Eighteenth-Century America Chapter 3
Colonial Society in 1700 • Not a homogeneous society • Ethnic and religious diversity • Free and unfree • No national identity • No common culture • French vs. English battle for control
Colonial Society • Population Growth • Doubled every 25 years • Cities • Small and isolated from one another. • Education • Rapid expansion.
Labor in the Colonies • Plantation economy depended upon manual labor. • Indentured Servants (debt slavery) • Worked 4 to 7 years. • Accounted for half the white settlers in all colonies outside New England. • Slavery (chattel slavery) (1619 – Jamestown) • Increased staple crops for commercial markets. • Mortality rate improved. • Racist rationalization based on color differences or heathenism. • Perpetual black slavery became the custom and the law of the land.
The Middle Passage • About 21 million people captured in West Africa between 1700 and 1850. • Millions died during the Atlantic crossing and as many as 7 million remained slaves in Africa. • Slaves were captured by other Africans within the interior, brought to the coast, sold to Europeans. • Packed together in slave ships and subjected to a 4 to 6 week passage. So brutal that 1 in 7 died en route. • Once in America they were thrown indiscriminately together and treated like work animals.
Slavery in British North America • Great Ethnic Diversity in Slave Population. • Before 1750: Slave importation. • 17th century – Brazil & Caribbean • 18th century – Directly from Africa • After 1750: Native-born population. • Distinctively African-American culture • 20% of colonial population. (40% in south) • British North America bought less than 5 percent of the total slave imports to the Western Hemisphere (1500-1800). • 400,000 out of 9.5 million; however, had a better chance for survival.
The Slave Family and Community • The differences among blacks lessened as slave importation tapered off and the black population grew through natural increase. • Black families remained vulnerable. • Slave marriages had no legal status and family members were often separated by deaths or debts of masters.
Slave Societies in the Eighteenth-Century South • Tense and embattled regions. • Salve resistance • More frequent • More successful
Slave Societies in the Eighteenth-Century South • Slavery and Colonial Society in French Louisiana • Natchez Revolt (1729) • Africans challenged French control / importation of slave stopped • Greater freedom for blacks in Louisiana • Freedom granted to those who served in French militia. Became the core of Louisiana’s free black community. • Slave Resistance in 18th-Century British N. America • The Stono Rebellion (1739) (South Carolina) • The largest slave revolt of the colonial period. • Nearly 100 slaves killed several whites before being caught and killed by the white militia.
The Enlightenment • A scientific revolution that swept through Europe during the 17th century. • Assumptions • The world is an orderly place. (Natural Law) • Humans can understand order. • Influence in America • Deists – God made world and then left alone • Skepticism – Questioned everything • Laws of nature • John Locke and tabula rosa (people can be corrupted) • Reason and virtue
The Great Awakening • Causes: • Challenges to religion (Enlightenment), competing denominations, westward expansion • Changes in society and tradition • Revivals (1730s) – A wave of evangelism that swept through the colonies. • George Whitefield - Emphasized “new birth” • Jonathan Edwards - Feared religion had become too intellectual and had lost its animating force. • “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
The Great Awakening • Influence on Colonists • Old Light (structure) • Intended the Great Awakening to bolster church discipline and order. (Edwards & Whitefield) • New Light (emotion) • Radical evangelists that attacked the established clergy and appealed to the lower classes. • Short term results • New religious groups and the split of more Calvinistic churches: Baptists, Methodists, etc. • New England Puritanism fragmented
The Great Awakening • Long term results • American style evangelism and revivalism • Denominational colleges • Undermining of state-sponsored churches; toleration of dissent • Individual judgment: Fewer willing to defer to the ruling social and political elite. Emphasized popular resistance to established authority.
The Enlightenment and the Great Awakening • Both emphasized the power and right of individual choice and popular resistance to established authority. • Both aroused hopes that America could become the promised land. • Fewer and fewer people were willing to defer to the ruling social and political elite.