American Colonies Themes Matt McHolland Professor Arguello History 140
***Themes*** EXPANSION• Newport during the prerevolutionary period was the pearl of the colonies. The city grew into a rich center of commerce largely because of pirating, smuggling and handling of contraband, activities that the British sought to curtail with Acts that affected all the colonies.• The town was composed of almost 1,000 homes, many of mansion quality, and drew the finest of European visitors along with growing inter-colonial and international trade.• The city was cosmopolitan with a mix of religious faiths, including Jewish and Quaker, all accepted under decrees protecting individual freedom born from a sense of equality and justice, principles that would later become embodied in the Constitution of the United States.
***Themes*** MONEY. The colonists were seen as a means for providing raw materials for Britishmade goods and for markets for those goods.. Laws were structured to protect British home merchants and industries andto prevent colonies from achieving a surplus balance of trade so that thevalue of British imports into the colonies was greater than the value ofcolonial exports. Thus, colonists were forced to complete payment for theirtrade deficits with a flow of silver and gold into England. This created achronic shortage of coinage metals in the colonies and enforced barter trade.. Paper money was issued by colonies and worked reasonably well forexchange of goods and for paying taxes, but was never redeemable forcoinage. .
***Themes*** RELOCATION. The years from 1765 to 1772 encompass several violent episodes thatfocused the attention of the British and shaped the outcome of theAmerican political movement locally and regionally. Anti-British sentimentwas so strong that many citizens chose to leave everything rather thanprovide the slightest appearance of support. The naval blockade so reducedthe citys activity that over half of its citizens left for the interior or for othercoastal cities in New England or they moved to southern colonies such asCharlestown, or to the British West Indies islands. The British dealt harshlywith Newport and reduced its once great vitality to austerity. Many of thehomes left vacant were taken down and burned for fuel. Others weresimilarly burned as a matter of convenience.
***Themes*** COMMERCE In the high commerce years preceding the Revolution, the quest for improved standards of living commensurate with Europeans was achieved with purchase of manufacturedgoods largely in England. Surrounding agriculture maintained Newport, and as inter-colonial trade grew, much of its richescame from bootleg manufactured goods from European ports of call other than England in defiance of increasingly stricter tariffs on trade of non-British goods. The area grew in itsseagoing capacity as the British sought to restrain all colonists to purchase only British goods.
***THEMES*** CITIZENSHIP By 1760, all British laws interfered with some activity in the colonies that was profitable to England. All citizens of NewEngland were citizens of England, but rights were restricted at every quarter of commerce. Citizens charged with enforcement of British law in the colonies increasingly came under harsh treatment and an inability to exercise their authority. Royal Governors were appointed by the Crown, while colonial assemblies maintained an adversarial role ofgrowing strength that challenged the Governors, often forcing changes in policy.
***Themes*** CONSOLIDATION The major result of the Gaspee incident among the colonists was the formation of the Committees ofCorrespondence in each of the colonies to expedite the flow of information between them concerning events of mutual interest. Because of such incident, the colonies came together with a common cause for the first time, the initial, formative step of a new nation.