RULES & REGULATIONS
Characteristics of early exploration and settlements in the New World
← New England was settled by Puritans seeking freedom from religious persecution in Europe. They formed a “covenant community” based on the principles of the Mayflower Compact and Puritan religious beliefs and were often intolerant of those not sharing their religion. They also sought economic opportunity and practiced a form of direct democracy through town meetings.
← The Middle Atlantic region was settled chiefly by English, Dutch, and German-speaking immigrants seeking religious freedom and economic opportunity.
← Virginia and the other Southern colonies were settled by people seeking economic opportunities. Some of the early Virginia settlers were “cavaliers,” i.e., English nobility who received large land grants in eastern Virginia from the King of England. Poor English immigrants also came seeking better lives as small farmers or artisans and settled in the Shenandoah Valley or western Virginia, or as indentured servants who agreed to work on tobacco plantations for a period of time to pay for passage to the New World.
← Jamestown, established in 1607 by the Virginia Company of London as a business venture, was the first permanent English settlement in North America. The Virginia House of Burgesses, established by the 1640s, was the first elected assembly in the New World. It has operated continuously and is known today as the General Assembly of Virginia.
Interactions among Europeans, Africans, and American Indians
← The explorations and settlements of the English in the American colonies and Spanish in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, often led to violent conflicts with the American Indians. The Indians lost their traditional territories and fell victim to diseases carried from Europe. By contrast, French exploration of Canada did not lead to large-scale immigration from France, and relations with native peoples were generally more cooperative.
← The growth of an agricultural economy based on large landholdings in the Southern colonies and in the Caribbean led to the introduction of slavery in the New World. The first Africans were brought against their will to Jamestown in 1619 to work on tobacco plantations.
Economic characteristics of the Colonial Period
← The New England colonies developed an economy based on shipbuilding, fishing, lumbering, small-scale subsistence farming, and eventually, manufacturing. The colonies prospered, reflecting the Puritans’ strong belief in the values of hard work and thrift.
← The middle colonies of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware developed economies based on shipbuilding, small-scale farming, and trading. Cities such as New York and Philadelphia began to grow as seaports and/or commercial centers.
← Southern colonies developed economies in the eastern coastal lowlands based on large plantations that grew “cash crops” such as tobacco, rice, and indigo for export to Europe. Farther inland, however, in the mountains and valleys of the Appalachian foothills, the economy was based on small-scale subsistence farming, hunting, and trading.
← A strong belief in private ownership of property and free enterprise characterized colonial life everywhere.
Social characteristics of the colonies
← New England’s colonial society was based on religious standing. The Puritans grew increasingly intolerant of dissenters who challenged the Puritans’ belief in the connection between religion and government. Rhode Island was founded by dissenters fleeing persecution by Puritans in Massachusetts.
← The middle colonies were home to multiple religious groups who generally believed in religious tolerance, including Quakers in Pennsylvania, Huguenots and Jews in New York, and Presbyterians in New Jersey. These colonies had more flexible social