Colonial Beginnings to 1690 Part 2 -From Servitude to Slavery in the Chesapeake Region -Religious Diversity in the colonies -Resistance to Colonial Authority: Bacon’s Rebellion, Glorious Revolution, and Pueblo Revolt
From servitude to slavery in the Chesapeake region • The need for labor on the plantations of Virginia and Maryland led landowners to look to a variety of sources. In the earliest decades, indentured servants, enslaved Indians, and imported African slaves toiled side by side. • Indentured servants were a prime source of labor through most of the middle decades of the 1600s- an economic depression in England made immigration to America all the more appealing. The poorest paid for their passage by “indenturing” themselves for a period of service upon arrival to Virginia. • The number of African slaves in Virginia remained comparatively small through most of the 1600s- around 2000 in 1670. But improving economic conditions in England slowed the indentures to a trickle, and landowners turned to imported African slaves to meet the labor needs of a steadily growing agricultural frontier. • England’s official foray into the lucrative global slave trade in 1672 (Royal Africa Company) also helped to facilitate a substantial increase in the number of African slaves in the Chesapeake. By 1700, slavery was a firmly entrenched institution in Virginia and Maryland.
Religious diversity in the American colonies • Religious diversity in the American colonies was present from the beginning. Although a few Protestant sects predominated- Anglicans in Virginia, Puritans and Congregationalists in New England- there were large enclaves of other Protestant offshoots, (as in the Quakers of PA and NJ) a smaller number of Catholics, (especially in Maryland) and a tiny minority of non-Christian faiths represented. • Some colonies were far more tolerant than others concerning religious diversity in their midst. Rhode Islanders and Pennsylvanians enjoyed near total religious freedoms, while the patently intolerant New Englanders were banishing heretics and executing witches.
Resistance to colonial authority: Bacon’s Rebellion, the Glorious Revolution, and the Pueblo Revolt • During the 1600s, several important episodes of rebellion indicated the ways in which colonial authority- so far removed from the real centers of power in Europe- could be undermined or outright resisted. • Bacon’s Rebellion (VA), the New England reaction to the Glorious Revolution, and the Pueblo revolt (in Spanish Santa Fe) are three examples of armed resistance in the American colonies.
Bacon’s Rebellion • In 1676, Nathaniel Bacon, a young planter, organized an armed overthrow of Virginia’s colonial government. Bacon’s followers were mostly former indentured servants who were clamoring for more land, and opposed to Governor William Berkeley’s policy of pacifying the Indians in the backcountry by limiting the availability of land for English settlement. • Bacon led his mob of malcontents to loot and pillage Jamestown- driving the governor into exile. When Bacon died the following year from malarial infection, Berkeley ruthlessly crushed the remaining rebels. • Bacon’s Rebellion portended several important threads of American history- a willingness to resist- with arms if necessary- when civil authority ignored the popular will. The episode is also credited for hastening the move toward exclusively African slavery for labor on tobacco plantations.
The Glorious Revolution • In 1688-9, England underwent another major political shift when Parliament realized the ouster of the Catholic King James II, in favor of his Protestant daughter Mary, and her Dutch-born husband William. • This bloodless coup, dubbed the Glorious Revolution, is important to American history for a number of reasons, not least of which was the English Bill of Rights which were enacted shortly after William and Mary took the throne. • More importantly for colonial history was the reaction of New Englanders when they received news of the revolution in England. Since the 1660s tensions had been increasing between New England and the mother country. In the 1670s New England shippers and merchants flagrantly resisted the Navigation Acts- which limited their commercial freedoms by mandating they trade only with English interests and entities. • The final straw came in the 1680s, when the English crown revoked the Massachusetts Bay Colony charter, and later created a single administrative territory from several previously separately administered colonies. • The Dominion of New England was governed by Edmund Andros, who promptly denied New Englanders rights they had grown to cherish. After hearing of the Glorious Revolution, a Boston mob descended on Andros’ headquarters, captured him, and sent him back to England. • The revolution also inspired resistance to ineffective Royal governors in New York and Maryland, and helped to instill a longer-term sense of rebellion that would come to the fore during the 1700s.
Pueblo Revolt • Although far removed geographically and culturally from the turmoil in the English colonies, another rebellion was sparked in 1680, in what would later become the United States. • The Pueblo Revolt, also known as Pope’s Rebellion, was sparked when Pueblo Indians revolted against the Spanish Catholic rule in the Santa Fe colony. Every Catholic church in the colony was razed and more than twenty priests and hundreds more Spanish colonists were killed in the uprising.