Kelly WagnerHistory 140/Spring 2011Theme 4 The English In North America
American Colonies 7- Chesapeake ColoniesCommon Wealths In the Chesapeake colonies they had a crude council. Class differences didn’t matter as much as superiority over the African slaves. During this time the Crown had to share wealth among the colonists who were wealthy and ambitious. The wealthiest planters of these colonies also dominated the county system of local authority. Since the Chesapeake Colonies were two towns, they relied on larger territories for their government. The county courts were responsible to holding trials, executing sentences, license taverns and ferries, conducted elections to assembly and enforced provincial legislation. There are four tiers to their government. At the top is the King, then is the governor, council, and assembly, after them is the county court and parish vestry, and the fourth tier was family household.
American Colonies 7- Chesapeake ColoniesLabor The demand for labor was higher than the amount of available people. Their first choice was to enslave Algonquians, but they either escaped or died of disease. So the colonists started to purchase African slaves but they were expensive. In 1650 enslaved Africans equaled 2% of the population. Colonists claimed that after the year 1620 people “volunteered,” to be servants. Servants consisted of laborers, they owned nothing, were journeymen or artisans, young and unmarried. The transportation of servants depended on the demand of tobacco sales. If sales were low, less servants were sent, but if sales were high more servants were sent. If servants were employed by an abusive master, instead of the master being punished, they would make the servant employed for a longer amount of time. Sometimes servants would kill their masters’ hogs to have a feast in the woods. If they were caught, one or two more years would be added to their serving time.
American Colonies 7- Chesapeake ColoniesRebellion In the 1660s colonists were required to ship tobacco in English ships to England. People became very poor due to their declining incomes and heavy taxes. In 1641 Berkeley governed Virginia for the next 35 years. He would grant his best land to his favorites, which limited the freedmen from obtaining their own farms. The freedmen would rent land if they decided to farm. In 1675 war broke against the Susquehannock Indians. The settlers wanted permission from the governor, to exterminate the natives, but the governor Berkeley declined. Berkeley and his friends cherished the profitable deerskin too much to give that up. Berkeley appointed Nathaniel Bacon, who defied the governor, led attacks against natives. Bacon considered all Indians enemies. Since the Algonquians were easier to catch, they died in greater numbers than the hostile Susquehannock. In 1676 Berkeley declared Bacon guilty of Treason. Bacon wanted to defeat Berkeley and he promised immediate freedom to servants who would rebel and would lower taxes. In September of 1676 Bacon’s men drove the governor and his supporters out of Jamestown and burned it to the ground. Shortly after, Bacon died and Berkeley returned and the rebellion collapsed.
American Colonies 7- Chesapeake ColoniesSlaves As the supply of white laborers declined, Chesapeake planters turned to African slaves. From 1650 to 1700, the slave numbers grew from 300 to 13,000. Slaves became 13% of the population. Then in 1750 slaves were up to 40% of the population at 150,000 people. Slaves started taking advantage of their numbers, by killing their masters with knives and hatchets, and seizing their guns to expand their rebellion. Some masters permitted their slaves to acquire and manage their own property and livestock such as chickens, cattle, hogs and a small garden. This was so they could eventually sell their property and buy their freedom. Most masters were convinced that only pain and fear could motivate slaves. Slaves were going to be slaves for life, so it wasn’t like their master could add more time to their service like the servants. Anthony Johnson was the most successful freedman. He acquired 250 acres of land and one slave. In 1680 any slave who threatened or struck a white person, was punished with 30 lashes on their bare back. Skin color became a marker of identity. William Byrd: “blacks blow up the pride and ruin the industry of our white people, who seeing a rank of poor creatures below them, detest work for fear it should make them look like slaves.”
American Colonies 9- Puritans and Indians The New English saw the Indians as “pagans who surrendered to their worst instincts to live within the wild.” Puritans worried that because of colonists being spread out over land to make farms, their religions were contradicted. New English laborers said they would remain Christians by changing the land and by converting the Indians to help ease this worry.
American Colonies 9- Puritans and IndiansNatives Southern New England Indians lacked political unity. The leading tribes consisted of the Mohegan, Narragansett, Patuxet, Wampanoag, Nipmuck, and Pennacook. Of these tribes, they consisted of local bands of 100 people. Each band had a leading sachem, assisted by a council of lesser sachems. “The sachem built his influence on persuasion, example and generous gift giving, rather than on coercion.” The natives were able to have a well balanced diet through their highly productive horticulture of maize, squash, pumpkins, and beans. They made use of the forests by burning selected areas to suit their needs. Regular burning got ride of mice, fleas, parasites and fertilized the floor. Like all tribes, men and women had their designated jobs. Men spent their time hunting, fishing, and making tools. While women took care of the children, worked steadily throughout the year, built and maintained homes, gathered firewood, butchered and stored the animals, prepared meals, and attended to crops. Indians owned only what they could carry. As part of their culture, generosity and hospitality were fundamental duties. They also never “owned” any land and wouldn’t sell the land their used unless forced to by the colonists.
American Colonies 9- Puritans and IndiansProperty Colonists loved the abundance of nature, fish, birds, trees and deer available to them. In and English society a man achieved status by accumulating property through buying it, rather than like Indian chiefs redistributing property. The English didn’t understand the Indian way of horticulture and why they didn’t make use of all the land they had available. So colonists took charge of how much land the Indians needed and as each year went by they decreased the amount. Coming from completely different mind sets, natives definitely didn’t share the way colonists thought about land as property and thought they agreed to share it. But, when Indians would go to hunt or fish sometimes they would be arrested fro trespassing. Colonists needed more land because of their domesticated animals and they started to build permanent structures on their land instead of semi permanent villages that shifted with the seasons. The land started becoming more profitable for the colonists and more hostile to the Indians. As the colonists cleared the forests, they were eliminating the habitat for wild animals and plants, that the Indians needed for diet and clothing.
American Colonies 9- Puritans and IndiansPequot War In 1636 the first major conflict between the Indians and the New English occurred. The English wanted the Indians to give up several of their children as hostages and surrender suspects accused of killing a trader. The Indians did not give in to this and the English convinced the Narragansett and Mohegan people to help fight against Pequot. In May 1637 the Narragansett and Mohegan warriors guided the Puritans into the Pequot territory while they were sleeping and lit it on fire. This contradicted Indian customs and shocked the Narragansett and Mohegan Indians. Puritans in England criticized the New English for the overkill of natives. The rest of 1637 the Puritans spent killing or capturing the rest of the Pequot. Half of the 3,000 survived the war and the colonial leaders declared their nation as dissolved. Things took a turn in the next big war of 1675-1676, the Pequot helped the colonists attack the Narragansett.