Colonial Life
Creation of an “American Identity” in the
Era of Benign Neglect
I. Restoration Colonies
A. Middle Colonies
1. Middle colonies
NY, NJ, PENN, DEL, MD
2. Multicultural, tolerant
Dutch influence
B. Southern (Proprietary)
1. Carolinas
1670s
race ratio
2. Georgia
1732
social experiment
buffer zone
Oglethorpe
II. Communities of Trade
A. Lower South
1. World contact
1730s - rice & indigo production
2. Absentee landlords
Caribbean influence
Sea Islands
B. Chesapeake
1. Market agriculture
tobacco
imports
C. New England
1. Least dependent on Britain
2. Net exporter
timber, fish to West Indies
Slave trade
D. Middle Colonies
1. Breadbasket
2. Cosmopolitan centers
NY, Philadelphia
3. “Best poor man’s country”
III. Community & Work
A. Planter Society
1. Early 1700s: white labor drying up
Pressure to move west
2. Growth of slavery
1700: 13%
1776: 40%
3. American patriarchy
paterfamilias
4. Few population centers
5. Lack of skilled (free) labor
Labor Ideology
B. Slave Culture
1. Seasoning / isolation
2. Community
languages
Gullah
“Mus tek cyear a de root fa heal de tree.”
- religion
participatory
equality before God
3. Culture as resistance
Culture of resistance
Stono Rebellion, 1739
4. The Price of Slavery
militant culture
gender gap
limited economic development
limited democratization
C. Northern/Middle colonies
1. New opportunities
economic status
2. Population explosion
1688: 225K
1775: 2.5M
500K (black)
3. Why?
- cheap land, tolerance, skilled labor
4. Ethnic diversity
Scots-Irish, Welsh, Germans, French
Colonial experience, American
identity
Interdependence ties together colonies
Social patterns erode European traditions
Opportunities add to sense of entitlement
The Enlightenment in
America
I. 1700s: Age of Reason
“Enlightenment”
The search for rational basis of law,
government, education, philosophy,
nature.
A. 1500s-1600s: Religion
1. War
oppression
extremism
Divine Right of Kings
B. Rational self-interest
1. Intellectuals repulsed by Salem
2. “Self-made” men
southern planters, northern merchants, free farmers
C. Rational appeal
1. Rationalism/skepticism
2. Optimism
3. Natural Law
D. The English Connection
1. Isaac Newton
1687 – Principia Mathematica
Natural Law
Religious authority
2. John Locke
Glorious Revolution
1689 – Essay Concerning Human
Understanding
“tabula rasa”
1690 – Two Treatises on Government
Contract Theory
“Natural Rights”
Life, Liberty, Property
English Liberalism
II. Empire of Reason
A. Intelligentsia
1. Urban dwellers/planters
B. Churches
1. Deism
Harvard theologians - “liberal” Protestantism
Innate evil?
Innate authority?
C. American perspective
1. Tradition v. usefulness
pragmatism
Benjamin Franklin
active, confident, improving
Voluntary Associations
Self-education
Social improvement
The First Great
Awakening
A. Revivals
1.
1734-1775
Anglicans = George Whitfield
Methodists = John Wesley
Presbyterians = Gilbert Tennant
2. Jonathan Edwards
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, 1741
- revive Calvinism
God-centered universe
predestination
America cannot shirk its destiny
- detested “money-grubbers”
moral relativism
B. Causes
1. Economic frustration / competition
“River Gods”
2. Women
C. Revivalism
1. American-style Protestantism
always looking for converts
2. Blends religion & politics
1760s Connecticut: Old Lights v. New Lights
3. Denominationalism: religious pluralism
- end of state-supported churches
- revivals split churches
- breaks political power of churches
D. Cultural basis of Revolution
1. Required no education: egalitarian
2. Gave poorer, rural colonists common
experience
3. Experience was anti-authoritarian
4. Gave colonists common enemy
Satan
“Millennialism”
King of France (Catholic)
King of England
The Seven Years War, 1756-63
War for Empire and the Rise of American
Nationalism
I. Background
Britain & France
Colonial / mercantile
competition
A. Distinctive colonization
1. British have numbers
2. French have more Indian allies
3. British colonists imbued w/
Millennialism
B. An “American” conflict
1. 1754 – Albany Plan of Union
based on Iroquois Confederacy
2. Unification fails
Britain’s responsibility
3. 1757 – Pitt the Elder
“at His Majesty’s Expense”
30,000 British troops
20,000 colonial (militias)
4. Appeal crossed class boundaries
II. Course of the War
A. British losses
1. 1758 – negotiations w/ Eastern Tribes
B. British successes
1. 1759, Quebec
1760, Montreal
2. Treaty of Paris, 1763
C. Angry colonists
1. Pontiac’s Rebellion, 1762-64
2. Proclamation Line of 1763
D. Cultural impact of the war
1. Benign neglect
- Americans did not take orders well
- shocked at treatment of British soldiers
2. Great Awakening
- shocked by Brit conscripts
3. National identity – 4x trade, colonial “mixing”
newspaper popularity
End of Benign Neglect
Navigation Acts (1664)
1763
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Colonial Life, “American” Culture