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American Life in the 17th Century

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Presentation on theme: "American Life in the 17th Century"— Presentation transcript:

1 American Life in the 17th Century

2 Chesapeake Colonies: Virginia, Maryland, Delaware
Lots of disease shorter life expectancy Families were few and fragile Men outnumbered women By 1700, Virginia was most populous colony

3 Tobacco Economy As prices dropped, production increased which created demand for more labor 1630’s – exported 1.5 million pounds 1700 – exported 40 million pounds

4 Tobacco Labor Indentured servants = “white slaves”
100,000 by 1700 “Headright” system: merchant – planter class Whoever paid the passage of a laborer received the right to acquire 50 acres Conditions worsened over the course of the 17th century Freed indentured servants didn’t receive promised land Hard to find single women to start families

5 Problems Arise 1670 – Impoverished freemen of Virginia were disfranchised Governor William Berkeley of Virginia – believed poor people should be excluded

6 Bacon’s Rebellion 1676 Rebellion of frontiersmen against Gov. Berkeley
Led by Nathaniel Bacon forced into backcountry to find land Angry with Berkeley: friendly with Indians who attacked the frontiersmen & monopolized fur trade Bacon retaliates/ chases Berkeley out of Jamestown, burns the capital

7 Results Ignited the smoldering unhappiness of landless former servants against the gentry Bacon died of disease, Berkeley hung 20+ Planters looked for less troublesome source of labor - slaves

8 Colonial Slavery Decrease in indentured servitude after 1680’s
Better economy in England Need for slavery increases after 1680’s Rhode Island rushes to cash in on slave trade Most of the slaves came from the West Coast of Africa Coastal tribes captured inland tribes in Africa & sold them into slavery Middle Passage – 20% death rate Triangular slave trade

9 Slave Ship

10 Conditions for Slaves Slave codes
Made Africans & their children property/ chattels for life Laws about reading, writing, & religion Conditions were most harsh on South Carolina’s rice & indigo plantations lonely, harder work, separated from family Chesapeake – easier on slaves

11 Slave Revolts New York City –1712 South Carolina – 1739
No slave uprising in American history matched the scale of Bacon’s Rebellion Slavery started off for economic reasons, end of 17th century, racial discrimination played a role

12 Southern Society Planter Aristocracy:FFV’s (First Families of Virginia) Owned gangs of slaves & vast domains of lands Monopolized political power Yeomen farmers: landowning small farmers Landless white: former indentured servants White indentured servants Black slaves

13 New England Family Life
Healthier environment – longer life span Family was the center of life – stability Migrated as families Early marriage – booming birthrate

14 New England Family “invented” grandparents
Low premarital pregnancy rate Women gave up property rights Southern women allowed to retain separate titles & inherit their husband’s estates Divorce – rare Women had limited rights – husband’s power was not absolute

15 Life in New England Towns
Tightly knit society – small villages & farms Meetinghouse (worship & town hall) Education Town with 50+ families - required to have elementary school Colleges 1636 – Harvard college established (1693 – William & Mary established in Virginia) Town meeting “The best school of political liberty the world ever saw.” Thomas Jefferson

16 Religious Problems in New England
Sermons scolded parishioners for their waning piety - “Jeremiads” Decline in conversions 1662 – “Half-Way Covenant” led to widening church membership Partial membership rights to people not yet converted Shows difficultly of maintaining religious devotion of founding generation Women made up the majority of Puritan churches

17 Salem Witch Trials 1692 Salem, Massachusetts
Adolescent girls claimed to be bewitched by older women Witch hunt led to lynching of 20 persons (+2 dogs!) Accused witches – Salem’s prosperous merchant class Accusers – poorer families in Salem’s agricultural class Hysteria ended in 1693 when governor’s wife was accused Weakened the prestige of the Puritan clergy


19 The New England Way of Life
Premium placed on industry & frugality Less ethnically mixed Extremes of weather Diversified agriculture & industry Natural harbors Experts in shipbuilding & commerce Exploited the fish industry – “Gold mines of New England”

20 New England Legacy Calvinism, soil & climate
Prided themselves on being God’s chosen people & boasted that Boston was the “Hub of the Universe” New England pioneers re-created New England towns from Ohio to Oregon

21 Early Settler Life Schedules set by the seasons & sun
Spring – plant/ summer – tend crops/ fall-harvest/ winter- prepare to begin planting Compared to most Europeans, Americans lived in affluent abundance Land was relatively cheap

22 Increased Social Unrest
Resentment against upper-class 1676 – Bacon’s Rebellion (Virginia) Leisler’s Rebellion Animosity between lordly landholders & merchants Bloody insurgency that rocked New York City End of the 17th century – Protestant uprising (Maryland)

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