Roark Chapter 5: Colonial America in the Eighteenth Century,
Notes and Questions for HIS1043 by
Rex H. Ball, Senior Lecturer
Franklin became the archetypal American, especially to the
French who lionized him.
is perhaps the
most read autobiography in all of American literature.
Through that book, he became identified as the
personification of the American dream of a simple person
rising to be one of the richest men in North America.
He was hardly typical.
He was brilliant—a talented scientist,
inventor, statesman, public servant and entrepreneur.
therefore, anything but typical.
Yet one admires this plucky
kid, just 17 years old, fleeing his abusive brother’s print shop
to make a go of it on his own. While he may not have been
typical, the story of a boy making good is the typical
The authors have divided the treatment of the colonies into
New England, Middle and Southern Colonies.
They may be grouped by physical size, by population, by size
of the economy, by slave and free.
Ultimately, the geographic
grouping of states: NE, Middle and Southern is a pretty
reasonable way to group them, and the grouping actually
makes the most sense as the country approaches the Civil
The authors mark the dramatic population increase and the
booming economy in the North American colonies.
the British colonies totaled 250,000, and they grew by eight
times to 2 million in 1770.
Just look at New Spain, which had
a population of Spanish descent of 900,000in 1820—not even
half of British North Americas population.
With the booming economy, people wanted to migrate to the