Lesson 5: Town and Country
British colonies were permanently established as early as 1607 and, over several generations, they grew from small settlements to larger and larger towns and cities. Agriculture grew from small subsistence farms to large plantations growing highly profitable cash crops. By the 1750s, America was full of bustling established communities filled with tradespeople and imported European goods. As you'll see in the next lesson, the success of the colonies led to a greater interest in them from the British monarchy.
Questions to Discuss
- Do you think you would rather be a colonial farmer or a colonial tradesman? Why?
- Which colonial trades seem most interesting to you? Why?
- Why do you think a tradesman might want to move to a new town? Why not stay in his old home and continue working for the person with whom he apprenticed? (Answers will vary, but your child may offer that tradesmen might have wanted to make more money as a master tradesmen in a new place rather than remaining in a lesser position below an established craftsman. They may also have seen opportunities to make a good living as the only blacksmith or milliner or cooper for miles around in a new place. Some may just have wanted adventure or a change of scene, too!)
Things to Review
- Review your child's answers to the reading questions for this lesson.
- Review your child's activity about either colonial farming or colonial craftsmen.
- Talk to your child about his hands-on craft. Was it fun to make? How might it have been used in colonial times?