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US History – Colonial Society and Culture, 1607-1754

5. The Enlightenment

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About this Lecture


In this module, we examine the Enlightenment and its effect on American culture in the colonial period. The Enlightenment inspired many colonists to rethink their beliefs and question traditional ways of doing things. These ideas created a colonial elite that were more inclined to challenge perceived injustices, which set the colonies on a collision course with the traditional colonial authority.


In this course, Dr Jonathan Barth (Arizona State University) examines how and why the movement of a variety of people and ideas across the Atlantic contributed to the development of American culture in the period 1607-1754. In the first module, we explore how the population of the British colonies changed over time. After this, we take a closer look at how the British colonies developed economically and socially. We then turn to explore how colonial governments functioned. In the final two modules, we see how the Great Awakening and Enlightenment set the colonies up for the revolutionary period.


Jonathan Barth is assistant professor of history at Arizona State University. He specialises in the history of money and banking in the early modern period, with corollary interests in early modern politics, empire, culture, and ideas. His first book, The Currency of Empire: Money and Power in Seventeenth-Century English America, explores the intersection of money and imperial politics in the first hundred years of English Atlantic colonisation.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Barth, J. (2021, November 18). US History – Colonial Society and Culture, 1607-1754 - The Enlightenment [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Barth, J. "US History – Colonial Society and Culture, 1607-1754 – The Enlightenment." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 18 Nov 2021,