"Revolutionary America! 1763-1789 April 20-November 3, 2002

Colonists of the 1760s

photo of exhibit section

"The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas, and form new opinions."
- J. Hector St. John Crevecoeur,
" Letters from an American Farmer"

In a world of rigid class structure and ethnic separation, the British colonies in America offered unique opportunities to those who despaired of "Old World" limitations. Three geographic regions loosely grouped together thirteen separate colonies along the Atlantic coastline. By the mid-1700s, colonial population had grown to 2.5 million, but only 60 percent were of English descent. The other 40 percent included Scotsmen, German, Dutch, Irish, Swedish, and French, as well as other diverse populations.

While the colonies were far from united, life in colonial America shared many features. Generations of self-government and widespread property ownership had a leveling effect on society. Colonists faced 18th century disease and poor health with strong religious convictions, and the joining of faith and literacy created a surprisingly educated population. Even so, half of colonial women could not read, nor could one-quarter of the men.

The latest news was merely a tavern away, however! More than beer was being brewed as colonists gathered to debate the alarming changes introduced by King George III after 1763. The methods that England would use to control the Americans' independent nature would have far-reaching consequences.


Who Were We? Sub-Sections
Three Georgraphic Regions
  Slave Chains
  Daniel Boone, Trailblazer to the West
Colonial Society
Faith and Literacy
The Taverns
  Wine Glasses of George and Martha Washington


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