Government: How did they govern themselves locally and as colonies? Was there an infrastructure
for government? What were their ideas on government?

Note: Voting at this time was not by secret ballot, but by stating aloud the name of the person that you favored.



New England (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI)

Middle Colonies (DE, NY, NJ, PA)

South (GA, MD, NC, SC, VA)

What were some examples of local government and town organization? What about ownership of property and involvement of the population in the well-being of the local community?

New Englanders had meetinghouse and centralized community. Annual “town meetings,” where they selected governing group. Widespread ownership of land, plus 1630s voting granted based on church membership; 40% colony’s males could vote.

Dispersed population. Land ownership more difficult, plus stable incomes required owning slaves. With economic limitations and dependency, came political dependency. Bacon’s Rebellion was partly the landless indentured servants being disenfranchised.

What happened in the English colonies with both local and colonial government?

Colonial assembles with most governors royally appointed. Council declined in power in 1700s and assemblies increased, primarily because of “power of purse” as the governors needed money for colonial wars. Size of franchise was large because most owned land – therefore hard to control the electorate, who could throw out those who did not listen.

What was different about the colonies and criticism of government compared to the British tradition?

1730s – John Peter Zenger, newspaper editor, criticized the royal governor of NY. Attorney Andrew Hamilton argued successfully that criticism of government, if true, isn’t libelous.

Result: “Last colonial printer prosecuted by the royal authorities” (p. 859 of Boyer’s Oxford Companion to United States History).


The royal government in New York took the position held by the British traditions. The colonial jury did not.

This is a sign of the developing American recognition that a free and attentive press is essential for small-r republicanism and small-d democracy.

What was different about the colonial and British governmental systems?

Colonies – 50-75% white males – qualified voters (compared to England with 15-30%).


Colonies – direct representation (compared to England’s “virtual representation”)


Economy: How did they make a living? What was the infrastructure for their economy?



New England (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI)

Middle Colonies (DE, NY, NJ, PA)

South (GA, MD, NC, SC, VA)

In which colonial regions were the cities/ports?

Boston = 16,000

(Data in this row from the 1770s)

Philadelphia = 28,000

New York = 25,000

Newport (RI) = 11,000


Charles Town = 12,000 with trade actually controlled by merchants from Britain/New England

Where were tobacco, rice, and wheat grown and where were they sold?

Wheat grown = Connecticut Valley

Wheat sold = New England, South, West Indies. (Also shipped meat to South.)

NY, PA − Same as Connecticut Valley.

Tobacco grown = Chesapeake (includes MD)

Tobacco grown = Chesapeake (VA)

Rice grown = Carolina (South) and GA. Post-1754, South Carolinians migrated into GA; 1773 GA = 33K – with 45% slaves.

Rice and tobacco sold = Northern colonies and Europe

Trading managed by London, later northern colonies.

Where were there industries, such as metals manufacturing, lumbering, mining, and fishing?

Lumbering, mining, and fishing – on the coast.

1640s – Iron works established MA.

1760s, NJ iron plant; other small ones in NJ, PA – this in spite of the Iron Act (1750).

Some iron plants in South. Not major industry. Some lumbering, naval stores.

What was the difference both in the type of trades and crafts industries in the North and in the South and who was involved in those occupations?

In general, workers = white laborers or entrepreneurs in colonial towns.

Types of trades and crafts:

·         Blacksmiths, cabinet makers, cobblers, rifle makers, silversmiths

·         Owners of mills for processing grain, cloth, or lumber


In general, workers = slaves on or from large plantations earning money for their owners and possibly their own freedom

Types of trades and crafts:

·         Blacksmithing, carpentry, cobbling

·         Small shopkeepers selling services


What was the difference in the infrastructure for trade (merchants, the ports) in the North and South and in the effect of English rules (Navigation Acts, Iron Act, woolens control) in the North and in the South?

In Massachusetts, later in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 1750 – Iron Act and other acts restricted processing of metals, woolens, and hats, but Navigation Acts protected merchants from foreign competition.


27% colonial exports (from Boston, Newport, Philadelphia) to West Indies. Colonies importing from Britain heavily after 1740. Also some hauling overland (Great Wagon Road) in 1600s, but limitations on hauling grain because of weight.

South imports/exports directly to merchants (first English, later Northern).


Had an infrastructure—that is, had commercial or merchant class with ships, contacts, and expertise required for global trade.

Ship builders – 40% of British merchant vessels.

Trade was handled by London merchants and later by Northern merchants.


New England

·         CT – Connecticut

·         ME – Maine

·         MA – Massachusetts

·         NH – New Hampshire

  • RI – Rhode Island

Middle Colonies

·         DE – Delaware

·         NY – New York

·         NJ – New Jersey

·         PA – Pennsylvania


·         GA – Georgia

·         MD – Maryland

·         NC – North Carolina

·         SC – South Carolina

  • VA – Virginia