cash crops crops, such as tobacco, sugar, and cotton, raised in large quantities in order to be sold for profit
assembly an elected group of lawmakers
democratic Ruled by the people. In a democracy, citizens elect representatives to make and carry out laws.
3.3 Massachusetts: New England Colony
In the early 1600s, religion was very important in England. The king ruled the official Church of England, also called the Anglican Church. However, not everyone agreed with the Church’s ideas and practices.
One group, called Puritans by their opponents, wanted to “purify” the Church by making services simpler and doing away with ranks of authority. Some of the Puritans, called Separatists, wanted to separate from the English church and form their own congregations. When Separatists were put in jail for not going to Anglican services, some of them moved to Holland, where they could practice their religion freely.
But Holland wasn’t home, and the Separatists wanted their children to grow up in an English culture. In 1620, about 50 Separatists set sail for America aboard the Mayflower. The Separatists had become Pilgrims, people who travel for religious reasons. The Pilgrims hoped to build their idea of a perfect society in America. During their voyage, they signed an agreement called the Mayflower Compact that described the way they would govern themselves in the new world.
After a long, uncomfortable journey across the Atlantic, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, near Cape Cod. Luckily for them, the local Indians welcomed them. Without the help of these Native Americans, the Pilgrims might not have survived their first winter. The Indians taught them how to plant crops, trap animals, and catch fish. In 1621, the Pilgrims invited the Indians to share their first harvest in a three-day feast of thanksgiving. Americans still celebrate this holiday.
Ten years later, a large group of Puritans decided to follow the Pilgrims to America. The king was relieved to see them go and sent them off with a charter for the colony of Massachusetts Bay. The charter said that the Massachusetts colonists would govern themselves. The Puritans were pleased with the charter, because they wanted to build a community governed by the rules of the Bible. They hoped to set an example for the rest of the world. Their governor, John Winthrop, said, “We must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.”
John Winthrop was a founder and later the governor of Massachusetts. Here, we see him giving a blessing to soldiers in the colony.
Puritans People who wanted to “purify” the English Church. Puritans wanted to simplify the Church’s ceremonies and its ranks of authority.
New England Colony
Pilgrims led by William Bradford (1620)
Puritans led by John Winthrop (1630)
Puritans seeking escape from religious persecution
Crop and livestock farming, lumber, shops, shipping
Self-governing with strong religious influence
3.4 Rhode Island: New England Colony
The Puritans of Massachusetts gained religious freedom, but it was a liberty they kept to themselves. They set up a government that required everyone in the colony to worship in the same way.
When a young minister named Roger Williams began preaching different ideas, the Puritans put him on trial. Williams believed that all people should be able to worship in any way they chose. “Forced worship,” he declared, “stinks in God’s nostrils.”
The Puritans ordered Williams sent back to England. Instead, on a cold winter day in 1636, he left his wife and children and fled south. After trudging through snow for days, he met a group of Indians near Narragansett Bay. The Indians cared for him until spring. When his family and a few followers joined him, Williams bought land from the Indians for a settlement. He called it Providence, a word meaning “the guidance and care of God.”
Roger Williams welcomed people with different religious beliefs. Two years after he and his followers settled Providence, a colonist named Anne Hutchinson was also forced to leave Massachusetts for preaching against the Puritans. She and her family followed Williams and established a settlement called Portsmouth. In 1647, these and other settlements became the colony of Rhode Island.
The ideal of freedom in Rhode Island did not extend to enslaved Africans. Sea merchants soon discovered the riches that could be made in the slave trade. As a result, Rhode Island became one of the largest slave-trading centers in the world. Slave trading helped make the fortunes of some of the wealthiest families in New England. At the same time, the isolated coves along the Rhode Island coast provided perfect hiding places for pirates and their stolen goods.
Puritans in other colonies were disgusted by these activities. Reverend Cotton Mather of Boston called Rhode Island “the sewer of New England.” To these Puritans, Rhode Island represented people and ideas that they rejected from their own communities. Using a word that implied “criminals,” they invented their own name for the colony: “Rogues’ Island.”
This woodcut shows Roger Williams building a crude cabin after he fled Massachusetts in the bitter cold of winter.
slave trade the business of capturing, transporting, and selling people as slaves
Farming (large cattle and dairy farms, small independent farms), lumber, shipbuilding, fishing, whaling, trade
3.5 Connecticut: New England Colony
Even in Massachusetts, not all Puritans shared exactly the same ideas. Thomas Hooker was a Puritan clergyman who lived in New Towne, a fast-growing community next to Boston. Hooker didn’t always agree with the laws and leadership in Massachusetts. When he heard about a fertile valley along a river to the west, he convinced his family and about 100 other people to move there with him.
It took Hooker and his followers two weeks to travel to the Connecticut Valley with all their animals and belongings. There they established a settlement on the site of an old Dutch fort where an earlier group of English colonists had settled. They called their new community Hartford. In 1639, Hartford joined with two other settlements to form the colony of Connecticut.
Hooker believed that government should be based on the “free consent of the people, to whom belongs the choice of public magistrates [officials], by God’s own allowance.” He helped draw up the first written plan of government for any of the colonies. This document was called the Fundamental Orders. The Fundamental Orders guaranteed the right to vote to all men who were members of the Puritan church.
Meanwhile, other Puritans formed a separate colony nearby called New Haven. The Puritans of New Haven agreed to live by the “Word of God.” Their laws were more strict than those in Hooker’s Connecticut colony.
Neither of these colonies, however, was legally authorized by the king. Then, in 1662, King Charles II granted a charter for a new Connecticut Colony that included New Haven. This charter gave the colonists of Connecticut more rights than those enjoyed by any other colonists except in Rhode Island. Legend says that when King James II sent Governor Andros to Hartford 15 years later to take back the colonists’ charter, someone stole it and hid it in the trunk of a huge white oak tree. The “Charter Oak” became a symbol of Connecticut’s freedom.
Thomas Hooker and about 100 others established the community of Hartford in the fertile Connecticut Valley. It later became a part of the colony of Connecticut.
New England Colony
Puritans seeking a new settlement
Cold winters, mild summers
Forested hills, seacoast
Farming (crops and livestock), shipbuilding, fishing, whaling
Written constitution (the Fundamental Orders), self-governing
3.6 New York: Middle Colony
In Chapter 2, you read about how the English took control of the settlement of New Netherland in 1664. The English renamed the colony New York in honor of its new proprietor (owner), James, the Duke of York. The duke gave huge chunks of his colony to two friends, Sir George Carteret and Lord John Berkeley. These men then established the colony of New Jersey to the south of New York.
The duke also awarded large estates along the Hudson River to wealthy Englishmen. The new landowners charged high rents to farmers working their land. This practice created a great difference in wealth between the landowners and their poor tenants. It also discouraged people from settling in New York.
The duke of York expected his colony to be a money-making business. As its owner, he appointed the people who ran the colony. He also issued his own laws and decided what New Yorkers should pay in taxes.
New York’s rich landlords approved of the duke’s approach to governing his colony. But farmers, fishermen, and tradespeople did not. They demanded the right to elect an assembly to make laws for New York. The duke refused, saying that elected assemblies had a habit of “disturbing the peace of the government.”
After years of protest, the duke finally allowed New Yorkers to elect an assembly in 1683. This first assembly passed 15 laws. The most important was a charter listing a number of rights that most colonists thought they should have as English citizens. Among them were the right to elect their own lawmakers, the right to trial by jury, and the right to worship as they pleased.
When the duke saw what the assembly had done, he abolished it. New Yorkers did not get a new assembly until, under the leadership of Jacob Leisler, they rebelled in 1689. Leisler was elected commander in chief of a democratic council that governed until 1691. That year, New York was finally granted the right to elect an assembly with the power to pass laws and set taxes for the colony.
Ships navigate the harbor of New Amsterdam in the 1660s. The city was later renamed New York and became one of the busiest and most important ports in the world.
Dutch West India Company (1624);
James, Duke of York (1664)
Dutch and English seeking new lives
Cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers
Wetlands along the coast and Hudson River, forested mountains to the north
Fur trapping, lumber, shipping, slave trade, merchants and tradesmen, farming, iron mining
British-appointed governor and council alternating with elected assembly
3.7 Pennsylvania: Middle Colony
When William Penn asked King Charles II to let him establish a colony in America, the king had two very good reasons for granting his request. First, he could repay a large debt that he owed to Penn’s father, Admiral Penn. Second, he could get rid of William. The younger Penn had been a thorn in the king’s side for a long time.
William Penn was a member of the Society of Friends, or Quakers. The Quakers believed in a simple lifestyle and in treating all people as equal. They refused to bow before the king, fight in wars, or pay taxes to the Church of England.
In 1668, the king threw Penn in jail, hoping to stop him from preaching the Quakers’ ideas. To the king’s dismay, Penn continued preaching after his release.
With the Quakers unwelcome in England, Penn wanted to establish a colony in America where they would be safe. In 1681, the king granted Penn a huge area of land between the Puritan colonies of New England and the Anglican colonies of the South. In honor of Penn’s father, the colony was called Pennsylvania.
Penn advertised his colony all over Europe. In his Great Law of 1682, he promised that people of all faiths would be treated equally.
Penn’s appeal attracted settlers from several countries. An early colonist in Pennsylvania marveled at the prosperity and peace in the colony. He wrote, “Poor people (both Men and Women) of all kinds, can here get three times the Wages for their Labour they can in England or Wales…. Here are no Beggars to be seen…. Jealousie among Men is here very rare…. nor are old Maids to be met with; for all commonly Marry before they are Twenty Years of Age.”
Penn named his capital city Philadelphia (Greek for “City of Brotherly Love”). From there, he wrote great documents of government that made Pennsylvania the first democracy in America.
This picture shows William Penn making a treaty with Indians about 1770. Penn insisted that the Delaware Indians be treated fairly and paid for their land.
English Quakers and other Europeans seeking freedom and equality
Cold winters and hot, humid summers
Rolling hills, trees, and fertile soil
Farming (crops and dairy), merchants and tradesmen, lumber, shipbuilding
3.8 Maryland: Southern Colony
The founding of Maryland was a family enterprise. Sir George Calvert, named Lord Baltimore by King James I, was an English gentleman who became a Roman Catholic. In England, with its official Anglican Church, Catholics were treated harshly. Calvert wanted to start a colony “founded on religious freedom where there would not only be a good life, but also a prosperous one for those bold enough to take the risk.” As a businessman, he also hoped the colony would make his own family more prosperous (wealthy).
Unfortunately, Calvert died while he was still bargaining with the king. The new king, King Charles I, granted a charter for the colony to Calvert’s son Cecil, the new Lord Baltimore. The charter gave the Calverts complete control of the colony, which was called Maryland.
Armed with these powers, Cecil named his brother Leonard to be governor. In order to make money from the colony, Cecil needed to attract both Protestant and Catholic settlers. He told Leonard to be “very careful to preserve unity and peace…and treat the Protestants with as much mildness and favor as justice will permit.”
Leonard’s expedition arrived in Maryland in 1634. There, he and his followers built St. Mary’s City on a high, dry bluff they purchased from Native Americans. The following year, Leonard agreed to let Maryland elect an assembly.
As more and more settlers arrived, Leonard could see that Catholics would always be outnumbered in the colony. To protect their rights, in 1649 he helped pass America’s first law guaranteeing religious liberty, the Act Concerning Religion. This law, however, applied only to Christians. Atheists (people who deny the existence of God) and Jews were not included.
Despite the Calverts’ efforts, Protestants and Catholics remained suspicious of one another and waged a tug-of-war in Maryland for more than a century. During this time, the colony’s founding family lost and regained power several times. Still, George Calvert’s dream was fulfilled. Catholics in Maryland worshipped freely and took part in the colony’s government alongside Protestants.
Sir Cecilius Calvert, or Second Lord Baltimore, the founder of Maryland. Calvert established laws to protect Catholics from persecution in the colony.
Cecil Calvert (Lord Baltimore)
Catholics and Protestants seeking religious and political freedom
Cold, rainy winters and hot, humid summers
Low, fertile land surrounding the Chesapeake Bay
Farming (crops, beef, dairy), lumber, shipping, fishing, iron mining
Various faiths, particularly Catholic
3.9 Virginia: Southern Colony
In Chapter 2, you read about Jamestown, Virginia, the first successful English settlement in America. After a shaky start, Virginia began to grow and prosper. By 1700, the descendants of those early settlers were wealthy landowners and the most important people in Virginia.
The economy of Virginia was based on tobacco. Tobacco planters needed vast areas of land to be successful. They also needed a large number of workers to grow their crop.
At first, planters tried putting Indians to work. But Indians in this area were not used to farming. Worse, many of them died of diseases they caught from the colonists. The others faded into the forests and disappeared.
Next, tobacco planters tried bringing poor people from England to work their land. In exchange for free passage to Virginia, the workers agreed to become indentured servants for a period of five to seven years. Many men, women, and children came to Virginia as indentured servants. After completing their service, they were given their freedom along with a small plot of land, some clothing, tools, and seeds.
The first Africans brought to Virginia were also treated as indentured servants. At first they had the same rights and freedoms as white servants. Once their service ended, they could buy land and servants of their own.
Gradually, however, planters turned to slaves to solve their labor problem. Slaves brought from Africa cost twice as much as servants, but they did not leave after a few years.
For the planters, enslaving Africans had other advantages as well. Most Africans were hard workers who were used to farming. And because of their dark skin, it was hard for them to escape from their owners and blend into the rest of the population.
In 1661, the Virginia House of Burgesses passed a law making African workers slaves for life. By 1700, Virginia had more than 16,000 enslaved Africans—more than one fourth of the colony’s population. For Virginia, slavery had become a way of life.
The first African slaves were brought to Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619, the year before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.
Sir Walter Raleigh and the Virginia Company
English landowners, skilled laborers (shoemakers, bricklayers, tailors, etc.), people seeking profits
Mild winters and hot, humid summers
Coastal lowlands; wooded mountains
Farming (plantations and small independent farms)
Church of England
3.10 Georgia: Southern Colony
Georgia, the 13th and last colony, was founded by a group of Englishmen whose business plan was based on a grand and noble idea. They wanted to help poor people in England stay out of debtor’s prison. In England at this time, people who couldn’t pay their bills went to jail. James Oglethorpe inspired wealthy Englishmen to give money to help establish a colony where the poor could build better lives instead of going to jail.
King George II and his government liked this plan because the Georgia colony would help keep the Spanish from moving north out of Florida. Georgia would stand between Spanish Florida and the rest of the British colonies to the north.
The Englishmen’s plan depended upon getting the cooperation of settlers. But there weren’t many poor debtors who wanted to start new lives in the wilderness of North America. Some thought prison would be a safer place.
Instead of an army of poor people, the colonists who went with Oglethorpe to Georgia in 1732 were adventurers much like the settlers in the other colonies. In addition, many Protestants, Catholics, and Jews came to Georgia in search of religious freedom.
As many had feared, life was not easy in Georgia. The Spaniards in Florida wanted to control Georgia, and they continually attacked the new settlements. The Georgians fought them off without any help from the other British colonies. To make matters worse, Oglethorpe had specific ideas about how the colonists should live. He established laws against drinking alcohol and owning slaves. He thought the settlers should live on small farms and learn to farm their land themselves.
The settlers weren’t about to go along. They wanted to farm large plantations and own slaves like the wealthy planters in neighboring colonies. They disliked some of Oglethorpe’s other rules as well.
Trying to mold Georgia into his idea of a perfect society, Oglethorpe lost all his money. For its settlers, however, Georgia became as successful as the other Southern Colonies.
James Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, is pictured here in Scottish dress.
George II and James Edward Oglethorpe
Debtors from English prisons, Europeans seeking religious freedom and cheap land
Farming (plantations and independent farms), trade, skilled labor
3.11 Chapter Summary
In this chapter, you read about the settlement of the 13 English colonies in the future United States. You used a spoke diagram to record important features of eight of these colonies.
Settlers had many reasons to come to America in the 1600s and 1700s. Two important reasons were freedom of religion and the chance to start a new life. However, even though colonists treasured freedom for themselves, enslaved Africans were taken to America by force.
The New England, Middle, and Southern Colonies all had distinctive geographies and natural resources. As a result, different ways of life developed in each of these regions. Colonies also varied in their form of government. All, however, were democratic to some degree.
In the New England Colonies, religion and geography were key influences. Although Puritans sometimes disagreed with one another, they hoped to establish model communities based on their religious faith. New England’s forests and coastline made lumbering, shipbuilding, and trade very important to the region’s economy.
The Middle Colonies were geographically, culturally, and religiously diverse. Catholics, Quakers, Anglicans, and members of other Protestant faiths all found homes in this region.
In the Southern Colonies, climate and geography encouraged the planting of cash crops and the development of large plantations. In time, slave labor would become a major part of the economy of this region.
What was daily life like for the settlers, servants, and slaves who came to America? You’ll find out in the next chapter.
Handbills like this one lured colonists from Europe to the American colonies.
Life in the Colonies
What do these men have in their cart and where might they be going?
What different classes of people do you see?
In 1723, a tired teenager stepped off a boat onto Philadelphia’s Market Street wharf. He was an odd-looking sight. Not having luggage, he had stuffed his pockets with extra clothes. The young man followed a group of “clean dressed people” into a Quaker meeting house, where he soon fell asleep.
The sleeping teenager with the lumpy clothes was Benjamin Franklin. Recently, he had run away from his brother James’s print shop in Boston. When he was 12, Franklin had signed a contract to work for his brother for nine years. But after enduring James’s nasty temper for five years, Franklin packed his pockets and left.
In Philadelphia, Franklin quickly found work as a printer’s assistant. Within a few years, he had saved enough money to open his own print shop. His first success was a newspaper called the Pennsylvania Gazette.
In 1732, readers of the Gazette saw an advertisement for Poor Richard’s Almanac. An almanac is a book, published annually, that contains information about weather predictions, the times of sunrises and sunsets, planting advice for farmers, and other useful subjects. According to the advertisement, Poor Richard’s Almanac was written by “Richard Saunders” and printed by “B. Franklin.” Nobody knew then that the author and printer were actually the same person.
In addition to the usual information contained in almanacs, Franklin mixed in some proverbs, or wise sayings. Several of them are still remembered today. Here are three of the best-known:
“A penny saved is a penny earned.”
“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
“Fish and visitors smell in three days.”
Poor Richard’s Almanac sold so well that Franklin was able to retire at age 42. A man of many talents, he spent the rest of his long life as a scientist, inventor, political leader, diplomat, and national postmaster.
Franklin’s rise from penniless runaway to wealthy printer was one of many colonial success stories. In this chapter, you will learn what life was like for people throughout the colonies in the early 1700s.
Graphic Organizer: Journal
You will use a journal to organize information about various aspects of colonial life.
4.2 Life on a Farm
The colonists developed an economy based on farming, commerce (buying and selling goods), and handcrafts. Nine out of ten people lived on small family farms. Most farm families either raised or made nearly everything they needed. One farmer wrote with pride about a typical year: “Nothing to wear, eat, or drink was purchased, as my farm provided all.”
The first and hardest task facing farm families was to clear the land of trees. The colonists had only simple, basic tools. They cut down trees with axes and saws. Then they used the same tools to cut square timbers and flat planks for building houses, barns, and fences.
Imagine living on a colonial farm. Your home is a single large room with a chimney at one end. In this room, your family cooks, eats, and sleeps. Your parents sleep in a large bed built into one corner. Your younger brothers and sisters sleep in a smaller “trundle” bed, a bed that can slide under the big bed during the day. At bedtime, you climb a ladder next to the chimney to sleep in an attic or a loft. As your family grows, you help to build another room on the other side of the chimney.
The fireplace is the only source of heat for warmth and cooking. So, keeping a supply of firewood is important. The fire is kept burning all the time because, without matches, it is very difficult to light a new one.
Cooking is one of the most dangerous jobs on your farm. Food is cooked in heavy iron pots hung over an open fire. While lifting or stirring these pots, your mother might burn her hands, scorch her clothes, or strain her back.
Life on your farm starts before sunrise. Everyone wakes up early to share the work. Chores include cutting wood, feeding animals, clearing land, tending crops, building fences, making furniture and tools, gathering eggs, spinning thread, weaving cloth, sewing clothes, making candles and soap, cooking, cleaning, and caring for babies.
How does this compare with life in your home today?
Although most farmers lived in one-room farmhouses, they held out hope that they would achieve wealth like that pictured above.