Life in the colonies
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Life in the Colonies. Life on a Farm Life in Cities Class Differences Religion Education Leisure Food. Life on a Farm. Economy : the way a society organizes the manufacture and exchange of things of value, such as money, food, products, and services. Life on a Farm

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Life in the Colonies

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Life in the colonies

Life in the Colonies

Life on a Farm

Life in Cities

Class Differences





Life on a farm

Life on a Farm

Economy: the way a society organizes the manufacture and exchange of things of value, such as money, food, products, and services.

  • Life on a Farm

    A. Economy based on farming, commerce(buying and selling goods), and handicrafts

    B.9 out of 10 people (90%!) in the colonies lived on small family farms

    C. Most family farms raised or made everything they needed

Life on a farm1

Life on a Farm

  • Only simple, basic tools like axes and saws

  • Most families’ farms were one bedroom - large bed for parents and smaller trundle beds and/or a loft up on a ladder for kids

  • Fire burns all the time – only source forwarmth and cooking

  • Everyone wakes up before sunrise to help with:

    - cutting wood

  • building fences

  • making furniture and tools

  • tending crops

  • feeding animals

  • making candles

  • Cooking

  • making soap

  • caring for babies

Life in the colonies

From the Normal Rockwell Museum collection

Life in cities

Life in Cities

II. Life in Cities

A. Only 1/20 colonists lived in a city

B. Colonial cities were very small compared to cities today. Boston and Philadelphia had fewer than 20,000 people in 1700

C. Waterfront was heart of the city - ships brought news from England and goods (paint, carpets, furniture, books)

Life in cities1

Life in Cities

  • People gathered at the marketplace to buy eggs, milk, and cheese and to exchange gossip and news from other colonies

  • Streets were lined with shops: shoemakers, clockmakers, tailors, silversmiths, and barbers

  • City homes were close together and made of wood

  • People used torches or candles for light

Think pair share


Most colonists lived ___________.

Compared to today, colonial cities were very _________.

Class differences

Class Differences

  • Class Differences (place in society)

    A. In the colonies, class was based on money.

    1. Most colonists started out poor

    2. Using talents and brains helped a person climb the social ladder

    B. People could hope to move up social classes through hard work.

Pause and review


Class differences in the colonies were based on _________.

Colonist could move up to a higher social class through ____________.



  • Religion

    A. Religion was important for colonists

    1. Children grew up reading the Bible from many times

    2. Some communities checked houses to make sure everyone was at church on Sundays

    B. The First Great Awakening was a religious movement in the 1730s that encouraged people to become more religious and treat everyone equally.



  • Education

    A. New England towns had public schools

    B. Children in the Middle and Southern colonies did not have public schools

    C. Most families believe that boys needed more education than girls

One room schoolhouse in exeter rhode island

One-room schoolhouse in Exeter, Rhode Island

Education questions

Education Questions

  • Why would the Puritans have been interested in having all children learn to read?

  • What group of people would have been the exception to the rule that boys needed more education than girls?



  • Leisure

    A. Colonial children played with dolls, marbles, and tops

    B. Children coasted downhill on sleds

    C. Playing cards was popular, Puritans disapproved

    D. Fairs were held within the colonies where they had races, wrestling matches, dance contests

Life in the colonies


  • Food

    A. Corn was a major part of the diet

    B. Meat was a favorite food, but it was hard to keep it fresh

    C. Great iron pots of stew simmered 24 hours a day in colonial fireplaces

    D. Ate the main meal between noon and 3 p.m.



  • Most colonists lived on small family farms.

  • Colonial cities were much smaller than today’s cities.

  • Class in the colonies was based on wealth.

  • Colonists could move up social classes through hard work.

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