American Archives

Social Reality

Documents that uncover both the workings of society (slavery, the life of women, riots, and the like) and opinions expressed about such social realities.

  • Class: depictions of class relations in the colonies or Britain.
  • Colonization: depictions of new settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains; land companies and speculation.
  • Domestic life: depictions of household activities and their disruption by military action.
  • Government organization: operation of colonial government; creation of new shadow governments by conventions and congresses.
  • Health: smallpox, epidemics, general health, often connected to military action.
  • Hunger: malnutrition, starvation growing from crop failures, trade restrictions, military service.
  • Immigrants: depictions of the lives and political ideals of immigrants from Germany and Britain.
  • Indian-white relations: treaties, warfare, and trade between Indians and colonists and Indians and the British.
  • Internal disorder/civil war: depictions of disorder (riots, closed courts, illegal governments) as leading to civil war between the colonies and Britain.
  • Population movement, refugees, confiscation: how warfare and occupation of towns led to movements of families, creation of a class of refugees, and confiscation of land of those who left by the occupiers.
  • Religion and fast days: depictions of religious belief and practice; imputation of God in human affairs; calls for fast days by legislative bodies.
  • Sailors: conditions at sea; riots of sailors on shore; privateering.
  • Skilled workers: depictions of work and politics of artisans.
  • Slavery: conditions of slave life; rebellions of slaves.
  • The poor/poverty: depictions of poor people, poverty, and the ways warfare thrust people into poverty.
  • The rich: lives of wealthy folk; attacks on luxury.
  • Women: depictions of the lives of women, particularly during internal violence and warfare.