Life in Colonial America

- By Marisa Adams
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Read “Life in Colonial America” and answer the questions that follow
1. During the late 1700s, almost 2.5 million people lived in America. They moved from Europe into colonies that spread from Maine to Georgia. Each of the immigrants came for his own reasons; most people came because of the cheaper land, religious freedom, to serve jail time, or because of the opportunities. Some were brought to America as indentured servants. They agreed to work for a certain period of time to pay for their passage before they became free. Others were brought to the country as slaves.
2. Most early Americans were farmers. Of course, the type of farms they had usually depended on the part of the country in which they lived. Those who lived in the northern colonies had to deal with cold climate and rocky soil. Because of this, their farms were typically small (around 55 acres) and easily run by a family with one or two indentured servants.
3. The warm climate and fertile soil of the South made farming easier. Most families lived on small farms; however, there were many families who lived on larger farms called plantations. These plantations often used many slaves to farm the land. Some of the largest plantations could easily be thousands of acres of land, housing several families, and hundreds of slaves.
4. Americans of the early colonial period were very self-sufficient. They raised and grew their own food and made their own clothes. They used the land and trees around them to build their own tools, homes, barns, and even make their own medicines. If they had anything leftover, most families would trade with a neighbor for other goods; things rarely went to waste in colonial America.

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Word Lists:

Indenture : a legal agreement, contract, or document.

Plantation : an estate on which crops such as coffee, sugar, and tobacco are cultivated by resident labor.

Colonial : relating to or characteristic of a colony or colonies

Farming : the activity or business of growing crops and raising livestock

Acre : a unit of land area equal to 4,840 square yards (0.405 hectare)

Immigrant : a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country

Climate : the weather conditions prevailing in an area in general or over a long period

Soil : the upper layer of earth in which plants grow, a black or dark brown material typically consisting of a mixture of organic remains, clay, and rock particles

Typical : having the distinctive qualities of a particular type of person or thing

Slave : a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to work for and obey them; an enslaved person


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Words: 293

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