Colonial America: A History to 1763

Colonial America: A History to 1763

Colonial America: A History to 1763

Colonial America: A History to 1763

Synopsis

Colonial America: A History to 1763, 4th Edition provides updated and revised coverage of the background, founding, and development of the thirteen English North American colonies.
  • Fully revised and expanded fourth edition, with updated bibliography
  • Includes new coverage of the simultaneous development of French, Spanish, and Dutch colonies in North America, and extensively re-written and updated chapters on families and women
  • Features enhanced coverage of the English colony of Barbados and trans-Atlantic influences on colonial development
  • Provides a greater focus on the perspectives of Native Americans and their influences in shaping the development of the colonies

Excerpt

This book tells the story of the British North American colonies, from the initial encounters between Europeans and the Native Americans who lived here in the sixteenth century to the end of the Seven Years War in 1763, when Great Britain won political control over most of the territory in North America east of the Mississippi and north of the Gulf of Mexico.

Since the first edition of this book appeared in 1992, historical scholarship about this story has been substantially revised. History is always a work in progress, and the need to understand America’s origins has been a compelling one for each generation of scholars. Not long ago the main objective of historians studying the colonial period was to understand the political and economic institutions created by British North Americans and their place in the development of democratic capitalist societies. Historians’ focus, therefore, was mostly upon the Englishmen who settled in North America between 1607 and 1776 and the societies that they created.

Over time the scope of historians’ questions about early British American history broadened. Scholars began to look not only at the roots of political democracy and social mobility but also at the origins of institutions such as slavery and indentured servitude. Assumptions about the impact of individuals on the historical process began to be questioned as historians realized that historical change is often shaped more by the unintentional consequences of interactions between many actors than by the intentional actions of a few. Rather than implicitly assuming that the only European colonists to influence North American history were men, researchers began to focus upon the impacts of European women on colonial development. Scholars became increasingly interested in the millions of Africans who were transported to the Americas during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, asking how their presence and their actions shaped the societies of which they became a part. Perhaps the most fruitful new questions concerned the millions of indigenous Americans who were killed, displaced, or assimilated into European-American societies as the colonies developed.

But these have not been the only changes. Since the ending of the Cold War in the early 1990s, scholarship on British colonial North America has experienced something of a paradigm shift as historians began to consider their findings in the light of globalization. Rather than focusing on the internal dynamics of particular societies, scholars have increasingly begun to consider the ways in which cross-border interactions have shaped the historical process. New questions have been raised about the . . .

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