Rationalism (1750-1800):The American Revolution Fran Bullington
During the Colonial Period, New England was populated primarily by Puritans, but the Mid-Atlantic and the South saw rapid Growth and the influx of different peoples, religions, and ways of life.
By the time of the American Revolution, the colonies had achieved a great deal of the social diversity that we consider distinctively American. In 1650, the total population of the colonies was almost 60,000; by the 1790’s, that number had grown to 3,500,000.
The colonies were required to provide supplies and soldiers for English wars and to help pay for those wars afterward. The people of the colonies were growing tired of subservience to distant England.
In 1763 England imposed the Stamp Act, the first in a series of heavy taxes that would prove unpopular and serve as a focal point of colonial resentment.
The colonists began boycotting British goods, forcing the British to repeal the Stamp Act. Then, in March 1770, British soldiers and colonial citizens skirmished in Boston, resulting in the deaths of five colonists. This skirmish became known as the Boston Massacre.
In 1773, England imposed a new tax on tea and the colonists responded by dumping tea from the British ships into Boston Harbor. This act became known as the Boston Tea Party.
Britain then imposed severe restrictions on the self-government of Massachusetts, known as the Intolerable Acts. In response, representatives from the colonies met in Philadelphia in 1774 for the First Continental Congress. There they vented their outrage in letters of protest to King George, asked citizens to boycott British goods,and called for the organization of militia to defend against British aggression throughout the colonies.
The Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in May 1775 and organized an army under General George Washington.
In June, after the Battle of Bunker Hill near Boston, King George officially declared the colonies in rebellion against the crown.
In June of 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence and appointed a committee which included Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams to draft a Declaration of Independence.
Jefferson wrote a draft of that declaration, which with some changes, was adopted on July 4, thereafter known in the United States as Independence Day.
As the population of the young country grew, standards of living climbed. Literacy increased dramatically. By the end of the 18th century, most of the white population could read, and literacy was blossoming among the free African Americans in the population.
Hornbooks Paper was once pretty expensive so to save on cost, a sheet would be glued to a wooden paddle and covered with a very thin piece of a cow’s horn.
Hornbooks Children used hornbooks to learn a variety of things. The paper usually had the alphabet, some pairs of letters, and a religious verse, often the Lord's Prayer on it.
Colonial Housing Thomas Everard House, Williamsburg, Virginia slave quarters
Governor’s Mansion, Williamsburg, Virginia completed in 1722
Trades in Colonial America basketweaver apothecary
Trades in Colonial America milliner blacksmith
Bibliography Skiba, Laurie, ed. The American Tradition. St. Paul: EMC/Paradigm Publishing, 2001. Official Web Site of Colonial Williamsburg. 12 Sept 2004. <www.history.org>