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Colonial Society on the Eve of the Revolution

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  1. Colonial Society on the Eve of the Revolution

  2. Population Boom! By 1775 2.5 million, population doubling every 25 years (Franklin’s prediction was right!) due to high birthrate and immigration Young population with average age of 16, mostly rural Factors leading to an “American” Identity

  3. Factors leading to an “American” Identity • Diversity- Population of America is not majority British born subjects, they are outnumbered 3 to 1 • Groups are increasingly anti-British, German, Scot-Irish, Swedes, Dutch, Scots, French, etc. Middle colonies were most diverse. • Inter-marriage prevalent, America is melting pot from the beginning

  4. Civil Unrest: The Paxton BoysThe Regulators • The PA frontier area populated by many rough-and-tumble Scots-Irish immigrants - weary of the colonial assembly’s inattention to Indian attacks and requests for soldiers, guns, powder and lead. Many in the assembly were pacifist Quakers. • A group of Paxton men took matters into their own hands in December 1763 - raided a small settlement of Conestoga Indians in Lancaster County, PA. Those natives had actually long lived in peace with their neighbors but 6 Indians were killed in the attack and 14 taken captive; all were later murdered. • PA Governor John Penn issued warrants for the arrest of the perpetrators, but sympathetic frontiersmen refused to assist in bringing the Paxton Boys to justice. • The Paxton Boys later marched on Philadelphia in 1764 to protest the Quakers’ lenient Indian policies & were later part of spearheading a similar “Regulator Movement” in North Carolina protesting the same issues.

  5. Colonial Class Structure • Ability to move up, except for slavery • Much different than Europe b/c no titled aristocracy and not a large lot of landless poor • Most Americans were small farmers, in cities, artisans, shopkeepers, trades people, & laborers • In some places large gaps between rich/poor but really very few poor • Bottom was poor laborers, widows, orphans, slaves, convicts shipped from England

  6. Working America • Agriculture was leading industry, tobacco in the south and bread basket in the middle • Ministry was most honored profession • Physicians and Barbers=don’t get sick! • Americans enjoyed one of highest standards of living in the world at the time • Other economic activities?

  7. Triangular Trade • Very profitable! More and more Americans demand more British supplies…British population is at a saturation point…don’t need more American goods disrupting balance of trade • B/C of mercantilist policies, Americans have to go through Britain for buying and selling of goods, means more $$$, leads to illegal smuggling with other nation’s colonies

  8. Colonial Social Networking • Social, political life revolved around the taverns which served as place to stay for travelers and place to meet for locals. • Roads hard to travel and news slow to travel • Churches very important for social networking too • Many laws regulating moral behavior, colonial punishments are a little different from today

  9. Transparency 10 Click the mouse button or press the Space Bar to display the answer.

  10. Great Awakening • Church not as “hard core” as when Puritans first landed • Too much prosperity • Problems with doctrines & half-way covenant • Too many denominations • 1730s-40s - First Great Awakening is a religious revival that rocked the colonies! • Starts in Middle Colonies – PA & NJ • George Whitefield-English born revivalist: • evangelical revivalist preaching that could move anyone • very gifted orator • moved people to become saved and fill up collection dishes • Scaled theology down to comprehension of 12 yr. olds • Even preaches that God IS responsive to good intentions

  11. More Awakening • In MA - American minister, Jonathan Edwards • Intellectual • Fire and brimstone sermons • “Sinners in the Hands of a Angry God” • God holding the unconverted over the pit of hell!! • Faith alone, not good works, will save you • Attack on increasing materialism • Impact of Great Awakening: • FIRST SPONTANEOUS MASS MOVEMENT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE! – more sense of being American, unity • More direct relationship with God undermining old clergy • Many new denominations spring up/split in Congregational and Presbyterian churches between Old Lights / New Lights • Fostered religious toleration; missionary work with natives • People begin to believe disobedience to authority does NOT equal eternal damnation • New colleges founded (Princeton, William & Mary)

  12. Education • Harvard first college in America • For Puritan clergy • William and Mary for better clergy in South • Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, & Rutgers after the Great Awakening • New England – major focus on education • Only area to provide for public education • Important only for boys though and school is very strict

  13. American Culture • Ben Franklin first famous American in both America and in Europe - multi-talented with many scientific & cultural achievements…..such as? • Colonial Press -important for spread of info & has more freedom than in Europe • John Peter Zenger Case over libel over corrupt governor; found not guilty – truth is absolute defense to libel • Arts: John Trumbull and Willson Peale

  14. Colonial Political Structure • Religious and/or property qualifications exist in all the colonies • Colonists did recognize BR sovereignty but BR inefficiency & distance allowed them much freedom • BR allowed colonists to make their own laws on local matters & collect local taxes, BUT reserved right to veto actions if they were deemed against the national interest • Known as? • ORGANIZATION OF COLONIAL GOVERNMENTS: • Governor – appointed by King or proprietor • Legislature – 2 houses in all but PA • Lower house chosen by the voters • Had “power of the purse” (local taxes - paid Governor’s salary!) • Upper house – appointed by King to be advisors to Governor

  15. Colonial Political Structure King-Privy Council-Parliament (House of Lords and commoners), Royal Governors (appointed) Elected colonial assemblies (House of Burgesses) could be dissolved by the governor Colonial legislatures could pass local laws and collect local taxes all of which could be overturned, but also held power of purse (paid the governor) Voting restricted to land-holders KING (Advisors: Privy Council) Parliament (PM, House of Lords & Commons) Colonial Assemblies $$$ (House of Burgess, NE Town Hall Meetings) Land-owning white men can vote

  16. Colonial Political Structure • Judges were appointed by the King but chosen from leaders of the colonial communities • By late 17th century, all colonies being transformed from proprietary/charter colonies to royal colonies • British failure to establish an effective, centralized government in the colonies actually led to our current federal system of government

  17. Colonial Pastimes • Hard-working with little luxuries • Streets were dirty, not many baths • Card playing, horse racing, fox hunting, dances, funerals, marriages • Depended on religion and region as to what was socially acceptable

  18. Marriage & Family • Marriage ages: • Girls preparing for it by age 13 – unmarried by age 21 = “old maids” • Many men didn’t take the plunge until 30’s! • Marriages usually at home, not church • LARGE FAMILIES – WHY? • No real birth control • Need as many hands as possible for all the work • Disease killed off many kids (& moms) • Paul Revere – 17 kids! • Record: SC woman who had 34 children!

  19. ColonialMedicine • Chief surgical technique = bloodletting (barbers) • Smallpox was great killer of the time – those who survived had pockmarks (Washington) • Outbreaks of typhoid fever from lack of public sanitation; dysentery from foul drink & uncooked food • Childhood diseases – measles, mumps, diphtheria, whooping cough – family with 10 kids could expect 5 to make it • Medical remedies were bizarre!