Chapter Five: Colonial Society on the Eve of
(1700 - 1775)
Conquest by the Cradle
Britain ruled 32 colonies in North America in 1775, including Canada and
parts of the Caribbean.
Some were wealthier, larger, and more populous than the 13.
Similarities between the 13 colonies:
Most of population growth came from fertility of Americans.
The colonists were doubling their numbers every 25 years!
Average age in 1775 was 16.
In 1700, there were 20 English subjects to every American colonist. In
1775, this dropped to three to one.
Bulk of populations was east of the Alleghenies, although by 1775 a few
pioneers had trickled into Tennessee and Kentucky.
(1775) Most populous colonies: (in order) Virginia, Massachusetts,
Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Maryland.
Most populous cities: Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Charleston.
90% of people lived in rural areas.
A Mingling of the Races
Great diversity right from beginning.
were 6% of total population, fleeing religious
persecution, economic oppression, and war. Settled chiefly in
They were mostly Lutheran Protestant and were known erroneously as the
Pennsylvania Dutch (derived from Deutsch - German) and comprised about
1/3 of Pennsylvania's population. In Philadelphia, street signs were
They had no deep loyalty to the British crown, and they clung to their
language and customs.
were about 7% of the population, not Irish at all, but
Scots Lowlanders. Over many decades, they had migrated to Northern
Ireland where they had not prospered.
The Irish Catholics already there hated Scottish Presbyterianism and
still do. The English government also placed heavy restrictions on their
production of linens and woolens.
Early in the 1700s many of them immigrated to America, chiefly to
tolerant Pennsylvania. The best acres were already taken by Germans and
Quakers so they pushed out on the frontier and squatted on the unoccupied
land, quarreling with both Indian and white owners.
When they reached the Allegheny barrier, it was deflected south into
Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas. They proved to be good
frontiersmen, although they were frequently belligerent towards the
Indians. By the mid-18
century, a chain of Scots-Irish settlements lay
scattered along the great wagon road, which ran along the Appalachian
foothills from Pennsylvania to Georgia.
Lawless, they brought with them secrets of whiskey distilling and their
hatred for the British government. They were very rebellious, leading the
armed march of the Paxton Boys on Philadelphia in 1764, protesting the
Quaker oligarchy's lenient policy towards the Indians. A few years later
they led the Regulator movement in North Carolina, a small but nasty
rebellion against eastern domination of the colony's affairs. Many of
these later joined the American revolutionists – including Andrew