-1775: BUILDING THE COLONIES
Because their land was being taken away, the American Indians fought when they could against increasingly overwhelming odds for another 200 years. With native attacks on the back burner during the late 1600s, colonies started popping up all along the Atlantic coast. You need to know details about the earliest (not all 13) colonies:
- Massachusetts was home to the Pilgrims and Puritans who came for religious freedom for themselves, but exiled spirit-filled freethinkers like Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson.
- Roger Williams went on to found the tolerant, freethinking colony of Rhode Island.
- Maryland was a haven for Catholics, but Protestants were welcome, too. Maybe too welcome, because Protestants in some Maryland towns burned Catholic churches. It took years, but toleration made a comeback.
- William Penn founded Pennsylvania on freedom for everybody and fair treatment of the American Indians. Modest William was a little embarrassed that the king named the whole woodland or silvania for Penn, but that didn't stop him from founding the city of Philadelphia ("brotherly love") or proposing a uniting of the colonial states into a kind of united states. Outside of New England, more colonists came from places other than England, places like Scotland, Germany, and Wales.
- Virginia prospered with slaves and tobacco. Pocahontas's husband John Rolfe got the business rolling by growing tobacco at Jamestown, and despite a warning from King James himself that smoking was "dangerous to the Lungs," tobacco proved to be an addictive money-maker. Big tobacco bucks got the Southern colonies addicted to slavery, which was used after 1800 for growing cotton.
By 1700, the American colonies held about 300,000 people; 25,000 of them were slaves. The first Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s led to more religious devotion and communication between settlements. Talk turned toward freedom, covered in the next section.