INTRODUCTION – American History from 1450 to 1775: A Bief, Thematic Overview
ECONOMY SOCIETY GOVERNMENT RELIGION CULTURE
1450 Native American subsistence economy. Europeans fish off North American coasts.
Sporadic warfare among Indian peoples. Spanish conquest of Mexico (1519-1521).
Rise monarchical nation-states Europe.
of Protestant Reformation in begins (1517).
Diverse NativeAmerican cultures in eastern Woodlands.
1600 First staple Englishcrops: furs and Indian tobacco. warfare. African servitude begins in Virginia.
James I rules by « divine right » in England. Virginia House of Burgesses (1619).
Persecuted Puritans English implant Puritans and Calvinism, Catholics education, and migrate to freehold ideal. America.
1640 New England trade with sugar islands.Mercantilist regulations: first Navigation Act (1651).
White indentured servitude in the Chesapeake. Indians retreat inland.
Puritan Revolution. Stuart restoration (1660). Bacon’s Rebellion (1675).
Established churches in Virginia and Massachusetts. Roger Williams creates religious liberty in Rhode Island.
Aristocratic aspirations in the Chesapeake.
1680 Tobacco trade stagnates.Rice cultivation expands.
Indian slavery in the Carolinas. Ethnic rebellion in New York (1689).
Dominion of New England (16861689). Glorious Revolution (1688-1689).
Religious freedom in Quaker Pennsylvania.
Emergence of African American language and culture.
1720 Mature agricultural economy in North. Imports from Britain increase.
Scots-Irish and German migration. Growingrural inequality.
Rise of the representative assembly. Challenge to « deferential » politics.
German and Scots-Irish Pietists in midAtlantic region. Great Awakening.
Emergence of regional cultures. Franklin and the American Enlightenment
1760 Trade boycotts encourage domestic manufacturing
Uprisings by tenants and backcountry farmers. Artisan protests.
Ideas of popular sovereignty.Battles of Lexington and Concord (1775).
Evangelical Baptists in Virginia. Quebec Act allows Catholicism (1774).
Emergence of « American » identity. Republican innovations in political theory.
I – The Creation of American Society, 1450-1775
Introduction : Europeans and Native Americans Societies are made, not born. They are the creation of generations of human endeavor and experience.Many centuries ago hunting and gathering people who migrated to the Western Hemisphere from Asia formed the first American societies. Over many generations these migrants – called the Native Americans – came to live in a wide variety of environments and cultures. In much of North America they developed kinship-based societies that relied on hunting and farming. But in the lower Mississippi Valley,Native Americans developed a hierarchical social order similar to that of the great civilizations of the Aztecs, Mayas, and Incas of Mesoamerica. The coming of the Europeans and their diseases tore the fabric of most Native American cultures into shreds. Indian peoples increasingly confronted a new American society that included thousands of enslaved Africans and was dominated by even greaternumbers of settlers of European ancestry. Most of the Europeans attempted to transplant their traditional societies to America – their farming practices, their social hierarchies, their culture and heritage, and their religious ideas. But in learning to live in the new land, the Europeans who settled Britain’s North American colonies eventually created societies that were distinctly different fromthose of their homelands in their economies, social character, political systems, religion, and culture.
1. A Remarkable Economic Achievement Many of the new settlements compiled an impressive record of economic achievement. Traditional Europe was made of poor and unequal societies periodically racked by famine. But in the bountiful natural environment of North America, plenty replaced...
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