The American Journey © 2007

Chapter 4: The Colonies Grow

Chapter Overviews

As the American colonies grew, each region developed an economy based on its own resources and geography. New England focused on fishing, shipbuilding, and trade. The fertile soil of the Middle Colonies supported farming. Many businesses and some manufacturing also developed there. New York and Philadelphia became the largest cities in the colonies. In the South, tobacco and rice were the major cash crops. The triangular trade of the New England colonies brought enslaved Africans to work on the large plantations of the South.

The English principles of limited government and representative government greatly influenced the development of the colonies, and, later, of the United States. As the colonies grew they relied more and more on their own governments to make local laws. By the 1760s there were three types of colonies in America—charter colonies, proprietary colonies, and royal colonies. The Great Awakening, a religious revival, swept through the colonies during the 1720s and 1740s and led to the formation of many new churches. As a distinctly American culture developed, it was influenced by a strong belief in education and the ideas of the Enlightenment.

As the growing population of the American colonies pushed up against French-held territory, hostility between Britain and France increased. Both sides recognized the importance of making allies among the Native Americans. In 1753 George Washington led a mission into the Ohio country to demand that the French leave the area. When they refused, he returned several months later with a militia group but was defeated. His defeat marked the beginning of the French and Indian War. The fighting in the colonies was only one part of a war involving Britain, France, and Spain that lasted from 1754 to 1763. By 1763 Britain had won, marking the end of France as a power in North America.

Glencoe Online Learning CenterSocial Studies HomeProduct InfoSite MapContact Us

The McGraw-Hill CompaniesGlencoe