The Colonies of Virginia and Massachusetts

2161 words (9 pages) Essay in History

23/09/19 History Reference this

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The Colonies of Virginia and Massachusetts

The first American colonial period comprised the period between the founding of the first British colony in North America in 1607 and the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Most European countries had developed colonies for various reasons. Among them are economic benefits. The colonies form a good source of raw materials, as well as the market for their finished products. According to the 1.1.1 Recovery in the Unit 1.1 “Europe on the Eve of the Discovery of America” from the Lecture of American Destiny, “To understand why Europeans position themselves to become involve in the Americas, we must look at Europe in the latter part of the 15th century. It is finally beginning to recover from a devastating plague and population decline. As this recovery progresses Europeans societies move beyond meeting basic day-to-day needs. Increased stability increases wealth, which in turn, increases the demand for luxury goods.” These settlers created an increasingly competitive and liberal political system based for the development of representative governance institutions. At the same time, the diverse religious beliefs of settlers had undermined the support of a common church, leading to an ideal of religious tolerance. Portugal and Genoa had the experience. Spain had the confidence and religious drive. In northern Europe, the interests in the oceans is not so dramatic. There was no doubt that intra-European trade flourishing here. Thus, in England, Holland and in northern France a new commercial mentality was, by the fifteenth century developing. In these wealthy areas agriculture was flourishing, small manufacturers were turning out new products, primarily textiles and capital was accumulating. Shippers were moving goods around northern Europe. Institutions that handled capital by securing, investing and growing, which was becoming widespread. Moreover, the influence of settlers on the economy is profound when it comes to the fact that the economy has improved a lot. This is because the settlers believe in free trade and mercy.

The New England colony was founded by the British. While most of the Puritans sought to purge the Church of England from within, and not separate from it, a small group of secessionists – pilgrims – founded the tiny Plymouth Colony, the first in New England. More important is the larger group of unassuming people, led by John Winthrop, who founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony as part of the great Puritans’ emigration to escape the persecution of England in the 1630s. So, the first settlers formed the Massachusetts Bay colony by a strong awareness of general purpose. Due to the close association of religion and politics within the colony, religious orthodoxy defenders, among them Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams, were considered guilty of guilty and expelled from Massachusetts. Williams deported established Rhode Island, so far, the most respected and respected of the colonies. Addition, other geographical region settlements, all created in Massachusetts Bay, combined from New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine. Although they shared a common lifestyle, the New England colonies developed with a considerable degree of independence. According in the Unit 2 from the American Destiny, “They developed their own institutions which gave the individual far more control over his own governmental and ecclesiastical order.  As each colony grew, each developed its own interpretation of how these questions were to be handled.  By 1688 a new generation of Massachusetts Puritans had grown up and taken charge.  Many of them, born in America, had little knowledge and concern about events in England.  While every colony had distinct origins which shaped its society, economy and culture, a growing distance from the mother country was something they all held in common.”

According to the research on Massachusetts Bay Colony1, “for example, the Puritans believed that they had a covenant with God to build a society that would be a model for humankind. This shows partly theocracy because everyone believed in and worshipped a God to help them build a society. Another example is that the colonies franchise was extended to all adult males who were a part of the Puritans congregation. The government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony was simultaneously theocratic, democratic, oligarchic, and authoritarian in different ways. The Puritans founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1628 and wanted a well-established government, but they ended up mixing all of these together. This colony was important because it was one of the first provincial and true governments to be introduced into the colonies. It also provided an example to other colonies to base their governments on. The Massachusetts Bay Colony can be said to have been partly theocratic based on a couple of reasons. This caused all non-domination or churchless people unable to vote. This also shows the theocratic idea behind this government and how the church and God influenced the decisions of the colony and provided a background to establish their government on.” Therefore, we all knew that the government would be managed people or another way that would like to control the colony. However, the region was the thing to connect people with the government. The fact, in this moment around the world, we could see at anywhere that the region is helping people to believe God, who can help them to overcome some troubles in their life. Addition, people can believe to other people who is living or working nearby. So, we could see how the church and God influenced between the people, the colony and the government. Also, that provided to the background to establish the government.

Therefore, which was both religious revival and Enlightenment thinking contributed to the idea that humans were at the same time both corrupt and redeemable. Yet redemption could not occur when either religious or political institutions were hierarchical. Established church and monarchical government were suspect.  The irony of the American Revolution was that in New England at least, the established church was locally governed.  There were a few Anglican congregations in the coastal towns.  Perhaps the anger aroused by imperial support of the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec was the straw that broke the camel’s back in this area.  Perhaps New Englanders believed that imperial authority threatened their salvation.

 There is no doubt that more and more colonials, especially in New England, came to believe that imperial authority threatened their treasured liberty and property, and their capability, to participate in government.  The irony here is that the British system promised a higher level of participation in government by “the people” than any other system in Europe.  In fact, the “Intolerable” acts were imposed by a Parliament in which the colonials had at least “virtual representation.”  King George III hardly acted alone.  Rebellion against hierarchical authority occurred in the place where it was least present, not in Spanish America, not in the British West Indies, but in relatively autonomous New England. Like most revolutions, this was a movement fueled by expectations.  It was not the most desperate slaves on the sugar plantations in the British West Indies or on the tobacco plantations in Virginia that fueled the Revolution.  They had little hope that anything could be done to change their conditions.  New Englanders had a tradition of believing that they could take matters into their own hands and resolve problems.  And so, they did and others in British North America joined them.  But not all British North Americans believed that the cause was just.

The specific historical events or movements in the colony that I found the values of greed, brutality and exploitation, which was in order to ensure maximum return from the colonies, mercantilist policies demanded that British entrepreneurs be given preference, even monopolies in the sale and transport of goods to and from all parts of the Empire, including the North American colonies.  For example, one would not think of shipping timber from Boston to Cuba on a Spanish ship.  English or New England ships would perform this function.  Tariff duties on goods imported or exported was a standard measure to incent and enforce this mercantilist principle.  Imperial customs officials would enforce such measures.  However, their ranks were thin, and colonials often flouted such restrictions without significant consequence.  Part of the new imperial rationalization involved more stringent enforcement of the law. Enforcement cost money.  The Board of Trade and leaders in Parliament assumed that colonials could and should be taxed to support the measures that were necessary to regulate their activities.  The idea of imposing taxes for the specific purpose of raising revenue to enforce mercantilist practices made perfect sense to London, did not play well in the colonies.  Nevertheless, additional duties were imposed on colonial commerce.  Beginning in the Grenville ministry, the Mutiny Act of 1765 required colonies to finance the provisioning and maintenance of the army and navy.  The navy was to patrol the coastal waters to prevent smuggling.  The Customs service was reorganized so that local people would no longer be hired to enforce the law.  For the first time, a preference was shown for the mother country’s entrepreneurs.  Restrictions were imposed on colonial manufacturing to favor manufacturers at home.  

 The Sugar Act of 1764, The Currency Act of 1764 and the Stamp Act of 1765 imposed a number of duties which substantially raised revenue.  It is estimated that by the end of the decade of the 1760s, imperial officials were collecting ten times the amount of annual revenue as they had in 1763 (Brinkley, 100).  The measures were clearly accomplishing their intent.  The new measures also provided for trial by Vice-Admiralty Courts located at best in Halifax, at worst in London.  These trials would deny the traditional right of an Englishman to a jury trial by his peers.

Another colony that demonstrated a different set of values from that I found in Massachusetts and Virginia such as, the Twice in the 1560s French Protestants or Huguenots sought to escape from persecution in France by establishing colonies on the South Atlantic Coast.  The first in present-day South Carolina collapsed and the starving inhabitants were rescued by a passing ship.  Another was established near Jacksonville and was destroyed in 1565 by a Spanish expedition under Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and led to the establishment of St. Augustine.  (Norton, 22) The French were able to eventually acquire the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique and Haiti.  In 1682, Sieur de La Salle explored the Mississippi River southward from New France to its mouth.  The incursion of the French forced the Spanish to establish fortifications in Texas.  (Ayers 83) For nearly two centuries, there was a power struggle for control of the Mississippi River.  The French anchored their success here with the establishment of New Orleans in 1718.

In conclusion, from the beginning of the American colonies was a revolutionary force waiting to be released. Although there are many things that led to the American Revolution, many historians think that events took place in 1763, which marked the turning point in the road to revolution. In 1763, that changed the way, which so many colonists felt in England and vice versa. In 1763, began all that, it was a whole year to change the world. If the events of that year did not happen, we may not be the same country and will have no great place to live and be part of. In my opinion, 1763 was an important day in American history, which paved the way for revolution.

Work Cited

  • 1 “Essay on Massachusetts Bay Colony.” Essay on Contrasting Ralph and Jack in Lord of the Flies | Bartleby, 2016, www.bartleby.com/essay/Massachusetts-Bay-Colony-P3C5WX6JTJ.
  • “Jamestown and Plymouth: Compare and Contrast.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 26 Feb. 2015, www.nps.gov/jame/learn/historyculture/jamestown-and-plymouth-compare-and-contrast.htm.
  • “Colonial Values and America Today.” Holocaust: The Final Solution: Task, 5 Apr. 2011, questgarden.com/79/14/5/090327191304/.
  • “Compare and Contrast the Colonies of Virginia and Massachusetts Bay.” Enotes.com, Enotes.com, 2 Feb. 2012, www.enotes.com/homework-help/compare-contrast-colonies-virginia-massachusetts-284217?en_action=hh-question_click&en_label=hh-sidebar&en_category=internal_campaign.
  • “HISTORY OF U.S.” Scribd, Scribd, 1 Apr. 2010, vi.scribd.com/document/35361759/HISTORY-OF-U-S.
  • “Jamestown and Plymouth: Compare and Contrast.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 26 Feb. 2015, www.nps.gov/jame/learn/historyculture/jamestown-and-plymouth-compare-and-contrast.htm.
  • John. “Early American Colonial Period Essay Topics.” Pen and the Pad, 4 Apr. 2017, penandthepad.com/early-american-colonial-period-essay-topics-4912.html.
  • “The Year 1763 in American History.” Topics, Sample Papers & Articles Online for Free, 27 June 2016, studymoose.com/the-year-1763-in-american-history-essay.

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