Modern history

Conclusion: Changing Fortunes in British North America

Global commerce, international wars, and immigration reshaped the economy and geography of North America between 1680 and 1750. Many colonists thrived, initiating a consumer revolution that transformed daily life and ensured the growth of seaport cities. Others found greater opportunities by pushing inland and establishing farms and communities along new frontiers. But many failed to benefit from either land or trade. White workers caught in a downward economic spiral, enslaved Africans, and Indians on the wrong side of a war—all became victims of international trade and imperial conflicts.

The development of manufacturing in England shaped the lives of working people on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. William Moraley Jr., for example, lived out his life in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, making and repairing watches at a time when cheap watches were being turned out in large numbers. While master craftsmen and shop owners could make a good living, those with less skill and fewer funds commanded far lower wages. When Moraley died in January 1762, his only claim to fame was his “adventures” in the American colonies. Yet the nascent industrial revolution had far more positive effects for some colonists. The mechanization of cloth production in England demanded vast amounts of raw material from the English countryside and the colonies. It ensured, for example, the profitability of indigo. This crop benefited many South Carolina planters, including Eliza Lucas and—after her marriage in 1744—her husband, Charles Pinckney, a successful planter himself. Still, profits from indigo could be gained only through the labor of hundreds of slaves.

Eliza Pinckney’s sons became important leaders in the colony, and despite their English education and the benefits they gained through British trade, both developed a strong belief in the rights of the colonies to control their own destinies. Like many American colonists, they were spurred by the consumer revolution, geographical expansion, growing religious and ethnic diversity, and conflicts with Indian and European enemies to develop a mind-set that differed significantly from their counterparts back home. As the fortunes of colonists rose or fell with the changing dynamics of global trade and as they grappled with the claims of Indians and the growth of slavery, some reimagined their relationships not only to production and consumption, agriculture and commerce, but also to the religious and political beliefs that had sustained them for generations.

Chapter Review


Identify and explain the significance of each term below.

proprietary colonies (p. 56)

Glorious Revolution (p. 56)

Pueblo revolt (p. 59)

King William's War (p. 60)

War of the Spanish Succession (p. 60)

mercantilism (p. 65)

Middle Passage (p. 69)

seasoning (p. 69)

redemptioners (p. 72)

Stono rebellion (p. 78)


Answer the focus questions from each section of the chapter.

1. What role did the crown play in the expansion of the English North American colonies in the second half of the seventeenth century?

2. How did the development of the spanish and French colonies in the late seventeenth century differ from that of the english colonies?

3. How did the european wars of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries impact relations between colonists and england?

4. How and why were indians pulled into the wars between european powers fought in north America?

5. What place did north American colonists occupy in the eighteenth-century global trade network?

6. How did the British government seek to maintain control over the colonial economy and ensure that its colonies served britain's economic and political interests?

7. What were the sources of economic inequality in north America in the early eighteenth century?

8. under what kinds of contracts and conditions did poor people, both white and black, work?



• Monarchy restored in England

• Parliament passes first of a series of Navigation Acts to regulate colonial commerce


• Charles II rewards his most important allies with proprietorships in North America


• Royal African Company chartered


• Pueblo revolt against Spanish rule in New Mexico


• Glorious Revolution


• King William's War


• New colony of Massachusetts established


• New England colonial population increases from 100,000 to 400.000

• Middle Atlantic colonial population increases from 50,000 to 250,000


• British and Anglo-American ships transport 3 million African slaves to the Americas


• East and West Jersey unite into colony of New Jersey


• War of the Spanish Succession


• Delaware separates from Pennsylvania


• Virginia passes "Negro Act" consolidating and tightening earlier slave laws


• North Carolina becomes fully independent of South Carolina


• Tuscaroras lead pan-Indian war against settlers in the Carolinas


• Yamasee War


• Benjamin Franklin becomes Pennsylvania's official printer


• Colony of Georgia established


• Eliza Lucas takes charge of her father's South Carolina estates

• Stono rebellion


• William Moraley publishes an account of his time in America


• Spanish settlers in Texas make peace with the Apaches

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