History 3.3
September 6-11, 2001

The 17th-century Origins of the South and North, 
Part 1: Virginia

I. Introduction: The Colonial Period in American Memory and the American Way

II. Virginia: Colonization as a Business

A. Background of English colonization

1. English motives for their late-coming colonization efforts: $$, to keep up with the Spanish, who had built world empire on New World gold and silver.

  • Only transferred population when their quest for wealth failed.

3. English methods: low-key, subcontracted to joint-stock companies, such as The Virginia Company of London.

Click here for narrated presentations of the following sections IIB & IIC

Best viewed with a non-dialup connection and Internet Explorer. Click to advance presentation, and click speaker icons after each outline point to here narrations. NOTE: Presentation only appears to work with Windows computers, not Macs. Mac users should get the full notes from the link at the bottom of the page.

B. The Jamestown Disaster

1. The colonists: inappropriate gentlemen, artisans, and Captain John Smith.
2. Poor, unhealthy choice of site.
3. Results: Massive death toll and even cannibalism.
4. Pocahontas & the Powhatans: Jamestown's dangerous keys to survival.

C. The Rise of Plantation Agriculture

1. John Rolfe (Mr. Pocahontas) and the introduction of tobacco.
2. Voting for Dollars: House of Burgesses and headrights as Virginia Company recruitment efforts.
3. Early labor system: white indentured servants, not African slaves.
4. Opechanacanough's 1622 uprising and the failure of the VA Co.

D. 17th-Century Virginia Society: heavily male & young; low life expectancies & high death rates; dispersed settlement; no towns; weak institutions; ethic of "looking out for number 1"; aggressive economic & social behavior; expansionism.

E. Toward the future: Rise of inequality, planter elite, slavery

Click here for full lecture notes. Use at your own risk for the non-Jamestown sections -- not always explained as fully as in class or in narrated presentation.