Showing posts from 2012

Colonies in Crisis: Imperial Rivalries, Expansion, Diversity, and Unexpected Problems in Governance

Well, after a long hiatus, I'm back! So, let's get right to work, shall we?

Overview of Main Points
In the 1650s, the English government was rebounding from a civil war led by Oliver Cromwell and now had a newly powerful Parliament. They perceived significant economic benefits for England through trade (such as mercantilism) and competition against the Dutch. In 1660, King Charles II was restored to power. However, he needs money and fears going back to war with the Dutch. He sought to cultivate wealthy investors and merchants and would exchange to them land titles in North America for loans. This, along with renewed warfare with the Dutch, results in more colonial expansion--England gained additional colonies in the Caribbean, as well as New York, the Carolinas, and Pennsylvania. King Charles II will also authorize new trade ventures (such as the Royal African Company, which was a monopoly on slave exportation to North America).The English government is now more committed to E…

The Founding of Boston, Massachusetts

"God Almighty in his most holy and wise providence, hath so disposed of the condition of mankind, as in all times some must be rich, some poor, some high and eminent in power and dignity, others mean and in submission." ~~ A Model of Christian Charity ~~The Honorable John Winthrop, 1630 ~~Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor Boston, Massachusetts was founded in 1630 by English Puritans fleeing religious persecution. On March 29, 1630, a fleet of eleven ships carrying 700 people sailed from England to Massachusetts, and their leader was the Honorable John Winthrop. In 1630, before embarking on their journey to New England, Winthrop gave a sermon which he called A Model of Christian Charity but is more commonly known as "the city on a hill sermon" in which Winthrop preached that the Massachusetts Bay Colony should be a shining example of...Christian charity. The colonists forst settled in Charlestown but later relocated to Trimoutain, which was renamed Boston af…

A Very Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials

From June through September 1692, nineteen men and women, all having been convicted of witchcraft, were carted off to Gallows Hill for their punishment--hanging; another man was pressed to death under heavy stones for refusing to submit to a trial on charges of witchcraft; and hundres more faced accusations of witchcraft. These months, which are known for the period of the infamous Salem Witch Trials, was the unfortunate product of mass hysteria that swept through Puritan Massachusetts. In 1689, Samuel Paris, a wealthy Barbados planter and reverend, traveled to Salem, Massachusetts to take over the congregation and preach there with his wife, daughter Elizabeth (whose nickname was Betty), neice Abigail Williams, and slave Tituba. Betty and Abigail began acting strangely in 1692, convulsing and having high fevers. Four years earlier, in 1688, a 13-year-old girl named Martha Goodwin exhibited the same behaviors after having an argument with luandress Goody Glover. Two days later, th…

The Founding of Massachusetts Bay Colony

Massachusetts Bay Colony was an English settlement on the east coast of North America in the 17th century, situated around the present-day cities of Salem and Boston. The colony was founded by the Massachsetss Bay Company, which included inestors in the failed Dorchester Company, which had established a short-lived colony on Cape Ann in 1624. However, the second attempt at colonization, which began in 1628, was very successful with over 10,000 people migrating to New England in the 1630s. The population was mostly Puritan and its government was run by leaders who were strongly influenced by Puritan beliefs. Before the arrival of the English, the area of Massachsetts Bay was the territory of several Algonquin-speaking tribes including the Massachusett, Nauset, and Wampanoag. The Pennacooks occupied the Merimack River valley to the north and the Nipmuc, Pocumtuc, and Mahican occupied the western lands of present-day Massachusetts; however, some of these tribes were under tribute to …

The Founding of Plymouth Colony

In November 1620, the first Puritans to emigrate to America were a group of separatists known as the Pilgrims. They had already feld to the Netherlands in 1608, but they eventually came to believe that the Dutch were corrupt. A decade later, fearing that their children were being drawn into the culture, they decided to emigrate to the Virginia Colony (which is MUCH larger than the state we know today). The expedition was financed by a group of investors who hoped to establish a base for profitable trade. In September 1620, the Mayflower, carrying 150 settlers and crew, embarked on its journey to Virginia. However, the ship was blown off course and landed hundreds of miles north on Cape Cod. The 102 people who survived the journey established the colony of Plymouth. Before landing, the Pilgrim leaders drew up the Mayflower Compact--the first written frame of government in what is now the United States. William Bradford and Edward Winslow, two of the colony's leaders, published …

Hey y'all!

After a long hiatus due to school, I am glad to be back and have plenty of time to update this blog and help all of you learn more about American history and help you all continue to be able to make the connections you need to make between the past so you can know how we got to where we are now. This past semester at school has given me some amazing things which I hope will shine through my writing, especially in later posts when I discuss the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. I also had the pleasure of working with children in the local high school and helping them to understand that history is more than just facts, names, and dates. However, academics aside, this month has brought me some amazing opportunities. I won an essay contest held by Brad Meltzer, author and host of "Brad Meltzer's Decoded" on the History Channel, the write-up he did of my winning entry can be seen here: Also, I will be starting tutoring in…

Bacon's Rebellion

The Context
~~Tobacco prices were dropping due to over-production
~~Backcountry farmers were being bombarded with new taxes
~~There were no political opportnities because there hadn't been elections in more than a decade
~~There were struggles over the hogs; the Susquehannok began to raid the freely roaming animals which belonged to the backcountry farmers
~~The backcountrymen ask Governor Berkley and the House of Burgesses for immediate action; the backcountrymen want all Indians killed and want war against "all Indians in general for they are all enemies"
~~Governor Berkley and the coastal elites want to build year...on lands owned by elite speculators; they also want to use "friendly" Indians (the groups who trade with the English) as a buffer against "hostile" Indians (the groups who trade with the French) further down.

Nathaniel Bacon agrees to lead an alread-convened militia to kill Indians, without the approval of Governor Berkley.…

The Colonial Chesapeake: The Land of the Haves and Have Nots

In the Colonial Chesapeake, coastal planters were the "ruling class". They were early arrivals to the Chesapeake and thus had control over the cleared lands on the riverfront. They were closer to ports, abundant in political influence, and were "orderly" families that would intermarry frequently to create a dense network of political power and wealth, known as a "little commonwealth". The coastal planters would often buy both servants and slaves to work, multiplying their plantations' productivity. It is also important to say that these coastal planters lived upriver because in other parts of the Colonial Chesapeake, such as the backcountry, life was a whole different story.

What is a backcountry?
~A backcountry is territory beyond the core settlements (think borderlands); the territory is usually on the peripheries of imperial power (meaning, the Crown didn't pay a lot of attention to what was going on in the backcountry).
~Because of the weak i…