Life and Death in 17 th Century British North America - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Life and Death in 17 th Century British North America

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  1. Life and Death in 17th Century British North America How did birth and death rates influence the development of British colonies?

  2. I. Stable Societies: The New England Colonies

  3. A. The “Numbers” • Nuclear families came in tact across the Atlantic • Key to population increase was longevity, not fertility • One of the first western societies in recorded history where one could count on knowing one’s grandchildren • Average woman marrying in early twenties bore eight children

  4. B. Family Life • Family = central unit of social stability • Goal = “godly” family ruled by the patriarch • Young people generally picked their own mates, usually neighbors

  5. B. Family Life (cont.) • At first, married children continued to live in the same towns with their parents • Romantic Puritans and the practice of “bundling” • Burst of illegitimacy during the first half of 1700’s

  6. B. Family Life (cont.) • Puritans were much more “secular” than often recognized • The place of “work” was the household and children were the source of extra laborers

  7. B. Family Life (cont.) • Churches were built on the foundation of family life -- “Half-Way Covenant” (1662) • Significant rates of literacy characterized New England --Ye Olde Deluder Satan Act (1647)

  8. B. Family Life (cont.) • Cambridge has a printing press by 1639 --The Day of Doom • First Bible printed in America (1663) --Algonquian, produced by John Eliot • First newspaper to endure in the colonies = Boston Newsletter (1704) • Harvard established (1636)

  9. C. Women’s roles and Class Status • A Proverbs 31 Woman • Distinct duties in the household • Women joined church more than men • Little political and legal rights • Women seen as weaker vessels with feebler minds • Less class inequality than in Europe or in the Chesapeake -- “yeoman” farmers

  10. C. Women’s roles and Class Status (cont.) • Wealth, not bloodlines nor religion, becomes the key determinant of social ranking • Pressure on the land brought tension due to the creation of new towns and the move into alternative occupations • Not uncommon for northern colonists to be servants at one time or another

  11. II. “Life on the Edge”: Southern Plantation Societies

  12. A. The “Numbers” • Much lower life expectancy than in New England • People married later due to indenture contracts • Greater informal power for women • Only one of three marriages survived a decade—lots of blended families

  13. B. Family Life • 70-85% of immigrants came as single indentured servants with many more men than women immigrating—so fewer stable nuclear families as a foundation • Wealthy fathers sent their sons to England for school and no printing press until 1671 • Sex ratio finally nearly even by 1690

  14. C. Class Status • A Tobacco Economy produced class inequity • Indentured servants more economical than African slaves until the death rate drops • Third generation of planters come to dominate society and politics

  15. C. Class Status (cont.) • Freed indentures and indentured servants represented an increasing problem with land becoming increasingly difficult to obtain • Alternatives = Middle Colonies, Backcountry, or just wandering about

  16. III. The African-American Experience

  17. A. Some Freedom before the 1670’s • Approximately 12 million Africans brought to the Americas—most to the Caribbean • Experience on board for African slaves • Sullivan’s Island in Charleston Harbor = the African “Ellis Island”

  18. A. Some Freedom (cont.) • Gender imbalance 2:1 in favor of males • Christian conversion = “benefit” for loss of freedom • Status of African-Americans fluid until death rate drops

  19. Escalation of Slavery after 1670’s • Formation of Royal African Company in 1672 • Increase of Black codes during the last quarter of the 17th century --1660 = first recognition of slavery in Va. Law --1661 = comprehensive code in Barbados --1670 = recognized as life-long, inherited status --1696 = S.C. adopts Barbados-style slave code --1705 = Va. adopts Barbados-style slave code

  20. C. Colonial African-American Culture • Cultural identity protected by the size and density of population • Typical slave lived on a plantation having a work force of ten or more • Arrival time creates barriers between African-Americans

  21. C. Colonial African-American Culture (cont.) • Early decades of 18th century = “turning point” for African-American family life • Number of rebellions small, but fear of them occurring was great --Stono Rebellion (1732)

  22. IV. Social and Political Instability: 1675-1700 • Pressure on the land north and south • Bacon’s Rebellion (1676) • “Glorious Revolutions” in America (1688-1691) --Massachusetts, New York and Maryland • The Salem Witch Trials (1692) -- “Spectral Evidence”