Colonial Society on the Eve of Revolution
Big ideas matter. Here are the most important themes for this chapter.
The over-arching theme of chapter 5 is that the American colonies quickly became unique from any other country. Although the people came from established nations, they blended into “Americans.”
- The Americans were very diverse for that time period. New England was largely from English background, New York was Dutch, Pennsylvania was German, the Appalachian frontier was Scots-Irish, the southern coast African-American and English, and there were spots of French, Swiss, and Scots-Highlanders.
- Although they came from different origins, the ethnicities were knowingly or what mingling and melting together into something called “Americans.”
- Most people were farmers, an estimated 90%. The northern colonies held what little industry America had at the time: shipbuilding, iron works, rum running, trade, whaling, fishing. The south dealt with crops, slaves, and naval stores.
- There were two main Protestant denominations: the Congregational Church up north, and the Anglican Church down south. Both were “established” meaning tax money went to the church. Poised for growth were the “backwoods” faiths of the Baptists and Methodists that grew by leaps thanks to the Great Awakening.