Early American settlers were usually under 25, male, and poor. Why else would they risk their lives on a months-long trip to a place where they had no one to help them? The vast majority of immigrants to the New World came from the British Isles. It is purely legend that when the first colonists arrived, they landed in virgin territory, never touched by human hand or ambition. Native Americans for centuries had hunted and cultivated the land. In many cases they were more destructive to nature than were the colonists. Between 1750 and 1775, the population of the New World grew to 2.5 million.
Because settlers tended to marry at a relatively young age, the birthrate in the English colonies was higher than it was in Europe. After the first decade of colonization, the death rate in America was dramatically lower than in Europe. The average life expectancy for men was 70. The liberty and freedom that existed in the colonies did not apply to women, who were still forced to abide by the European custom of deferring to their husbands. However, one area in which they were given more authority was in spiritual matters.
From the start, the south was an agricultural economy. The longer growing seasons and fertile land provided settlers a leg up on the north, which had neither in abundance. One major problem that southerners faced was obtaining laborers to cultivate and harvest the crops from their vast tracts of land. Slavery filled this need. Another factor in maintaining an agricultural economy is a market for the produce. England provided a ready and willing market. Originally, the importation of slaves to the colonies was hindered by the vast demand for them in the West Indies and the sugar plantations of Brazil. But the continued influx of white workers from Europe meant that slave labor was not in demand. But when Great Britain began to experience a period of rapid economic expansion, the number of immigrants tapered off, and slaves became necessary to produce goods to meet market demand.
Instead of creating the equivalent of English manors, as colonists in the south had done, New Englanders focused on the growth of towns, along the lines of traditional Old World villages. It was easier to catch fish than to cultivate the land and grow crops in New England, so that became a principal form of income. Crops were grown by families to meet their basic needs, not to make a profit. Thanks to the abundance of forests, New England soon became renowned for its shipbuilding industry. Because they were primarily involved in providing England with raw materials rather than finished goods, New Englanders had to import many items from Europe. By using their own ships, they were able to foster a burgeoning shipping industry into an economic juggernaut for their colonies.
Contrary to modern perceptions, the Puritans were not dour and intolerant. They were moderates, who believed that anything done to excess was bad. As the population of the New England colonies increased, so did the strain among the different immigrant groups. As merchants continued to import goods from England, materialism began to take effect, diluting the emphasis of the church. In Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, a total of 30 citizens were executed as practitioners of witchcraft, and over 300 were so accused.
The economy of the middle colonies was affected by both New England and the south. Colonies there created their own mix of agriculture and trade, depending on their location and the quality and quantity of land. Whereas much of the south and north were settled primarily by British citizens, the middle colonies received a fair number of German immigrants as well.
The 17th century is known for the Enlightenment, when scientific thought and inquiry revolutionized society with new ideas and new concepts. The Enlightenment in the Americas is most closely associated with Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was an inventor, who used scientific principles to create such items as bifocals, the lightening rod, an efficient wood-burning stove, and the glass harmonica. During this period, educating children was the responsibility of the family and the church. In New England, the density of the settlements allowed for the creation of schools to teach children outside of the home and church.
The Great Awakening was the first popular movement among the colonies, before the Revolution that would span all 13 colonies. Jonathon Edwards traveled the colonies preaching against materialism and for the Enlightenment and a return to faith. George Whitfield, another preacher during the Great Awakening, encouraged his listeners to renounce their worldly goods. The Great Awakening taught that churches were not needed because individuals could commune with God on their own.
His 121 chapter 3
HIS 121 Chapter 3
The Shape of Early America Early American settlers Under 25 Male Poor Seaboard ecology Native Americans Slash and Burn, Shared Resources British Immigrants: Natural Resources as private commodity By 1650 farm animals outnumbered colonists and roamed freely Conflict with the Native Americans over farm animal roaming Population growth Between 1750 and 1775 the population of the New World grew to 2.5 million. Franklin: Observation Concerning the Increase of Mankind (1751) Colonies: Land plentiful and cheap Colonies: Labor scarce and expensive Average Age of Colonists: 16
The Shape of Early America Birth and death rates More births in Colonies Women married younger and lived longer resulting in two more pregnancies per woman on average. Men lived to age 70 in colonies and women lived to late 60’s due to less contagion Women in the colonies Ratio to men 8:1 Married by age 21 Deeply rooted convictions that women were inferior to men Role of women: obey husbands, bear children, maintain households Social custom and legal codes: women prohibited from preaching; voting; holding public office; attending public schools or colleges; bring lawsuits; make contracts; own property Women and religion Quaker women could speak in church Puritans: women as weak vessels who succumbed to original sin Cotton Mather: Women more Godly than men due to childbirth
Women’s Work Rising at 4 AM Water live stock Prepare breakfast Wake Children by 5:30 Churned butter Work garden Prepared lunch Schooled children Worked garden Prepared dinner Milked Cows Put children to bed Cleaned Kitchen Spare time: Combed, spun, spooled, wove, bleached wool, knit linen & cotton, hemmed sheets, pierced quilts, made candles; washed floors, washed clothes, hauled water Bed at 9:00 PM
African American Women’s Lives Significantly more difficult than white women’s lives Religion: In Africa many societies matrilineal Priests & healers in addition to childbearing Exposed to both Christianity & Islam in addition to traditional African religions In America Women attempted to sustain traditional African religious and cultural practices Conflict between white colonial Christianity and slavery Whites believed that Christians were equal spiritually but not physically in temporal world Many whites did not want to treat African slaves as spiritual equals and did not encourage conversion to Christianity over concerns that Baptism might require temporal freedom. Feared Christian religious piety among Africans might blur boundaries between slaves and masters Virginia ordinance in 1667: African children remained slaves regardless of whether or not they had been baptised Daily life Majority worked in fields as field hands in the 17th century as well as maintaining as best they could a matriarchal family life
Society and Economy in theSouthern Colonies Crops in Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina Tobacco Indigo Rice Favorable balance of trade (1678-1717) English middlemen Freight payments; commissions; storage fees; interest payments; customs duties; insurance premiums; cost of slaves and/or indentured servants Reduced Planters profits and restricted entry into more diverse enterprises North Carolina: Pine Tar (Origin of Tar Heels)
Land 1618 Virginia Company: only asset was land Share right: 50 acre Head Right: acres for paying own passage or bringing others to Virginia Large scale production Tobacco quickly depleted the soil and required large acreage to rotate crops Riverfront property reduced charges by middlemen Larger planters assumed roles of middlemen for smaller farms As production increased, larger production = lower unit cost Smaller farms sold to larger farms or produced products used by large planters
Labor of Free Men and Women Indentured servitude = 50% of white settlers in colonies outside New England Trade in Kids (kidnapped) and Spirits in London 1717: felons could escape hangman by agreeing to emigrate Limited rights Own property but not engage in trade Marriage required permission of master Masters could whip servants or extend servitude for bad behavior Sexual abuse Freedom dues Money, tools, clothing, small tracts of land owed by Masters upon completion of contract of servitude
African Slavery in 17th and early 18th Centuries Enslaved Africans came from many areas in Africa, each with their own customs and beliefs and experiences Difference between slavery in Africa and America African slavery resulted from war between peoples African slaves could get married and children were not considered slaves Slavery was rarely perpetual Africans sold people from tribes with whom they were in conflict, rarely from their own tribes Chiefs and Headmen who sold other Africans were frequently suspected of witchcraft which had an entirely different meaning than in European culture and history In Africa, witchcraft associated with spirit of malevolence which comes from acting selfishly. Ubuntu: a person is a person through association and ties with other people Muthi: bad magic associated with acting in one’s own best interests