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Lecture 3

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University of Toronto St. George
Erin Black

Lecture 3: Wednesday September 27, 2011 The Colonies to the 1750s I. Demography  Population Increase o In contrast to the French and Spanish Empires in North America, the British experienced a massive population growth o The population growth is the result of immigration and natural increase o ¾ of the population growth can be attributed to natural increase  Natural Increase and Family Structures o Happening in all of the British colonies but is primarily centered in the New England Colonies – has to do with the evening out of sex ratios o Most women in the colonies married around age 20 and produced children until they no longer could (biologically) o In Virginia and Maryland those children were less likely to survive than in New England  Immigration and Diversification o Makes the colonists less English and less white o As the 18 century progressed, immigration from England begins to constitute the minority of those coming to America  Decline in push factors for leaving England – better economy, increase in wages, etc. o The Scots-Irish provide the biggest ethnic group from Europe to immigrate to British North America  The Scotsmen were generally poorer than their counterparts and were given legal access to the British colonies o Irish-Scots come from Ulster and are the descendents of those who helped to colonize Ireland.  They are worse off than the Scottish economically o The Germans constitute the second largest number of immigrants to BNA  The are drawn from the poor and middle-class and tended to immigrate as full family units  A lot of the Germans landed in Philadelphia and then moved to Pennsylvania in order to own their own farmland  Patterns of Growth & Settlement o Most colonists by 1770 live within about 50 miles of the Atlantic Coast  Easy access to trade, transportation, etc o On average, an acre of land in America cost about a shilling o As more land is made available in the frontiers, settlement shifts away from the Atlantic Coast o New England  Sees a population increase of about six-fold but lagged behind the growth of the other colonial blocks – most immigrants tended to avoid New England because of the Puritan orthodoxy which was not tolerant of other religions  Has less frontier available to it as you move away from the Coast  Ongoing wars with its Native neighbours  As more people arrive in New England there is a loss of coherency within the Puritan community and so it sees a decline in its religion due to broken settlements o The Middle Colonies  Population grows about ten-fold  A lot of the new immigrants are coming to the Middle Colonies in search of land – therefore it becomes one of the more diversified colonies in the BNA  Pennsylvania becomes known as the best poor man’s country in the world – ends up being the wheat capital of the world o Southern Colonies  Sees the greatest population growth  By the 1770s twice as many people live in the Southern Colonies as in either the Middle Colonies or the New England Colonies – this is because of slavery  Development of Urban Centers o Because of population growth and increase in trade and economic expansion, existing cities see large population growth o By the 1750s only about 8% of the entire BNA population was considered urban – still predominantly rural o The northern cities helped to create, culture, and spread industry and economy – artisan shops o Ports of trade for commercial centers o Newspaper presses are in the main urban centers – helps to keep the colonies connected II. Colonial Economies  The one way in which colonies diversify themselves economically  By 1750 most colonists in BNA have higher standards of living than those living elsewhere in the newly developed world (New France, New Spain) o Living standards are on par with the majority of Europe  New England’s Economy o Agriculture that is not usually or necessarily for trade but that helps to support the colony as a whole o Not a whole lot of trade being done because no one wants to import what they can already grow or make themselves  The Middle Colonies o There are some slaves in the middle colonies but mostly there are indentured servants o Slavery doesn’t take hold here because it is just way too expensive – a slave costs 3 times more than an indentured servant  Also much less need for them – less hard physical labour to be done o The slaves that do exist work in shops or homes o Only about 7% of the middle colonies are of African descent by the eve of the Revolution o Has a huge wheat/flour
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