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Notes: Give Me Liberty! An American History: Chapter 4

Eric Foner: Book Outline Notes for Give Me Liberty! An American History Second Edition

Eric Foner: Book Outline Notes for Give Me Liberty! An American History Second Edition


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Chapter 4 - Slavery, Freedom, and the Struggle for Empire (to 1763)

Focus Questions

  1. What were the major varieties of African slavery in the 18th century?
  2. How did AF-AM cultures begin to emerge in the 18th century?
  3. What were the meanings of BR liberty in the 18th century?
  4. What were the characteristics of colonial politics in the 18th century?
  5. What was the significance of the Great Awakening?
  6. How did the SP and FR empires in AM develop in the 18th century?
  7. What was the impact of the Seven Year’s War on imperial and Indian-white relations?

Chapter 4 Notes

  1. Slave - O. Equiano - taken by slave traders to Barbados, then bought by a sea captain who renamed him Gustavus Vassa. Fought in the 7 yrs war, then bought his freedom and wrote a book about his life (described his life as luck)
  1. First 3/4 of the 18th century was NOT a prelude to AM independence
  2. Equiano’s story = greatest irony/contradiction in the history of the 18th century

Slavery in the Empire

  1. Slave trade was vital, but it was later described as a violation against humanity
  2. The asiento (an agreement whereby Spain subcontracted to a foreign power the right to provide slaves to Spanish AM) was an important diplomatic prize
  3. First mass consumer goods in international trade were produced by slaves - sugar, rice, coffee, and tobacco; rising demand led to more slave trade
  4. The Triangular Trades
  1. BR manufactured goods to AF and the colonies, then AF slaves to New World
  2. 1720 - Half of the ships leaving New World traded w/ Caribbean.
  3. Slavery helped colonists get true freedom, and also helped industrial revolution in England.
  4. Trade primarily consisted of slaves, crops produced by slaves, and goods destined for slave societies

Africa and the slave trade

  1. Traders didn’t travel inland for slaves, got them at “factories”. Took a while for rulers to agree to it
  2. AF traded for European guns

The Middle Passage

  1. 1/5 slaves died along the way. Had to lay down most of the time, were chained to beds, 18 inches above them
  2. 1/5 of the 2.3 million ppl in the New World were slaves and their descendants

Chesapeake Slavery

  1. Slavery expanded with the colonies

Freedom and Slavery in the Chesapeake

  1. Blacks were considered dangerous and undesirable
  2. “Free” and “white” had virtually become identical
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Indian Slavery in Early Carolina

  1. Rice production, traded Indian slaves. Creek Indians traded slaves w/ colonies. But as colonial expansion increased, Creek Indians started fearing enslavement themselves

The Rice Kingdom

  1. Virginia - rice = staple crop that led to the large scale-importation of slaves
  2. SC was 1st colony to have majority of blacks. 2/3 of population
  3. Indigo - another staple crop (used for blue dye)
  4. AF slaves taught colonists how to farm rice, needed big farms to be more profitable. Slaves died b/c of mosquito’s carrying malaria

The Georgia experiment

  1. Georgia founded by John Oglethorpe, wealthy reformer whose causes included improved conditions for imprisoned debtors and the abolition of slavery.

Slavery in the North

  1. Slavery wasn’t as important to northern colonies, therefore they were less of a threat (less strict laws b/c of it)
  2. NY and Philly were using slaves, but it wasn’t worth it to buy a lifetime slave

Slave cultures and Slave Resistance

  1. Becoming AF-AM
  1. Many different AF cultures were brought together, all w/ the bond of slavery. Weren’t bonded w/ language, religion, or anything else...just slavery
  2. Creoles = Slaves born in the New World. AF’s soon just became known as AF-AM’s, w/ no identification to a tribe/etc..

AF-AM Cultures

  1. Three slave systems: Chesapeake - more healthy climate and spoke some English, SCarolina & Georgia - extremely crappy conditions w/ low birth rate (were more autonomous) and spoke Gullah, and Northern Colonies - slaves = smaller part of the population and enjoyed more mobility and access to the mainstream of life

Resistance to Slavery

  1. Many slaves ran away (usually new young recruits) to Florida or Charleston and Savannah, where they could pass for free.
  2. Signs for fugitives everywhere (“May pretend to be free”)
  3. Were many uprisings to scare fugitive slaves

The Crisis of 1739-1741

  1. During War of Jenkins Ear, Af’s took guns/ammo and marched towards Florida
  2. Stono Rebellion - led to a severe tightening of the SC slave code
  3. 1741 - Panic thru NYC said slaves would burn the city down

An Empire of Freedom, (basically, BR thinks (and is) that they are freaking awesome in every way! SWAG.)

  1. BR Patriotism
  1. England was very proud of themselves b/c they were the most advanced and freest nation.
  2. Also enjoyed commonality w/ law, religion, and language. Wealth, religion, and freedom went together
  3. BR also had powerful military and complex government

The BR Constitution

  1. Liberty was central to BR ppl, they believed power and liberty to be natural antagonists
  2. ENG’s political system had many checks and balances (also no one was above the law). Was the best way to prevent tyranny
  3. ENG thought other nations were enslaved and not as good as them

The language of liberty

  1. The ideas (above) resonated with British ppl everywhere (colonists, etc..)

Republican liberty

  1. Liberty was central to two sets of political ideas: one was...
  2. Republicanism - celebrated active party participation in public life by economically independent citizens as the essence of liberty
  1. Most associated w/ Country party in England

Liberal Freedom

  1. Liberalism - Whereas republican liberty had a public and social quality, liberalism was essentially individual and private
  2. John Locke -wrote Two Treatises on Government, it said that government was not like a family, it was like a “social contract” where ppl surrendered some rights to be protected by the law.
  1. He spoke of liberty as universal, but restricted some ppl’s from it

Both Repub. and Lib. = alternative understandings of freedom, both emphasized the security of property as a foundation of freedom The Public Sphere

  1. In colonies w/ diversity (NY), there were frequent uprisings. Was rare in other colonies
  2. The Right to Vote
  1. Said that slaves, servants, tenants, adult sons living in parent homes, the poor, and women all lacked a “will of their own”, thus making them unintelligible to vote
  2. Mostly a male prerogative

Political Cultures

  1. Most offices didn’t keep contact w/ their constituents
  2. Property requirements for officeholding were far higher than for voting
  3. Few Americans vigorously pursued elective office or took an active role in public affairs

Colonial Government

  1. BR adopted a policy of “salutary neglect” towards colonies, leaving them to govern themselves. B/c of this, large landowners, merchants, and lawyers claimed the right to control local politics

The Rise of the Assemblies

  1. Gov = focal point of political authority in 17th century
  2. Most powerful assembly was Pennsylvania’s; new charter (1701) - established the only uni-cameral legislature in the colonies
  3. Started printing money b/c silver and gold was so scarce

Politics in Public

  1. “Political nation” was dominated by the gentry

The Colonial Press

  1. 18th century - it spread throughout ENG like crazy
  2. By the eave of the AM Revolution, 3/4 of the free male population could readand write.
  3. Libraries started popping up all around Britain. First continuously published colonial newspaper = the Boston NewsLetter (1704). Penn. Gazette = best-edited (2,000 subscribers at peak)

Freedom of Expression and its Limits

  1. Freedom of speech, and Freedom of the press = both sides of Atlantic viewed these as very dangerous. Eventually said that you needed to have a gov license to print anything
  1. Ppl could be punished for “seditious libel” - a crime that included defaming gov officials

The Trial of Zenger

  1. Most famous court case involving freedom of the press
  2. John Peter Zenger - German born printer who went to NY as youth. He published “libel”, but it was true so he wasn’t guilty in trial

The AM Enlightenment

  1. Philosophical movement - sought to apply to political and social life the Scientific Method of carful investigation based on research and experiment.
  2. These thinkers held that “reason,” not religious enthusiasm, could govern human life
  3. Deism developed here
  4. Isaac Newton also revealed the natural laws that governed the Universe.
  5. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were classified as deists.

The Great Awakening

  1. Religion was central to American life
  2. Religious Revivals
  1. Revivals that were less a coordinated movement than a series of local events united by a commitment to a “religion of the heart,”
  2. Jonathan Edwards and his famous sermon - Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God; only a new birth and divine grace could save men from eternal damnation

The Preaching of Whitfield

  1. He preached that God was merciful. He was made a celebrity b/c of his sermons. Traveling preachers followed him and held revivalist meetings
  2. Critics - produced sermons, pamphlets, newspaper, etc against revivalist-ers
  3. New church denominations created - Old Lights (traditionalists) and New Lights (revivalists): Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and others created

The Awakening’s Impact

  1. Criticized farmers for only going for profit. Few preachers condemned slavery
  2. B/c of newspaper fights, papers spread all throughout colonies; and it also helped colonists to trust their own views rather than just the elites

Imperial Rivalries

  1. Spanish North America
  1. Pacific Coast and New Mexico into the Great Plains eastward thru Texas and Florida

The Spanish in California

  1. California’s first mission - San Diego
  2. 1800 - Los Angeles was the largest town w/ 300 ppl

The FR Empire

  1. Greater rival to England than Spain
  2. New Orleans was a big city (1718) - population was 55k by 1750. It had a vibrant social life as well as an established community w/ churches, schools, and gov buildings

Battle for the Continent

  1. The Middle Ground
  1. Ohio River Valley always a struggle btwn FR, BR, rival Indian communities, and settlers/land companies
  2. Middle Ground was the area btwn European empires and Indian sovereignty.
  3. Indians knew that confronting either FR or BR meant suicide, so they tried to play it safe and sneaky. Iroquois were masters of balance-of-power diplomacy
  4. Ohio Company given half a million acres land grant to be dished out to colonists.
  1. This caused the FR to make themselves more apparent in the area, eventually causing the 7 Years War.

The Seven Year’s War

  1. George Washington- established Fort Necessity, but surrendered soon after.
  2. 2 years, the war went against the BR. Indians killed hundreds of colonists.
  3. BR took out a FR place, sending some FR ppl to Louisiana (called Cajuns)
  4. Also captured FR forts in Fort Duquesne, Ticonderoga, and Louisburg. Lastly defeated the FR army at Quebec....O ya, totally pwned fool

A World Transformed

  1. FR ceded Canada to BR, Spain ceded Florida to BR in exchange for Cuba and the Philippines. SP also got the Louisiana colony from FR
  2. Now, w/ an exception to two FR islands, everything east of the Mississippi River was now in BR control
  3. The Seven Year’s War put strains on all the participants

Pontiac’s Rebellion

  1. B/c Indian’s fought for the FR, and now the FR were essentially out of the New World, the Indian’s felt threatened. FR ceded lands that Indians claimed as their own
  2. Indians of the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes launched a revolt
  3. Really led by a Delaware religious prophet (Neolin) - he argued that all Indians were a same person

The Proclamation Line

  1. Proclamation of 1763 - prohibited further colonial settlement west of the Appalachian Mtns; this land was exclusively reserved for the Indians. It also banned the sale of Indian lands to private individuals.
  2. George Washington and other colonists ignored the above and bought as much land west as they could.

Pennsylvania and the Indians

  1. Western Pennsylvanians demanded that colonial authorities adopt a more aggressive stance towards Indians
  2. During Pontiac’s Rebellion, a party of 50 Penn’s massacred Indians
  3. Paxton Boys marched on Philly forcing the gov to force the expulsion of much of the nearby Indian population
  1. William Penn’s “Holy Experiment” of “true friendship and amity” was now over

Colonial Identities

  1. Colonists emerged from the Seven Years War w/ a whole new collective identity, w/ greater bonds to each other.
  2. The Albany Plan of Union of 1754, drafted by Benjamin Franklin, envisioned the creation of a Grand Council composed of delegates from each colony, with the power to levy taxes and deal w/ Indian relations and the common defense.
  1. Too bad it was rejected :(

The 7 years war also strengthened the colonists’ pride in being members of the BR empire..colonists more unified w/ BR After 1763, BR’s global empire was neither Protestant nor British nor free. Colonists soon came to believe that membership in the empire jeopardized their liberty


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miimad on February 02, 2019:

Thank you for your hard work and commitment to posting valuable info for all APUSH students

timi on February 15, 2015:

Thank u for yur hard work....yur outline made me fall in love with history

Erika on September 24, 2013:

Is it possible to outline the focus question answers as well? Or are they listed somewhere I missed?

Janne on July 26, 2013:

I am curious why you didn't outline chapters 5 and 6? Let me - thanks so much for all your hard work.

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