Life in the Colonies

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Published on 14 Feb 2011
School
UTSG
Department
History
Course
HIS271Y1
HIS271YLife in the ColoniesSeptember 29th 2010
Early 17th to mid-18th centuries
For the most part, English men/women who tried to maintain ties with mother
country, but still managed to create very different societies
Recreating the old world was nearly impossible in the Americas because of
different circumstances
In the Chesapeake, for example, native American clashes as well as the swamps
hindered their ability to create transplant societies
Part nature and part nurture (some was the circumstances they encountered and
some was their methods in negotiating a space in the new environment)
When these isolated communities increasingly became more complex, they began to
share more similarities
Focus: New England and the Chesapeake and how early diversity began to give way
to more widespread cultural similarities
Anne Hutchinson
Regarded as a heretic
Holy mission, covenant, conversion experience were essential to the New England
Way
She felt that the church was putting more emphasis on works of good than faith
alone
Laws of men were irrelevant to men
One of the first but not the last challenge to this society
The threat of Anne Hutchinson revealed the tension between faith and authority
Life in the colonies challenged Puritans to adhere to their strict code, especially as
the new generation came of age (the conversion experiences were becoming less
common which meant the members of the church decreased)
The Half-Way Covenant, which said you could inherit a partial status, was trying to
come to terms with this
Nevertheless, tensions continued
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HIS271YLife in the ColoniesSeptember 29th 2010
By early 1640s, there were between 20-25,000 who had migrated to this general
area, by 1660, 35,000, by 1700, 93,000
This population growth can be explained by:
90% of migrants to New England were families, leading to more reproduction
Women married younger in this area, so reproduction potential was great
Families brought size and stability
Healthier region (average age was 10 years longer than other areas) (winters
killed off ability for diseases to spread, better water supply, more food)
The people who migrated to New England were generally more skilled
Perspective: more than twice the amount of people migrated to the
Chesapeake than New England, and yet the populations balanced and
levelled)
Cash crops in New England were hard, because the soil was hard to plant
Manufacturing became the norm, as did the export of raw materials
More merchants here
All of this growth and prosperity had consequences
As the population increased in New England, more people moved away from the
community centre and the church
Cities became the commercial capitals
These cities become hotbeds of manufacturing and development
Their growth were tied to the agricultural growth in the South (the products of the
South feed into the manufacturing of the North)
Cities also became centres of education and culture
The shift to the cities caused some strain in the 16th-17th centuries
Anxieties for Puritan leaders who worried people were turning away from God to
more commercial pursuits
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HIS271YLife in the ColoniesSeptember 29th 2010
Further complicated by the changing relationship between Old England and New
England
Largely self-sufficient colonies (responsible for establishing their own political and
economic networks and maintaining inter-colonial trade)
There were local, colonial, and national politics in the Colonies
The local politics were the most important because they were most easily accessed
The colonial level was kind of decentralized (House of Burgesses: bicameral
(upper/lower) and the upper was appointed while the lower was elected)
Role of the colonial governor was to appoint the executive branch of the assembly,
which were made up of what type of colony it was
1.Charter Colony : created by charter of the King, usually run by a company, the
governor was usually chosen by the charter company (Winthrop example)
2.Proprietary Colony : land was granted to an individual or group who were then
responsible for determining the makeup of that colony (Pennsylvania example)
3.Royal Colony : Example, Virginia was originally a charter colony but was turned
into a royal colony.
The assemblies all essentially did the same thing (heard cases, granted divorces,
excused violation of the laws, established and interpreted legislation, established
pricing, organized civic duties)
By the beginning of the 18th centuries, the assemblies had little power or esteem,
werent very efficient, poor record-keeping
Colonists looked elsewhere for authority
As these colonies grow and become more complex, they see the need for something
more centralized
Begin to worry about defense, a medium for exchange, transportation, how to
regulate inter-colonial trade, trans-colonial laws,
In the north, this need for stability resulted in a greater call for unity, first attempt
for colonial unity
New England Confederation:
Body of puritans from Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut
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Document Summary

For the most part, english men/women who t ried to maintain ties with mother country, but still managed to create very different societies.  recreating the old world was nearly impossible in the americas because of different circumstances. In the chesapeake, for example, native american clashes as well as the swamps hindered their ability to create transplant societies.  part nature and part nurture (some was the circumstances they encountered and some was their methods in negotiating a space in the new environment)  when these isolated communities increasingly became more complex, they began to share more similarities. Focus: new england and the chesapeake and how early diversity began to give way to more widespread cultural similarities.  holy mission, covenant, conversion experience were essential to the new england.  she felt that the church was putting more emphasis on works of good than faith alone.  one of the first but not the last challenge to this society.