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Freehold New England and Diverse Middle Colonies

  • In New England, most people were freeholders, people who owned property and had the right to improve, transfer, or sell.
  • The Middle Atlantic colonies were composed of manors in the Hudson River Valley in NY, but the colonies in PA, DE, NJ were ethnically and religiously diverse.
  • Quakers were pacifists who dealt peaceably with Native Americans and condemned slavery.
  • Scots-Irish Presbyterians were one of the largest groups in the Mid Atlantic.
  • Between 1720-1770, growing demand doubled the price of wheat yet by the end of the 18th century, exports of wheat, corn, flour, & bread helped bring prosperity to the Mid Atlantic region & as a result, the population doubled.

Freehold New England and Diverse Middle Colonies

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Overview 0:08
  • Freehold Society in New England 1:03
    • Freeholders
    • Women and the Rural Household
    • Patriarchal Society
  • Farm Property and Inheritance 4:58
    • Laborer to Freeholder
    • Women Relinquished Ownership
    • Whole Communities
  • Challenges for Freehold Society 7:30
    • Double of the NE Population
    • Families' Petition
    • Livestock Economy
    • Preserving the Freehold Ideal
  • The Hudson River Manors 10:49
  • The Middle Atlantic Colonial Society 12:23
    • Grain Exports
    • The Hudson River Valley
    • Rural Pennsylvania and New Jersey
  • Economic Changes in Mid Atlantic 15:03
    • Social Division
    • “Outwork” Manufacturing System
  • Cultural and Religious Diversity 16:13
  • Cultural Diversity: Quakers and Germans 18:47
    • Preserving Cultural Identities of Migrants
    • German Cultural Heritage
  • Scots-Irish 20:39
    • Movement of Scots-Irish
    • Presbyterian Faith
  • Religious Identity and Political Conflict 21:52
    • Demanding a More Aggressive Indian Policy
    • Opposition to the Quakers
  • Economic and Demographic Changes in Mid Atlantic 24:18
  • Example 1 25:51
  • Example 2 28:00
  • Example 3 29:38

Transcription: Freehold New England and Diverse Middle Colonies

Welcome back to

This lesson is on Freehold New England and diverse middle colonies.0003

When we talk about freehold societies in New England, we are going to talk about the main characteristics.0010

What helped the freehold society in New England stay stable.0019

And then, what were some of the changes that in some ways strengthened New England’s economy0024

but in other ways post a lot of challenges.0031

We are also going to focus on the Middle Atlantic colonies, talking about the manors of New York.0035

We are going to talk about the extreme religious diversity that started to develop throughout the middle colonies,0045

as well as the cultural diversity that began to emerge.0051

In fact, the middle colonies were really the most diverse area in the early 13 colonies.0055

Let us get into it, freehold society in New England.0065

First let us define what a freehold is.0070

Again, you know that many of the immigrants from England were trying to flee an unfair land system.0073

The goal in the new world, in North America, in the new colonies was to have a fair system.0087

Not only to worship freely and practice your religion without being persecuted, but also to own property.0094

This was an ideal, this was something that many in New England...0105

we will see eventually in other colonies as well, they sought after.0109

This was a goal that they were trying to achieve.0113

A freehold whose property owned in its entirety, without feudal dues or landlord obligations.0117

This is definitely a break from that feudal past.0124

Freeholders had the right to improve, transfer, or sell their property.0129

This was very empowering and led to the stability and success throughout New England.0135

We are going to talk a little bit about the societies in New England as well.0146

With a lot of these freeholding families, we are going to see a division of labor being created.0152

We certainly will see women in the rural households will certainly play an important role.0162

However, even though, we will see women gaining very gradually,0171

gaining more power during the early 1700’s, we still see that this is very much of the patriarchal society.0180

Men are really still in charge and women do not have as much power.0190

Although, that is starting to be contested mildly but not in any substantial way.0195

Women were still really restricted, but they did help their husband.0203

That was an important role, as helpmates to their husbands.0210

What should that mean?0214

They certainly had many jobs within the home.0216

They certainly had to be good mothers and teaching their children.0220

We are also going to see that women are going to have fewer children.0236

They are actually going to embrace birth control.0241

This will increase the standard of living for people living in New England because they have lesser mouths to feed.0246

We will see that in this area, the women joining the churches, we do kind of see a discrepancy whether more women who were involved.0257

This is definitely going to have the empowering effect because they are out more in the public sphere,0267

which is the first stage to women feeling that they have a voice and they have a role.0276

That is an important stage in women's empowerment, in this stage in colonial American history.0284

We will see that women do contribute to the economy in New England by making things by hand, 0297

through their sewing, needlework, for instance, and even their farming participation.0309

Selling some of those goods will be really important to the economy overall.0318

We are going to move on to property and inheritance.0325

We will see that many male migrants escaped many traditional constraints including lack of land.0329

This is in the context of New England, freehold New England.0336

Some poor parents place their sons and daughters as indentured servants.0340

We talked about that before.0345

These are the most desperate, the poorest people.0347

In some cases, when indentures ended, some property of the sons,0352

however were able to climb the social ladder, socioeconomic ladder, so to speak.0357

From laborer to tenant to freeholder, in other words, as a laborer, an indentured servant,0363

they did not have freedom and had to work very hard and not gain any profits.0372

Just really work off their contract.0379

A tenant would rent from the land owner.0383

And then again, if they could save up some money little by little,0387

they would be able to earn enough money to save and become a freeholder.0391

That shows that this is going to provide a lot of opportunities in New England.0396

Women relinquished ownership of their land and property to their husbands.0404

Again, it is showing that women did not really own land.0410

This gave men a huge advantage in New England.0416

But fathers should have a cultural duty to provide inheritances for their children, and that is both boys and girls.0421

But we will see consistently that not everyone is going to get a piece of the pie, so to speak.0428

Women disproportionately do not gain property.0436

We will see that however that this farming community will continue to thrive.0444

With each generation, since the Puritans, especially, and other groups that were settling in New England, 0453

continued to arrive and settle, we will see with each generation, the population doubled.0461

Mostly from natural increase, although many families had fewer children, they were using birth control.0469

However, we are seeing that people's standard of living, their quality of life is much better.0477

They are living longer and there is a continual influx of new people to help populate and continue that growth.0486

That is going to cause a crisis in freehold society.0498

Parents had less land to give to their children because what was happening is that0503

they are dividing up those plots of land more and more and more.0508

Parents had less land to give to their children.0514

They had less control over their children's lives.0517

That ultimately will lead to more people and that next generation having more power 0522

and becoming much more independent, you can say.0532

Not really relying on their parents as much, for the basics.0534

We will also see that families will look to the government to help out the situation.0540

In fact, they will petition the government for land grants so that they could get more land.0544

This cooperation with the government will be helpful in helping settlements there, sustain these issues.0552

They also eventually hack new farms out of the forest.0564

They are expanding into those unsettled areas which, do keep in mind, had Native Americans living in those regions.0568

We will see that as this is occurring, land was used more productively.0582

Of course, they have adapted to the climate and to the geography.0590

They have a better understanding of farm techniques.0595

Crops, wheat, and barley were replaced with high yielding potatoes and corn.0599

This will feed people, they will have calories and they can have surplus as well, which is beneficial in the long run.0606

We are going to see a change in what they are eating and in agriculture.0616

New England gradually changed from a grain to livestock economy during this time.0622

We will see a continuation of that community bond and that community emphasis, 0630

that will help preserve the freehold ideal and make it stable and sustainable for the people who live there.0640

Now we are going to move a little bit further south from New England and into the Middle colonies, 0651

and first talk about the Hudson River manors.0657

As you know, up the Hudson River Valley area, that those had been traditionally settled by the Dutch.0664

You will see, but then again, that the English came in.0674

Some of these names, you will see, for instance like Renselerik as a Dutch name.0679

This is where we still see remnants of the Dutch settlers in that region, 0690

really up and down the Hudson north and south, all the way into today’s Long Island.0695

Yes, Dutch and English manorial lords owned much of the fertile eastern shore of the Hudson River 0702

where they lease farms on contracts.0710

The German tenants who are also renters and they also refuse to sell land to freehold seeking migrants from overcrowded New England.0713

Those people we were just talking about did not have access to this land.0724

This was much more of a feudal-like system, as you could see, manorial type of system that was established there.0729

We are going to continue to talk about the Middle Atlantic colonial society.0745

We are definitely going to see during the early to mid 1700’s, huge economic growth in the Middle Atlantic colonies,0751

and a lot of that is because there is going to be a plentiful amount of labor.0764

Nonetheless, we will also immense social inequality.0771

I will get into some of the reasons why, a little bit later.0776

Anyway, the advantages of the middle Atlantic colonies, it is very fertile.0782

Because it is a little further south than the New England colonies, 0791

thus growing seasons were longer and that made the weather much more appealing.0795

And not that winters are not quite as harsh as they are in New England, not quite as long.0802

Longer growing seasons certainly attracted many migrants.0810

Profits from grain exports financed the rapid settlement.0814

That is going to help draw people in.0819

The opportunities in the Middle Atlantic colonies are appealing to people.0821

There were some pretty attractive leases as well, some land opportunities in the Hudson River Valley.0831

This was certainly an incentive for people to come into that region.0842

We are also going to see that there are some restraints,0854

inefficient farm implements get most farmers from saving enough money to acquire the freehold farmsteads.0859

Again, kind of going back to the previous slide where we are talking about the manors.0866

Those lands oftentimes stayed in the same hands or a few hands.0870

There was not as much access and equality, you could say, that there was in New England.0877

That again, is going to tie into this, where we will see not only in New York.0885

But we will also see in rural Pennsylvania and New Jersey, there was quite a bit of economic inequality.0892

As we will see poorer migrants coming in, competing with landowners and those who were more wealthy.0900

Also, some of the ethnic tensions will feed into that as well.0910

The rise of the wheat trade and an influx of poor settlers created social divisions, 0918

resulting in new class of agricultural capitalists by the 1760’s.0924

Only half of all white men in the Middle Atlantic own a property.0930

You could see some disparities happening at this point in time.0937

Merchants and artisans took advantage of the supply of labor and really cheap labor, and organized outwork manufacturing system.0942

Where they could really pay people to make things by hand, out of their homes,0954

and they would sell those goods and make huge profits.0964

That is going to be part of the evolving economy during the 1700’s.0971

These two maps, we can start to see how the middle colonies which again really would include New York, 0980

Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, these are the middle Atlantic colonies.0987

Yes, during this time, the most diverse, and there is a huge influx of not only various ethnic groups.0996

As you can see, taking a look at Pennsylvania for instance, there is a huge influx of Scots-Irish.1007

We will also see in New Jersey, there are some Swedish and a little bit in Pennsylvania, 1015

but also a heavy German population and obviously an English population.1021

And of course, there are some Dutch as well, the famous Pennsylvania Dutch.1031

There is a huge legacy of their influence in Pennsylvania too.1036

Again, kind of looking at Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, 1043

and all along the Hudson River are very diverse groups of ethnicities and religiously speaking as well.1049

You can see that several of the Protestant sects had been established in this region, especially.1060

But we will also see Roman Catholic and Jewish groups as well, coming into that region.1072

And the reformed churches, Dutch, German, French, Quaker, all of these Protestant churches as well, 1082

were part of this religious diversity.1090

One thing to point out, that although this region was very diverse, it was not a melting pot.1094

It was much more of a mosaic, what some people like to call or a salad bowl, 1102

meaning, people did not really assimilate at first.1109

They wanted to maintain their own identity, their religious and cultural ethnic identity.1113

That will, in many cases, cause some conflict amongst these different groups until a few generations pass.1120

That is something to keep in mind.1130

Yes, middle Atlantic colonies, a patch work ethnically and religiously diverse communities.1132

This point that I was just speaking to, they try to preserve their cultural identities1141

by marrying within their own ethnic groups, again, to keep their own identities.1146

In some cases, their lands, they want to keep the land for their own people.1156

We are going to see that there are going to be some conflicts as a result.1163

The Quakers who had been there previously and established the colony,1167

if you remember, the holy experiment and William Penn.1172

They have their own religious beliefs and ideas.1179

They were pacifist who dealt peacefully with Native Americans.1182

They also condemn slavery.1187

Some of their ideas, they are going to appeal to many Germans on one hand.1189

We will also see later on, some of the same ideals especially with the Native Americans are not so popular with other groups,1198

like the Scots-Irish who will be much more aggressive in their approach toward the Native Americans.1207

It is hard for them to come to a consensus, if they are not willing to work together.1214

That is going to pose a challenge, especially in Pennsylvania.1221

Germans guarded their language and cultural heritage, encouraging their children to marry within the community.1226

The idea was stick with your own, do not assimilate.1232

That is going to be the mindset at the time.1236

Moving on to Scots-Irish, they were immigrants from Ireland and they formed the largest group of incoming Europeans.1241

The Scots-Irish who would face discrimination and economic regulation in Ireland, 1253

all this had the influence of pushing them out of England.1259

They were really attracted to the opportunities that were possible in Pennsylvania.1265

Thousands came to Philadelphia from the 1720’s on, eventually, moving to Central Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.1279

Similar to the Germans, they preserved their culture holding firm to their Presbyterian faith.1289

They were Presbyterians.1296

They felt that they were treated unfairly by the British.1299

They are looking to be treated in a fair way.1305

To enforce morality, religious sects in Pennsylvania enforced moral behavior through communal self discipline.1316

Communal sanctions sustained a self-contained and prosperous Quaker community in the 1740's.1325

But we are going to seeing that the Scots-Irish around this time, the Scots-Irish Presbyterians challenged Quaker political dominance 1333

by demanding more aggressive Indian policy.1345

That is going to be something that is going to cause tension amongst these two groups or in between the Quakers and the Scots-Irish.1349

The Scots-Irish also, they feel that they do not have enough representation in the local government as well.1358

The government is definitely dominated by the Quakers that are going to cause problems.1367

Many German migrants also opposed the Quakers because they denied fair representation,1372

kind of the same idea that I was just talking about.1379

They wanted laws that respected their inheritance customs.1381

That is also going to cause some dissension.1386

This is really important and that it sets the foundation and prefigures the ethnic and social conflicts,1393

that would characterize much of American society in the centuries to come.1403

This is kind of a precursor to what we will see later on.1409

We know that the United States is a country full of immigrants and that is one of our strengths.1414

It is also something that oftentimes causes conflict.1422

We are constantly having conflicts, when new groups come in and we know prejudice is still alive and kicking.1426

Even though, in some ways as a country, we have come very far.1436

We always had these two trends happening at the same time.1440

Where in many ways, we see a celebration of our diversity but we also see that diversity can sometimes cause tension.1444

This is an early example of that in the Middle colonies.1457

Here is a map for you to look at and analyze, so you could see some of the major changes that were occurring at this time period.1461

And then, we are just about done with the lesson.1472

Huge changes in the New England area, as well as in the Middle Atlantic colonies.1476

As you can see here, population is rising tremendously from 1730 to 1780.1490

We also see imports from Britain are on the rise between 1720 to 1770, growing demand,1499

there is huge demand, double the price of wheat.1509

That is going to cause several challenges.1512

Exports of wheat, corn, flour, bread, help bring prosperity eventually to the Middle Atlantic region.1515

As a result, the population doubled.1523

We know that in New England, the population was also increasing tremendously.1528

In the Middle Atlantic region, it was increasing tremendously.1532

It looks like these British, Scots-Irish, Germans settlements are here to stay.1537

Let us get to the practice examples.1549

Here is another graph for you to look at.1552

This shows the different types of churches, Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Congregational,1557

Dutch reformed, German reformed, Lutheran, and Presbyterian.1565

You can really see that most of them actually do grow.1571

But you do have to look at this more closely to see to what extent they grew or how much1576

The question, based on the chart above which of the following churches grew the least between 1700 and 1780.1587

Again, taking a look at this, they all grew but it is asking who grew the least. 1596

The answer is, you should pause this if you need a little time.1605

The answer is A, the Catholics.1611

Which of the following challenged the Quaker dominance in Pennsylvania by the 1700’s the most?1619

Was it the Scots-Irish Presbyterians and German Lutherans, B, the English Catholics, C, Irish Catholics and Baptist, or D, English Puritans?1628

The answer is… Next, what was the biggest factor that led to the surge and diverse religious denominations in Pennsylvania?1642

Pennsylvania was the melting pot.1655

Most migrants were attracted to the religious tolerance.1656

Quakers increased their involvement in the slave trade.1660

Most migrants were willing to inter marry with other Protestant groups.1664

The answer is ...1671

Moving on, this one, we have a piece of art to look at.1680

This is called the first, second, and last scene of mortality, based on the image of Prudence Punderson.1689

The Connecticut woman who embroidered the scene above.1697

How would you describe the role of women in rural New England during the mid 18th century?1702

She is actively making something here on the table.1711

Women were helpmates to their husbands.1717

Women were servants to their husbands.1720

Women were considered equals to their husbands.1722

Women were superior to their husbands.1725

This is something you can draw from what you learn today, as well as your analysis, what is happening in the actual image.1730

The answer...1739

Because of the increase in population in mid century New England, what did farming families do to preserve their farming freehold ideal?1747

Families had more children.1757

Many participated in a household mode of production, by selling goods and services to their neighbors.1759

Puritan families move back to England.1765

Or most New England families move to the south.1768

The answer is...1774

Example 3, this is a short answer question.1779

Remember, for this type of question you have to answer all three, A, B, and C.1784

This have to come in the form of a complete sentence.1789

Let us look at A, identify and explain one political similarity between the Quakers and the Puritans.1793

I will give you an example.1803

Quakers and Puritans were both persecuted in England so they fled to North America, in order to worship their religions freely.1805

Identify and explain one political difference between the Quakers and the Puritans.1817

The Quakers believed that religious authority was found within a person's soul and not in the Bible, 1826

whereas the Puritans looked to the Bible for guidance.1832

You should highlight these.1838

And last one, identify and explain how Puritans and Quakers viewed the role of women in their societies.1843

Here it goes, Puritans had a patriarchal society although women were helpmates to their husbands, 1855

whereas, Quakers believed in the equality of men and women.1865

There you go.1872

One thing I would perhaps add, now that I’m thinking about it.1875

In letter A, even though I did make that connection that they were both fleeing from religious persecution in England, 1880

really that their religious beliefs did influence their political system.1896

To the extent really that, that is the only thing I think I could improve upon a little bit.1904

Quakers and Puritans were both persecuted in England, so they fled to North America, 1910

in order to worship their religions freely.1915

Their governments protected their religious groups and ideals.1921

That is how I would make that one even better.1928

Even though, you could see that I went back and I thought about what I wrote, I improved upon it realizing that I could take it a step further.1931

You should do the same.1942

I think, with that, we will end today’s lesson.1945

Thank you very much for watching