field Hands – women also cooked and raised children

    7. Trades – sometimes hired by other planters

      1. Sometimes able to buy their freedom

      2. Groups of free blacks throughout the south (small numbers)

  3. The Puritan Community

    1. Establishment of the town as the characteristic social unit

    2. Covenant – agreement binding all residents in a religious and social commitment to unity

    3. Held some lands in common for farming and raising livestock

    4. Yearly town meetings – decide important questions and choose leadership

      1. Church membership was limited to the residents that could give evidence of being among the elect

      2. Others could participate in a halfway covenant

    5. Primogeniture – passing of inherited land to firstborn son – did not take root in New England

      1. Land was instead divided among the sons

      2. Sons continued to live close to their fathers

      3. Young women tended to be more mobile

    6. Population growth within the towns

      1. Farmers needed to plant further from town

      2. Eventually ask to create a new church, and therefore a new town

  4. Witchcraft Phenomenon

    1. Late 17th Century – growth and diversity had undermined Puritan lifestyle

    2. Adolescent girls experienced strange voodoo behavior

      1. Accused West Indian servants

      2. Hundreds of people (women) accused of witchcraft

      3. 19 residents put to death before it ended in 1692

        1. Most famous – Salem, Massachusetts

      4. Whole thing was made up by the girls

    3. Who was a witch?

      1. Middle Aged

      2. Low Social Standing

      3. Widowed

      4. Few or no children

      5. Accused of other crimes

      6. Possessed land/property of their own – wealth on their own

  5. Growth of Cities

    1. Two largest ports – Philadelphia (28,000) and NYC (25,000)

      1. Larger than most English urban centers

    2. What was accomplished in a city?

      1. Trade center for farmers of the region

      2. Mart for international trade

        1. Led to a high wealth disparity (divide)

        2. Many rich and poor

      3. Industrial Centers

        1. Ironworks

        2. Distilleries for Rum

      4. Advanced Schools

      5. Cultural Activities

        1. Fraternal clubs

    3. What also was present in cities?

      1. Crime

      2. Vice

      3. Pollution

      4. Epidemics

      5. Traffic

    4. Formation of Government

      1. Required established governments

      2. Constables – police

      3. Fire departments

      4. Support for the poor

    5. Ideological aspects

      1. New ideas circulated quickly

        1. Regular Newspapers

        2. Books

      2. Taverns/Coffeehouses – debate the issues of the day in an open format

    6. Inequality was present

      1. “Some must be rich and some poor” – John Winthrop

      2. Elites

        1. Ladies and Gentlemen

          1. Best seats in church

          2. Most influence in church

      3. Lower Class

        1. Goodman or goodwife

Awakenings and the Enlightenment

Two powerful forces were competing in American intellectual life in the 18th Century

  1. Traditional outlook

    1. Personal God keeping watch over individual lives

    2. Witchcraft

    3. Stern moral code

    4. Intellect less important than faith

  2. Enlightenment

    1. Importance of science and human reason

    2. People had control over their own lives and the course of their society

    3. World can be structured based on rational, scientific reasoning

  3. Religions in the Americas

    1. Religious uniformity was difficult to enforce because so many different groups came

      1. Church of England

        1. VA, MD, NY, NC, SC, GA

      2. Congregational/Presbyterianism/Puritanism

        1. MA

      3. Dutch Reformed

        1. NY, NJ

      4. American Baptists

        1. Roger Williams

        2. RI

      5. Most protestant groups extended tolerance to other protestants, but not Roman Catholic believers

      6. Jews

        1. NYC

  4. Great Awakenings

    1. First major American religious revival

      1. 1730s-1740s – religious fervor

    2. Potential for every person to break away from the constraints of the past and start relationship anew with God

      1. John and Charles Wesley – Methodists – Georgia

      2. George Whitefield – Evangelizing tours through the colonies

      3. Jonathan Edwards – Congregationalist – New England

        1. Original thinker

        2. Attacked doctrines of easy salvation

        3. Absolute sovereignty of God

        4. Predestination

        5. Salvation by grace alone

        6. “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

  5. The Enlightenment

    1. Competed with the Great Awakening

    2. Scientific and Intellectual movement

    3. Natural laws regulated the workings of nature

      1. Celebration of human reason and inquiry

    4. Reason could create progress

    5. Human had a moral sense to tell difference between right and wrong

    6. Look to self not God for guidance

    7. Emphasis on education and politics/government

      1. Europeans – Francis Bacon, John Locke

      2. Americans – Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Franklin, Madison

  6. Education

    1. 1647 – Massachusetts law requiring every town to support a public school

      1. Didn’t actually happen

    2. By revolution, 50% of males could read and write (more than in Europe)

    3. What about females?

      1. Less than males

      2. Higher than in Europe

    4. Slaves – no education

    5. Indians – little education – by choice

    6. Colleges

      1. Harvard

        1. 1636 – Puritan – Boston, MA

      2. William and Mary

        1. 1693 – Anglicans – Williamsburg, VA

      3. Yale

        1. 1701 – Congregationalists – New Haven, CT

      4. Princeton

        1. 1746 – Puritan – New Jersey – Jonathan Edwards

      5. Kings College (Columbia)

        1. 1754 – Anglicans (not religious) – New York

      6. University of Pennsylvania

        1. 1755 – Secular – Penn

    7. Science

      1. Biggest indicator of Enlightenment thinking

      2. Most of the largest impact of science came outside the colleges

      3. Royal Society of London

        1. Enlightenment Society

        2. Members included Benjamin Franklin

          1. Lightening and Electricity – invention of lightening rod

      4. Smallpox inoculation

        1. Cotton Mather

        2. Small amounts of a disease to build immunity

    8. Law and Politics

      1. American law was different than English law because English trained lawyers were uncommon in the colonies

        1. English Law System Elements

          1. Trial by jury

        2. New Law Ideas

          1. Criticism of the government were not libel if factually true

            1. “Freedom of the Press”

          2. Court proceedings were simpler

          3. Didn’t kill or imprison as often

            1. Needed workers

      2. Political Systems gave Americans some elements of self-government

        1. More focus on local control of the government

        2. Independence from Parliament

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