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Colonial Period 1607-1776 . Trends, Events and Ideas that Influenced the Founders. Liberty, Equality, Rights, Democracy and Opportunity. Essential Question : What elements of colonial society affected the thinking of the nation’s founders and their articulation of the 5 ideals?.

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colonial period 1607 1776

Colonial Period 1607-1776

Trends, Events and Ideas that Influenced the Founders


Essential Question: What elements of colonial society affected the thinking of the nation’s founders and their articulation of the 5 ideals?

  • Geography
  • Native Americans
  • Puritan heritage
  • British tradition
  • enlightenment thought
    • Capitalism
  • Colonial Social Structure
With so much land available, colonial society had a much higher percentage of land owners.
  • And a much different conception of opportunity
geographic isolation
Geographic Isolation
  • Colonists were too far removed from the British center of power.

"It is not with us as with men whom smalle things can discourage or smalle discontentments cause to wish themselves home again” William Bradford

native and immigrant culture influence each other
Native and Immigrant culture influence each other.
  • New technology, European religion and the exchange of money for land profoundly change Indian society.
  • Native Americans knowledge of the environment, political structures, and threat influence European immigrants
haudenausanee people of the long house united 1100 s 1500 s
Haudenausanee - People of the Long House (united 1100’s/1500’s)

5 Nations

  • Seneca
  • Oneida
  • Mohawk
  • Onondaga
  • Cayuga
  • The powerful Iroquois Federation dominated the Great Lakes region
self government develops early examples of democracy
Self-Government Develops.Early examples of democracy
  • Mayflower Charter
  • House of Burgesses
  • Colonial Assemblies
puritan heritage
Plymouth Colony

“Pilgrims” separatists 1620

44 of 102 die 1st winter

Mayflower Compact

7,000 pop. 1791

Absorbed by MBC

Massachusetts Bay Colony


non-separatist Puritans 1628

20,000 immigrants 1630-1642

Puritan Heritage
puritan self government
Puritan Self-Government
  • 40% of adult males voted in provincial elections (Puritan white males only)
  • town elections - all adult males
  • Clergy could not be office holders – separation of church and state beginnings
  • elected a governor annually
  • theocratic “purpose of government is to enforce God’s laws”

“Puritan Ethic” aka the Protestant Work Ethic

Hard work and monetary success are “Godly” and signs of God’s approval

british tradition
British Tradition
  • Rights of Britons
  • consent of the governed (land-owners)

(No taxation without representation, later)

  • limited monarchy
  • rule of law
  • sanctity of private property
  • rights of petition
british tradition13
British Tradition
  • Language
  • Customs
  • Culture
  • Trade network
british empire
British Empire

an economic system (Europe in 18th century) to increase

a nation's wealth by government regulation of all of the

nation's commercial interests

  • Mercantilism:
    • A nation’s wealth is measured in its supply of bullion (precious metal)
    • Nations must export more than they import (favorable balance of trade)
    • Government will regulate commerce, especially with tariffs, trade restrictions
    • Colonies exist to benefit the mother country
enlightenment ideas
John Locke

David Hume

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

natural rights

social contract



rule of law,

popular sovereignty

civic virtue

right of rebellion

rational mind

Enlightenment Ideas
john locke
John Locke
  • “Two Treatises On Government”
    • natural rights
    • social contract
    • government by consent of the people
  • Adam Smith
    • Wealth of Nations
  • capitalism: An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market
    • an economic system
      • private property
      • right to profits
      • freedom of investment
      • free markets
      • individual decision-making
colonial social structure
Availability of Land – landed class

social mobility

no hereditary aristocracy

Growth of a prosperous merchant/shipping class (free trade)

Indentured servants


Increasing population

high birth rate (avg. age 16)

immigration: free and forced

Population pressure increases social tension

Less available land

Competition for jobs

While colonial leadership remains in the hands of established landholders and merchants, landless resent British land policy

Colonial Social Structure

1700 population

300,000 total

(20,000 are black)

1775 population

2.5 million total

(500,000 are black)


How did slavery affect the founders?

In profoundly contradictory ways!!!!!

  • Enslavement of Indian POWs and entire villages.
  • The actual number of men, women and children who were snatched from their homes in Africa and transported in slave ships across the Atlantic, either to the Caribbean islands or to North and South America, will never be known. Writers vary in their estimates, but there is no doubt that their number runs into millions.
  • 1666-1776: imported by the English to New World – 3 million

(250,000 died in transit)

  • 1716-1756: Average annual import = 70,000 (total 3.5 million)
  • 13 Colonies: 17th century = 10,000

18th century = 390,000

Total Estimates range as high as 40 million

The above paragraph and statistics are excerpted from the following article by Jose Luciano Franco:  "The Slave Trade in the Caribbean and Latin America."

in The African Slave Trade from the Fifteenth to the Nineteenth Century Reports and papers of the meeting of experts organized by Unesco at

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 31 January to 4 February 1978. The figures are taken from Morel's calculations as reproduced by Professor Melville J. Herskovits

and cover the period 1666-1800:

essential question what trends in colonial society affected the thinking of the nation s founders
Essential Question:What trends in colonial society affected the thinking of the nation’s founders?
  • Geography
  • Native Americans
  • Puritan heritage
  • British tradition
  • enlightenment thought
  • Capitalism
  • Colonial Social Structure

Give examples that show how each

of these may have influenced the

Founder’s ideals.