Social Studies - 2018-19

USI.5d - Colonial Social Groups

The student will apply social science skills to understand the factors that shaped colonial America by  

d) describing colonial life in America from the perspectives of large landowners, farmers, artisans, merchants, women, free African Americans, indentured servants, and enslaved African Americans; 

Adopted: 2015



The colonies were made up of different groups of people whose lives varied greatly depending on their social position. 


Large landowners 

 Lived predominantly in the South 

 Relied on indentured servants and/or enslaved African Americans for labor 

 Were educated in some cases 

 Had rich social culture 


 Worked the land according to the region 

 Relied on family members for labor 


 Worked as craftsmen in towns and on plantations 

 Lived in small villages and cities 


 Worked to buy and sell goods to the colonists 

 Lived in towns and cities 


 Worked as caretakers, house-workers, and homemakers 

 Were not allowed to vote 

 Had few opportunities for getting an education 

Free African Americans 

 Were able to own land 

 Had economic freedom and could work for pay and decide how to spend their money 

 Were not allowed to vote 

Indentured servants 

 Were men and women who did not have money for passage to the colonies and who agreed to work without pay for the person who paid for their passage 

 Were free at the end of their contract 

Enslaved African Americans 

 Were captured in their native Africa and sold to slave traders, then were shipped to the colonies where they were sold into slavery 

 Were owned as property for life and did not have any rights 

 Were often born into slavery (i.e., children of enslaved African Americans were born into slavery) 


Updated: May 16, 2018