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American Life in the 17 th Century (1607-1692).

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Presentation on theme: "American Life in the 17 th Century (1607-1692)."— Presentation transcript:

1 American Life in the 17 th Century ( )

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3 Education & Literacy  Towns with more than 50 households were required to appoint teachers  Harvard College was founded in 1636 to train ministers  About 90% of adult white men & 40% of adult white women could sign their names  No more than 50% in other colonies  In England, only about 33% could read & write

4 Community Life  Centered around the Meeting House  Homes were close to one another  Led to a high population density in town center  Created an atmosphere of “watchfulness”  Supported the overall goal of a “city upon a hill”  Easy to help one another & work together

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6 Family Life  Family Organization  Father - Head of the family  Mother - Manage the household  Children - Provide a labor force  Stability  80% of children reach adulthood  Life expectancy - Men: 65

7 Punishments  Convicted criminals were exposed to public ridicule  Meant to serve as a warning to others

8  Early 1700s – church membership & attendance began to decline  1730s-40s – religious fervor spread across the colonies with large revivals meeting under tents on the outskirts of town  Led by “New Light” ministers who emphasized an emotional & personal connection to God

9 Jonathan Edwards  Encouraged parishioners to absolve their sins & pay penance by praying for salvation  “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

10 George Whitefield  Proclaimed that ordinary people could understand the Gospel without the leadership of the church  Called for public admissions of sins & followers being “saved” in front of the congregation

11 Legacy  Promoted the growth of New Light institutions such as Princeton, Dartmouth, & Rutgers  Led to new divisions within the Protestant faith & a greater diversity of religion in the colonies  Shaped church life & worship in America  Encouraged egalitarian democracy

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13  Tobacco cultivation dominated the region  Large profits could be made, but prices fluctuated  Indentured servants & slaves were common on the plantations

14 Community Life  Centered around large plantation homes  Homes were spread out & situated along the banks of rivers or streams  Led to a low population density – about 6 people per sq. mile

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16 Family Life  Chaotic  50% of children reach adulthood  Life expectancy - Men: 48  Complex households

17 Headright System  Virginia Company awarded 50 acres to anyone who paid a servant’s travel costs  Between – 110,000 migrated from England to the Chesapeake Bay  Up to 90% were indentured servants  About 40% died within 6 years

18  Living standards declined along with wages  Population increased while land became scarce

19  Owners paid for passage across the Atlantic  Worked for 4-7 years  Often faced very poor treatment  Could be bought & sold  Sometimes used as gambling stakes  Given supplies & reduced land rates at the end of their terms

20 Background  Tension developed between large landowners & former indentured servants  Growing gap between the rich & poor  The price of tobacco plummeted  Conflict with Native Americans

21 Conflict with Native Americans  Settlers (often former servants) encroached on land reserved for Native Americans  Indians retaliated  Virginia’s governor proposed a series of forts along the western frontier  Settlers took matters into their own hands  Led by Nathaniel Bacon

22 Key Events  Wanted to exterminate Native Americans along Virginia’s western frontier  Clashed with Governor Berkley & his supporters  Issued the Declaration of the People of Virginia  Burned Jamestown to the ground  Bacon died suddenly of dysentery  Ended the rebellion

23 Aftermath  Shocked many of the elites of the region  Contributing factor in the shift from indentured servants to slave labor

24  1619 – First documented slaves arrived in Jamestown  1660 – Fewer than 1000 slaves in the region  1700 – At least 20,000 slaves in the region  (22% of the population)

25  By the early 1700s, slave labor was used extensively in South Carolina  Slavery existed in all of England’s North American colonies  Slaves made up 20% of New York City’s population in the mid-1700s


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