Colonial America

"The Great Awakening was . . . the first truly national event in American
 history. Thirteen once-isolated colonies, expanding to the north and
 south as well as westward, were merging."



   I. Religious Landscape of Colonial America
       A. Anglican Church (aka Church of England)
            1. Founded during 1530s under Henry VIII
            2. Official religion in Southern Colonies & New York
       B. Puritans
            1. Followed teachings of John Calvin
            2. Advocated purification of Anglican Church
            3. Dominated New England (esp. Massachusetts)
            4. John Winthrop's "city upon a hill" (1630)
            5. Predestination (good works & wealth = "signs")
            6. No clear separation between church & state
            7. Roger Williams & Anne Hutchinson
            8. Halfway Covenant (1662)
       C. Separatists
            1. Radical Puritans (inc. Pilgrims)
            2. Sought complete break from Anglican Church
       D. Quakers (aka Society of Friends)
            1. Rejected predestination & original sin
            2. No ministers, rituals, churches
            3. William Penn's "Holy Experiment" (1681)
            4. Religious tolerance (no coercion of soul)
       E. Roman Catholicism
            1. Most numerous in Maryland
            2. Lord Baltimore's Toleration Act (1649)
       F. Judaism
            1. Scattered among the colonies
            2. Largest group lived in New York City
  II. Colonial Religious Movements
       A. Salem witchcraft trials (1692)
            1. Witchcraft explained life's calamities
            2. Clash between Salem Town & Salem Village
            3. Many arrested & tried; 20 executed
            4. Increase (father) & Cotton (son) Mather
            5. Last witchcraft persecutions in America
            6. Arthur Miller's The Crucible (1953)
       B. Great Awakening = emotional trend, esp. frontier
            1. Late 1720s thru early 1760s; peaked in 1740s
            2. Primarily affected New England & Virginia
            3. George Whitefield & Jonathan Edwards
            4. Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians all gained
            5. Marked beginning of Christianization of blacks
            6. First truly nat'l event in American history
       C. Enlightenment = intellectual trend, esp. urban
            1. Direct observation & human reasoning (Deism)
            2. Assault on blanket power & prestige of clergy
            3. Increased personal responsibility for afterlife
            4. Benjamin Franklin
 III. Colonial Political Structure
       A. Basic pattern to support imperial control
            1. No two colonies exactly alike
            2. Colonies had some autonomy over local affairs
       B. Crown and colonies had different priorities
            1. Some degree of grievance inherent in colonists
            2. Not a source of high conflict
            3. England's sovereignty was not questioned
       C. System ultimately empowered colonists
            1. Assemblymen were civic leaders w/ voter support
            2. Lower legislative house controlled finances
            3. Governors were prisoners of circumstances
       D. Voter = male, white, free, Christian (any), landowner
       E. Privy Council & Board of Trade
 IV. Internal Conflicts of Varying Flavors
       A. Bacon's Rebellion (1676, Virginia)
            1. Frontier settlers distressed w/ Indian attacks
            2. Marched against Gov. Berkeley; Jamestown burned
            3. Inc. many indentured servants (hastened hard slavery)
            4. Unhappy westerners vs. unresponsive easterners
       B. Dominion of New England (1686-89, six colonies)
       C. Leisler's Rebellion (1689, New York)
       D. Coode's Revolt (1689, Maryland)
       E. Trial of John Peter Zenger (1735, New York)
       F. Stono Uprising (1739, South Carolina)
       G. Paxton Boys Uprising (1763, Pennsylvania)
       H. Regulator War (1771, North Carolina)
  V. Economic Climate of Colonial America
       A. Colonies = raw materials & markets for goods
       B. Triangular trade system (inc. Middle Passage)
       C. Theory of mercantilism
            1. Gold & silver bullion (via mining, war, trade)
            2. "Favorable balance of trade" (exports > imports)
       D. Navigation Acts (1650s)
            1. Enumerated articles
            2. Effects lessened by "salutary neglect"
       E. "New" policies reflected commercial status quo
       F. Brought joint prosperity to Great Britain & colonies
       G. Relationship continued after Revolutionary War
 VI. Colonial Wars
       A. King William's, Queen Anne's, King George's
       B. Albany Conference (1754)
            1. Iroquois Confederation + 7 colonies + Crown
            2. Origin of "Join, or Die." cartoon
       C. French and Indian War (1754-63)
            1. Geo. Washington's defeat at Ft. Necessity (1754)
            2. Appointment of Wm. Pitt as Prime Minister (1758)
            3. Quebec Campaign (1759) & Plains of Abraham
            4. Treaty of Paris (1763) = France exits N. America
            5. Britain's vast new land = administrative & financial woes
            6. Pivotal change in relationship between colonies & Crown
VII. Trans-Appalachian Settlement
       A. Proclamation of 1763
            1. Control settlement west (ignored existing pattern)
            2. Pacify area Indians (considered mere occupants)
       B. Indian resistance
            1. Pontiac's War (1763)
            2. Lord Dunmore's War (1774)
       C. Land speculation
            1. Vandalia (Samuel Wharton)
            2. Transylvania (Richard Henderson & Dan'l Boone)
       D. Watauga settlements
       E. Statehoods → Kentucky #15, Tennessee #16, Ohio #17



  • Anglicans
  • Puritans
  • predestination
  • John Winthrop
  • Roger Williams
  • Anne Hutchinson
  • Halfway Covenant
  • praying town
  • Separatists
  • William Penn
  • "Holy Experiment"
  • Quakers
  • Maryland Toleration Act
  • Great Awakening
  • George Whitefield & Jonathan Edwards
  • Enlightenment
  • Deism
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Salem witchcraft trials
  • Increase & Cotton Mather
  • The Crucible
  • Bacon's Rebellion
  • Dominion of New England
  • John Peter Zenger
  • mercantilism
  • "favorable balance of trade"
  • Navigation Acts
  • enumerated articles
  • "salutary neglect"
  • Privy Council
  • Board of Trade
  • triangular trade system
  • Middle Passage
  • Stono Uprising
  • South Carolina Negro Act of 1740
  • Colonial Wars
  • Albany Plan of Union
  • Iroquois Confederation
  • "Join, or Die." cartoon
  • French and Indian War
  • William Pitt
  • Treaty of Paris
  • Pontiac
  • Proclamation of 1763
  • Wilderness Road
  • Watauga settlements

The First Frontier: Life in Colonial America by John C. Miller
The Devil in Massachusetts by Marion L. Starkey


  • Anne Hutchinson: Trial Excerpt (1637)
  • Roger Williams: "The Bloody Tenet of Persecution for Cause of Conscience" (1644)
  • William Penn: Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges (1701)
  • Andrew Hamilton: The Defense of John Peter Zenger (1735)
  • Jonathan Edwards: "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" Sermon (1741)
  • Benjamin Franklin: "Join, or Die." Political Cartoon (1754)
  • Olaudah Equiano: Description of the Middle Passage (event c. 1756; written 1791)


1.  Describe the impact of the Enlightenment on colonial America. Why can Benjamin
     Franklin be accurately described as "the symbolic American" of the time?

2.  The English governmental structure established in the colonies tended to strengthen
     the influence of the colonies. Explain how this came about.

3.  What was mercantilism? How did it shape the relationship between England and her
     American colonies?

4.  The North American colonies were important to Great Britain because they could
     yield a variety of raw materials as well as provide a market for manufactured
     products of the mother country. Explain this dual role.

5.  "Great Britain's wars for empire, far more than its mercantilistic policies, dictated the
     economic fortunes of England's North American colonies in the eighteenth century."
     Assess the validity of this statement.

6.  Analyze the cultural and economic responses of two of the following groups to the
     Indians of North America before 1750—British; French; Spanish.


  1. The most ethnically heterogeneous region throughout Britain's colonies in North America was
    1. the Middle Colonies.
    2. along the Atlantic Coast.
    3. the western frontier.
    4. New England.

  2. The Puritans believed that an individual's salvation after death depended on
    1. ritual forgiveness by the Church.
    2. earthly good works on the part of the individual.
    3. predestination by God.
    4. divine fortuity determined by local clergy.

  3. Maintaining a "favorable balance of trade" meant that
    1. exports and imports were roughly equal.
    2. exports were greater than imports.
    3. imports were greater than exports.
    4. it did not matter whether exports or imports were comparatively greater or lesser, so long as they were not equal.

  4. The two chief export crops of the South during the mid-1700s were
    1. tobacco and cotton.
    2. wheat and rice.
    3. indigo and turnips.
    4. tobacco and rice.

  5. The early Colonial Wars
    1. led directly to colonial aggression against Great Britain.
    2. were fought by European powers almost entirely on North American soil.
    3. caused huge amounts of New World territory to be exchanged.
    4. were largely European affairs not measurably impacted by the colonies.

The total construction cost for Mount Rushmore totaled just under $1 million, doubling the original estimate.  While most of the funds were appropriated by the federal government, about 14 percent of the financing was coaxed from private sources.  Every evening Mount Rushmore is illuminated by powerful lights, creating an awe-inspiring view.  Click on the faces to access LECTURE GUIDE for this unit.


 Shaunna Penning '06



"Witchy Woman"   by The Eagles