5: The Cultures of Colonial North America, 1700-1780
"The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society." James Madison, Federalist #10
Chapter Review Questions
1. What were the principal colonial regions of North America? Discuss their similarities and differences. Contrast the development of their political systems.
2. Why did the Spanish and the French close their colonies to immigration? Why did the British open theirs? How do you explain the ethnic homogeneity of New England and the ethnic pluralism of New York and Pennsylvania?
3. What were the principal trends in the history of Indian America in the eighteenth century?
4. Discuss the development of class differences in the Spanish, French, and British colonies in the eighteenth century.
5. Discuss the effects of the Great Awakening on the subsequent history of the British colonies.
- Richard Hofstadter, America at 1750: A Social Portrait (1971). A well written description of America’s peoples and region’s that suggests that the Great Awakening made a middle-class society even more so.
- Rhys Isaac, The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790 (1982). A magnificent description of the different cultures of Virginia’s Elite and poor, showing religious revivals changed them forever.
- Gary B. Nash, The Urban Crucible: Social Change, Political Consciousness, and the Origin of the American Revolution (1979). Detailed, comprehensive, and indispensable for understanding the social and political world of urban workingmen.
- Frances Calderón de la Barca, Life in Mexico (1843)
- Bernard Bailyn, The Peopling of British North America: An Introduction (1986)
- David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed (1990)
- Ben Franklin, The Autobiography and Other Writings (1790)
- Maynard Geiger, O.F.M., Mission Santa Barbara 1782-1965 (1965)
- Richard Hofstadter, America at 1750 (1971) [consensus school of history]
- James Kirby Martin, editor, Interpreting Colonial America (1973)
- Malachi Martin, The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church (1987)
- Gary Nash, The Urban Crucible (1979)
- Arthur Schlesinger, Sr., editor, A History of America Life (1948)
- Laurel T. Ulrich, Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750 (1982)
- David J. Weber, The Spanish Frontier in North America (1992)
1636 Harvard College founded
1644 Roger Williams's Bloudy Tenent of Persecution
1662 Half-Way Covenant in New England
1674 Bishopric of Quebec established
1680s William Penn begins recruiting settlers from the European Continent
1682 Mary Rowlandson's Sovereignty & Goodness of God
1689 Toleration Act passed by Parliament
1690s Beginnings of Jesuit missions in Arizona
1693 College of William and Mary founded
1700s Plains Indians domesticate the horse
1701 Yale College founded; Iroquois sign treaty of neutrality with France
1704 Deerfield raid
1708 Saybrook Platform in Connecticut
1716 Spanish begin Texas missions
1718 French found New Orleans
1730s French decimate the Natchez and defeat the Fox Indians
1732 Ben Franklin begins publishingPoor Richard's Almanac
1733 Georgia founded
1734 Great Awakening begins
1735 John Peter Zenger acquitted from libeling New York’s governor
1738 George Whitefield first tours the colonies
1740s Great Awakening gets under way in the Northwest
1740 Parliament passes a naturalization law for the colonies
1746 College of New Jersey (Princeton) founded
1760s Great Awakening - full impact in South
1769 Spanish colonization of CA begins (Father Junípero Serra)
1773 Pope Clement XIV abolished Society of Jesus (resurrected Pope Pius VII, 1814)
1775 Indian revolt at San Diego
1776 San Francisco founded
1781 Los Angeles founded
Crossing Cultural Boundaries
- In 1704, Indians attacked the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts.
- Dozens of captives were delivered to the French allies of the Indians, including Eunice Williams, the daughter of John and Eunice Williams.
- Eunice refused to return to her family and stayed at Kahnawake, a Catholic Indian community near Montreal, becoming part of that community.
- Only 36 years later did Eunice, under her Iroquois name A'ongonte, return to Deerfield with her Iroquois family.
Slide 10 Slide 11
From Deerfield to Kahnawake
Crossing Cultural Boundaries
- Participation in the fur trade showed the remarkable ability of Indians to change and adapt to new conditions by:
- participating in the commercial economy;
- using metal tools; and
- building homes of logs as frontier settlers did.
- Indians became dependent on European trade goods.
- Diplomatically, Indians played colonial powers off against each other.
- The major concern of Indians was the phenomenal growth of the colonial population in the British coastal communities.
- Simultaneously, Indian populations continued to decline.
The Introduction of the Horse
- The introduction of the horse stimulated the rise of nomadic Plains culture.
The Spanish Borderlands
- The viceroyalty of New Spain was the largest and most prosperous European colony in North America.
- The northern borderlands of New Spain were considered a buffer zone of protection from other European colonies.
- In Florida, the colonial presence was weak causing the Spanish to form alliances with Indians and runaway slaves to create a multiracial society.
- In New Mexico, the population expanded by developing ranches and farms along the Rio Grande River.
The Mission System
- In California, the mission system guided development in the 1770s.
- As shown by the mission system, the Catholic Church played a dominant role in community life.
- 1834 Desecularization
The French Crescent
- The French empire in North America was founded on a series of alliances and trade relations that linked a large crescent of colonies and settlements from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River down through the Great Lakes and along the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.
The French Colonies
- The Catholic Church played a strong role in the French colonies.
- For defensive reasons, the French allied with Indian trading partners set up a line of military posts and settlements.
- Throughout Quebec, the French establish farming communities that ship wheat to Louisiana plantations.
- French communities combine French and Indian elements in architecture, dress, and family patterns.
- Puritan congregations governed local communities.
- Attempts to introduce religious toleration failed as other denominations practiced their faith openly by 1700.
- New England towns grew rapidly and the expanding population pressed against available land.
The Middle Colonies
- New York had one of the most ethnically diverse populations in North America.
- New York City grew tremendously but immigration to rural areas was lower than surrounding areas.
- Pennsylvania Quakers accept a more diverse population.
- Government institutions were pillars of community organization.
- Middle Colony communities were more individualistic than the tightly controlled New England communities.
- Backcountry was a distinctive region where rank was often of little concern.
- Conflicts between settlers and Indians made the backcountry a violent region.
- The South was a tri-racial society of Europeans, Africans, and Indians.
- Large plantation house dominate Upper and Lower South.
- Small tobacco farms were widely found in the Upper South.
- White males dominated southern society.
- The Anglican Church was present in the South but had little power.
- In the Upper South, well-developed neighborhoods created a sense of community and white solidarity.
Traditional Culture in the New World
- In the colonies, everyday life revolved around the family and kinship, the church, and the local community.
- Americans were attached to their regional cultures that were based on oral transmission.
- Community needs outweighed those of the individual.
- The majority of rural Americans were self-sufficient farmers who practiced diverse agriculture and engaged in crafts as sidelines.
Work and trades
- In cities, artisans were organized according to the European craft system.
- Women had few career opportunities.
Land and Opportunity
- Land in America was abundant and cheap but did not lead to a democratic society.
- Forced labor was common and few indentured servants won freedom and prosperity.
- The demand for land caused wars with Indians.
D: Diverging Social and Political Patterns
Population Growth and Immigration
- In 1700, 290,000 colonists lived north of Mexico.
- In 1750, the colonial population had grown to almost 1.3 million.
The Ancestry of the British Colonial Population
- Only the British colonies encouraged immigration.
- The Spanish feared depleting their population at home.
- The French blocked Protestant Huguenot immigration.
- Colonial America was more egalitarian than Europe.
- In New Spain and New France, hereditary elites held privileges more in theory than practice.
- In the British colonies, the elite was open and based on wealth.
- The British colonies included a large middle and poor and unfree classes.
Economic Growth and Increasing Inequality
- French and Spanish colonies were economically stagnant compared to the booming British colonies.
- Over time in the British colonies, the gap between rich and poor increased, especially in cities and commercial farming regions.
- In older regions, land shortage created a population of "strolling poor."
Contrasts in Colonial Politics
- Unlike the French and Spanish, the British used a decentralized form of government.
- Royal governors and locally elected assemblies governed.
- Most adult white males could vote.
- Colonial politics were characterized by deference rather than democracy.
- Leadership was entrusted to men of high rank and wealth.
- Most colonial assemblies had considerable power over local affairs because they controlled finances.
E: The Cultural Transformation of British North America
The Enlightenment Challenge
- The British colonies were more open to intellectual and religious challenges than the French and Spanish.
- Enlightenment ideas emphasizing that scientific principle should be applies to create more human happiness took hold in the growing number of American colleges.
- Widespread literacy helped spread Enlightenment ideas.
- Traditional views also had strong popular appeal.
A Decline in Religious Devotion
- The spread of new ideas occurred during a period of religious decline.
- The Puritan Church experienced falling membership and attendance at services.
- The change from a congregational to an established church contributed to the Puritan decline.
- The belief in predestination was weakening as Arminianism became more popular.
The Great Awakening
- In the 1630s, the Great Awakening began with Jonathan Edwards calling for a return to Puritan traditions that appealed to dissatisfied young people.
- The movement spread as thousands of people experienced emotional conversions.
- In 1738, George Whitefield toured America, further fueling the movement.
- Conflicts developed between Old and New Lights.
- In the South, the Great Awakening introduced Christianity to slaves.
- The Great Awakening:
- greatly increased church membership;
- led to the growth of the Methodist and Baptist churches; and
- laid the way for future political change.
Acrostic, by Benjamin Franklin
B-e to thy parents an obedient son,
E-ach day let duty constantly be done.
N-ever give way to sloth or lust or pride,
I-f free you'd be from thousand ills beside;
A-bove all ills, be sure avoid the shelf'
M-an's danger lies in Satan, sin, and self.
I-n virtue, learning, wisdom progress make,
N-e'er shrink at surrendering for thy Saviour's sake.
F-raud and all falsehood in thy dealings flee,
R-eligious always in thy station be,
A-dore the maker of thy inward part.
N-ow's the accepted time; give God thy heart
K-eep a good conscience, 'tis a constant friend;
L-ike a judge and witness this thy act attend.
I-n heart, with bended knee, alone, adore
N-one but the Three-in-One forevermore.