But by the year of the revolution, the "various forces of discord between Britain and American had combined, and," Adams continues on page 84, the result of those forces of discord "…did not take the direction which would have found a place for the thirteen colonies within the British Empire Commonwealth" (Adams, 84). The Trade acts and Navigation acts were "extremely galling," Adams comments on page 85, and King George III was "an obstinate man." Not all authors believe the division between the colonies and England was irreconcilable. Edwin J. Perkins writes that "…the degree of economic regulation and the level of imperial taxation were not significant causes of the War for Independence" (Walton, 1981). He is of course entitled to his own scholarship, but the vast majority of the literature leads to the opposite viewpoint.
Question FOUR: Did your understanding of colonial families and the communities they created become reshaped by what was learned in this unit?
Certainly is was a remarkable amount of good information available in this unit that a person paying attention could not possibly be helped but be informed of things that were not previously known or understood. The Plymouth colony was the first permanent settlement in New England, and I didn't know much about this colony other than it was made up of "pilgrims" and they had spent two months on the Mayflower in 1620. To fully appreciate the hardships they endured, both on the Mayflower and on dry land, the readings were enlightening in that regard.
The settlers, many of them, stayed on the Mayflower, as winter was in full force when they arrived and setting up homes and shelters was not an easy task. But by March, according to History.com the settlers moved ashore to begin their community; that said, more than half of the Mayflower pilgrims "fell ill and died that first winter, victims of an epidemic of disease that swept the new colony" (History.com).
A person researching the establishment of a colony called "Plymouth" assumes that there might have been hostile Indians that resented the arrival of the white folks from Europe. But according to History.com, the first Native American they met was Tisquantum, or Squanto, who actually joined the colony. Squanto knew about white folks because explorer John Smith had kidnapped him and had taken him to England, but Squanto somehow escaped and came back to America where we served well as a mediator between other Native Americans and the settlers from Europe. Squanto not only served as an interpreter and mediator -- he showed the folks from England how to plant corn, their main crop, and he showed them how to hunt and fish as well, the History.com website reports.
Question FIVE: What was the economic life like for the colonies vis-a-vis the colonies' links with England? What impediments did the colonists encounter as they developed industry?
The main economic influences the colonists were involved with had to do with exports; in fact many English merchants were good capitalists and they invested in the colonies hoping, of course, to make a profit (History.com). The colonies were "…overwhelmingly agricultural," in fact eighty percent of the colonists worked the soil as farmers. it's not surprising, given that in the early colonial period, there were no factories and not many shops where goods were produced. Even in the big towns (New York, Boston, Charleston and Philadelphia) there were few industries. And each colonial region had its own local economy, which may have been based on tobacco, or cotton, rice or even livestock -- but very little manufacturing came from the colonies.
The political implications as regards the export / import sector was that the colonies had to rely on England, France, and other overseas markets. Politically, the British had the colonies over a barrel, so to speak, when the colonies needed the goods produced by England because the king could tax them heavily and that was just one of the dynamics that led to the Revolution. The colonists found out as time went along that politics played a part in just about every interaction they had with the mother country. Economics and politics were inseparable components of that testy, tense relationship.
Adams, Randolph Greenfield. (1922). Political ideas of the American Revolution: Britannic-
American contributions to the problem of imperial organization, 1765 to 1775. Hartford, CT:
Henry, Patrick. (2008). Common Sense. Digitized by Amazon.com / Google.
History.com. (2006). Colonial American Economy. Retrieved June 29, 2012, from http://www.history.com/topics/print/colonial-economy.
History.com. (2007). Plymouth Colony. Retrieved June 28, 2012, from http://www.history.com/topics/print/plymouth.
Johnson, Odai. (2009). Performing Patriotism: National Identity in the Colonial and Revolutionary. Theatre History Studies. Volume 29, 233-236.
Perkins, Edwin J. (1980). The Economy of Colonial America. New York: Columbia University