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Understanding Foner. Chapter 3: Creating Anglo-America, 1660-1750. http:// profcivitella.wordpress.com. Main Ideas. MERCANTILISM ORIGINS OF SLAVERY CAROLINAS THE COLONIAL ELITE. Mercantilism.

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understanding foner

Understanding Foner

Chapter 3: Creating Anglo-America, 1660-1750


main ideas
Main Ideas
  • Britain utilizes mercantilism—an economic theory based on government regulating economic activity and exporting more than importing—which helps them become the economic power by the mid-18th century.
    • Other principles:
      • Promote manufacturing, commerce, and monopolies.
      • Control trade so that more gold/silver flow into the mother country than left it.
  • Role of colonies was to serve the interests of the mother country.
    • Colonies send raw materials to mother country.
    • Mother country sends finished goods to colonies.
  • To maximize profit and protect their economy, Britain passed several Navigation Acts:
    • Certain goods needed to be transported via British ships.
    • Certain items needed to be initially sold in British ports.
    • Goods being imported to colonies needed to go through mother country first.
  • In the beginning, everyone profited immensely:
    • Merchants.
    • Manufacturers.
    • Shipbuilders.
    • Sailors.
    • British government.
    • Colonies.
  • Established as a barrier to Spanish expansion (1670).
      • Promised strong legal codes promising slave owners “absolute power and authority” over slaves
      • Promised 150 acres for each member of an arriving family.
  • Would eventually become the richest group of mainland colonists through the cultivation of their staple crop, rice.
    • Lived lavish lifestyles:
      • E.g., imported expensive furniture, fine wine, silk clothing; vacationed in the north; various social events.
  • Viewed liberty as the power to rule and viewed society as a hierarchical structure.
    • Freedom from labor was the mark of a true gentleman.
  • Wealth was very concentrated.
    • Richest 10% of the colony owned 50% of the wealth; the poorest less than 2% (1770).
origins of slavery
Origins of Slavery
  • Slavery has existed for nearly the entire span of human history.
    • But slavery was never an “institution” like it was in the British colonies.
  • Slavery eventually became an American institution after planters and government authorities were convinced that importing African slaves was the best way to solve their labor issue.
  • The Atlantic slave trade would turn into a very lucrative global business.
    • Nearly 10 million Africans were transported to the Americas.
  • The successful use of slaves as the basis of labor was first seen in the West Indies on sugar plantations in the mid-1600s.
    • Virginia and Maryland eventually adopted this method for their tobacco plantations.
origins of slavery2
Origins of Slavery
  • English had a history of viewing “alien” people with disdain.
    • Irish; Native Americans; Africans
      • Described them as savages, pagans, uncivilized, and compared them to animals.
  • Over the years rules and regulations were adopted to protect the institution of slavery and white supremacy:
    • Slaves could be bought; sold; leased; fought over in court; passed on to one’s descendants; needed pass to leave their plantation; slaves could not own arms or strike a white person.
  • Virginia, and eventually the south, had transformed from a society with slaves to a slave society.
    • Slave population: 1700, 10% 1750, nearly 50%
the colonial elite
The Colonial Elite
  • As time passed and people benefited from economic growth, an elite group started to emerge in Colonial America that began to dominate politics and society.
    • Virginia’s upper-class was so tight and intermarried that it was said to have been ruled by a “cousinocracy.”
  • The gap wealth gap grew more rapidly in the 18th century than any other period in American history (Foner).
    • There were no banks in Colonial America, so credit and money were in short supply; you either had it or you didn’t.
    • Most wealth was inherited.
  • Much of the elite thought of themselves as British as opposed to American—Anglicanization—modeling their lives on British etiquette and behavior.
main ideas1
Main Ideas
    • Regulated trade + colonial exploitation = $$ Britain
    • South becomes slave society and rules are adopted to protect it
    • Rice becomes staple crop creating the richest/most elite colony
    • Wealth/power gap increases tremendously in the 18th century