Chapter 5: Colonial Society on the Eve of Revolution
1. Conquest by the Cradle
By 1775, 2.5 million people inhabited the thirteen colonies, in which about 500,000 were black.
Europeans were amazed that the colonies were doubling their population ever 25 years.
By 1775, the English advantage in numbers dropped from a 20:1 ratio (English: Colonies) to a 3:1 ratio.
The most populous colonies in 1775 were Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Maryland.
There were only 4 “cities” in all of the colonies, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Charleston.
2. A Mingling of the Races
Heavy-accented Germans consisted of about six percent of the total population, roughly 150,000 people.
These German newcomers moved into the back country of Pennsylvania.
Scott-Irish (of Scottish and Irish decent) made up about seven percent of the colonies population.
The population of the thirteen colonies, though mainly Anglo-Saxon, was the most mixed population to be found anywhere in the world.
3. The Structure of Colonial Society
To Europe, America in the 18th century was like a shining land of equality and opportunity, with the obvious exception of the slaves.
They sported imported clothing and dined at the tables laid with English china and gleaming silverware.
The plague of war also created a class of widows and orphans, who became dependent for their survival on charity.
As the supply of unclaimed soil dwindled, and families grew, existing land holders were repeatedly divided.
In the south the power of the great planters continued to be bolstered by their disproportionate ownership of slaves.
The least fortunate of all, were of course the black slaves, who had no equality, rights, or chances at the ladder of opportunity.
4. Clerics, Physicians, and Jurists
In 1775 the clergy wielded less influence than in the early days of Massachusetts, when piety had burned more warmly.
Not until 1765 was the first medical school established, although...