The Colonists – What

As of December 31, 2014, I retired from full-time teaching inHumboldt State Universitys Department of History. While this website will remain online, it is no longer maintained.

History 110 – Dr. Gayle Olson-Raymer

Today, we continue our story with the next chapter that serves as a link between previous discussions about life in the Old World of Medieval Europe and life in the New World of North Americas diverse Indian Nations. This link has been variously characterized as

a congenial meeting of two people in a so-called New World;

a collision between the civilized and the savages in an ancient world;

the beginning of a genocidal rampage.

But there is another and very relevant way of looking at the relationship between the Old and New Worlds, as themapbelow illustrates. By the end of the colonial era in North America, conomic exchanges between the old and the new worlds demonstrates the existence of a global economic empire.

To explain the importance of studying colonial history in the 21st Century.

To understand the geographical claims of European nations in colonial North America.

To examine the new economic model for the development of the English colonies.

To study the characteristics of the early colonists.

To explore the governance, economy, and social structure created during the 17th Century within each of three colonial regions: the Southern Colonies, the New England Colonies, and the Middle Colonies.

To take an indepth exploration of three colonies – Jamestown in the south, Pennsylvania in the Middle, and Massachusetts in New England – and one of the most unusual of all the colonies – Georgia.

To compare and contrast the political, economic, social, and spiritual development of the three colonial regions throughout the Seventeenth Century.

Goal 1 – To explain the importance of studying colonial history in the 21st Century

Six Reasons to Study Colonial History

To realize that diversity in North America was here from the beginning and such diversity makes us uniquely American.

Racial diversity – European Caucasians, North American Indians, African slaves

Cultural diversity- Euro-American, Native American, and African. Each cultural group, in turn, embraced dozens, if not hundreds of different cultural characteristics.

National diversity – French, Spanish, English, Dutch, 100s of different Indian nations.

Religious diversity – Native American religions, Anglican/Church of England, Catholics, Puritans,, Jews, Quakers, Baptists

Socio-economic – a few wealthy investors, a few of the middling sort, a huge number of indentured servants, slaves

Political diversity – the empowered, the unempowered, and the enslaved.

Geographical diversity – mountains, mightly rivers, vast forests, excellent farmland, superior harbors.

To understand the dominance of Protestantism.

While religious diversity existed from the beginning of British colonization, the vast majority of Euro-Americans were Protestant – and a substantial minority were Calvinist. Thus, their religion was tied to the need to use their own individual resources to achieve spiritual and material success. This will shape the American psyche.

To comprehend the full extent of the racist attitudes Euro-Americans held toward non-white people.

Euro-Americans used discrimination, subordination, enslavement, paternalism, and finally, violent policies to deal with their racial fears and prejudices.

To learn the origins of our political institutions.

Some type of self-governance arrived very early in North America, even while the colonists were still under control of the British. Why? Geography. Britain had no choice but to honor the self government that arose in the colonies because it was too far away to maintain regular, centralized control.

To study the development of the unique American character, attitudes, and practices.

The majority of colonists were the outcasts of Europe, most of whom were seeking economic, religious, and political freedom from the shackles of European governments. When they landed in America and were forced to deal with the decidedly un-European factors of forests, Indians, wild territory, unlimited land, and the chance to become wealthy, they developed a uniquely individualist, entrepreneurial, leave me alone while I make a buck attitude.

To gain an appreciation for the deeply-held belief in American Exceptionalism – that we are unique in the world,have a special destiny, and must spread our way of life into new territory.

There are at least two ways of understanding the belief in American Exceptionalism.

America is anexception to the way people were granted rights and freedom.

Our Founding Fathers realized that throughout history, we derived rights and freedoms only at the pleasure or discretion of an overarching authority that stood above them. That authority could be a king or queen or a parliament and that authority would decide what the people were allowed to have, or to do, or to keep. It all flowed downward to the people from a controlling higher authority; human rights were allocated to the people, or distributed to the people, or permitted to the people by an empowered greater entity whose reason for existence was to impose order and structure. The Founding Fathers thus created a

society that was an exception to this –

rights would not be granted by an outside entity, flowing downward, but instead were innate, inborn and integral to each and every individual. You did not have to wait to have rights flow down to you, they would flow up, from you. You didnt have to petition a king or a parliament for your rights – you had them inherently – and the only way anyone could affect those in-built rights would be if you, voluntarily, decide to give them up.

America isexceptional or better than other nations in every respect- economically, politically, socially, and militarily.

Americans believe that the U.S. is in some way a blessed and even providential national, one charged with a distinctive role in advancing the cause of liberty, equality, democracy, and prosperity in the modern world. As such, America is seen to have a mission, a distinctive and definitive objective advanced by an actor on the historical stage. (

) In other words, the United States is exceptional because Americans believe it to be exceptional. Americans have always assumed that people everywhere share American political and moral ideas . This underlies the idea that in every foreigner there is an American waiting to get out. It is an assumption that links the otherwise unlikely grouping of Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan, William Jefferson Clinton, and George W. Bush and their mission to reform the world in the American image. (

Goal 2: To understand the geographical claims of European nations in colonial North America

Within 93 years after the first permanent British colony was settled in North America in 1607, the Spanish, French, Dutch, and British were deeply involved in the great race for empire. Colonization and the

had become common place by the early 1700s.

Spain -The first Spaniards to arrive in the New World – the conquistadores – were interested in getting rich. And for 300 years, they were quite successful. Beginning in the 1500s, the mines in Spanish America yielded more than 10 times as much gold and silver as the rest of the worlds mines put together. By 1600, the Spanish already had a rich empire in North America which included most of current day California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, and Texas, as well as parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. These riches made Spain for a time the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.

France -The French had established a strong trading colony in Quebec, had built a strong inland empire for fur trading throughout the Mississippi River regions, and had several settlements along important water routes.

Netherlands- By 1613, the Dutch were firmly entrenched in the trading economy in New Netherlands

TheBritish, then, were among the last of the great European powers to gain colonial influence in North America. As the map below of world colonization by the mid-1700s indicates, Spain and France had a much greater foothold in the Americas than the English.

But remember, during the entire period of English colonization (1607 to 1776), the vast majority of America was populated by American Indians. Thus, it was not the European influences that were strongest in the 1600s – it was the Indian influence.

So, why did James I (1603-1625) seek a geographical claim to North America?

First, you will remember that England was recovering from over a decade-long war with Spain. And even though the English were victorious, they needed a way to boast their economy. What better way than to have a colony rich with natural resources to exploit?

Second, England had a serious surplus population and not enough food to feed them or prisons to house them.

Third, England wanted to expand their empire – and because they were late to the game of empire, they claimed new land where they hoped to find rich resources.

Fourth, the King had an economic motive based upon a new concept of economics – which brings us to our third goal for today.

Goal 3: To examine the new economic model for the development of the English colonies

The NewEconomic Model for Colonizing British North America- Mercantilism, Corporations, and Capitalism

was that the nation, not the individuals within it, was the principal actor in the economy. The goal of the economy, then, should be to increase the nations wealth.

Merchants believed that the worlds wealth was finite and that one nation could only grow rich at the expanse of another.

Therefore, the nations economic health was dependent upon merchants who extracted and imported wealth from foreign lands while exporting very little wealth from home.

Some merchants joined forces and formed chartered companies – or

To meet their needs, merchants sought assistance from the king who, in turn, benefited from the expansion of corporations.

Each corporation acquired a charter from the King. The charter gave the corporation a monopoly on trading in a particular region.

Thus, the goal of both the English king and the financial backers – those who owned the corporations – was to make money.

The corporate colonies, therefore, were ventures in

that is, they were based on an economic system in which the production and distribution of goods are privately or corporately owned and developed.

Goal 4: To study the characteristics of the early colonists

Characteristics of the First Colonists

Most were young – over half were 25 years and under.

Most arrived alone – only 1/3 came to America with their families.

Almost half were either indentured servants or slaves.

Very few were wealthy and most were of the middling sort – neither very rich nor very poor.

While all knew they could not immediately own land in many of the North America colonies, they knew they had a chance to improve their economic and social standings in a way that they could never accomplish in Europe.

The vast majority were English, Scot, and Irish.

Most worshiped in the Anglican Church; a smaller number were Calvinists.

These characteristics remain largely the same throughout much of the colonial era, with three exceptions:

More convicts arrive after the British Transportation Act of 1717 – about 50,000 convicts were shipped to the colonies, largely for non-capital offenses against property. Almost 2/3 of them went to the Chesapeake Bay colonies. (This number is far less than the 132,308 convict men and 24,960 convict women transported to Australia after the Americas outlawed transportation in 1776.)

Many who settled in New England were Puritans and Separatists

ThePuritans and Separatists- The Debate.After the Protestant Reformation, the biggest religious debate was about the proper way for a Christian to gain access to the will of God.

For Catholics and more conservative Protestants, the traditions of the church contained valid, time-honored additions to what was found in the Bible. Given mans fallen condition, no individual could presume to question the ancient, ceremonial truths of the established church.

For the Puritans, the church had been corrupted through centuries of greed and abuse. Only the Bible provided a reliable account of Christs time on earth and the Old Testament contained a rich storehouse of vital truths. If something was not in the scriptures, it was a man-made distortion of what God intended.

The Puritans-who began arriving in Boston in 1630-wanted to purify the Church of England.Thus they..

Refused to sing hymns written by man, did not kneel while taking communion as there was no evidence that the apostles had done so during the Last Supper, did not make the sign of the cross when

uttering Christs name, and did not recognize the system of bishops that ran the Church of England.

Began their congregations with a covenant (a term they took from the Bible) between a group of believers and God. In turn, each congregation elected their ministers, all of whom were university-trained and who could be voted out by the congregation.

Believed that ever since the fall when Adam broke his covenant of works with God, man had been deserving of perpetual damnation. God had since made a covenant with Christ and upon fulfillment of that covenant, offered grace to a small minority of people known as the Saints.

Believed that because the identity of the Saints had long since been determined by God

, there was nothing anyone could do to win salvation. No one could be entirely sure about who was one of the elect, but if a person was saved, he or she naturally lived a godly life. Thus, their conduct might indicate whether or not they were saved.

Recognized states by which he or she might experience knowledge of redemption: God revealed to individuals the heights to which he/she must aspire and then the recipient experienced a profound sense of inadequacy and despair that served as a prelude to redemption or saving grace.

The Separatists (also known as the Pilgrims)-who settled Plymouth Colony in 1620-were Puritans who believed that the Church of England was not a true Church of Christ.Thus they…

Took their cue from Pauls admonition to come out among them, and be separate.

that if they were to remain true to their faith, they must form a church of what were known as visible Saints – members of the elect who upheld each other in the proper worship of God.

Excommunicated members of the congregation if they strayed from the true path and failed to correct themselves.

Prophesied after each sermon about religious doctrine in which they worked as a congregation in a passionate search for the truth.

Both Puritans and Separatists were…

Never sure where they stood in the eyes of God which contributed to constant introspection and the desire to achieve.

Subject to an essential tension between their inward, spiritual lives – am I serving God or am I going to hell – and their outward, secular lives – I need to make more money and I can only do that by focusing on material means.

Goal 5: To explore the governance, economy, and social structure created during the 17th Century within each of three British colonial regions: the New England Colonies, the Middle Colonies, and the Southern Colonies

The 13 British colonies were founded and settled in many different ways. Additionally,

the governance, economy, and social structure of each developed around the geographical realities of each colony. In turn, these geographical realities led to the gradual formation of three regional groups of colonies.

– Massachusetts (1620), Rhode Island (1636), Connecticut (1636), New Hampshire (1638).

– New York (1664), Pennsylvania (1682), New Jersey (1664), Delaware (1638).

– Virginia (1607), Maryland (1632), South Carolina (1663), North Carolina (1663), Georgia (1732).

The New England Colonies.The New England colonies experienced much independence from Britain during their early years. By the 1690s – when all of the New England colonies were under control of the Crown – each colony still retained much control through two vehicles:

which were representative and responsive to the needs of the majority, and consisted of a governor and bicameral legislature

Officials were annually elected by white, free men who were church members and had sought salvation.

where all white male Church members who owned property gathered regularly to

decide matters of local importance.

was hilly and mountainous with many rivers and densely-timbered forests; the soil was rocky. The climate was the coldest within all three colonial regions because it is so far north; it had long, harsh winters and the shortest growing season.

The abundant natural resources included fish, whales, trees, and furs.

Hierarchical – prominent families owned best land; inequality was Gods will.

Structured around Religious beliefs and values – religion determined social structure and maintained social order in a community where church and state closely related. Calvinist religions thrived throughout New England. In every colony but Rhode Island, civil law required every settler to attend worship services on the Sabbath and every taxpayer to contribute to the support of the clergy.

Characterized by clustered settlements which encouraged the growth of strong vital communities and a rigorous sense of local order.

Composed of four groups: small farmers; craftsmen and merchants; servants; Indians

New Englandseconomywas characterized by:

Small, family run farms and small household manufacturing endeavors. Farmland – typically 100-150 acres per family – consisted of fields adjacent to the clustered dwellings in town.

Self sufficient families who lived in clustered town dwellings .

Small towns surrounded by adjacent fields.

Division of labor. The farm economy was rigidly controlled by division of labor within the family: men were responsible for field work; women were responsible for housework, gardening, dairy, hen house, etc. The reliance upon family farming meant little need for servants or slaves.

Manufacturing and exporting their natural resources

The Middle Colonies.The middle colonies experienced diverse settlement. New York was settled by the Dutch, Delaware by the Swedes, and New Jersey and Pennsylvania by the English. By the 1660s, the English divided their territory into three chartered colonies: New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Delaware was an unchartered colony until it became a state in 1776. The most democratic and inclusive of all colonial governments arose in Pennsylvania under the leadership of the Quakers and William Penn – all free men could vote, not just landholders and/or members of a recognized church.

Thegeographyincluded flat land with rich soil, coastal plains that spread to the Appalachian foothills, and many navigable waters The climate was milder than New England allowing for a longer growing season The abundant natural resources included timber, fur, and rich farmland.

Multiculture and very diverse – people from many parts of Europe

and Africa lived in the Middle Colonies. The middle colonies were the most diverse and multicultural of the three regions. The population was culturally, linguistically, and spiritually diverse. People lived in small settlements throughout the colonies which encouraged the growth of small towns run by county governments.

Somewhat equal for white men – almost every white, adult male owned land

Diverse in religious beliefs and cultural values. People in the Middle Colonies displayed more tolerance than the other two regions.

Composed of four groups: small farmers, craftsmen, merchants, service providers

The Middle Colonieseconomywas characterized by:

Commercial enterprises with small farmers growing diversified crops and craftsmen and merchants providing many services and resources. By the 1630s, the Dutch had created a strong commercial economy throughout the Hudson valley and the Swedes had created an independent fur-trading community in the Delaware River Valley.

Hard working small farmers, craftsmen, and merchants.

Manufacturing which included iron ore products – tools, kettles, nails and plows.

Trade that included exported agricultural products and natural resources and imported European manufactured goods.

The Southern Colonies.Virginia was acorporate colonygoverned by a royal charter giving the Virginia Company complete control over colonial governance until 1624 when Virginia became a royal colony; Maryland was aproprietary colonywhich gave its Catholic owners, the Calverts, the right to appoint all governors and to control the government. North and South Carolina and Georgia wereroyal colonieswhich gave the King absolute power to appoint all governors and their councils.

of the Southern colonies included rivers with deep water estuaries and natural ocean ports. The geographyof the lower southern colonies included broad, coastal plains with rich soil. The climate was the warmest within all three colonial regions, and it allowed for

the longest growing season within the three colonial regions – 7 months. The natural resources included rich farmland and fish.

Biracial – primarily white and black.

Unequal – social, economic, and political inequality. The minority of European colonists consisted of free men and women; the majority consisted of laborers: indentured servants, most of whom would become free after a contractual period; and slaves, who by the early 1700s, were a significant proportion of the southern population.

Hierarchical and socially stratified according to wealth as dictated by English tradition: plantation owners; smaller landowners, merchants, and craftsmen; the servants; Indians; and slaves.

Composed of five groups: landowners (large plantation and small farmers); merchants and craftsmen; servants; Indians; and slaves.

The Southern Colonieseconomywas characterized by:

Single crop economy – profitable, single crop farms growing tobacco, indigo, rice, hemp, and later on, cotton.

Slave labor. The quest for huge profits, which depended upon a constant source of cheap labor, created an enormous slave population.

Rural areas with sparse settlements

Goal 6: To take an indepth exploration of three colonies – Jamestown in the south, Pennsylvania in the Middle, and Massachusetts in New England – and one of the most unusual of all the colonies – Georgia

JamestownChronology(Original maps of Jamestown)

Virginia Company which began as a joint stock company. Any adventurer who could pay 12 lbs, 10 shillings could purchase stock. The Company hopes to increase its profits in this corporate venture.

King James grants the Virginia Company a charter to the New World. According to the first historian of the Virginia Colony, The chief Design of all Parties concernd was to fetch away the Treasure from thence, aiming more at sudden Gain, than to form any regular Colony. The charter proclaimed that all and everie the parsons being our subjects which shall dwell and inhabit within everie or anie of the saide severall Colonies and plantacions and everie or anie of theire children… shall have an enjoy all liberties, franchises, and immunities as if they had been abiding and borne within this our realme of England. This portion of the Charter provided the authority for the first legislative assembly as well as provided the source of one of the colonists greatest grievances during the Revolution – England had failed to grant the colonists the same rights as those citizens residing in the mother country.

In December, 144 men and boys leave England on three boats: Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery. 105 are to settle in Virginia and 39 are crew members.

In May, 104 settlers choose an island on the north shore of what they call the James

River to build a settlement. (One person perished on the trip.) Upon arrival, the written instructions of the Virginia Company decrees the colonists were not permitted to manure or till any ground. Instead, they were to trade with the Indians for gold and work at bringing in a profit for the Company.

In June, the first fort is finished, a triangle-wise having three bulwarks at every corner like a half-moon, and four or five pieces of artillery mounted in them. (John Percy.) This is a drawing of James Fort (c.1609) by Pedro de Zuniga, a Spanish ambassador. The sketch shows a flag-like projection which is more probably an enclosed garden. The three sides and circular bastions at the corners are common to all three descriptions of the early fort. The two dots are most likely guard outposts.

Mid-year, one settler, who is named JR by late 20th Century archeologists, dies under mysterious circumstances. Full skeletal remains were found located within the first wooden palisade, indicating this young man died within a few months after arriving in May 1607. He had a lead bullet embedded in his lower leg.

Painstaking investigation indicates he was shot at fairly close range and died of the injury. We know from the diaries of John Smith and John Percy that a great deal of civil unrest existed from the wretched living conditions, the disappointment that the settler were not going to get rich, hunger, and disease – so it is clear he died at the hands of a fellow settler.

Colonists meet Powhatan, the leader of the united Powhatan Indian confederacy in the area.

By the fall, 67 of the original settlers are dead.

In January, the original fort is destroyed by an unknown cause.

Smith begins to train volunteers to fight amongst the trees against any native attackers. Skirmishes between the Powhatans and the colonists began on a regular basis. Kidnappings and prisoner exchanges become more common.

Smith leads the first colonial offensive in Virginia and destroys a series of native towns and canoes along the James River. Although no one died in this attack, it was a costly and painful loss for the Indians.

In April, supplies and between 40-60 new colonists arrive from England.

In the fall, the first women arrive in Jamestown. (By the following year, about 100 English women lived in Jamestown. The men were in Jamestown for over a year before an English woman arrived, two years before a significant number arrived. Although there are no official marriages recorded between the English and native women, a Spanish visitor reported in 1612 that as many as … 40 or 50 of the men had married with the salvages.)

On September 10, John Smith becomes the leader

of the colony and begins a food for work program proclaiming, You see now that power resteth wholly in my selfe: you must obey this now for a law, that he that will not worke shall not eate (except by sicknesse he be disabled), for the labours of thirtie or fortie honest and industrious men shall not be consumed to maintain an hundred and fiftie idle loiterers.

In late September, another ship arrives from England with new instructions from the Virginia Company that describe a new mission: First, the colonists must find something in Virginia of major value (gold, passage to the Pacific, or the lost Roanoke Colony); and second, Captain Newport was to place an English crown on Chief Powhatans head thus rendering him a loyal prince of King James. Newport attempts to carry out the coronation, but once Powhatan realizes that the crown means subjugation to the English king, he forbids his people to bargain with the English for food. Thus, the colonists face winter without the necessary grain they needed to survive.

Smith returns to England after a serious injury and the colony begins to deteriorate.

The Starving Time begins. Supplies are low, nobody had planted enough corn to last through the winter, and there is not enough to eat. They turn to eating doggs, Catts Ratts and myce and some resort to boiling boot leather. Conditions are so desperate that one man did kill his wife, powdered her, and had eaten part of her before leaders discover his actions and have him executed. At the beginning of the year, 500 colonists live in Jamestown; by the years end, 60 survive. Those who do survive are so Leane that they looked Lyke Anotamies Cyreing owtt we are starved We are starved.