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Colonial Society on the Eve of Revolution

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  1. Colonial Society on the Eve of Revolution Chapter 5

  2. Population Increase • Diversifying population • Growth rate/birth rate • Franklin estimated doubling every 25 years (he was right at the time) • Exceeded UK • large families in colonies • Immigration continued strong • 40% slaves by mid 1700s! • Slaves • Gambia – SC &GA • West African origins (mostly)

  3. Immigration • Shifts in origins/where they settled • English emigration drop after 1713 • more jobs, higher pay • less attractive to leave (only about 500/yr) • Scots-Irish • Protestants living in Northern Ireland • fleeing high rents, few jobs • came as families • many to Appalachian foothill regions • Germans • economic hard times in Rhine valley • many came as indentured servants • most Lutherans or Calvinists, but some of more separatist sects • Anabaptists, Mennonites, Amish

  4. Immigration • Circumstances • most poor, not welcome in New England • indentured servants abused, exploited • many to Pennsylvania via Philadelphia • “Pennsylvania Dutch” really German • Beginnings of Nativism • Resentment of Immigrants • Language different, many poor (sound familiar?) • Some were deported criminals

  5. Rural Life • Nature of work/ domestic economy • Young men married late, stayed on farm, hoping to inherit • Other work part time (crafts, such as carpentry, masonry) • Trapping, or working for wealthier landowners • “Women’s” work • Manage household economy • make clothes, soap, garden, preserve food, manage dairy, orchards, make cloth • largely disenfranchised after marriage, if inherited as a widow, lost control after remarriage (which is why some widows didn’t remarry, to maintain control of property)

  6. Urban Economies • Typical business cycle - booms and bust with periods of financial panic • Urban poverty • Increased as urban poor out of work during economic downturns • Diseases rampant due to poor sanitation • By late 1700s, significant welfare rolls in northeastern cities • Wealthy remained wealthy - resentment by poor, some violence • Middle class life • Many had servants • Same as poorer families, but more comforts • Southern cities • Really more like towns [Charleston, SC - only Southern city in the top 5 in America - mid 1700s] • Fewer white poor • Permanent Black underclass - slavery now defined as permanent - inherited condition (through mother) Savannah

  7. Politics and the Advantages of Wealth • Legislative makeups • Most reps wealthy • Most excluded from running by property requirements • Voting • more liberal than England • Most free white males in Colonies were able to vote by age of forty • as opposed to 33 % in England and 10% in Ireland • Political apathy/election practices • No set election schedule • Voting at county seat, far from some towns • No secret ballot “Viva Voce” voting • No parties

  8. The First Great Awakening (circa 1730s-40s) • immense religious revival: Great Awakening • Swept across Protestant lands throughout Europe and the colonies • Methodists and Baptists surged ahead • Origins in angst • Reaction to rationalists (Franklin and Jefferson were later examples of this) • Seeking certainty in an uncertain world • Surge in Church membership, stressing “born again” experience • Key Players (Edwards, Whitefield, etc)“The New Lights”

  9. The Leaders • Edwards insisted on public profession of saving faith based on candidate's religious experiences as a qualification not only for Holy Communion but also for church membership • The English preacher George Whitefield was leader of Evangelical Revival on both sides of the Atlantic • Great Awakening in colonies • Wesleyan movement in Great Britain. • Traveled and preached throughout Atlantic colonies • Anglicans – reserved towards him • Presbyterian, Congregationalists, Baptists – embraced him • Concept that all English Protestants were members of the same church • More conservative ministers “The Old Lights” did not welcome turmoil occasioned by the Great Awakening • Many resented traveling preachers who invaded their parishes and held competitive religious services • In spite of opponents, thousands of individuals experienced a new sense of dependence on God's will • Many churches were revitalized, and new converts were added to the lists of faithful members.

  10. Effects on Colonial Protestantism • Decline of conservative “Old Light” sects (Anglican, Congregational, conservative Presbyterians) • Ascendency of Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians, increased women’s roles • women got rights to speak in meetings (in some sects) • led prayer, study groups • New Light congregations generally more inclusive • Long term effects • decline in impact of Quakers, Anglicans, Congregationalists • Methodist - reform minded offshoot of Anglicans, Baptists, and Presbyterians became dominant American Protestant sects • Great Awakening weakened influence of established churches by undermining Congregationalists and Anglicans • It also marks beginnings of Black Protestantism in America, as some New Lights reached out to slaves • A few Indians, such as Samson Occum, a Mohegan, became well known preachers

  11. The World of Print • English Enlightenment works spread through printing • 17th century printing limited to Boston • John Peter Zenger and freedom of the press - New York Weekly Journal • Benjamin Franklin • Pennsylvania Gazette • Junto (American Philosophical Society) • Public citizen work: fire company, library, hospital, and College of Philadelphia • Inventor and scientist

  12. The Zenger Trial • John Peter Zenger was a German-born American printer, publisher, and journalist in New York City. His indictment, trial and acquittal on sedition and libel charges against the Governor William Cosby of the New York Colony in 1735 were important contributing factors to the development of freedom of the press in America.