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Colonial Life

by Preston Slater

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Life on the Farm
They only had small tools such as axes and saw which they used to cut wood into planks so they could build a house.

For most Europeans, land was the main economic activity. On these lands, some colonist made mines and farms to get valuable materials to sell or trade. Most of the other people sourced their income on agriculture. The colonist that did this were usually self sufficient, and made the things that they needed. By 1750, not as many farmers did everything by themself, and about 20% of colonists were enslaved. Farmers all had to complete similar tasks such as clearing out trees and big plants.






In 1750, one in 20 colonists lived in a city. Compared to living on a farm, living in the city was exciting. The main attraction was the waterfront. At the waterfront, ships would come by to share news from England, or deliver important things like paint to the colonists. Ships that came in from Africa carried slaves that were kidnapped by the English to be sold.










Market places were filled with fishermen trying to sell their catch, and farmers peddling the various material that they had gotten that day at the farm. Enslavers were also around selling people at the auction block. Close to the market and auction was the tavern where food and drinks were served to men. The other streets were filled with shops such as blacksmiths, shoe makers, tailors, and other craftspeople. Cities were often very smelly and loud. Church bells would ring and animals would be able to roam free. Homes in the city were close together, and were made with thatched roofs. Most houses had small windows because glass was very expensive. Because these houses were made from flammable material, the colonists all kept a bucket of water by their door in case a fire started.
The people that lived in these houses had to all share the same room, with the only source of heat being the fireplace. Meals were cooked in a big metal cauldron above the fireplace. In the mornings, they all wake up at the same time to share chores such as feeding the livestock or gathering eggs from the chicken coop.
Life in Cities
In 1750, one in 20 colonists lived in a city. Compared to living on a farm, living in the city was exciting. The main attraction was the waterfront. At the waterfront, ships would come by to share news from England, or deliver important things like paint to the colonists. Ships that came in from Africa carried slaves that were kidnapped by the English to be sold.










Market places were filled with fishermen trying to sell their catch, and farmers peddling the various material that they had gotten that day at the farm. Enslavers were also around selling people at the auction block. Close to the market and auction was the tavern where food and drinks were served to men. The other streets were filled with shops such as blacksmiths, shoe makers, tailors, and other craftspeople. Cities were often very smelly and loud. Church bells would ring and animals would be able to roam free. Homes in the city were close together, and were made with thatched roofs. Most houses had small windows because glass was very expensive. Because these houses were made from flammable material, the colonists all kept a bucket of water by their door in case a fire started.
Rights of Colonists
Because settlers in America considered themselves to be English citizens, they expected the same rights as citizens in England. They thought that the most important right they needed was to be able to have a voice in the government. In England, men who owned land had won the right to participate in the government. The main victory was achieved when King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215. The Magna Carta showed the idea that all power was limited, even the king had limited power. After that, the next big milestone was the making of the Parliament in 1265. The parliament was a group of representatives that had to approve orders by the king or queen. Each colony had its own punishments for breaking the law, and even different laws to be broken, although most crimes were treated similarly. There were a few serious crimes that if broken, would lead to death. Puritans in New England made crimes under their understanding of the Bible. Colonists could deny puritan beliefs and get killed because of it. Some punishments for other slightly lesser crimes included jail, getting whipped, or being branded with a hot iron. The smallest crimes had punishments such as public humiliation, short jail terms, or having to pay a fine. Puritans were always watching for sights of Satan. They believed he was a fallen angel who turned evil. They also thought that he did things by controlling people, making them witches. In 1602, the fear of witchcraft had spread because of several girls who were acting strangely. They accused Tituba, an enslaved woman of putting a spell on them. 19 people were put to death before they realized that the girl's accusations were wrong.



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The first colony to enslave African people to work on tobacco farms. Soon after, shopkeepers and farmers would also start to enslave African peoples. In the southern colonies, the amount of enslaved people grew rapidly. Usually, slaves were forced to raise cash crops like tobacco, indigo, and rice. Every year, a ship arrives at west Africa, and trades guns for captured people to bring back to the colonies. The people who were captured were forced in shackles onto a dark crowded boat and then they would be transported to work on farms to work. This trade system was called the triangular trade.










People expected enslaved people to work hard, but they don't always work on farms. Some enslaved people would work on blacksmiths, servants, and gardeners. Some enslaved people rebelled by refusing to do work or by fighting. Most just tried to make it work.
Life for enslaved Africans
The first colony to enslave African people to work on tobacco farms. Soon after, shopkeepers and farmers would also start to enslave African peoples. In the southern colonies, the amount of enslaved people grew rapidly. Usually, slaves were forced to raise cash crops like tobacco, indigo, and rice. Every year, a ship arrives at west Africa, and trades guns for captured people to bring back to the colonies. The people who were captured were forced in shackles onto a dark crowded boat and then they would be transported to work on farms to work. This trade system was called the triangular trade.










People expected enslaved people to work hard, but they don't always work on farms. Some enslaved people would work on blacksmiths, servants, and gardeners. Some enslaved people rebelled by refusing to do work or by fighting. Most just tried to make it work.
Religion
Religion was important to colonists. Most tried to lead their life off of their faith, and children were raised learning the Bible. On Sunday mornings, colonist were forced to go to church, and if they denied it, they would be fined. Women were encouraged to read the Bible, but they were prohibited to speak in a church. Some laws prohibited worshiping other religions and that made it harder for enslaved people to practice the religion from their home country.these religions honored many gods and ancestors. At the time, most enslaved people were forced to convert to Christianity by their enslavers.









In early 1730, a religious movement called the great awakening swept across the colonies. This was caused because people thought that people had lost their faith in Christianity. To make people get their faith back, preachers came from town to town to spread Christianity. The words that these preachers said made people think that all people were equal, and this led to the American revolution.
Most children in the colonies had very little to no education. There few places in the middle and souther colonies that had schools, except for New England which had more. There were laws across the colonies that banned education of enslaved people. These laws were put in place to try to prevent any rebellion amongst the slaves.








In the southern colonies, people could save up money or resources to pay for a teacher, and wealthier planters would hire tutors for younger kids. Religious difference in the middle states slowed the spread of public education. Different family’s disagreed with what should be in the school lessons because the center of education was bible study. New England was the best state for education because every city was required to have a public school. A new law in Massachusetts was made that said any town with more than 100 people needed to build a school. parents were asked to contribute anything they could to the village schools, and this included food, money, and firewood. The schools were one room building that had a chimney. They had none of the things we have today such as desks, chairs, and pencils and papers were scarce. There was one book that teachers usually had which was The New England Primer. The book helped to learn the alphabet, syllables, and prayers. Most people believed that boys deserved more education, because they could run a business.

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