Daily Life on the Old Colonial Frontier

Daily Life on the Old Colonial Frontier

Daily Life on the Old Colonial Frontier

Daily Life on the Old Colonial Frontier


The frontier region was the interface between the American wilderness and European-style civilization. To the Europeans, the frontier teemed with undomesticated and unfamiliar beasts. Even its indigenous peoples seemed perplexing, uninhibited, and violent. The frontier wasn't just a place, but a process, too. It was a hazy line between colliding cultures, and a volatile region in which those cultures interacted.


In England the acceptance of either the Roman Church or the Church of England quickly became inexorably linked with the political survival of the nation. Adherence to the church of Rome “came more and more to be identified in popular thinking with hostile and alien powers.”

—Louis B. Wright, historian

The part played by religion in the development of the colonial frontier cannot be overstated. The questions of religious affiliation and the establishment of state-sponsored churches loomed large in the colonial period as legitimate causes for rebellion, social strife, the confiscation of property, imprisonment, and execution. No fewer than seven of the colonies founded by the English in the seventeenth century were established specifically for religious motives. Five of these colonies were established by English Puritans in New England: Plymouth (1620), Massachusetts Bay (1630), New Haven (1638), Connecticut (1639), and Rhode Island (1644). The two others were the Catholic colony of Maryland (1633) and the Quaker colony of Pennsylvania (1682). Of these, the Pennsylvania colony was considered by contemporary observers as the most successful.

French, Portuguese, and Spanish colonies, though not free of religious turmoil, closely coordinated the economic and social objectives of their governments with the purposes and goals of the Roman Catholic Church, even if they did not directly coordinate in their efforts with the

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