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Chesapeake Colonies. Virginia and Maryland Attracted few aristocrats or gentry other than the governor’s who were anxious to get back home Hard-driving.

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Presentation on theme: "Chesapeake Colonies. Virginia and Maryland Attracted few aristocrats or gentry other than the governor’s who were anxious to get back home Hard-driving."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chesapeake Colonies

2 Virginia and Maryland Attracted few aristocrats or gentry other than the governor’s who were anxious to get back home Hard-driving merchants & plants of midling origins created the greatest fortunes and claimed the high offices Their education & manners lagged behind their acquisition of land, servants & political influence

3 Laboring people did not want to defer to them 17 th century men lacked the mystique of a traditional ruling class Laboring people could be bought—good wages helped to accept new type of leaders Former indentured servants who were now small planters chronically feared the loss of their land to mounting debts, bad harvests, poor markets, Indian raids, heavy taxes, or corrupt rulers

4 Tobacco prices fell in the 1660s and 70s; good land became scarce As the more successful planters consolidated larger plantations at the expense of small, less profitable farms; newly freed servants had to accept tenancy or more to the frontier—and Indian problems 1676—rebellion erupted Passage of time, increased fortunes, & use of slaves helped to placate the common planters

5 Commonwealth Both Virginia and Maryland refused to pay taxes unless authorized by their own elected representatives in a colonial assembly Appointed governors who defied local elites faced rebellion and obstruction By appointing a more cooperative replacement, the crown accepted the claims of the planter elite to a share in power

6 The English colonial system: – Restricted power and liberties to the freedmen who owned land – Denied power to indentured servants, landless freedmen, and all women There were only two real towns: Jamestown & St. Mary’s City and neither possessed 500 inhabitants County courts held trials, executed sentences, licensed taverns & ferries, established & maintained roads, set & collected local taxes, supervised county militia, conducted elections, and enforced provential legislation

7 The governor, on the advice of the assembly: appointed the judges, sheriff and county clerk—all from local elite In Virginia, the county usually doubled as an Anglican parish; same leading planters also ran the church vestry English men & women believed that social order and stability depended upon interlocking the institutions and Church and State to link political obedience and religious devotion

8 4-Tiered Political Hierarchy The King The Provincial Governments – Governor – Council – Assembly County Court & Parish Vestry Family Household aka “Little Commonwealth”

9 LABOR Chesapeake land demanded too much labor from too few colonists The demand for laborers made them attempt to enslave Indians; some planters brought in slaves in 1619 English servants composed ¾ of the emigrants to the Chesapeake Bay area—during servitude, they received basic food, clothing & shelter

10 At the end of their servitude, their masters were supposed to give them “freedom dues” which were a new set of clothes, tools, & food Given that a sturdy beggar could never hope to obtain land in England, the opportunity to do so was tempting enough for men and women to risk their lives in the new world

11 Prosperity Mid-1600s: Chesapeake area became healthier and servants lived long enough to claim their freedom & farms Apple orchards were started; cider healthier drink than tainted well water Survivors of local diseases passed their immunities on to their offspring

12 Victories over Indians provided new fertile lands between navigable streams & rivers To start a tobacco farm all you needed were 50 acres of land, hand tools, a year’s provisions, a few head of cattle & pigs, and some seed A planter only cultivated 1/10 of his land at any time, leaving the other heavily forested which served as pasture land and as a source of wood

13 Planters’ economic success came at a heavy cost—mainly for the Indians, but colonists accepted shorter life spans, poor prospects for marriage and children, harder work regimen Common planters houses: 20’ wide x 20’ long; with upstairs sleeping loft, and 2 small rooms on the ground floor—kitchen and multi- purpose room; built quickly without sills or foundations, the usually rotted out in 20 years

14 Probate Court records tell us these common houses contained little furniture—usually a bed, table, few benches, a chest or two for clothing They ate with their fingers, sharing a bowl and drinking from a common tankard, both of which were passed around the table By 1665, planters had occupied all the best tobacco lands along navigable rivers; servants who became free in the 1670s enjoyed little economic success

15 Rebellion After 1665, common planters became squeezed between declining incomes and heavy taxes 1660s—new imperial regulations required colonists to ship their tobacco exclusively to England on English ships; these were known as the Navigation Acts They provoked war with the Dutch

16 1673—Governor William Berkeley worried the poor economy would incite the poor to side with the enemy in the hopes of bettering themselves Gov. Berkeley was an elitest who did not believe in freedom of speech or public education He cultivated a following among the wealthiest and most ambitious planters who received lucrative public offices and a share in grants of frontier lands & licenses to trade with Indians for deerskins

17 Berkeley refused for 15 years to allow any new elections to assembly; he wanted to keep his cronies in power The assemblymen levied heavy and inequitable taxes to sustain the colonial government that benefitted the elite After 1665, newly freed men could rarely afford their own land and were forced to rent land from the wealthiest planters at the rate of 10-25% of their tobacco crop

18 Rather than rent, many moved to the frontier where they fought Indians for land 1675—war erupted between settlers and the Susquehannock, a tribe who lived north of the Potomac, and who were adept at hit-and-run raids that killed families on frontier farms Settlers murdered chiefs who tried to negotiate peace Settlers wanted to kill all the natives, but Gov. Berkeley opposed genocide—not because he liked the Indians but because he and his friends were making money off the deerskin trade

19 Berkeley insisted on a defensive strategy that included 9 new forts Settlers did not want to pay the tax burden of new forts—the governors cronies were the recipients of the construction contracts Disgruntled Virginians found a leader in Nathaniel Bacon—cousin by marriage to Governor Berkeley

20 Nathaniel Bacon

21 In open defiance of the governor, Bacon led attacks on the Indians Early in 1676, Berkeley declared Bacon guilty of treason, which led Bacon to march his armed followers against the governor into Jamestown

22 Bacon’s Rebellion represented a division within the planter elite; a split between a cabal allied with the royal governor and a rival set who resented their lack of offices and other rewards To defeat Berkeley, the rebel leaders needed to recruit armed support among the common planters & servants by promising redress for their many grievances He promised immediate freedom for servant’s who deserted Berkeley’s friends to join the rebellion

23 Bacon implied he would lower taxes and provide more and better lands to freedmen September 1676—Bacon’s men drove the governor and his supporters out of Jamestown across the Bay to the eastern shore; he then burned Jamestown to the ground Bacon died suddenly a month later of dysentery, leaving his movement leaderless and divided Berkeley returned to reassert his authority

24 Berkeley hanged 23 rebel leaders While Bacon attacked a royal governor, he did not seek independence from England; he and his men proclaimed their loyalty to England and insisted they were acting against a corrupt governor who had betrayed the king by mistreating his loyal subjects Crown authorities believed Berkeley and his friends had caused the problems in Virginia by pushing the common planters too hard

25 King Charles II wanted no distractions that would keep common planters from raising their crops because he wanted his revenue The King denounced Berkeley and sent army troops to restore order in Virginia They crown used Bacon’s Rebellion as an opportunity to strengthen imperial control over Virginia—they sent in 6 warships and 8 transports bearing 1100 troops

26 The English commander, Sir Herbert Jeffreys took charge as governor and sent Berkeley back to England By wooing the common planters, Jeffreys hoped to strengthen the crown’s power at the expense of the great planters By 1678, the crown initiative weakened with the death of Jeffreys and most of the royal troops from disease

27 Fearing future reassertations from the crown, the great planters felt compelled to build a more popular political base by becoming more solicitous of the smaller planters The assembly reduced the poll tax and opposed increasing taxes They reinvented themselves and Virginia politics As tobacco prices improved, relations also improved between the common and great planters

28 The Virginia elite also recognized the continuing popularity of Bacon’s Indian policy In 1705, the assembly revived the headright system by promising 50 acres of land to each freedman In 1800 th century Virginia, the path of least resistance was expansion outward rather than rebellion within


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