1. By 1775, Great Britain ruled 32 colonies in North America. * Only 13 of them revolted (the ones in what’s today the U.S.). * Canada and Jamaica were wealthier than the “original 13.” * All of them were growing by leaps and bounds.
2. By 1775, the population numbered 2.5 million people.
3. The average age was 16 years old (due mainly to having several children). 4. Most of the population (95%) was densely cooped up east of the Alleghenies, though by 1775, some had slowly trickled into Tennessee and Kentucky. 5. About 90% of the people lived in rural areas and were therefore farmers. II. A Mingling of the Races
1. Colonial America, though mostly English, had other races as well. 2. Germans accounted for about 6% of the population, or about 150,000 people by 1775. * Most were Protestant (primarily Lutheran) and were called the “Pennsylvania Dutch” (a corruption of Deutsch which means German). 3. The Scots-Irish were about 7% of the population, with 175,000 people. * Over many decades, they had been transplanted to Northern Ireland, but they had not found a home there (the already existing Irish Catholics resented the intruders). * Many of the Scots-Irish reached America and became squatters, quarreling with both Indians and white landowners. * They seemed to try to move as far from Britain as possible, trickling down to Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas. * In 1764, the Scots-Irish led the armed march of the Paxton Boys. The Paxtons led a march on Philadelphia to protest the Quaker’ peaceful treatment of the Indians. They later started the North Carolina Regulator movement in the hills and mountains of the colony, aimed against domination by eastern powers in the colony. * They were known to be very hot-headed and independent minded. * Many eventually became American revolutionists.
4. About 5% of the multicolored population consisted of other European groups, like French Huguenots, Welsh, Dutch, Swedes, Jews, Irish, Swiss, and Scots-Highlanders. 5. Americans were of all races and mixed bloods, so it was no wonder that other races from other countries had a hard time classifying them. III. The Structure of the Colonial Society
1. In contrast to contemporary Europe, America was a land of opportunity. * Anyone who was willing to work hard could possibly go from rags to riches, and poverty was scorned. * Class differences did emerge, as a small group of aristocrats (made up of the rich farmers, merchants, officials, clergymen) had much of the power. 2. Also, armed conflicts in the 1690s and 1700s enriched a number of merchants in the New England and middle colonies. 3. War also created many widows and orphans who eventually had to turn to charity. 4. In the South, a firm social pyramid emerged containing… * The immensely rich plantation owners (“planters”) had many slaves (though these were few). * “Yeoman” farmers, or small farmers. They owned their land and, maybe, a few slaves. * Landless whites who owned no land and either worked for a landowner or rented land to farm. * Indentured servants of America were the paupers and the criminals sent to the New World. Some of them were actually unfortunate victims of Britain’s unfair laws and did become respectable citizens. This group was dwindling though by the 1700s, thanks to Bacon’s Rebellion and the move away from indentured servant labor and toward slavery. * Black slaves were at the bottom of the social ladder with no rights or hopes up moving up or even gaining freedom. Slavery became a divisive issue because some colonies didn’t want slaves while others needed them, and therefore vetoed any bill banning the importation of slaves. IV. Clerics, Physicians, and Jurists
1. The most honored profession in the colonial times was the...