Download e-book for iPad: A History of the United States by Philip Jenkins (auth.)

By Philip Jenkins (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0333630688

ISBN-13: 9780333630686

ISBN-10: 1349256579

ISBN-13: 9781349256570

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A solution was found in the use of African slaves. The first known slave importation in the British colonies occurred in 1619, though the Spanish and Portuguese had had long experience in this practice, having already transported perhaps a million Africans. Slavery did not represent a major force in British lands until after the 1680s. In 1670 Sir William Berkeley estimated that among th 40 000 Virginians, there were only 2 000 black slaves and 6 000 white servants. By 1700 there were 10-20 000 slaves in British America out of a total population of 275 000, perhaps five per cent of the whole.

The key figure here was John Eliot, pastor of Roxbury, who by the 1650s had translated the catechism and some of the Scriptures into Indian languages. His missionary venture also involved the formation of Christian communities, 'praying towns' on the model pioneered by the Catholics in South America and elsewhere. By the 1670s several thousand natives had been converted to Christianity. Such relatively benevolent relations have to be set against the often extreme brutality of military encounters with native peoples.

The German Reformed and Lutheran churches both represented respectable communities with a tradition of state establishment in their respective homelands, but there were also numerous sects, including different forms of anabaptism and still more bizarre groups deeply imbued with occult, mystical, utopian, pacifist and communitarian ideas. The latter developed a strong affinity for Pennsylvania, where groups such as the Brethren and 'Dunkers' flourished, together with their countless offshoots. This was exemplified by the Protestant monastery of Ephrata, where celibate perfectionists lived communally.

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A History of the United States by Philip Jenkins (auth.)

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