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American Life in the 17 th Century. 1607-1692. Virginia and Maryland Harsh Life: Malaria, Dysentery, and Typhoid. Cut ten years off the life of an Englishmen ½ of people didn’t reach 20 th Birthday Mostly men in the their late teens or early 20s migrated to region. 6:1 m/f ratio

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the chesapeake

Virginia and Maryland

  • Harsh Life: Malaria, Dysentery, and Typhoid.
  • Cut ten years off the life of an Englishmen
  • ½ of people didn’t reach 20th Birthday
  • Mostly men in the their late teens or early 20s migrated to region. 6:1 m/f ratio
  • Few families
  • Population increased toward the end of the century.
The Chesapeake

The #1 crop of the region. Some grew it before food crops.

  • Cultivation led to more movement west into Indian land.
  • Cultivation grew from 1.5 million pounds in 1630s to 40 million by end of century.
  • Labor Intensive:
    • Indians died too fast
    • African slaves cost too much.
    • Answer: Indentured Servants
indentured servants

Many were unemployed of homeless people

  • Mortgaged labor in return for passage to New World and “freedom dues”
    • Barrels of Corn
    • Suit of Clothes
    • Some received Land

Headright System

Whoever paid the passage of laborer received 50 acres of land. Led to huge land owners and growing plantation system.

By 1700 Indentured Servants made up ¾ of all immigrants to Virginia and Maryland

Indentured Servants
bacon s rebellion

House of Burgesses feared that newly freed servants would cause trouble.

  • Governor Berkeley was left with little answers.
  • Newly freed men sought to travel west for land, despite peace treaties with Indians.
  • Government didn’t want to jeopardize fur trade with Indians.
  • Trouble was brewing
Bacon’s Rebellion
bacons rebellion

Nathaniel Bacon waged a war on the Indians in 1676.

  • Sparked by Indian attacks on settlers that were ignored by Berkeley
  • Attacked villages, chased Berkeley out of Jamestown, and burned the capital.
  • Led to widespread looting and poor uprisings.
  • Bacon suddenly died, killing the rebellion
  • Berkeley then crushed the rebellion and hanged over 20 Rebels
  • Tension between the rich and poor would remain.
  • Led rich farmers to look for a less volatile workforce (slaves)
Bacons’ Rebellion
colonial slavery

Approximately 400,000Africans were brought to the U.S. in the 3 centuries following Columbus’ voyage.

  • 1st slaves: 1619 in Jamestown
  • 1670: only around 2,000 in Va.
  • After Bacon’s Rebellion their numbers increased dramatically.
    • Stronger economy
    • Distrust of Indentured Servants
Colonial Slavery
colonial slavery1

1698: Royal African Company lost monopoly on carrying slaves to colonies.

    • Led to more colonists getting involved in the lucrative trade
    • Rhode Islander were big traders
    • 1700-1710: over 10,000 Africans brought to colonies
    • 1750: Half the population of Va. And outnumbered whites in S.C. 2:1
    • Most were west Africans who had been captured by other African tribes and sold to European and American traders.
Colonial Slavery
the middle passage

Voyage from Africa to New World

  • Death rate as high as 20% in some voyages
  • Packed boats to capacity
  • Newport, R.I. and Charleston, S.C. were main harbors.
  • Most went to West Indies or Brazil
  • Very few free blacks: some owned slaves.
The Middle Passage
slave codes

Laws restricting black freedoms

  • Made slaves and children property for life
  • Crime to teach children to read and write in some colonies
  • Made clear distinction between Ind. Servants and slaves.
  • Marriages were illegal in some colonies
  • Discrimination Increased
Slave Codes
slave culture

Created their own language: Gullah, a mixture of English with African languages.

  • Created own music: Banjo and Bongo
  • Virginia tobacco plantations allowed for closer ties for Africans than in the rice fields of the south. More families and better life in the upper south than deep south. Virginia also saw a more natural increase in slave population than in the deep south where families were scarce.
Slave Culture
southern society

The growth of slavery led to gaps in social class

  • Land and slave owners controlled the economy and politics, a system that would last until the Civil War
  • Top:FFV: First Families of Virginia: Lees and Washingtons. Dominated the House of Burgesses
  • Middle: Small farmers: Largest group: May own a couple of slaves, but focused on feeding family and keeping land.
  • Freed Indentured Servants
  • Indentured Servants
  • Slaves
  • Few towns in the South due to plantations and agriculture focus
  • Rivers were chief means of transportation.
Southern Society
new england society


    • More families migrated to New England
    • Less disease, cleaner water
    • People lived longer
    • Larger families: 8 children the average
    • Men were the leaders and women were to have children and take care of the home
    • Women were also denied inheritance rights and land, as it went to their husband
New England Society
new england society1


    • More villages than in the South
    • Puritan background led to tighter communities
    • Less Slavery
    • Land given to trusted “proprietors” who helped create and run towns. Generally these were elders who were well respected.
    • Most towns had
      • Meetinghouse: place of worship and meetings
      • Village Green: park and place of militant drilling
      • Family parcels: wood lot, farming area, and pasture
      • Towns of over 50 people were required to provide elementary education
        • 1636 Harvard established
New England Society
new england society2

More democracy

    • Freemen voted in town halls
      • Elected officials
      • Schoolmasters
      • Road construction
New England Society
half way covenant

Partial membership rights to people not yet converted to Puritanism. (1662)

  • Passed due to low level of conversions
  • Caused new preaching
    • Jeremiads: Teachings of Jeremiah on Hellfire and brimstone: Scare tactics
    • Tried to scare people into conversion
Half-Way Covenant
salem witch trials

Early 1690s

  • Adolescent girls claimed to be bewitched by older women
  • Led to “witch hunt”
  • 1692 Lynchings
  • 20 killed: 19 hanged and 1 pressed. 2 dogs hanged
  • Displayed class differences
    • Accusers were from poor farming families
    • Accused were higher class: merchants
    • Feared that Puritan ideas were giving way to Yankee commercialism
    • Ended in 1693 when Governor’s wife was threatened
    • “Witch Hunt” became common term for trying to find a scapegoat for social resentment or problems.
Salem Witch Trials