Chapter 4 The Maturing of Colonial Society The American People, 6th ed. I. The North: A Land of Family Farms Northern Agricultural Society New England gradually saw a predominance of independent farming villages that utilized their unique collection of resources to produce a mixed economy of fishing, craft production based on timber, and traditional staple crops. The middle colonies enjoyed better soil conditions than the north and usually produced a surplus of goods. Unfree Labor/Changing Values Northern colonies had less need for labor due to shorter growing seasons; there was a heavier reliance on indentured servants versus the South. Colonists began to see life as not just preparation for the afterlife; religion did not vanish, but its intensity began to wane. The American ethics of hard work and materialism were highlighted in Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac. Women and the Family in the Northern Colonies A universal opinion of the time held women in a position of social submission. Marriage was a means of transferring property, not a vehicle for romance. Unmarried women in the colonies were almost unheard of. Families were patriarchal, with the father issuing stern discipline to his children. Ecological Transformation The rabid demand for wood quickly depleted the coastal forests of the colonies. Livestock animals brought over from Europe devastated the ecosystems of America. Native animals became extinct as fur was over harvested. II. The Plantation South The Tobacco and Rice Coasts The areas of agricultural production in the colonies of Virginia and Carolina emerged with similar reliance on slave labor for production. Both areas developed a planter hierarchy of society based on race and wealth. Enslaved Africans in the Southern Colonies A continued growth in the slave trade and natural reproduction during the seventeenth century saw the population ratio of Africans in America grow to onefifth. More than 350,000 Africans entered the colonies between 1700 to 1775. III. Contending for a Continent France’s Inland Empire New France, comprised of the Mississippi Valley from the Great Lakes to New Orleans, was developed into an active series of trading posts and forts which threatened to pin the English to the Atlantic coast. The growth of French strength brought them into conflict with the British on several occasions; King William’s War, Queen Anne’s War and Port Royal saw each combatant relying on Indian troops. Spain’s Frail North American Grip Spanish settlements in the New World limped along as losing enterprises due to a number of factors. Spain was marginally successful in protecting its holdings in present-day Florida and California, where Catholic missions hoped to convert local natives into good Christians. IV. The Urban World of Commerce and Ideas Sinews of Trade/ The Artisan’s World American economic muscle centered around the Atlantic seaports that afforded easy trade with the European powers. Merchants and artisans were the most wealthy and powerful groups in these thriving towns. A guild system similar to Europe’s emerged in order to protect certain trades and crafts from unqualified practice. Urban Social Structure/ The Entrepreneurial Ethos Growth in population and economic sophistication brought about changes in the social structure of emerging cities. Wealth, as well as poverty, began to appear. As the cities grew, common views of selfdenial and community fell by the wayside in favor of materialism and individualism. V. The Great Awakening Fading Faith/ The Awakener’s Message An overwhelming religious apathy swept the mainly protestant populace of the British colonies. The Great Awakening emerged as a series of revivals within different religious sects. Revivalists such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield delivered a message of religious redemption and encouraged rejection of over-educated and heartless clergy. Revivalism in the North and South Religious zeal in the North became worrisome to the wealthy elite as their position in society was questioned by the Awakeners. The South also saw a rejection of the assumed authority of the landed gentry as a ruling class; in both regions, religion became a mode for social reflection and change. Legacy of the Awakening A wide-spread framework of varying denominations that could exist harmoniously An emerging tradition of separation of church and state Legitimized religious and social diversity within local communities Fostered changes in political and moral views VI. Political Life Structuring Colonial Governments Contrary to the monarchial structure of England, the colonies developed a system of government based on the authority of a governor or agent of the king supplemented by a legislature of locally elected representatives. A general lack of police power gave import to public demonstrations against unpopular laws and set an American precedent of popular dissent. Local Politics Colonial Assemblies gradually gained more authority over the royal governors. This growth reflected the wishes of the people and could not be effectively repressed. Tying elected official's success in office to the satisfaction of their constituents became a central feature of colonial politics and Whig ideology.