Political Life in the Colonies Main Idea British mercantilist policies and political issues helped shape the development of the American colonies. Reading Focus • What is mercantilism? • How did the Glorious Revolution and the English Bill of Rights affect political developments in the colonies? • How did government in the colonies change under the policy of salutary neglect? Mercantilism • Colonists smuggled goods because they felt England was taxing them unfairly. • The English felt taxing was fair because profit was the major incentive for colonizing America. • Mercantilism: a nation’s power was directly related to its wealth • Balance of Trade: a goal of mercantilism; the colonists could supply raw materials to England and could buy English goods Mercantilism • England prevented its colonies from trading with other nations to maintain balance of trade. • England only wanted certain American products, such as fur and timber. • Colonists produced other products like wheat and fish that the English did not want. • Colonists often could get higher prices for their goods from the French, Spanish, or Dutch. Mercantilism English laws passed to control colonial trade • Only English ships with English crews could take goods Navigation to England. Acts • Limited the products that could be shipped to England or English colony • All shipments to colonies had to go through England. • Merchants had to pay a tax on certain goods; tax collectors were sent to the colonies. • Increased English profits, but also increased law enforcement in America Effects • Lumber and shipbuilding business was up in the colonies; England needed more ships for trade. • Many colonists ignored the laws and smuggled. The Glorious Revolution and the English Bill of Rights • New England colonists did not want to be governed in such a way that it hurt their own economies. • Their industries began to compete with those in England. • When Massachusetts refused to enforce Navigation Acts, the king made it a royal colony. The Glorious Revolution and The English Bill of Rights Dominion of Glorious Colonists’ New England Revolution Reactions • King James • King James II was Boston: created a unpopular in supercolony of England. • Andros and his New England, government were New York, and • James’s daughter, arrested and sent New Jersey Mary, and her to England. husband, William, • Sir Edmund took over the New York: Andros was crown. • Rebellion broke governor. out • This change of • He wanted leadership—the • Royal rule colonial charters Glorious returned to New returned. Revolution York, but it was • There was no • William and Mary granted an elected assembly. accepted the elected assembly. English Bill of • Andros enforced Rights that limited Navigation Acts. the monarchs’ powers. Government in the Colonies Toward Self-rule • Salutary neglect: referred to the fact that many English • During the English Civil War, officials made colonial policies, colonists took small steps but they did not rule the toward self-government. colonies very strictly. • In 1643 several colonies Colonial Governments joined forces in the United in 1700s Colonies of New England. • Local governments more • Though Parliament had more influential in colonists’ lives power since Glorious Revolution, it dealt mainly • Colonial assemblies were with mainland England. bicameral like Parliament. • The monarchs and their • Governor’s council was the officials made most colonial upper house. policy. • Elected Assembly was lower • When war with Spain broke house like Parliament. out, colonial governments gained some independence. • Each colony had a governor. The Colonial Economy Main Idea A commerce-based economy developed in the northern colonies, while the southern colonies developed an agricultural economy. Reading Focus • What were the characteristics of northern colonial economies? • What were the characteristics of southern colonial economies? • What was the impact of slavery in the colonies? Northern Colonial Economies • Agriculture was the main economic activity in colonial America. Farming in New England • Soil was thin and rocky; winters were long, growing season short. • Subsistence farming, growing just enough food for their own family. Some raised extra corn or apples or cattle to trade with their neighbors. Rarely enough to produce an export crop Farming in the South • Better land and milder climate. Grew enough wheat to sell grain and flour to other colonies and to send abroad • Raised cattle and hogs for export Most productive farmers • German colonists also known as Pennsylvania Dutch. Used fertilizer and crop rotation. Women worked in the fields with the men. Northern Colonial Economies Natural resources • When the number of fur-bearing animals declined, the colonists turned to timber (planks, shingles, and siding for ships and houses) and fish. • Because of Navigation Acts, many coastal towns were centers for shipbuilding. It was the largest single group in the workforce. Fish • Some of the fish was exported to Europe and the West Indies. In early 1700s whaling industry began in New England. Whale products: lamp oil and materials used in perfumes, candles, and women’s corsets Northern Colonial Economies Colonial industries English goods were expensive, so colonists made things at home. Small industries developed: • Mills run by waterpower ground grain into flour. • Distilleries for rum and other alcoholic beverage were major businesses • Ironworks developed when there were local supplies of iron ore. • Bricks, leather goods, and glass were made by small companies. • Cloth was woven (wool and linen) for personal use and for sale to merchants. Northern Colonial Economies Trade and commerce • Good harbors, inexpensive ships, and a tradition of seafaring encouraged the development of commerce. • Port cities of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia were thriving centers of trade. • Trade routes that linked the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the West Indies are often described as the triangular trade. • The Middle Passage is the name used by historians to describe the journey that enslaved Africans made from West Africa across the Atlantic Ocean to the West Indies. South Colonial Economies • Southern colonies produced valuable cash crops (agricultural products grown to be sold). – tobacco, the most valuable export – indigo (used to make blue dye) and rice – naval stores were also produced: rope, tar, and turpentine which were used to maintain wooden ships. These products were in great demand in England and produced a great profit. Plantation system • Plantation system developed in Virginia and Maryland as the tobacco crop increased in importance. • Planters were wealthy and influential, dominating southern society and politics. • Plantations needed workers: a few huge plantations had hundreds of workers, either indentured servants or slaves. • Most farms were smaller and had less than 30 workers. • Most worked in the fields, though on larger plantations, men and women performed other tasks, such as shoemaking, weaving, and carpentry. South Colonial Economies Rice and Indigo Small Farms • Biggest crops in South • Some farmers had a few Carolina enslaved Africans who • Low coastal areas were worked in the fields ideal for growing rice. alongside them. • Slaves were used; many • Independent yeoman knew how to grow rice and farmers many had more resistance – raised livestock and to malaria. exported beef and port • Indigo first successful crop – grew corn, wheat, grown by Eliza Lucas in fruit, and vegetables South Carolina. She was for the home market only 18 years old. – grew tobacco, sold it through large planters The Impact of Slavery • By the 1600s Portugal, Spain, France, Holland, and England were involved in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. African • Most captured Africans were taken to colonies in the Slave Caribbean and South America, then to North America. Trade Only a small percentage came directly to the North American colonies. • The Middle Passage (the voyage across the Atlantic) was a horrifying experience where men, women, and children were packed in the ships’ below-deck quarters. • A former slave, wrote a book about his life in slavery Olaudah • His description of the Middle Passage horrors Equiano encouraged readers to call for the end of slavery. The Impact of Slavery Why slavery continued • At first many African workers were treated as indentured servants, but the terms of indenture grew longer until they lasted a lifetime. • White indentured servants were freed while black servants were not. In some colonies, black servants lost other rights. • The English settlers considered themselves superior to the Africans. • Historians disagree about why slavery continued: • For planters, holding slaves cost less than indentured servants. • Slaves’ children supplied the next generation of workers. • The number of people wanting to serve as indentured servants dropped. Resisting slavery • Many slaves used physical resistance, sabotage, or ran away. • Stono Rebellion: In 1739, 100 enslaved Africans in South Carolina took weapons from a firearms shop and killed several people. • Some skilled artisans bought their freedom by hiring out their labor. The Enlightenment and the American Colonies Enlightenment: European movement that emphasized a search for knowledge. Also called the Age of Reason The Scientific Revolution • Scientists began using observation and experiments to look for natural laws that governed the universe. • Some scientists studied physical laws, while others looked for order and method in nature. The Enlightenment and the American Colonies The Enlightenment in Europe • Thinkers in Europe admired the new approach to science. They thought that logic and reason could also be used to improve society, law, and government. • English philosopher John Locke said it was the duty of government to protect the citizens’ natural rights: life, liberty, and property. • French Baron de Montesquieu suggested that the powers of government be divided. • French writer Voltaire criticized intolerance and prejudice. • Other thinkers wanted to use new ideas to reform education, which in turn would improve society, criminal justice, and conditions for the poor. The Enlightenment and the American Colonies The Enlightenment in America John Locke’s writings were widely read in America. They influenced Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, among others. • Jefferson used Locke’s theories when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. • Other American leaders used Enlightenment ideas when they drafted the United States Constitution. • Franklin and Jefferson were also interested in science and invention, applying reason to ask questions and find answers. • Enlightenment thinkers questioned common beliefs and deep-rooted superstitions. The Great Awakening • Enlightenment ideas also led some people in the colonies to question long-accepted religious beliefs, looking for rational, scientific explanations for how the universe worked. Changes in religious attitudes • Strict groups such as the Puritans were upset by the growing tolerance for other beliefs. • Some religious leaders worried that material values and concern for making money had displaced spiritual values. Clergy looked for new ways to bring people back to the church. The Great Awakening A revival of religion • Great Awakening was a religious revival movement in the colonies. • Jonathan Edwards, Puritan minister, was one of the movement leaders, preached about the agonies that sinners would suffer if they did not repent. • He was influenced by John Locke and Sir Isaac Newton. • George Whitefield, British Methodist minister, preached throughout the colonies. His strong voice moved people to cry and confess their sins. Results • Led to increase in church membership in the 1700s New Protestant religions grew in America: Congregational Church, Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian • Was one of first links uniting the colonies • Led to creation of several colleges The Colonies Become More Diverse • Scots and Scots- • Religious unrest in • Jewish Irish settled Europe and religious communities mainly in the tolerance in colonies grew. middle colonies attracted more and Carolinas. people. - Newport • Strict • German colonists - Philadelphia Presbyterians (skilled farmers and - New York • Did not like the artisans) - Charleston English • French Huguenots government (craftsmen and • Were ready to scientists) fight for political rights Life in Colonial America Colonial cities • Some cities had cobblestone streets lit by oil lamps. Ships from foreign ports were in the harbors. People enjoyed reading mail from relatives and English newspapers and magazines. • Many cities had libraries, bookshops, and impressive public buildings. • Places where colonists could see plays and hear concerts • Markets to shop for produce or European luxury goods • Schools that taught music, dancing, drawing, and painting in addition to traditional classes • City life for women: no hard farm work, but still had household tasks to perform Prosperous women had more time for reading and writing. • Men and women spent many hours writing letters to friends and family. Life in Colonial Economies Popular culture • Quilting bees and barn • First American printer was in raisings were examples of Cambridge, Massachusetts. work in sociable ways. • Influential newspapers • Northern colonists went ice- skating and sledding in winter. published in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. • Horse racing and hunting • Visiting neighbors was favorite • John Peter Zinger, New York pastime printer, published articles that • Social events: dancing, criticized the royal governor. listening to music • Zinger was arrested, and his newspapers were burned. Communications • He was tried in court and won • Printers printed and the first important victory for distributed newspapers, freedom of the press in the books, advertisements, and America colonies. political announcements. Life in Colonial America • Strong family structure despite the fact that real African families were split apart. Kinship networks were American essential. Culture • Religion was another strength of the community. Many were Christian, but also kept older African beliefs. • The slave community preserved music and dance traditions. • African music, foods, and other traditions gradually became a part of American culture.
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