7th Grade American History
American Colonies Learning Menu
Mr. Pinkerton

Learning Menu General Directions: You will choose one activity from each section--General Background, Political Organization, Social Structure, etc.--to complete. Read and follow the directions carefully for each activity.

NOTE: Please write your responses for written portions using MS Word; be sure to save your work in the American Colonies section of your History Dropbox folder. You will be responsible for saving it and turning it in to your teacher. Please type the proper heading--name, date, assignment--in the upper right corner of the page.

This work will be completed by Thursday, November 17.

You will have a quiz over the General Background reading material and related concepts on Monday, November 21.

General Background

1. Background Reading and Notes (REQUIRED)

Read the two packets of background reading and take double column notes (you may copy/paste the table below for a template). You make take the notes in MS Word and print the notes to One Note binder in the "Early Colonies" section or type directly into One Note.
Main Idea
Jamestown was first successful permanent English Settlement in
North America
  1. Founded 1607 by Virgina Company
  2. Cooperation with local Native Americans helped colonists survive
  3. Served as a model for future colonies

Political Organization and Government (Choose one activity to complete)

1. Government of the Colonies: Read the article (linked below) answer and create a flow chart or diagram that shows how the colonies were governed. Make sure that your chart shows the following:
a. the various levels of authority (Governor, Governor's Council, etc.)
b. the functions, jobs, and responsibilities of the people at each level

Colonial American Government

Please consider and answer the following question:

How might this type of government impact people's expectations for government and/or participation in government?

2. Representative Government in the Early Colonies: Read the article (linked below) and answer the questions below.

Virginia House of Burgesses

a. What was the function of the Virginia House of Burgesses? What kinds of decisions did they make?
b. Who was elected to the House of Burgesses?
c. Do you see any connection between the representative government of colonial Virginia and our government today?
d. How might this type of government impact people's expectations for government or participation in government?

Social Structure (Choose one activity to complete)

1. The Social Hierarchy: Using your Background Reading packet, draw a diagram of the social hierarchy that existed in the Colonies. It should be clear from your diagram who is on the top, in the middle, and on the bottom of the hierarchy. Be sure to include all of the colonies in your diagram.

2. Slavery in the Colonies: View the video (below) and read the article (linked below), and answer the questions in a MS Word Document. (NOTE: if you are directed to the ABC Clio Sign-In page simply log in using the usual MICDS username and password. The article should open automatically)

Slavery Article

a. Why did the institution of slavery gain a foothold in the North American British Colonies? (1 paragraph)
b. How did slavery evolve in the colonies? (1 paragraph)

Everyday Life (Choose one activity to complete)

1. Work and Economy: Read the article on trade and economy in the colonies. Answer each question below in a short paragraph and create a map showing the economic activity within each region and the trade relationships between colonies and other parts of the Atlantic World. (NOTE: if you are directed to the ABC Clio Sign-In page simply log in using the usual MICDS username and password. The article should open automatically)

Colonial Economy Article

a. Upon what important products/crops/exports did the Colonies depend?
b. How did the plantation system cause the northern economy to grow?
c. What were the result of the growth of colonial cities?
d. How did the developing economy impact the various members of the labor force?

2. Women and Young People in the Colonies: Read the article (linked below) and respond to the following questions. (NOTE: if you are directed to the ABC Clio Sign-In page simply log in using the usual MICDS username and password. The article should open automatically)

Women and Young People

a. What challenges and dangers did women and young people face in the colonies? Be specific and descriptive. (2 paragraphs)
b. What roles and responsibilities did women take on in the early Colonies? (2 paragraphs)

Religion (Choose one activity to complete)

1. Discovering the Salem Witch Trials: Watch the video (below) and read the article (linked below) about the Salem Witch Trials. Answer the questions below.
(NOTE: if you are directed to the ABC Clio Sign-In page simply log in using the usual MICDS username and password. The article should open automatically)

Salem Witch Trial Article

a. Give some background about the events. (What was going on in Salem that caused people to accuse others of being witches? Who was accused? Who did the accusing?)
b. How many were accused and tried? How many were executed?
c. How were the events resolved?

Native Americans (Choose one activity to complete)

1. Changing Relationships with Native Americans: Watch the video clip about the story of Pocahontas (below) and read the short article. How does the story of Pocahontas illustrate the changing relationships between Native American and early colonists? How did relations between Native Americans and colonists change over time? (1-2 paragraphs)

Legacies of Indian Warfare

Early America was often a violent time and place. Conflicts between American Indian groups and between American Indians and Europeans characterized the colonial and early national periods, impacting both American Indians and Europeans in significant ways. Causes of conflict remained as varied as the many different nations and peoples that encountered one another in early America. Like Europeans, American Indian peoples fought against each other before Europeans arrived in the Americas, and war formed a crucial component of their cultures, especially among men. The frequency and deadliness of warfare increased dramatically after contact with Europeans, however, and American Indian cultures adapted by making war and preparation for war a more vital element of their societies than ever before. The introduction of new technologies increased the mortality of war, forcing Europeans and American Indians to adapt new tactics and styles of warfare. This new world of nearly constant warfare in early America presented all peoples with new challenges, permanently altered the course of history, and thereby helped to shape American society and culture.


American Indians and Europeans fought among themselves and against each other for a variety of reasons. Revenge for the murder of a kinsman provided the most likely reason for American Indian groups to fight against each other. The family and clan members of a murdered American Indian killed the murderer or a member of the murderer's family to avenge their deceased relative, which often sparked further revenge killings in response, sometimes spiraling into full-fledged war between different American Indian groups. Repeatedly, the need to avenge the deaths of murdered kinsmen also brought American Indians and Europeans into open conflict as European settlers fought with and killed American Indian warriors who were then avenged. Occasionally, American Indians fought against each other to protect or acquire resources, such as horses (valuable new animals introduced by Europeans) or game-rich hunting lands. After European diseases introduced into North America killed American Indians by the tens of thousands, American Indian groups like the Iroquois warred against other native peoples to acquire captives to adopt into their tribes and replenish their depleted populations. As American Indians fled these attacks or moved away from European settlements, they displaced other groups that frequently reacted by attacking the newcomers to their region.

All American Indian groups had traditional enemies by the time Europeans arrived on the scene, and they often attempted to recruit their new technologically advanced neighbors as allies in their preexisting disputes. Trade with Europeans became a source of tension between American Indian groups as tribes competed over access to manufactured goods. American Indian groups with access to guns through trade found they had a major advantage over their native neighbors who had not yet acquired the new weapons. Finally, the various European powers in colonial North America sought allies and trade partners among American Indian groups. When Europeans went to war against one another, they pulled American Indians into the conflicts by offering them incentives to fight or by attacking them for being allies of their opponent. Europeans also paid American Indians to attack each other for economic gain, as the English did in South Carolina in the late 1600s and early 1700s by arming and paying their native allies to seize captives from other American Indian groups to be sold as slaves in the Caribbean.


Throughout North America and from the times of earliest contact with Europeans, many American Indian peoples violently resisted European encroachments on their land, culture, and independence. Although many American Indian groups welcomed Europeans initially as trading partners and allies, those friendly relations often degenerated into animosity, distrust, and violence. European arrival in the Americas brought Europeans, American Indians, and Africans into contact for the first time. Their respective cultures, values, and languages differed markedly, and those differences encouraged misunderstandings that frequently led to conflict. American Indians who lived near a European settlement watched new diseases kill their relatives, European hunters dispatch their game animals, European livestock eat their crops, European men assault their women, Christian missionaries condemn their religion, and European farms consume their land. Some native peoples adapted to these new pressures without resorting to violence, but many others felt pushed to the limit of toleration and lashed out at the injustices they perceived were being perpetrated upon them.

In the area that later became the United States, American Indian resistance occurred most often against English colonists. In 1609, within two years after establishing Jamestown, Virginia Company officials found themselves involved in a low intensity conflict, known as the First Anglo-Powhatan War, that lasted five years. Overbearing English demands for food and land convinced the Powhatan to launch a devastating attack in March 1622 that killed hundreds of English people and ignited a decade-long war that ended largely in a stalemate. The last major attempt by the Powhatan to violently preserve their autonomy occurred in another one day attack in April 1644 that killed over 400 English colonists but resulted in Powhatan defeat after two years of conflict.

In New England, the Pequot fought against land encroachment and an attempt to monopolize the wampum trade by English Puritan colonists in 1636 to 1637. The war ended in a overwhelming defeat for the Pequot as the English surrounded their main village, set it on fire, and killed over 600 of the fleeing American Indiansas they emerged from the flames. Some surviving Pequot, including their principal chief Sassacus, fled west to Mohawk territory where the Mohawk killed them to prove they were not involved in the attacks on the English. The English captured still other survivors and sold them into slavery in the Caribbean or gave them to their American Indian allies such as the Mohegan, Narraganset, and Niantic. King Philip's War is the name given to the next major uprising of New England Indians in 1675 to 1676. English land encroachment and attempts to force American Indians in New England to live under English law provided the central causes of this conflict with the Wampanoag and other American Indian groups. English superiority in numbers of soldiers and firepower, and the aid of their American Indian allies, wore the Indian alliance down and virtually eliminated the Wampanoag, Nippmuc, and Narragansett tribes, resulting in the end of large scale American Indian resistance in New England.

O'Brien, Greg. "Legacies of Indian Warfare." Americans at War. Ed. John P. Resch. Vol. 1: 1500-1815. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 105-109. Gale U.S. History In Context. Web. 9 Nov. 2011.