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Colonial Period 1607-1776

Colonial Period
Trends, Events and Ideas that
Influenced the Founders
Liberty, Equality, Rights,
Democracy and Opportunity
Essential Question: What elements of
colonial society affected the thinking of the
nation’s founders and their articulation of
the 5 ideals?
 Native Americans
 Puritan heritage
 British tradition
 enlightenment thought
– Capitalism
Colonial Social Structure
1. LAND!!!
With so much land available, colonial society had
a much higher percentage of land owners.
 And a much different conception of opportunity
Geographic Isolation
Colonists were too far removed from the British
center of power.
It is not with us as with men whom smalle things can
discourage or smalle discontentments cause to wish
themselves home again” William Bradford
Native and Immigrant culture
influence each other.
New technology, European religion and
the exchange of money for land
profoundly change Indian society.
Native Americans knowledge of the
environment, political structures, and
threat influence European immigrants
Haudenausanee -
People of the Long House
(united 1100’s/1500’s)
5 Nations
The powerful Iroquois
Federation dominated
the Great Lakes
Self-Government Develops.
Early examples of democracy
Mayflower Charter
 House of Burgesses
 Colonial Assemblies
Puritan Heritage
Plymouth Colony
 “Pilgrims” separatists
 44 of 102 die 1st winter
 Mayflower Compact
 7,000 pop. 1791
 Absorbed by MBC
Massachusetts Bay Colony
non-separatist Puritans 1628
20,000 immigrants 1630-1642
Puritan Self-Government
40% of adult males voted in
provincial elections (Puritan
white males only)
town elections - all adult males
Clergy could not be office
holders – separation of church
and state beginnings
elected a governor annually
theocratic “purpose of
government is to enforce God’s
“Puritan Ethic” aka
the Protestant Work Ethic
Hard work and monetary success are “Godly” and signs of God’s approval
British Tradition
Rights of Britons
 consent of the governed
(No taxation without
representation, later)
 limited monarchy
 rule of law
 sanctity of private
 rights of petition
British Tradition
 Customs
 Culture
 Trade network
British Empire
an economic system (Europe in 18th century) to increase
a nation's wealth by government regulation of all of the
nation's commercial interests
– A nation’s wealth is measured in its
supply of bullion (precious metal)
– Nations must export more than they import (favorable
balance of trade)
– Government will regulate commerce, especially with
tariffs, trade restrictions
– Colonies exist to benefit the mother country
Enlightenment Ideas
John Locke
 David Hume
 Jean-Jacques
natural rights
 social contract
 Republicanism
rule of law,
popular sovereignty
civic virtue
right of rebellion
 rational mind
John Locke
“Two Treatises On Government”
– natural rights
– social contract
– government by consent of the
Adam Smith
– Wealth of Nations
capitalism: An economic system
in which the means of production
and distribution are privately or
corporately owned and
development is proportionate to
the accumulation and
reinvestment of profits gained in a
free market
– an economic system
private property
right to profits
freedom of investment
free markets
individual decision-making
Colonial Social Structure
1700 population
300,000 total
(20,000 are black)
Availability of Land – landed class
– social mobility
– no hereditary aristocracy
Growth of a prosperous
merchant/shipping class
(free trade)
 Indentured servants
 Slaves
1775 population
2.5 million total
(500,000 are black)
Increasing population
– high birth rate (avg. age 16)
– immigration: free and forced
Population pressure increases
social tension
– Less available land
– Competition for jobs
While colonial leadership remains
in the hands of established
landholders and merchants,
landless resent British land policy
How did slavery affect the founders?
In profoundly contradictory ways!!!!!
Enslavement of Indian POWs and entire villages.
The actual number of men, women and children who were snatched
from their homes in Africa and transported in slave ships across the
Atlantic, either to the Caribbean islands or to North and South
America, will never be known. Writers vary in their estimates, but
there is no doubt that their number runs into millions.
1666-1776: imported by the English to New World – 3 million
(250,000 died in transit)
1716-1756: Average annual import = 70,000 (total 3.5 million)
13 Colonies: 17th century = 10,000
18th century = 390,000
Total Estimates range as high as 40 million
The above paragraph and statistics are excerpted from the following article by Jose Luciano Franco: "The Slave Trade in the Caribbean and Latin America."
in The African Slave Trade from the Fifteenth to the Nineteenth Century Reports and papers of the meeting of experts organized by Unesco at
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 31 January to 4 February 1978. The figures are taken from Morel's calculations as reproduced by Professor Melville J. Herskovits
and cover the period 1666-1800:
Auguste Francois Briard
Essential Question: What trends in colonial
society affected the thinking of the nation’s
 Native Americans
 Puritan heritage
 British tradition
 enlightenment thought
 Capitalism
 Colonial Social Structure
Give examples that show how each
of these may have influenced the
Founder’s ideals.
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