18th century America, 1700 to 1799, was a time of great change.  America was home to native American Indians before the first Europeans arrived in the early 1600s and during those years, life was a daily challenge of survival spent hunting, farming, and making everything that was needed to live.   This was the time of the first Industrial Revolution in Europe, and it was the time of the American Revolution (1775-83).

Map of 18th century America

States in 18th Century America

After America won independence from Britain in 1776, a constitution was drawn up and one by one, the original colonies ratified it and became a state in the United States of America.  To https://www.lapressclub.org/hypothesis/building-erie-canal-essay/29/ click here propecia should i stop now go to site cialis coupon cards enter site https://cwstat.org/termpaper/essay-on-corruption-and-unemployment/50/ steroides viagra owl purdue thesis statements https://kirstieennisfoundation.com/dysfunction/isopto-dex-wirkstoff-cialis/35/ english as the official language of the united states essay communication in modern world essay research thesis unsw law https://chfn.org/fastered/levitra-40-mg-dose/36/ altace viagra man coffee viagra crestor statin drug viagra ou cialis que choisir buy viagra los angeles does blue cross blue shield of florida cover viagra source site synthroid and muscle gain cialis willow river acheter cialis en ligne livraison rapide deguisement term paper on religion https://westsidechristianfellowship.org/format/essay-for-requesting-scholarship/36/ https://eventorum.puc.edu/usarx/viagra-jelly-shots/82/ art scholarship essays examples dream coming true essay george orwell 1984 essay topics buy augmentin in canada no prescription ratify is to sign or give formal consent to a treaty, a contract, or an agreement, making it officially valid.

  • In 1787 there were three states.  Delaware is known as The First State because on December 7, 1787, it became the first of the 13 original states to ratify the U.S. Constitution.  Pennsylvania and  New Jersey also became states in 1787.
  • In 1788 there were eleven states.  Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, and New York became states in 1788.
  • In 1789 there were twelve states when North Carolina became a state.
  • In 1790 there were thirteen, as the final original colony, Rhode Island, became a state.
  • Vermont became a state in 1791. Kentucky became a state in 1792.  Tennessee became a state in 1796.  So by the end of the 18th century there were sixteen states.

Presidents of the United StatesPresidents.  America became a country in 1776, but it took some time to form the government and elect the very first president.  It took a while to decide what title to give the country’s leader!  There were two presidents in the 1700s:

  • 1st: George Washington. 1789–1797.
  • 2nd: John Adams. 1797–1801.

Inventions in 18th Century America

Most of the inventions were happening in Britain in the 1700s, but they made their way to America and began to change everything!  The first Industrial Revolution was mostly happening in Europe.  We call it an industrial revolution because inventions were making it possible to speed up the making of cloth, which was done by families in their homes before that, and creating factories that created thread, wove cloth, and made clothes.

The very first engines were steam engines, used to replace animal labor. The 18th century also saw the widespread replacement of manual labor by new inventions and machinery.

Some of those early inventions were:

  • 1704: Frenchman Denis Papin built the first ship powered by a steam engine, mechanically linked to paddles.
  • 1712: Englishman Thomas Newcomen invented the first practical steam engine.
  • 1717: American Benjamin Franklin invented swim fins.
  • 1733: Englishman John Kay invented the flying shuttle (a quicker way to weave cloth from wool, cotton, flax, or silk threads).
  • 1742: American Benjamin Franklin invented the Franklin stove.
  • 1744: American Benjamin Franklin invented the mail order catalog.
  • 1764: Englishman James Hargreaves invented the spinning jenny (a way to spin thread made from wool, cotton or flax faster than on a spinning wheel).
  • 1769: Englishman Richard Arkwright patented the water frame (A water frame was a water-powered spinning frame which was a faster way to create cotton thread, spinning 128 threads at a time)
  • 1769: Englishman James Watt patented a series of improvements on the Newcomen engine making it more efficient.
  • 1779: Englishman Samuel Crompton perfected the spinning mule (combining the spinning jenny with the rollers of the water frame, to produce many different types of threads at once).
  • 1784: American Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals.
  • 1785: Englishman Edmund Cartwright patented a power loom (a loom is used to weave cloth from wool, cotton, flax, or silk by a single waver; a power loom is run by a line shaft, so one weaver can tend multiple looms).
  • 1787: Oliver Evans invented the first automatic mill, a flour mill.
  • 1790: American Samual Slater built the first American factory, a cotton-spinning mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, soon run by water-power.
  • 1793: American Eli Whitney patented the cotton gin which sped up the process of removing seeds from cotton plants.

Work in 18th Century America

Some jobs in the 1700s included shipbuilding, publishing, blacksmithing, weaving, wheel making, shoe making, pottery.  Almost everyone was a farmer!   Most of the people living in Colonial America lived and worked on a small family farm.  Remember that in the 1700s, only the eastern states were part of the country.

Infrastructure in 18th Century America

Infrastructure is all the underlying support that technology depends upon.  In the 18th century there were some inventions that made modern plumbing possible.

In the late 1600s through the 1700s, cities began using pipes made from hollowed out logs to bring water from rivers or lakes to cities.   Before there were pipes, water had to be pumped from a well or carried from the nearest water source to the house and barns.  The pipes used gravity and water pressure to bring the water from the river, stream or lake to the cities.   People could tap into the system for drinking and cooking water instead of digging and using wells.  Piped in water was also used to get water to fires quickly.

Also introduced in the 1700s was the toilet.  Not like the toilets of today, but with features that we still use.  Americans in the 18th century mostly used outhouses and chamber pots until the later part of the century.

The “water closet”, invented in 1596 had water above the seat that could be used to flush the waste out of the house to somewhere else.   Few people had a water closet.  In 1738, J.F. Brondel created a valve style flush toilet. Alexander Cummings improved the flush toilet in 1775 by adding an S-trap with a sliding valve that used water to seal the outlet of the bowl so that it didn’t smell as bad.  With these changes and others (such as a float valve system), water closets became more common.

Rural Life in 18th Century America

Farmers had to work hard all year long just to survive.  They got up with the sun and went to work.  Men  worked outside on the farm and the fields. What they did depended on the time of year. During the spring they would be tilling and planting the fields by hand or with the help of an ox or horse. During the fall they had to gather the harvest. The rest of the time they tended the fields, took care of their livestock (horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, and/or chickens), chopped wood, fixed fences, and repaired the house. Women prepared the meals, washed, sewed and mended the clothing, made candles, cleaned the house, managed the garden, prepared food for the winter, spun thread, wove cloth, and raised the children.

Crops. Colonial farmers grew a wide variety of crops depending on where they lived. Popular crops in the South (Georgia, South and North Carolina, and Virginia) included tobacco, and rice. Slaves worked the fields of large plantations in the Southern states; the first African slaves were brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619, to aid in the production of such lucrative crops as tobacco. Slavery was practiced throughout the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries, and African-American slaves helped build the economic foundations of the new nation. The invention of the cotton gin in 1793 solidified the central importance of slavery to the South’s economy. The middle colonies (Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) grew wheat.

Lifestyle. Only five percent of Americans in the 1700s lived in cities—the five largest being Boston, MA; New York, NY; Newport, RI; Philadelphia, PA; and Charles Town (Charleston), SC — and none had more than 40,000 people in 1775. The typical farming family lived in a one or two room house with dirt floors. The only day of the week that the colonial farmer did not work was Sunday. On Sunday everyone was required to go to church. Farmers usually had large families of at least six or seven children. Despite working hard all day and wearing the same clothes most of the time, colonial farmers very seldom bathed or washed.

Education in 18th Century America

Most children in 18th century America were put to work as soon as they were able to help. `They were laborers for the family. The boys helped the father with his work and the girls helped their mother. This way they helped the family survive and learned the skills they would need when they grew up. In many areas there wasn’t a public school like there is today, so a lot of farm children did not get any formal education. Boys often learned how to read or write from their father or the local minister. Girls were often not taught to read or write at all. In some places the children did go to school. The boys usually attended longer as it was considered more important for them to learn to read and write so they could manage the farm.


Travel in the 1700s was by foot, horse or river. Horses were an important means of transportation. They were expensive, however, costing up to half a year’s wages. Roads were not paved or even graded (smoothed).  Rivers were slow because boats were powered by river current and manpower.  By the late 1700s, Americans started digging their first man-made water ways (called canals) to to improve transportation in the Ohio Valley, in Pennsylvania and Virginia.

18th Century Roads

In New England in 1790, roads were made of dirt, and they were rutted and rough.  Traveling any distance was both slow and difficult. Children and poorer adults walked everywhere, and only a few farmers had horses and wagons. Many loads of freight were drawn not by horses but by much slower-moving oxen. With a good horse, it took from four to six days, depending on the weather, to travel from Boston to New York. And this was on the best roads, which ran between major cities along the coast. Inland, the roads were even worse, turning to mud when it rained or to choking dust when the weather was dry.

Religion in 18th Century America

In the early years of what later became the United States, Christian religious groups played an influential role in each of the British colonies, and most attempted to enforce strict religious observance through both colony governments and local town rules.  Eight of the thirteen British colonies had official, or “established,” churches, and in those colonies dissenters who practiced a different version of Christianity or a non-Christian faith were sometimes persecuted.  Between 1680 and 1760 Anglicanism and Congregationalism, an offshoot of the English Puritan movement, were the main organized denominations in most of the colonies.

In the later part of the 18th century, the Protestant wing of Christianity gave birth to new movements, such as the Baptists, Methodists, Quakers, Unitarians and many more, sometimes referred to as “Dissenters.”  In communities where one existing faith was dominant, new congregations were often seen as unfaithful troublemakers who were upsetting the social order.


Gross, Ernie. Colonial and 18th Century American Life Advances and Innovations in American Daily Life, 1600s-1930s. McFarland, 2002. Print. ISBN:0786412488
This reference book is divided into these sections: Agriculture, Art and music, Business and finance, Clothing, Communications, Education, Energy, Entertainment, Food and drink, Health, Labor, Law, Manufacturing, Public service, Religion, Science, Shelter and domestic furnishing, Social welfare, Sports, and Transportation.

Suddath, Claire. “A Brief History of Toilets.” Time. 19 Nov. 2009. Web. 18 Nov. 2012.

Pathak, Dr. Bindeswar. “History of Toilets.” Sulabh International Museum of Toilets. 25 May 1995. Web. 18 Nov. 2012.

“History of Plumbing in America.” P & M Magazine. July 1987. Web. 18 Nov. 2012.