The American Colonies by Alan Taylor :: Colonial American History Reading Group



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Reading Table of Contents

Introduction | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11| Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 (part 1) | Chapter 14 (part 2) | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17

Current Reading Schedule

  • Week 1: The American Colonies, Introduction

    Thought Questions
    - Describe how the author outlines his purpose and goals for the book?
    - Describe the waves of migrants from Asia and how they occupied North America?
    - In what ways did the Asian migrants to North America effect their environment?
    - What did different Asian migrants to North America have in common?

    Optional Supplemental Reading
    - Introduction Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800 by Allan Kulikoff
  • Week 2: The American Colonies, Chapter 1: Natives

    Note: A good book on Pre Columbian North America is 1491 (Second Edition): New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann. The second edition is worthwhile.

    Thought Questions
    - What are some of the European myths about Pre-Colombian North America (both harmless and negative)?
    - Describe the waves of migration to pre-Colombian North America
    - How did Pre-Colombian natives adapt to their environment? How did they alter their environment?
    - How and why did Horticulture take hold in pre Colombian North America?
    - How did the environment effect the development of Horticulture in different regions of pre Colombian North America?
    - Who were the Hohokam and Anasazi peoples?
    - Who were the "Mound Builders"?
    - What are some examples of pre Colombian environmental engineering?
    - What role did European plants, domesticated animals and vermin effect the North American ecosystems?
    - What are some common themes in pre Colombian beliefs that tie very different peoples together into a common tradition?
    - How did the conflict between the Aristotelian beliefs of the Europeans and the Animistic beliefs of the pre Colombians create misunderstanding?
    - How were Christian beliefs tied to Capitalism and Animistic beliefs tied to the communal living of pre Colombians?

    Optional Supplemental Reading
    - Chapter 1 Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800 by Allan Kulikoff
  • Week 3 :: The American Colonies, Chapter 2: Colonizers

    Thought Questions
    - What motivated the initial exploration of North America for different groups of Europeans?
    - How did European sea faring advances help facilitate exploration of the Atlantic?
    - It what ways were the Ottoman Turks responsible for western exploration by European powers?
    - In what ways did the Colombian exchange of plants and animals effect the environment in North America?
    - How did the spread of written knowledge spur European exploration?
    - How was the first state of Spain created and how did this impact their colonial expansion?
    - Describe the general progress of Spanish and Portuguese exploration and colonization
    - Who were the Guanche people and what was their experience with European colonizers?
    - Describe "Plantation Agriculture" and how it evolved alongside slavery?
    - Describe the four voyages of Columbus and the western myths that have attached to him
    - How did the Norse explore North America and why did it produce different results from later voyages and exploration?
    - Who were the Taino people and what was their experience with European colonizers?
    - What was the 1493 Treaty of Tordesillas?
    - Who was Amerigo Vespucci and what is his claim to fame?
    - Describe the general spread and impact of Euro-Asian-African diseases that led to the "Great Dying" in North America
    - Why was European colonization of the Americas different from the colonization of Africa?
    - Why were American native people especially vulnerable to epidemics?
    - Describe the industry and growth of African slavery
    - How did advances in agriculture in Europe contribute to colonialism?

    Optional Supplemental Reading
    - Chapter 2 Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800 by Allan Kulikoff
  • Week 4 :: The American Colonies, Chapter 3: New Spain

    Thought Questions
    - Describe the evolution of the sixteenth century Spanish empire in the Atlantic and Pacific.
    - How did the parts of the sixteenth century Spanish empire integrate together into an imperial system?
    - What was the "Black Legend"?
    - Who was Hernán Cortés and how did he destroy the Aztec and their tributary peoples?
    - What was some of the characteristics of Aztec culture and civilization and how did they compare to Europeans?
    - How was New Spain a religious mission and how was the Spanish empire "successful" in this mission even while their economic institutions faded?
    - What forms of human sacrifice did the Spanish practice in their empire and what religious justifications did they use to defend it?
    - Who was Francisco Pizarro and how did he destroy the Inca and their tributary peoples?
    - What was the institution of "conquistador" and how was it connected to Christian-Muslim conflict in Iberia and North Africa?
    - How did gender distribution and intermarriage effect the evolution of Native peoples?
    - What technological and methodological advantages did the Spanish have in war?
    - What was the institution of "encomendero" and "hacienda"?
    - How did the process of Spanish settlement colonialism unfold in the sixteenth century?
    - Describe the role gold and silver played in New Spain and how it changed Europe?
    - How did English, Dutch and French piracy effect New Spain?

    Optional Supplemental Reading
    - Chapter 3 Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800 by Allan Kulikoff
  • Week 5 :: The American Colonies, Chapter 4: The Spanish Frontier

    Thought Questions
    - How did horticulture and nomadic lifestyles effect the spread of Spanish colonialism?
    - Who was Cabeza de Vaca and what role did he play in the Spanish empire?
    - How and why was the experience of Native Americans and the Spanish different in Northern Mexico compared to Central Mexico?
    - Who was Hernando de Soto and what role did he play in the Spanish empire?
    - Who was Francisco Vázquez de Coronado and what role did he play in the Spanish empire?
    - Who were the Mississippian peoples and how did they experience the Spanish empire?
    - How did the Spanish empire develop in Florida and New Mexico?
    - Who were the Pueblo peoples and how did they experience the Spanish empire?
    - Describe the mission system as it occurred in New Mexico
    - What was the Pueblo revolt of 1680?

    Optional Supplemental Reading
    - Chapter 4 Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800 by Allan Kulikoff
  • Week 6 :: The American Colonies, Chapter 5: Canada and Iroquoia

    Thought Questions
    - How did English, French and Dutch piracy against the Spanish facilitate and influence non-Spanish colonization?
    - Why did the French develop transient instead of stationary colonization?
    - How did the Native - European fur trade develop and change native societies?
    - In what ways did Europeans and Native Americans become dependent upon each other and how did this effect their relations?
    - How was the French tribal model of colonization different from the Spanish conquistador model?
    - Who were the Iroquois and Algonquian peoples?
    - How did the native conceptions of trade and diplomacy differ from the French conceptions of trade and diplomacy?
    - How did the Native pragmatic experience in trade demonstrate the mythology of the naive Natives?
    - How did Native trade effect the environment?
    - Why was the St. Lawrence River Valley and the Great Lakes a favorable place for French colonization?
    - How did the French settlement of Quebec develop?
    - Who were the Huron peoples and how did they function in the French fur trade and the Five Nations peoples?
    - Who were the Iroquoian Five Nations? What Iroquoian peoples remained outside the Five Nations?
    - How did European trade and firearms change Native warfare and ritual warfare?
    - Who was Henry Hudson and how were the Dutch involved in the fur trade and create new conflicts?
    - How and why did the French attempt to convert Natives to Christianity and how was it different because of the fur trade from the Spanish methods?

    Optional Supplemental Reading
    - Chapter 5 Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800 by Allan Kulikoff
  • Week 7 :: The American Colonies, Chapter 6: Virginia

    Thought Questions
    - How did geography and native power make Virginia one of the last places occupied and a "left over" to the late arriving English?
    - What was the role of "promoter" in English colonization?
    - How did the experience of Irish conquest effect British colonization of America?
    - Who were the caste of "West Country Men" and how did they lead English colonization?
    - How was social engineering a part off English colonization in contrast to French, Dutch and Spanish colonization?
    - How was the government of Britain different from the governments of France and Spain?
    - What were the environmental and geographic conditions around Jamestown?
    - Who was Humphrey Gilbert and what was his role in British colonialism in Ireland and America?
    - How were attitudes about and actions against Colonial settlers by Promoters similar to how promoters viewed and interacted with Native Americans?
    - What was "logic" behind Colonial treatment of Native Americans?
    - How did the government of the Jamestown colony evolve in the first decade of settlement?
    - How did Tobacco effect the fortunes of the Virginia settlers?
    - How was food used as a weapon by settlers and Native Americans?
    - How were the motives and actions around the founding of Maryland different from the founding of Virginia?

    The Age of Exploration - Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
    The Roanoke Colonies - Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
    Brief Biography: John Rolfe
    Brief Biography: Pocahontas
    Brief Biography: Powhatan
    Brief Biography: Opechancanough

    Optional Supplemental Reading
    - Chapter 6 Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800 by Allan Kulikoff
  • Week 8 :: The American Colonies, Chapter 7: Chesapeake Colonies

    Thought Questions
    - How did circumstances change in the Chesapeake during the middle 17th century?
    - In what ways did Bacon's rebellion effect the balance of power in Virginia?
    - How did "counties" come to dominate the governments in the Chesapeake and what effect did this have on social development?
    - What were "Little Commonwealths" and how did they fit into the English social hierarchy?
    - How did a gender gap in the Chesapeake effect the development of "Little Commonwealths" and effect social, labor, and economic conditions?
    - How did the lives and prospects of indentured servants differ from the lives of slaves and how did this evolve over the 17th century?

    Optional Supplemental Reading
    - Chapter 7 Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800 by Allan Kulikoff
  • Week 9 :: The American Colonies, Chapter 8: The New England Colonies

    Thought Questions
    - Who were the Puritan Mathers and what was their role in New England?
    - What circumstances in England gave rise to Puritanism?
    - Where did the term "Puritan" come from?
    - Describe the basic disagreements between Anglicans and Puritans
    - Describe the basic disagreements between the Puritans and Pilgrims (Separatists)
    - What were the characteristics of Puritan communities and what values did the express?
    - What was the "Puritan Great Migration"? Where did the Great Migration send settlers to other than New England?
    - Who were the principle leaders of the New English settlements?
    - Describe the community that the Pilgrims created in Plymouth
    - Describe the community the Puritans created in Massachusetts Bay
    - Compare and Contrast the differences between the Pilgrim (Separatists) and Puritan communities
    - What process drove the division and multiplication of New English settlements?
    - Why was the initial settlement experience of the Puritans different from the Chesapeake Colonies?
    - How was the process of settlement expansion different in New England compared to the Chesapeake Colonies?
    - In what ways was the experience of women in New England different compare to the Chesapeake colonies?
    - What roles did women assume in the Puritan church?
    - How was the typical division of labor and the mode and method of agriculture different in New England compared to the Chesapeake colonies?
    - In what ways was the relationship between New England and the West Indies mutually beneficial?
    - How and why did New England develop a shipping and fishing industry?
    - What was the "Half Way" covenant and why was it created?
    - Who were Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson?
    - What role did a belief in magic and witchcraft play in the development of New England? How was this related to gender relations?
    - What was a "Jeremiad"?

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - "If men desire to have a people degenerate speedily, and to corrupt their mindes and bodies too … let them se[e]cke a rich soile, that brings in much with little labour; but if they desire that Piety and Godlinesse should prosper … let them choose a Country such as [New England] which may yield sufficiency with hard labour and industry."
    - "Of all the American Plantations his Majesty has, none are so apt for the building of Shipping as New-England, nor none more comparably so qualified for the breeding of Seamen, not only by reason of the natural industry of that people, but principally by reason of their Cod and Mackeral Fisheries: and in my poor opinion, there is nothing more prejudicial, and in prospect more dangerous to any Mother-Kingdom, than the increase of Shipping in her Colonies, Plantations, or Provinces."
    - "There are far more Godly Women in the World than there are Godly Men. … I have seen it without going a Mile from home, That in a Church of between Three and Four Hundred Communicants, there are but few more than One Hundred Men; all the Rest are Women."

    - Brief Biography: John Cotton (1585-1652)
    - Brief Biography: Richard Mather (1586-1668)
    - Brief Biography: Increase Mather (1639-1723)
    - Brief Biography: Cotton Mather (1663-1728)
    - Brief Biography: John Winthorp
    - Brief Biography: William Brewster
    - Brief Biography: William Bradford
    - Brief Biography: Anne Hutchinson
    - Brief Biography: Roger Williams
    - The Puritans

    Optional Supplemental Reading
    - Chapter 8 Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800 by Allan Kulikoff
  • Week 10 :: The American Colonies by Alan Taylor
    Chapter 9: Puritans and Indians

    Thought Questions
    - What events led up to the Pequot genocide?
    - What role did ritual mutilations play in the Pequot genocide?
    - How did the Native American allies of the Puritans react to the Pequot genocide?
    - What was the purpose of Native American "Praying Towns" and how did they function?
    - In what ways did the forced collectivization of the Native Americans of Southern New England into prison communes impact New England?
    - What role did Puritan religious beliefs play in the wars and genocides of Native Americans?
    - How did King Philip’s War of 1675-1676 (Metacom’s Rebellion) begin?
    - How did the Native Americans of Southern New England adapt to Puritan warfare?
    - Who was King Phillip?
    - What was the end result of King Phillip's War?

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - "Instead of viewing the precolonial landscape as beautiful, the leading Puritans perceived, in William Bradford’s phrase, “a hideous and desolate wilderness full of wild beasts and wild men.” The New English saw the Indians as their opposite—as pagan peoples who had surrendered to their worst instincts to live within the wild, instead of laboring hard to conquer and transcend nature."
    - "Roger Williams conceded, “It is a strange truth, that a man shall generally finde more free entertainment and refreshing amongst these Barbarians, than amongst thousands that call themselves Christians.”"
    - "John Winthrop explained, “As for the Natives in New England, they inclose noe Land, neither have any setled habytation, nor any tame Cattle to improve the Land by, and soe have noe other but a Naturall Right to those Countries, soe as if we leave them sufficient for their use, we may lawfully take the rest.” The colonists appointed themselves to judge how much land the Indians needed, which shrank with every passing year. The resolves of the town of Milford in Connecticut in 1640 were especially blunt: “Voted that the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof; voted, that the earth is given to the Saints; voted, we are the Saints.”"
    - "Captain Mason exulted, “God was above them, who laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven … [and] filling the Place with Dead Bodies!” Only about five inhabitants survived by breaking through the surrounding circle of their enemies."
    - "Some have said: "Should not Christians have more mercy and compassion?” But he retorted, “Sometimes the Scripture declareth [that] women and children must perish with their parents. We had sufficient light from the Word of God for our proceedings.”
    - "Governor William Bradford recalled: It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands and given them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy."

    Optional Supplemental Reading
    - Chapter 9 Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800 by Allan Kulikoff
  • Week 11 :: The American Colonies by Alan Taylor
    Chapter 10: The West Indies

    Thought Questions
    - Why did the West Indies rise to preeminence in the British empire and what impact did this have on the mainland colonies?
    - What was the process for growing, harvesting and processing sugar?
    - Describe the society that developed in the West Indies during the 17th century?
    - Why were the West Indies "an especially bloody and ruthless zone"?
    - What role did English, French, and Dutch pirates and smugglers play in the West Indies?
    - What were the Spanish, Dutch, and French colonies in the Caribbean?
    - Compare and Contrast the English, Spanish, Dutch, and French colonies in the Caribbean
    - Who were the Caribs?
    - How did the development in the Chesapeake colonies during the 17th century impact Caribbean colonies?
    - How did slavery develop in the Caribbean colonies?
    - How did racially segregated slavery develop in the Caribbean colonies?
    - How did the New England colonies and the West Indies develop a mutually beneficial system?
    - How were Native Americans and Africans consumed by this system?
    - What were the provisions of "An Act for Better Ordering and Governing of Negroes" (1661)?
    - How did the role of religion in slavery impact English slaves differently from Catholic slaves?
    - Describe the colonization of Jamaica and how it evolved differently from Barbados
    - Describe the evolution of Port Royal and the role piracy played in it
    - Who were the "maroons"?
    - How did a small but rich planter elite, a marginal population of poor whites, a great majority of black slaves, and a trace element of defiant maroons constitute an economic system?

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - "In 1647, Governor John Winthrop of Massachusetts explained that the Barbadians were “so intent upon planting sugar that they had rather buy foode at very deare rates than produce it by labour, soe infinite is the profitt of sugar workes after once accomplished.”"
    - "In 1655 a visitor to Barbados observed, “Our English here doth think a Negro child the first day it is born to be worth £5; they cost them nothing the bringing up, they go always naked. … They sell them from one to the other as we do sheep.”"
    - "Ah brother! If thou didst see those great persons that are now dead upon the water, thou couldst never forget it. Great men who were so swallowed up with pride, that a man could not be admitted to speak with them, and women whose top-knots seemed to reach the clouds, now lie stinking upon the water, and are made meat for fish and fowls of the air."

    - The Foundations of Colonial American Slave Law - Yale Law School
    - Brief Biography: Sir Henry Morgan

    Optional Supplemental Reading
    - Chapter 10 Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800 by Allan Kulikoff
  • Week 12 :: The American Colonies by Alan Taylor
    Chapter 11: Carolina

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - “With Regret we bewailed our peculiar Case, that we could not enjoy the Benefits of Peace like the rest of Mankind and that our own Industry should be the Means of taking from us all the Sweets of Life and of rendering us Liable to the Loss of our Lives and Fortunes.”
    - “It can never be our Interest to extirpate [the Indians of the interior], or to force them from their Lands” for fear that “their Ground would be soon taken up by runaway Negroes from our Settlements, whose Numbers would daily increase, and quickly become more formidable Enemies than Indians can ever be.”
    - "“If we allow Slaves, we act against the very Principles by which we associated together, which was to relieve the distressed.” A colonist retorted, “Thus have you Protected us from Ourselves … by Keeping all Earthly Comforts from us. You have afforded us … the Integrity of the Primitive Times, by intailing a more than Primitive Poverty on us.”"
    - "“to make Indians & Negros a checque upon each other, lest by their Vastly Superior Numbers we should be crushed by one or the other.”"
    - “The greater number of blacks, which a frontier has … the more danger she is liable to; for those are all secret enemies, and ready to join with her open ones on the first occasion.”
    - "to ravish the wife from the Husband, Kill the father to get the Child and to burne and Destroy the habitations of these poore people into whose Country wee were Ch[e]arefully received by them, cherished and supplied when wee were weake, or at least never have done us hurt; and after wee have set them on worke to doe all these horrid, wicked things to get slaves to sell [to] the dealers in Indians [you] call it humanity to buy them and thereby keep them from being murdered."


    The words "Frontier" and "Borderland" should not be used interchangeably. When referring to a "Frontier" a perspective is implied - what direction is the perspective facing? "Borderlands" refers to the zone of interaction as a "whole". It's looking "down" on the developing scene.

    A "Frontier" is much like describing a parade from the sidewalk. "Borderlands" would describe that same parade but from the perspective of a helicopter. Population density is a factor of not a condition for the Frontier or Borderlands.

    The borderlands are sometimes referred to as "Shatterzones" because both Frontiers are destroyed and the Borderlands enter a state of becoming something new. Geography is also a factor of not a condition for the Frontier or Borderlands. There are shatterzones in borderlands all over the United States, historically and currently.

    Our historical "Frontiers" are often turned into folklore. When folklores collide it can impact a region, a nation, a town, a family, a faith community, a business, an ethnic group, an orientation group - population doesn't matter.

    Learning Exercise
    At this point we have read about the founding of the 5 major regions that became the United States - New Spain, New France, The Chesapeake, New England and The Carolina West Indies. Construct a timeline for the colonization and settlement of each of these regions in the 17th century

    - Why are New Spain, New France, The Chesapeake, New England and The Carolina West Indies fundamentally different from colonies such as New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey et al.?
    - How will later (in relationship not time) colonies be impacted by the developments in New Spain, New France, The Chesapeake, New England and The Carolina West Indies?

    The below writing should concise enough to be memorable and comprehensive enough to be meaningful. It does not have to be all inclusive. It should be something along the lines of what you would tell someone that asked about the founding generations of non-Native America.

    - Write a one paragraph description of the founding ideas behind each of the regions. Write a second paragraph comparing and contrasting them.
    - Write a one paragraph description of the popular demographics and evolution of each region. Write a second paragraph comparing and contrasting them.
    - Write a one paragraph description of the leadership demographics and evolution of each region. Write a second paragraph comparing and contrasting them.
    - Write a one paragraph description of how each region's approach to Native Americans evolved. Write a second paragraph comparing and contrasting them.

    Thought Questions
    - Sugar, Beaver, Tobacco, Cod, Rice, Maize
    - Authoritarian, Egalitarian, Oligarchy, Democracy, Feudalism, Militarists
    - Piracy, Conquistadors, Wardens, Millenarianism, Negotiators, Gentry, Immigrants
    - Town Halls, Plantations, Praying Towns, Borderlands, Farms, Ports
    - Rivers, Stones, Swamps, Soils, Weeds, Fire, Trees
    - Cod and Slavery. Sugar and Slavery, Tobacco and Slavery
    - Tribes, Confederations, Alliances, Treaties, Genocide, Structure, Memory, Assimilations
    - North and South, East and West, Red and Black, White and Gray, Hands and Mouths, Corn and Gold, Beavers and Pigs, Abundance and Want

    Primary Sources
    - Charter of Carolina - March 24, 1663
    - Charter of Carolina : June 30, 1665
    - The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina : March 1, 1669
    - Concessions and Agreements of the Lords Proprietors of the Province of Carolina, 1665
    A Declaration and Proposals of the Lord Proprietor of Carolina, Aug. 25-Sept. 4, 1663
  • Week 13 :: The American Colonies by Alan Taylor
    Chapter 12: Middle Colonies 1600–1700

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - "The Dutch must be understood as they really are, the Middle Persons in Trade, the Factors and Brokers of Europe. … They buy to sell again, take in to send out, and the greatest Part of their vast Commerce consists in being supply’d from All Parts of the World, that they may supply All the World again."
    - “As to the natives of this country, I find them entirely savage and wild, strangers to all decency, yea, uncivil and stupid as garden poles, [and] proficient to all wickedness and godlessness.”
    - “Trade is free to every one, which enables the savages to obtain all things very cheaply: each of the Dutch outbidding his companion, and being satisfied, provided he can gain some little profit.”
    - “The Dutch say we are brothers and that we are joined together with chains, but that lasts only as long as we have beavers. After that we are no longer thought of.”
    - “The Contests of West Jersey have always been betwixt the Quakers and her majesty’s subjects that are no Quakers. … The contest in East Jersey is of a different nature, whether the country shall be a Scotch settlement or an English settlement.”
    - “They have a saying here: Pennsylvania is heaven for farmers, paradise for artisans, and hell for officials and preachers.”

    Thought Questions
    - What made the experience in founding the Middle colonies distinct from the founding of other colonial regions?
    - Describe the founding of New Amsterdam
    - What ways was New Amsterdam influenced by the British colonies and why did the British colonies react to the Dutch the way they did?
    - Describe the founding of New Sweden and the relationship it had with New Amsterdam
    - What were the circumstances and progressive consequences of the Anglo Dutch wars?
    - Describe the "founding" of New York. How did the transition to becoming free Englishmen impact women?
    - In what ways were the Dutch the "Middle Persons in Trade, the Factors and Brokers of Europe"?
    - Describe the role Dutch piracy played in their colonial empire
    - Compare and Contrast the Dutch government with those of the British and Continental powers
    - In what ways did the Anglo Dutch wars and competition impact the Native America balance of power?
    - What role did religion play in Dutch trade and immigration?
    - Who was Captain John Underhill? What was his role in the genocide of the Pequot?
    - What is the difference between Holland and the Netherlands?
    - How did the "Dutch" become a socially distinct identity group in Europe and how did this impact their behavior in empire?
    - Compare and Contrast the pattern of immigration between the New English and the Middle colonial Dutch? with the Chesapeake? Between the British West Indies and Carolina?
    - How did the West Indies become a part of the Dutch empire and how did it function within it?
    - Who was Edmund Andros and what role did he play between British, the colonials and Native American groups?
    - Describe the founding of East and West Jersey and the eventual unification
    - Who were (not are) the Quakers? What made them distinct from other settlers?
    - How did the attitudes and actions of the Quakers towards Native Americans evolve?
    - Describe the founding of Pennsylvania and how the Quakers evolved during it
    - How did race and gender impact the founding of Pennsylvania?
    - Who/What was the Penn family and how were they involved in colonial America?
    - Describe the founding of Delaware
    - Who were the Lenni Lenape peoples?

    Primary Sources
    - An Act for the Encouragement of Trade - Charles II, 1663

    Articles and Resources
    - Brief Biography: Edmund Andros
    - Sir Edmund Andros (1637–ca. 1714) Brief Biography with Timeline
    - Navigation Acts (1651, 1660)
    - Sir William Penn
    - Admiral William Penn
  • Week 14 :: The American Colonies by Alan Taylor
    Chapter 13: Revolutions

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - “The lawes of England are bounded within the fower seas, and does not reach America.”
    - "My Lord Cornbury has and dos still make use of an unfortunate Custom of dressing himself in Women’s Cloaths and of exposing himself in that Garb upon the Ramparts to the view of the public; in that dress he draws a World of Spectators upon him and consequently as many Censures, especially for exposing himself in such a manner [on] all the great Holy days and even in an hour or two after going to the Communion"

    Thought Quotes
    - What circumstances brought James II to the throne and removed him from it?
    - Diagram a simple family tree of the Tudors and Stuarts
    - How did James II view the American colonies? How did this impact his government? What was the end result in America?
    - In what ways did the sections of the American colonies experience the consequences of James II reign?
    - Describe the "Dominion of New England". What purpose did James II have in including New York and the Jerseys with New England?
    - In what ways did the New English respond to the Dominion of New England?
    - What was Edmund Andros? How did he lay the seeds of American rebellion?
    - Describe the events of the Glorious Revolutions in England
    - Who were King William III (of Orange) and Queen Mary II (Stuart) and how/ why did they come to power?
    - How did the different colonies react to the Glorious Revolutions?
    - How did William and Mary arrive at a reconciliation with the colonies? What was the nature of this reconciliation?
    - How did the Glorious Revolutions impact long term American attitudes and perceptions?
    - Who was Lord Cornbury? Compare and Contrast him with Edmund Andros
    - What was the Nine Years' War / War of the Grand Alliance / War of the League of Augsburg?
    - How and Why did the Nine Years' War spread to the American colonies?
    - Describe the events of King William's War and its consequences
    - What was The War of the Spanish Succession?
    - How and Why did the War of the Spanish Succession spread to the American Colonies?
    - Describe Queen Anne's War and its consequences
    - Describe the union of England and Scotland
    - How did piracy impact the wars and the Americas during this period?
    - How did this period end the "Golden Age of Pirates"?
    - In what ways was the British Imperial economic system changed in this period and how did this effect her relationship with the American colonies?

    Primary Sources
    - Commission of Sir Edmund Andros for the Dominion of New England. April 7, 1688
    - Letter of invitation to William of Orange, 1688

    Articles and Resources
    - Brief Biography: Charles II (older brother of James II)
    - Brief Biography: James II (surviving brother of Charles II)
    - The Dominion of New England
    - Brief Biography: Edmund Andros
    - Brief Biography: King William III (of Orange)
    - Brief Biography: Queen Mary II (Stuart)
    - Who was Lord Cornbury

    Further Reading
    - Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution by Peter Ackroyd
    - The War of the Spanish Succession 1701-1714 by James Falkner
    - The Colonial Wars by Howard H. Peckham
  • Week 15 :: The American Colonies by Alan Taylor
    Chapter 14: The Atlantic (Part 1 - The Economic / Material Atlantic)

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - "Contrary to colonial promoters (and some historians), frontier settlement was neither an easy escape from tenancy nor an automatic path to prosperity. The thick forests, bad roads, distance from market, voracious wildlife, and resentful natives combined to consign new settlers to prolonged hardships and danger."
    - "Flourishing as we may appear to a superficial observer, yet there are many dark spots which, on due consideration greatly lessen that show of happiness which the Europeans think we possess. The number of debts which one part of the country owes to the other would greatly astonish you. The younger a country is, the more it is oppressed, for new settlements are always made by people who do not possess much. They are obliged to borrow, and, if any accidents intervene, they are not enabled to repay that money in many years. The interest is a canker-worm which consumes their yearly industry. Many never can surmount these difficulties. The land is sold, their labors are lost, and they are obliged to begin the world anew. Oh, could I have the map of the county wherein I live; could I point out the different farms on which several families have struggled for many years; [could I] open the great book of mortgages and show you the immense encumberances, the ramification of which are spread and felt everywhere—you would be surprised."
    - "“that if Luxury was to be confined to the Rich alone, it might prove a great national good.” During his 1744 tour of the colonies, Hamilton disliked seeing fine goods displayed in otherwise common dwellings. At one farm, he found “superfluous things which showed an inclination to finery … such as a looking glass with a painted frame, half a dozen pewter spoons and as many plates … a set of stone tea dishes, and a teapot.” Far better, he thought, for farmers to make do with “wooden plates and spoons” and “a little water in a wooden pail might serve for a looking glass.”"
    - "“You know the influence of the Wives upon their Husbands, & it is but a trifle that wins ’em over, [and] they must be taken notice of or there will be nothing with them.”"

    Thought Questions
    - What impact did the number and frequency of trans-Atlantic passages have on 18th century colonial America?
    - What were the factors that led to an increase in the number and frequency of trans-Atlantic passages?
    - What was the Plantation Act of 1740 and what impact did it have on Colonial America?
    - Compare and Contrast American labor contractors in England during the Colonial Era with American labor contractors in Northern Mexico in the Gilded Age / Progressive Era (consult Becoming Mexican American, Chapters 1-2)
    - In what ways did the speed of information impact Colonial America?
    - How did the Navigation Acts impact the trade of the Chesapeake and West Indies?
    - How did the Navigation Acts impact New England and the Carolinas?
    - What place did the Middle Colonies find in the Atlantic and British trade network?
    - Compare and Contrast income and taxation in Colonial America and England?
    - How did the system of Atlantic slavery evolve? How did slavery impact Colonial prosperity?
    - In what ways did trade through Colonial American seaports develop and American unskilled and transient labor class?
    - How did the presence of unskilled and transient labor impact the development of Colonial agriculture and cottage and workshop manufacture?
    - How did the Labor / Land ratio begin to change in 18th century America? What impact did this have?
    - Describe the "consumer revolution" in Colonial America and how it impacted the developing middle class?
    - Describe the impact of consumer goods on those attempting to create an American "gentry" status for themselves
    - In what ways did gender impact the consumer revolution?

    Articles and Resources
    - Three Concepts in Atlantic History
    - Atlantic History and Interdisciplinary Approaches Alison Games
    - Teacher Resource: Map of the Atlantic World
    - Map of the Atlantic World

    Further Reading
    - The Material Atlantic: Clothing, Commerce, and Colonization in the Atlantic World, 1650–1800 by Robert DuPlessis
    - The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900 by Thomas Benjamin
    - Lords of all the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France c.1500-c.1800 by Anthony Pagden
    - Colonial America in an Atlantic World by T. H. Breen and Timothy D. Hall
    - Oxford Bibliographies: Atlantic History
    - Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945 by George J. Sanchez
  • Week 16 :: The American Colonies by Alan Taylor
    Chapter 14: The Atlantic (Part 2 - The Human Atlantic)

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - "The transported were overwhelmingly young, unmarried men with little or no economic skill: the cannon fodder of war and the jail fodder of peace."
    - "Lutherans, Reformed, Moravians, Baptists, and Pietists of many stripes"
    - “Here are religions and nationalities without number; this land is an asylum for banished sects, a sanctuary for all evil-doers from Europe, a confused Babel, a receptacle for all unclean spirits, an abode of the devil, a first world, a Sodom, which is deplorable.”
    - "Contrary to popular myth, most eighteenth-century emigrants did not come to America of their own free will in search of liberty. Nor were they Europeans. On the contrary, most were enslaved Africans forced across the Atlantic to work on plantations raising American crops for the European market."
    - “Slavery is among us not of choice but of necessity and unless (as it is not to be imagined) our mother country should quit the trade of the sugar colonies, Englishmen must continue to be masters of their slaves.”
    - "The Negroes are so wilful and loth to leave their own country, that they have often leap’d out of the canoes, boat, and ship into the sea [to drown themselves]; they having a more dreadful apprehension of Barbadoes than we can have of hell.” A surgeon concluded, “I think it may be clearly deduced, that the unhappy Africans … have a strong attachment to their native country, together with a just sense of the value of liberty.”
    - “We had about 12 negroes [who] did wilfully drown themselves, and others starv’d themselves to death; for ’tis their belief that when they die they return home to their own country and friends again.”
    - "mouth opener”
    - "Seventeenth-century slave voyages probably killed about 20 percent of the slaves."
    - "To hide the signs of bleeding dysentery, some cunning captains had their surgeons stop the anus of each slave with oakum"
    - "In the Chesapeake colonies during the early eighteenth century, one quarter of the new slaves died within their first year of arrival."
    - “A new Negro must be broke. … You would really be surpriz’d at their Perseverance. Let a hundred men show him how to hoe, or drive a wheelbarrow, he’ll still take the one by the bottom and the other by the wheel; and they often die before they can be conquer’d.”
    - “The fear of punishment is the principle to which we must and do appeal, to keep them in awe and order.”
    - “I find it almost impossible to make a negro do his work well. No orders can engage it, no encouragement persuade it, nor no Punishment oblige it.”
    - "The Negroes, who are all in troops, are sorted so as to match each other in size and strength. Every ten Negroes have a driver, who walks behind them, holding in his hand a short whip and a long one. … they are naked, male and female, down to the girdle, and you constantly observe where application [of the whip] has been made. Initially shocked, Schaw soon accepted the dehumanizing equivocations of her gracious hosts: They would be as averse to [whipping] as we are, could it be avoided, which has often been tried to no purpose. When one comes to be better acquainted with the Negroes, the horrour of it must wear off. … As to the brutes, it inflicts no wound on their mind, whose Nature seems made to bear it, and whose sufferings are not attended with shame or pain beyond the present moment."

    Thought Questions - Free and Indentured Labor
    - Compare and Contrast the development of British trade shipping in the early 18th century and the emigrants that came across the Atlantic with it
    - What were the "push" and "pull" factors in colonial emigration in the early 18th century?
    - In what ways and Why did European wars impact colonial emigration?
    - How was crime influenced by war and peace in England and how did this impact colonial emigration?
    - Describe the institution of convict colonial labor and Compare and Contrast convict labor with indentured servitude and with slavery
    - What impact did convict labor have on colonial society?
    - Describe the Scots emigration to Colonial America in the early 18th century and the social and religious impact that came with it
    - What is the British Union of 1707?
    - Who were the Ulster Scots and the Highland Scots?
    - Compare and Contrast the emigration experience of Highland Scots and Ulster Scots
    - Describe the German emigration to Colonial America in the early 18th century and the social and religious impact that came with it
    - What events in Europe and the Rhineland influenced the German colonial emigration?
    - Who were the German Pietists and what made them distinct from other Christian sects?
    - Compare and Contrast the German Baptists (Brethren) and the England Baptists and their emigration experience
    - Compare and Contrast the German emigration in the early 18th century with the English emigration into different regions (New England, Chesapeake, etc) in the 17th century
    - Why, then, did so many Rhinelanders undertake such a daunting journey across an ocean to a strange land?
    - How did the Germans use and adapt the existing colonial model of indentured servitude?
    - In what ways did religious pluralism constraining direct and violent conflict and promote highly contentious politics?
    - Who were the Lenni Lenape and what were their experiences with colonial emigration?

    Thought Questions - Slave Labor and African forced emigration
    - Compare and Contrast the emigration of free and indenture labor and the emigration of slave labor
    - What social and political impact did the slave trade have on West Africa?
    - How and Why did the colonial myth of slavery as a "necessary" evil develop?
    - Compare and Contrast the slave trade with the West Indies and with the mainland colonies
    - Describe the "Initial Passage" into slavery victims experienced in Africa
    - Describe the "Middle Passage" of slavery and Compare and Contrast their Atlantic journey with different forms of non-African emigration across the Atlantic
    - Describe the "Final Passage" of slavery and the process of selling and transporting victims
    - How did Africans create new social institutions once enslaved?
    - Compare and Contrast the colonial experience of native born slaves with the experience of Atlantic transported slaves?
    - How did gender impact slave society in Colonial America?
    - Describe the "triangular voyages"
    - Describe the relationship between African slave raiders and European slave traders
    - What forms of resistance did slaves use, under what circumstances where different forms used and what were the goals of resistance?
    - In what ways did slave traders deal with disease?
    - What percentage of slaves died during with Middle Passage?
    - What percentage of slaved died during their first year in the Chesapeake?
    - What percentage of slaves died during their first year in the West Indies and Carolinas?
    - Describe the roles physical, sexual and psychological violence and torture (threatened and implemented) played in the colonial slave system
    - Who were the mulattoes and maroons?
    - Compare and Contrast Urban slavery and rural slavery in colonial America
    - Compare and Contrast the relationships between Northern slaves, Middle / Chesapeake slaves and Southern slaves
    - React and Respond: "In 1780 the black population in British America was less than half the total number of African emigrants received during the preceding century, while the white population exceeded its emigrant source by three to one, thanks especially to the healthy conditions in New England and the middle colonies."

    Articles and Resources
    - Slave Voyages - Map Collection- The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database Collection
    - The Lenni Lenape Tribal History

    Further Reading
    - Hopeful Journeys: German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America, 1717-1775 by Aaron Spencer Fogleman
    - The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440-1870 by Hugh Thomas
    - Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade by David Eltis
    - The French Atlantic Triangle: Literature and Culture of the Slave Trade by Christopher L. Miller
    - The Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Age of Enlightenment by Andrew S. Curran
    - The Dutch Atlantic: Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation by Kwame Nimako and Glenn Willemsen
    - The Slave Ship: A Human History by Marcus Rediker
    - New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America by Wendy Warren
  • Week 17 :: The American Colonies by Alan Taylor
    Chapter 15: Awakenings 1700–75

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - “Our people do not so much need to have their heads stored, as to have their hearts touched.”
    - “a most awakening sermon, and before sermon was done there was a great moaning and crying through the whole house—What shall I do to be saved—oh, I am going to Hell—oh, what shall I do for Christ, etc., etc., so that the minister was obliged to desist—the shrieks and cries were piercing and amazing.”
    - "The power of God came down. My knees smote together. … It seem[e]d to me I was a sinking down to hell. I tho[ugh]t the floor I stood on gave way and I was just a going, but then I began to resign and, as I resigned, my distress began to go off till I was perfectly easy, quiet, and calm. … It seem[e]d as if I had a new soul & body both."
    - "I had in my Pocket a Handful of Copper Money, three or four silver Dollars, and five Pistoles in Gold. As he proceeded, I began to soften, and concluded to give the Coppers. Another Stroke of his Oratory made me ashamed of that, and determined me to give the Silver; and he finished so admirably, that I emptied my Pocket wholly into the Collector’s Dish, Gold and all. "
    - "When I saw Mr. Whitefield come upon the Scaffold he Lookt almost angelical; a young, Slim, slender, youth before some thousands of people with a bold, undaunted Countenance, and my hearing how God was with him every where as he came along, it Solemnized my mind; and put me into a trembling fear before he began to preach; for he looked as if he was Clothed with authority from the Great God; and a sweet sollome solemnity sat upon his brow. And my hearing him preach, gave me a heart wound; by God’s blessing: my old Foundation was broken up."
    - "In the ordinary Excitations of Grace before this Time, there were more Females added than Males, … but in this extraordinary Season, the Grace of GOD has surprisingly seized and subdued the hardiest Men, and more Males have been added here than of the tenderer sex."

    Thought Questions
    - Explain and Expand: "Myth insists that the seventeenth-century English colonists fled from religious persecution into a land of religious freedom. In addition to omitting economic considerations, the myth grossly simplifies the diverse religious motives for emigration."
    - Describe the Establishment church in New England and how it shaped New England society. How and Why was Rhode Island different?
    - Describe the lack of an Establishment church in Middle Colonies and how this shaped society in the Middle Colonies
    - Describe the Anglican church in the Chesapeake and how it shaped Chesapeake society. How did the Catholic church exist in Maryland alongside the Anglicans?
    - Describe the Establishment church in Southern Colonies and how it shaped society and slavery in the Southern Colonies
    - In what ways were "revivals" a part of traditional Congregationalist and Presbyterian churches? What was the nature and purpose of traditional revivals?
    - Who was Jonathan Edwards?
    - Describe the sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" as a revival sermon. How was it used orally and in written form and what difference did this have on its impact?
    - What were the varieties of revival experiences and how did this vary by sect and region?
    - Explain and Expand: "The cultivation of despair, however, was a dangerous business that imperiled the lives of the melancholy."
    - What was the significance of the work "A Faithful Narrative of the Surprizing Work of God"?
    - Who was George Whitefield?
    - What role did theatrics play in Great Awakening revivals? How did organizers attempt to use the atmosphere to enhance the experience?
    - How did revivalism begin the "Social Gospel" tradition in New England?
    - In what ways did gender and age make the Great Awakening different from traditional revivals?
    - What was the significance of the sermon "The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry"
    - Describe the evolution of the relationship between the Establishment Church and Revivalism?
    - Compare and Contrast the "Old Lights" and the "New Lights"?
    - How did the battle between Old Lights and New Lights play out in educational institutions?
    - What part of the conflict between New Lights and Old Lights was over substance / doctrine and what part was over church culture, control and tradition?
    - Describe the divisions within Great Awakening Evangelicalism?
    - How was the experience of the Great Awakening radical Evangelicalism different in the Southern colonies?
    - Describe the development of the Baptists within the Evangelical Movement?
    - Compare and Contrast traditional / conservative Baptists with radical evangelical Baptists
    - In what ways did Great Awakening Evangelicalism address the issue of slavery?
    - In what ways did Great Awakening Evangelicalism impact Native Americans?
    - React and Respond: "Revivals were too emotionally demanding to last."
    - What were the regional legacies of Great Awakening Evangelicalism?

    Primary Sources
    - Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
    - Selected Sermons of Jonathan Edwards
    - The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry

    Articles and Resources
    - Brief Biography: Jonathan Edwards
    - Brief Biography: George Whitefield

    Further Reading
    - The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America by Thomas S. Kidd
    - Baptists in America: A History 1st Edition by Thomas S. Kidd and Barry Hankins
    - Inventing George Whitefield: Race, Revivalism, and the Making of a Religious Icon by Jessica M. Parr

Journals That May Be Of Interest

The books I would like us to consider reading are:

  1. The First Frontier by Scott Weidensaul (completed)
  2. Before The Revolution by Daniel Richter (completed)
  3. American Colonies by Alan Taylor (Our Current Book)
  4. The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675 by Bernard Bailyn
  5. American Slavery, American Freedom by Edmund S. Morgan
  6. Frontier Country: The Politics of War in Early Pennsylvania by Patrick Spero
  7. The Short Life of Free Georgia: Class and Slavery in the Colonial South by Noeleen McIlvenna
  8. The Tuscarora War: Indians, Settlers, and the Fight for the Carolina Colonies by David La Vere
  9. The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America by Russell Shorto
  10. The World, the Flesh, and the Devil: A History of Colonial St. Louis by Patricia Cleary
  11. A Factious People: Politics and Society in Colonial New York by Patricia U. Bonomi
  12. A Colony Sprung from Hell: Pittsburgh and the Struggle for Authority on the Western Pennsylvania Frontier, 1744–1794 by Daniel P. Barr
  13. Harlots, Hussies, and Poor Unfortunate Women: Crime, Transportation, and the Servitude of Female Convicts, 1718-1783 by Edith M. Ziegler
  14. Under the Cope of Heaven: Religion, Society, and Politics in Colonial America by Patricia U. Bonomi
  15. The Pueblo Revolt of 1680: Conquest and Resistance in Seventeenth-Century New Mexico by Andrew L. Knaut
  16. At the Crossroads: Indians and Empires on a Mid-Atlantic Frontier, 1700-1763 by Jane T. Merritt
  17. Brethren by Nature by Margaret Ellen Newell
  18. Carolina in Crisis: Cherokees, Colonists, and Slaves in the American Southeast, 1756-1763 by Daniel J. Tortora
  19. Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624-1713 by Richard S. Dunn
  20. Final Passages: The Intercolonial Slave Trade of British America, 1619-1807 by Gregory E. O'Malley

Click Here For Our Complete Reading List

All the works are college level in scholarship, well written and intended to be accessible to the general reading public and could easily be read by interested high school students.

The books come in an accessible format, so if you use text to speech for a vision impairment this will not be a problem. Some of the books are available through the Nation Library Service for the Blind. All are available in print from your local public library (possibly through inter-library loan).

I am open to changing books if their is a group consensus.

If someone discovers they are more drawn to the supplemental reading than the primary book wonderful. Please share what you find meaningful with the group.

I hope we find a group of open minded, intellectually curious and active individuals. I don’t mind if we’re quiet, but I hope we are meaningful. It is my intention to act as a moderator/facilitator/participant, not as a teacher. Ideally the group will self moderating and sustaining.

There are wonderful episodes in American History. There are tragic and shameful episodes in American History. Honestly studying history is learning about both, not ignoring one or pretending the other does not exist.