11.1 - Colonial Foundations

From EngageNY

European colonization in North America prompted cultural contact and exchange between diverse peoples; cultural differences and misunderstandings at times led to conflict. A variety of factors contributed to the development of regional differences, including social and racial hierarchies, in colonial America.

Contact between Native American groups and Europeans occurred through cultural exchanges, resistance efforts, and conflict.
  • Students will trace European contact with Native Americans, including the Dutch, the English, the French and the Spanish.
  • Students will examine the impacts of European colonization on Native Americans, who eventually lost much of their land and experienced a drastic decline in population through diseases and armed conflict.
11.1b A number of factors influenced colonial economic development, social structures, and labor systems, causing variation by region.
  • Students will examine the impacts of geographic factors on patterns of settlement and the development of colonial economic systems.
  • Students will examine the factors influencing variations in colonial social structures and labor systems.
  • Students will analyze slavery as a deeply established component of the colonial economic system and social structure, indentured servitude vs. slavery, the increased concentration of slaves in the South, and the development of slavery as a racial institution.
11.1c Colonial political developments were influenced by British political traditions, Enlightenment ideas, and the colonial experience. Self-governing structures were common, and yet varied across the colonies.
  • Students will examine colonial political institutions to determine how they were influenced by Enlightenment ideas, British traditions such as the Magna Carta, and the colonial experience.
  • Students will examine colonial democratic principles by studying documents such as the Mayflower Compact and the Maryland Toleration Act of 1649, colonial governmental structures such as New England town meetings and the Virginia House of Burgesses, and the practice of the right of petition in New Netherland.
*For this document the term “Native American” is used with the understanding that it could say “American Indian.”

Supporting Materials


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High Treason! The Trial of Louis Riel - July 1885

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