Skip to main content

1754-1783: Lifestyles, Social Trends, and Fashion: Chronology

1754-1783: Lifestyles, Social Trends, and Fashion: Chronology




  • John Woolman writes Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes Recommended to the Professors of Christianity of Every Denomination. It is published and distributed by the Philadelphia Society of Friends.
  • Benjamin Franklin makes an overland trip from Philadelphia to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in eighteen days.


  • British authorities remove about six thousand French Acadians from Nova Scotia and transport them to the thirteen colonies.
  • 18 Nov. New England is shaken by an earthquake.


  • 26 July The Boston Evening Post has an advertisement for Boston bottles, the forerunner of the modern corsage. These small, ribboned glasses filled with water contain flowers and are worn on dresses.


  • Benjamin Franklin designs whale-oil street lamps for use in Philadelphia.
  • The first exhibition of colonial paintings is held in New York.
  • William Smiths History of New York is published in London.
  • Oct . The American Magazine, an early literary magazine, begins publication in Philadelphia.



  • Francis Hopkinson writes My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free, Americas earliest secular musical composition.
  • Halleys Comet reappears as predicted.
  • The Reverend Andrew Burnaby begins a one-year tour of the colonies, and his account is published in 1775 as Travels through the Middle Settlements in North America.


  • The population of the thirteen colonies is estimated at 1,593,625.
  • Benjamin West of Pennsylvania arrives in Italy and becomes the first American to study art in Europe.
  • 20 Mar. Boston is swept by a disastrous fire.
  • 26 Oct. George III ascends the British throne.


  • John Winthrop leads an expedition to Newfoundland to observe the transit of Venus across the Sun.
  • 15 Dec. The slave Jupiter Hammon publishes the first known work of poetry by an African American, Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries.


  • John Woolman publishes Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes: Part Second, stirring up strong antislavery activity among Quakers.


  • An employers association is organized in New York.


  • A chocolate factory that uses cacao beans imported from the West Indies is established in Massachusetts.
  • Acadian refugees begin to arrive in Louisiana.
  • The New Jersey assembly appropriates £200 for unemployment relief.


  • Slaves revolt in South Carolina.
  • Tenant farmers in the Hudson River Valley of New York fight sheriffs and British troops in protest against seizures of farms for debt.


  • 24 Apr. The Prince of Parthia, a play by Thomas Godfrey, opens at the Southwark Theater in Philadelphia, the first permanent theater in the colonies.


  • The last execution for witchcraft takes place in Connecticut.
  • Regulators begin a three-year revolt in western North Carolina. Frontier farmers fight the colonial government and tidewater elites in protest over unfair taxation and bonds of debt.
  • 18 July John Dickinsons Song for American Freedom, a patriotic ballad, is published in the Boston Gazette; it is later reprinted as The Liberty Song.


  • The Old Colony Club is formed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, to commemorate the landing of the Pilgrims in 1620.
  • The only known interior water closet in colonial America is installed at Whitehall, a late Georgian mansion in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.


  • The population of the thirteen colonies is estimated at 2,148,076.


  • The Progress of Dulness, a satire on education and the clergy by John Trumbull, is published.


  • Poems on Various Subjects by Phillis Wheatley, a young slave girl in Boston, is published.
  • President Ezra Stiles of Yale College and Dr. Samuel Hopkins advocate the colonization of West Africa by free blacks.
  • Mar. The colonial legislature of New York outlaws the discharging of firearms and explosives on New Years Day, in response to the rioting which occurred the previous January.
  • 25 June Several slaves of Massachusetts present a petition before the colonys House of Representatives calling for emancipation and the settlement of freedmen on a grant of land.


  • A slave revolt occurs in St. Andrews Parish, Georgia. Twelve slaves kill four whites but are captured, and two leaders of the revolt are burned alive.
  • Rhode Island and Connecticut prohibit the importation of slaves.
  • 20 Oct. The Continental Congress orders that the colonies discountenance and discourage all horse racing and all kinds of gaming, cock fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays and other expensive diversions and entertainments.


  • The United Company of Philadelphia for Promoting American Manufactures is organized.
  • The words of the song Yankee Doodle are written by Edward Barnes and set to an old English tune.
  • 6 Mar. Prince Hall and fourteen other free blacks become members of a British army lodge of Freemasons. After the British evacuate Boston, American authorities give Hall and his associates permission to form what becomes known as African Lodge Number One of Freemasons.
  • 14 Apr. The first abolition society in America is organized in Pennsylvania.
  • 7 Nov. John Murray, Earl of Dunmore, British governor of Virginia, issues a proclamation freeing all servants and slaves willing to join the British army in fighting the Rebels.
  • 31 Dec. George Washington reverses an earlier decision and allows free blacks to be recruited into the American army.


  • The Philadelphia Friends Meeting dismisses those members holding slaves.
  • Devereux Jarratt writes A Brief Narrative of the Revival of Religion in Virginia, an account of the Great Awakening.


  • 13 Jan. Eight blacks in Boston petition the General Court of Massachusetts, calling for the abolition of slavery.
  • 2 July The Vermont state constitution abolishes slavery and adopts universal male suffrage without regard to property. Vermont had declared itself an independent state six months earlier, and it does not officially join the Union until 1791. 27 Nov.
  • 27 Nov. The confiscation of Loyalist property is approved by Congress.


  • Virginia abolishes the slave trade.


  • The play The Motley Assembly, a political satire lampooning unpatriotic Boston aristocrats and supposedly written by Mercy Otis Warren, debuts.
  • 30 June Gen. Henry Clinton issues a second appeal to slaves to join the Loyalist cause. His proclamation promises freedom for any slave who deserts an enemy master and enters the British lines. However, the decree allows for the sale of black soldiers captured in the service of the enemy.


  • The population of the thirteen colonies is estimated at 2,780,361.
  • 1 Mar. The Pennsylvania legislature provides for gradual emancipation of slaves.
  • 7 June The Massachusetts state constitution, the first to be adopted by a convention specifically called for that purpose, is ratified by popular vote. Its bill of rights, containing the phrase all men are born free and equal, is understood by some to apply to slavery.
  • 10 June Sentiments of An American Woman, by Esther DeBerdt Reed, calls on women to sacrifice all luxuries and contribute money to the American army.


  • 2 Jan Pennsylvania troops in Morristown, New Jersey, break camp and demand back pay; Congress subsequently yields to their demands.
  • Spring Continental money ceases to have value and Not worth a Continental becomes a popular phrase.


  • Letters from an American Farmer, by Michel-Guillaume-Jean de Crèvecoeur, is published.


  • A postwar depression begins.
  • Quaco, a slave, is declared free by the Massachusetts courts under the new state bill of rights.
  • Meanwhile the Massachusetts state supreme court abolishes slavery.
  • 13 May The Society of Cincinnati is formed by former officers of the Continental Army.
  • June 30 Congress meets in Princeton, New Jersey, following a mutiny of unpaid soldiers in Philadelphia.
  • 3 Nov. The Continental Army disbands by congressional order.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"1754-1783: Lifestyles, Social Trends, and Fashion: Chronology." American Eras. . (January 21, 2019).

"1754-1783: Lifestyles, Social Trends, and Fashion: Chronology." American Eras. . Retrieved January 21, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.