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The Thirteen Colonies & the British Empire.
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”If they desire that Piety and godliness should prosper; accompanied with sobriety, justice and love, let them choose a Country such as this is; even like France or England, which may yield sufficiency with hard labour and industry…” Reverend John While, The Planter’s Plea, 1630
Starting with Jamestown in 1607 & ending with Georgia in 1733, 13 distinct English colonies developed along the Atlantic coast of North America. Over time three types of charters & three types of colonies developed: Corporate colonies such as Jamestown, were operated by joint-stock companies, at least during these colonies early years Royal colonies, such as Virginia, after 1624, were to be under the direct authority & rule of the king’s government Proprietary Colonies, such as Maryland and Pennsylvania were under authority of individuals granted charters & ownership by the king.
Early English Settlements • In the early 1600s, England was finally in a position to colonize the lands explored more than a century earlier by John Cabot. By defeating the Spanish Armada in 1588, England had gained a reputation as a major naval power. • King James I chartered the Virginia company, a joint-stock company that founded the first permanent English colony in America in Jamestown in 1607. • Settlers suffered greatly – largely due to their own mistakes: many “Gentlemen” who were financiers made the journey. They were not used to doing hard manual labor. They were gold-seeking adventurers. • They had poor relationships with the American Indians, and conflicts erupted. When this occurred, Indians stopped trading with the whites and settlers went through periods of deprivation. • Drought and disease hampered the settlers. They arrived during the height of a 10-year drought. The area was filled with brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Furthermore, insect-bred illnesses spread through the settlement killing many people. • Through forceful leadership by John Smith, Jamestown survived its first 5 years. Then throught the efforts of Pocahontas, wife of John Rolfe, cultural exchange increased—specifically in tobacco. She traveled to England where she accepted Christian teachings and was depicted as being more similar to whites than different. • By 1624, of the 6,000 settlers, only 2,000 were alive. Having made poor financial decisions, the Virginia company was taken over by King James I, and Virginia (named after Queen Elizabeth I) became the first Royal colony in the new world.
Plymouth & Massachusetts Bay Colonies • Religious motivation, not the search for wealth was the principal force behind two other English colonies: Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay. • Both were settled by English Protestants who dissented from the official government supported Church of England (also known as the Anglican Church). • The leader of the Church of England was the reigning monarch of the nation. • The church had broken away from control of the pope in Rome & was no longer a part of the Roman Catholic Church • However, it did keep many of the rituals and the governing structure. • Influenced by Swiss theologian John Calvin, they adopted a doctrine of predestination: the belief that God guides those he has selected for salvation even before their birth. • King James I viewed these Calvinists as a threat to his religious and political authority and had them jailed.
Plymouth & Massachusetts Bay Colonies • 6. Radical dissenters were known as Separatists. They wanted to organize a separate church, independent and free of royal control. • 7. Separatists first sought refuge in Holland, earning them the nickname “Pilgrims”. Finding economic and cultural hardships in that nation, they elected to colonize in Virginia, as a means to find religious freedom. • 8. In 1620, 100 passengers boarded the Mayflower & set sail for Virginia; less than half were Separatists. The remainder had economic motives for the move. • 9. The 65 day voyage saw stormy weather and the ship was blown off course, landing at Plymouth, off of the Massachusetts coast. Rather than sail to Jamestown, the Pilgrims elected to establish a colony at Plymouth. • 10. The Massachusetts Bay Colony were more moderate dissenters, believing that the Church of England could be reformed. Seeking to purify the church, they became known as Puritains. They too fled England when Charles I took the throne in 1625—His persecution led to more than 15,000 settlers to the Massachusetts Bay Colony by the 1630s. • 11. Pilgrims drew up the Mayflower Compact, pledging to make decisions by the will of the majority. Explicitly loyal to the British crown, male members of the Puritan Church had the right to participate in yearly elections for the colony’s governor, his assistants and a representative assembly
In 1619, the king granted Virginia colonists the right to establish a representative assembly for their colony: the House of Burgesses. Despite this, most male colonists could not vote. Only male property owners. Females and landless had few rights. Colonial governors were autocratic—answering only to the king, who provided limited financial support. Thus, the gradual development of democratic ideas in the colonies coexisted with antidemocratic practices such as slavery and widespread mistreatment of American Indians.
The Chesapeake Colonies • In 1632, King Charles I subdivided the Virginia colony. He chartered a new colony on either side of the Chesapeake Bay, granting control of this land to a loyal Catholic nobleman – George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore – as a reward for his loyal service to the crown. Thus, Maryland became the first proprietary colony. • 1. In setting up proprietorships, the king expected proprietors to carry out his wishes faithfully—essentially giving him control over a colony. Before Lord Baltimore could set all of this in motion, he died, ceding control to his son, Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore. • 2. To avoid persecution in England wealthy Catholics immigrated to Maryland and established large colonial plantations. They were quickly outnumbered by Protestant farmers, who held a majority in the colonial assembly. In 1649, Calvert persuaded the assembly to adopt the Act of Toleration, the first statute granting religious freedom to all Christians. However, the statute also called for punishment of death for anyone who denied the divinity of Jesus.
1. Freedom of religion fails in Maryland. In 1688 due to political turmoil in Britain, the Catholic Calverts were toppled by a Protestant-led coup… our first civil war. 2. 1701- Church of England with toleration for Protestants is established in Maryland. Catholics rights & political power largely curtailed.3. Maryland, like Connecticut later, would become the success story for the Anglican church. Until the age of the American Revolution, the church firmly established itself as the central political and social denomination
Labor Shortages – Indentured Servitude Both Maryland & Virginia had a shortage of workers. Growing demand for natural resources, particularly tobacco came from Europe. Coupled with high death rates, workers were in high demand.1. Indentures servants worked under contract for a set period of time (usually four to seven years), in exchange for transportation to the colonies, and room and board.2. The problem with this system was that many workers failed to fulfill their obigations, running away to find a better life in the colonies.
A Change of Economics in Virginia 1. It became quickly apparent that the search for gold and riches in the region of Jamestown was a failure. This left the colony of Virginia with a need to attract immigrants to the area in another way. Governor De La Warr's arrival in May 1611 helped to infuse some discipline into the aimless residents of Jamestown by development of a dependable economic base.2. Tobacco was not an unknown commodity in early 17th century Europe. Over the next century, smoking gained in popularity and provided a 3. Attitudes toward smoking differed sharply. James I of England, one of the most vocal critics of the practice, objected to the foul smell left by the smoke. On the other hand, some physicians prescribed smoking as a cure for a variety of illnesses.4. The drawbacks of the crop were that tobacco required a large amount of physical labor to plant and harvest. Additionally, the crop was a severe drain on nutrients in the soil.
The Headright System 1. In 1618, the headright system was introduced as a means to solve the labor shortage. It provided the following: Colonists already residing in Virginia were granted two headrights, meaning two tracts of 50 acres each, or a total of 100 acres of land per person.2. New settlers who paid their own passage to Virginia were granted one headright. Since every person who entered the colony received a headright, families were encouraged to migrate together.3. Wealthy individuals could accumulate headrights by paying for the passage of poor individuals. Most of the workers who entered Virginia under this arrangement came as indentured servants — people who paid for their transportation by pledging to perform five to seven years of labor for the landowner.
The Introduction of Slavery 1. The ability to amass large plots of land by importing workers provided the basis for an emerging aristocracy in Virginia. Plantation owners were further enriched by receiving headrights for newly imported slaves.2. In 1619, the first black African were imported to Virginia by the Dutch. Those first Africans were indentured and not bound for life, nor were their children. However by the end of the 1660s, Africans were being imported as slaves. By this time, the House of Burgesses had enacted laws to discriminate between blacks and whites, and hereditary slavery was enacted as law.2. The implementation of the headright system was an important ingredient in Virginia’s success. Land ownership gave many people a reason to work hard, with the assurance that they were providing for their own futures, not that of the company. However, it created a class struggle between those with money and those without. The wealthy getting land in the eastern Tidewater; the poor eventually settle in the western frontier. This sets the stage for later problems (i.e. the Civil War & the birth of West Virginia)
In 1670, the House of Burgesses voted to revoke the power to vote from landless citizens in the state of Virginia, further exacerbating problems between rich & poor. When Indians attacked some of these poor settlers, the settlers asked Governor Berkley for assistance – He refused. The wealthy controlled the fur trade with Indians. The settlers, angry at the government for becoming the first to be taxed without representation, and for lack of protection Bacon raised an army and, in 1676 raided Indian villages. Accused of rebelling against government authority, the group would issue “The Declaration of the People of Virginia” arguing the government as corrupt and burning Jamestown. The government was on the ropes. But Bacon would shortly die of dysentery, the rebels collapsed. Governor Berkley woul brutally suppressed the remainder of the rebellion, executing 23 rebels.
Imperial Polk County Florida… Larger than Rhode Island (and Delaware, too!)
Rhode Island Founded in 1631 by Roger Williams, a Puritan dissident and several followers (over the issue of the belief that the individual’s conscience was beyond the control of any civil or church authority). Banished from Boston, they formed the city of Providence near Narragansett Bay. Unique in several respects. Recognized the rights of Native Americans and paid them for the use of their land. The government allowed Catholics, Jews, Baptist and Quakers to worship freely. Anne Hutchinson, one of Williams’ supporters argued the concept of antinomianism – the idea that faith alone, not deed, is necessary for salvation. She and a group of followers would found the city of Portsmouth in 1638. Rhode Island was formally granted a charter by the British Parliament in 1644. It continued to serve as a refuge for people of diverse religious beliefs.
Connecticut • West of Rhode Island, Connecticut held more fertile land in the Connecticut River Valley region. • Attracted settlers who were also unhappy with authorities in Massachusetts • Reverend Thomas Hooker lead a large group of dissatisfied Boston Puritans into the valley & established the city of Hartford. • Settlers drew up the first constitution in American colonial history: The Fundamental Orders of Connecticuit (1639). • Establishes representative government • Legislature is established by popular vote • Governor is then chosen by that legislature • John Davenport establishes a second colony: New Haven in 1637 • In 1655 New Haven joined with the more democratic Hartford settlement to request an official royal charter for the formation of the colony of Connecticut, which was granted by the king.
New Hampshire • The last colony founded in New England was New Hampshire. • Originally part of Massachusetts Bay • Consisted of settlements north of Boston • Hoping to increase royal control over the colonies, King Charles II separated New Hampshire from the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1689 & made it a royal colony. • The Halfway Covenant • In the 1660s fewer members of the new native-born generation of Puritans were having the required profound religious experience known as a “conversion”. In an effort to maintain Puritan influence and membership, a half-way covenant was offered by some clergy. Under this, people could become partial church members even if they had not felt a profound conversion. While some ministers accepted this, others rejected it. In the end, strict Puritan practices were weakened in order to maintain membership.
New England Confederation • In the 1640s, The New England colonies began to face the constant threat of attack from several enemies: • The Dutch • The French • Native American Indians • Because England was embroiled in a civil war, the colonists expected little help from the mother country. In response to these threats four New England colonies formed a military alliance known as The New England Confederation in 1643. • Plymouth • Massachusetts Bay • Connecticut • New Haven • Two representatives from each colony formed the board. It had limited power to act on boundary disputes, return runaway indentured servants & deal with Indians. It lasted until 1684, when colonial rivalries & renewed control by the king brought and end to this experimental cooperation of colonies.
King Philip’s War • Only a few years before the confederation’s demise, it helped the New England colonists cope successfully with a dire threat. • Wampanoag chief Metacom, known as King Philip to the colonists united many tribes in southern New England against the English settlers who were encroaching on Indian land. • Between 1675 – 1676, King Philip and his followers attacked a number of English settlements; burning and pillaging the towns as they went. • The settlers defended themselves and made war against King Philip’s tribes. • In the fighting thousands on both sides were killed • Colonial forces prevailed, killing King Philip, and ending most resistance in New England.
Restoration Colonies Colonies created during the late 17th century occurred during the Restoration . The name refers to the fact that the rule of Great Britain was restored to a monarch, Charles II, after a brief period of Puritan rule under Oliver Cromwell. The Carolinas As a reward for helping him to gain the throne, Charles II granted the land between Virginia & Spanish Florida to eight nobles in 1663. In 1729 two royal colonies, North and South Carolina were formed from the original land grant. South Carolina The key center of this colony was the city named for the king: Charleston. Founded in 1670 by planters from Barbados & colonists. South Carolina flourished in large rice and indigo plantations; trading furs; and providing food for the west indies. By the middle of the 18th century, so much labor was done by enslaved people that it resembled the economy of the West Indies.
North Carolina The northern part of the Carolinas developed differently. There, farmers who migrated from Virginia & New England established small, self-sufficient tobacco farms. The region had few goo harbors or transportation; thus there were fewer large plantations and less of a reliance on slavery. By the 18th century, North Carolina political views were already leaning toward democracy and autonomy from under the yoke of the King. New York In 1664, Charles II was looking to consolidate power along the Atlantic seaboard. This meant forcing the Dutch to give up their colony of New Amsterdam, which encompassed Manhattan Island and the Hudson River Valley. Under the direction of the king’s brother, future King James II) the Duke of York, the Royal Navy easily wrested control of the region from Peter Stuyvesant—and New York was born. There were many English settlers already in the area. The Dutch settlers were to be treated well, and allowed to worship as they pleased. However James quickly met opposition when he ordered new taxes, duties & rents. Furthermore, he insisted on no local representative assemblies. This taxation without representation didn’t go over well, and by 1683 James yielded , allowing the governor to grant broad civil & political rights.
New Jersey • When James took control of New Amsterdam, he believed that the area was too large to administer. Splitting the region, he gave the area between the Hudson River and the Delaware Bay to Lord John Berkeley & Sir George Carteret. • To attract settlers, both made generous land offers & allowed religious freedom. • They permitted an assembly of representatives. • Eventually selling their interests to various groups of Quakers • To settle land disputes, in 1702, the crown combined all the properties into a single royal colony of New Jersey. • New Jersey would not be fully recognized as having contributed anything worthwhile until the birth of Bruce Springsteen!
Pennsylvania & Delaware • Pennsylvania – To the west of New Jersey, dominated by the religious group “The Religious Society of Friends” aka The Quakers. • Believed in the equality of all men & women; non violence; resistance to military service. • Believed that religious authority is found within each person’s soul, not in the Bible. For this radical challenge to the Anglican Church, Quakers were persecuted & jailed for their beliefs. • William Penn was a successful young Quaker; his father was not a Quaker but respected his son’s sincere beliefs. The royal family owed the father a large debt & paid it off with land, creating the colony of Pennsylvania or “Penn’s Woods”. • Penn established the colony in 1682, provided it with a framework of government, written constitution & Charter of Liberties (1701). Unrestricted immigration & freedom of religion. Also attempted to treat Indians fairly. • In 1702, Penn granted the lower3 counties of Pennsylvania their own assembly. In effect, Delaware became a separate colony even though its governor remained the same as Pennsylvania until the American Revolution.
The Last Colony: Georgia • Founded in 1732, Georgia was chartered. This last of the colonies received direct financial support from the government in London. • Britain wanted a defensive buffer to protect South Carolina from threats in Spanish Florida. • Thousands were imprisoned in Britain for debts. By order of a royal charter James Oglethorpe founded the first settlement in Savannah in 1733. Overcrowding in British jails would be eliminated by allowing these debtors to be shipped to Georgia, where they could start a new life. • Strict regulations banned drinking rum & slavery • The colony failed to prosper because of constant Spanish threats. • By 1752, Oglethorpe and his backers bailed on their plan. Taken over by the British government, Georgia became a royal colony. • The restrictions on rum and slavery were dropped. The colony slowly grew by adopting the plantation system that was in use in South Carolina. • Even so, at the time of the American Revolution, Georgia was the least populated & the poorest colony