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Seventeenth-Century American Life, 1607–1692

1. Chesapeake Colonies (pp. 66–70)

a. Read the first section about the diseases, high mortality rates, and predominantly male society that evolved in the Chesapeake colonies. *** If you are male, would you have been motivated to leave England for this environment? If you are female, would you have considered emigrating? Whyor why not?

-Being a woman, I would have considered emigrating because living in the Chesapeake was extremely dangerous and unhealthy. Raising a child was even more dangerous, because they could quickly catch disease and myself as well, leaving the child helpless. The upside of living in the Chesapeake and which could have made me stay was that were many options of men to choose from.Women were given importance for their scarcity.

b. What were indentured servants and why were they needed in the tobacco economy?

(1) Definition: people (mostly men) who voluntarily mortgaged their work to Chesapeake masters, and in turn received a transatlantic passage and eventual “freedom dues”

(2) Need: The enormous production of tobacco depressed prices, andso farmers decided to plant even more acres of tobacco, which required more labor. Families were too slow to procreate laborers, Indians died too quickly and slaves were very expensive. Lack of money and time called for the indentured servants who did not require immediate payment or such a high payment at all.

c. What was the headright system and how did it lead to the formation ofan aristocratic landowning class?

(1) Definition: a system that encourages the importation of servant workers, in which any person who paid the passage of a laborer received the right to acquire fifty acres of land

(2) Effect: Masters of indentured servants took advantage of their servant’s benefits, taking their land and using it for their own business. Because of this,servants became poorer and their masters became the landowning aristocratic class.

d. Look over the indenture contract on p. 71. What would have motivated people to sell themselves into this type of indentured servitude?

-The contract shows that indentured servitude could be equivalent to an apprenticeship, in which a young person traded several years of service to a master inexchange for instruction in the master’s craft. This is a good and motivational option because people can learn a trade first hand from a master, an be able to set up their own business later.

e. How was Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676 an example of the consequences of too many ex-indentured servants and the conflict between the backcountry and the tidewater elite?

-As more and moreindentured servants arrived to America, more land was given to masters and the elite. These people became restless, for masters threw away many servants and stayed with their land. There were no other jobs, and no land of their own to work on. Thus, a rebellion represented the only chance to win back their rights and freedom and money.

2. Colonial Slavery (pp. 70–73)
a. With about___11__ million Africans transported to the New World, the slave trade must have been a huge business—and a business conducted without much if any visible popular objection. Look at the chart on p. 70 and note that only about __80___ percent of the slaves sent on the dreaded “Middle ____Passage_____” actually ended up in British North America. What happened in the 1680s to drastically increase theflow of slaves into the American colonies?

-Rising wages in England shrank the pool of penniless folk willing to gamble as indentured servants in America

b. The authors conclude the section by noting that “slaves in the South proved to be a more manageable labor force than the white indentured servants.” *** What ideas do you have about why this might have been the case?...