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Additional resources for Colonial America: Almanac, Volume 2
In certain respects the American colonies provided greater opportunities for settlers who wanted to improve their social and economic status. Life in the English colonies disrupted the traditional class system for several reasons. Neither the highest classes of English society nor the lowest came to America in large numbers. Many immigrants came from the ranks of urban artisans (skilled craftspeople) and shopkeepers, while others were farmers. So instead of a mix of classes, there was essentially a majority of midlevel citizens with a few people at the bottom or the top.
Hardships of the Pilgrims A few years later, in 1620, the Pilgrims (a Puritan group; also called Nonconformists) landed in Massachusetts, where they found conditions as grim as Jamestown (see Chapter 4). They had spent ninety-seven days onboard their ship, the Mayflower, eating a monotonous diet consisting mostly of “salt horse” (dried beef), smoked bacon, dried fish, cheese, and “ship’s biscuit,” which was made by mixing flour and water and allowing it to dry into something like a cracker. On the deck of the ship was a fire pit over which a large stew pot hung.
You are expected to base your dramatization on historical facts, although you are free to use your own dialogue and interpretation when necessary. Your goal is both to inform and entertain your audience. You must also involve each member of the class in the project. Preparation: The first task is to choose an historical event. Possibilities include the Pilgrims’ first winter at Plymouth, Bacon’s Rebellion, or the Salem witch trials. To make a decision you might put the question to a class vote.