The American Promise, Ch 5 Outline

The American Promise Value Edition, Combined Version (Volumes I & II): A History of the United States

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I. A Growing Population and Expanding Economy in British North America 1. New England experienced a tremendous population explosion during the eighteenth century, rising from 250,000 colonists in 1700 to over 2 million in 1770. 2. The growth and diversity of the colonial population in the eighteenth century stemmed from both natural increases and immigration, which shifted the ethnic and racial balance of the colonies. 3. The colonial economy also expanded during the eighteenth century. 4. In 1700, nearly all the colonists lived within fifty miles of the Atlantic coast. 5. The almost limitless wilderness stretching westward made land relatively cheap; land used for agriculture was worthless without labor and with the rapidly expanding economy the demand for labor in the colonies was high. II. New England: From Puritan Settlers to Yankee Traders A. Natural Increase and Land Distribution 1. The burgeoning New England population grew mostly by natural increase, much as it had during the seventeenth century, and soon pressed against the limited amount of land. 2. By the eighteenth century, the original land allotments had to be subdivided to accommodate grandsons and great-grandsons, causing many plots of land to become too small for subsistence. 3. During the eighteenth century, colonial governments in New England abandoned the seventeenth-century policy of granting land to towns and sold land directly to individuals, including speculators. 4. Money, rather than membership in a community bound by a church covenant, determined whether a person could buy land; settlement on individual farms meant that colonists regulated their behavior in newly settled areas by their own individual choices and not those of a larger community. B. Farms, Fish, and Atlantic Trade 1. New England farmers grew food for their families, but their fields did not produce a huge marketable surplus. 2. As consumers, New England farmers were the foundation of a diversified commercial economy that linked remote farms to markets throughout the world. 3. Fish accounted for more than one-third of New England's eighteenth-century exports; livestock and timber made up another one-third; Atlantic commerce provided jobs for laborers, tradesmen, ship captains, clerks, merchants, and sailors. 4. Merchants, the largest and most successful of whom lived in Boston, dominated New England commerce; by 1770 the richest five percent of Bostonians owned half of the city's wealth.
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5. During the eighteenth century, the incidence of genuine poverty did not change much from patterns established in the seventeenth century, with about five percent qualifying for poor relief in the eighteenth century. 6. By 1700, Yankee traders had replaced Puritan saints as the symbolic New Englanders. III. The Middle Colonies: Immigrants, Wheat, and Work A. German and Scots-Irish Immigrants 1. Germans made up the largest contingent of migrants from the European continent to the middle colonies.
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