Colonial Society on the Eve of Revolution 1700-1775 -...

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Colonial Society on the Eve of Revolution 1700-1775 1. Conquest by the Cradle 1. The common term thirteen original colonies is misleading as Britain ruled thirty-two colonies in North America, including the Caribbean Islands by 1775 but only thirteen of them staged a rebellion 2. Among the distinguishing characteristics that the eventually rebellious settlements shared was lusty population growth; in 1700 they contained fewer than 300,00 people; by 1775, there were about 2.5 million people 1. Of the 2.5 million people, about half a million were black and white immigrants made up nearly 400,000 of the increased number, and black “forced immigrants” accounted for almost as many again 2. But most of the spurt stemmed from the remarkable natural fertility of all Americans, white and black; to the amazement and dismay of Europeans, the colonists were doubling every twenty-five years 3. The population boom had political consequences; in 1700 there were twenty English subjects for each American colonist but by 1775 the English advantage in numbers had fallen to three to one—setting the stage for a momentous shift in the balance of power 4. The bulk of the population was up east of the Alleghenies, although by 1775 groups of pioneers were in the clearings of Tennessee and Kentucky (the most populous colonies in 1775 were Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Maryland 3. Only four communities could properly be called cities: Philadelphia (34,000 residents), trailed by New York, Boston, and Charleston; still, 90 percent of the people lived in rural areas in the country 2. A Mingling of the Races 1. Colonial America was a melting pot and had been from the outset; the population was picturesquely mottled with numerous foreign groups 1. Germans constituted about 6 percent of the total population, of 150,000, by 1775; fleeing religious persecution, economic oppression, and war, they had flocked to America in early 1700s and settled chiefly in Pennsylvania (various Protestant sects) 2. Known popularly but erroneously as the Pennsylvania Dutch, they total about one-third of the Pennsylvania’s population 3. These German newcomers moved into the backcountry of Pennsylvania, had no deep-rooted loyalty to the British crown, and clung tenaciously to their German language and customs
2. The Scots-Irish who in 1775 numbered about 175,000 or 7 % of the population, were an important non-English group (Scots Lowlanders) 1. Over many years, they had been transplanted to Northern Ireland, where they had not prospered; the Irish Catholics already there, hating Scottish Presbyterianism, resented the intruders 2. The economic life of the Scots-Irish was severely hampered, especially when the English government placed burdensome restrictions on their production of linens and woolens 3. Early in the 1700s, tens of thousands of embittered Scots-Irish finally abandoned Ireland and came to America, chiefly to tolerant and deep soiled Pennsylvania—finding the best acres already taken, they pushed out onto the frontier (many of them illegally) 4. When the westward-flowing Scots-Irish tide lapped up

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