Reasons for Colonization

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  1. By 1700, Spain, France, and England had established empires in North America. Drawing upon assigned readings and lectures, write an essay that compares the three empires with regard to 1) reasons and goals of/for colonization, 2) relations with and affect upon First Nations (Native Americans), 3) economic arrangements, 3) political administration (imperial and local), and 4) religion.

  1. Spain

    1. Reasons for Colonization

    2. Relations w/ and Affect Upon First Nations

    3. Economic Arrangements

    4. Political Administration

    5. Religion

  2. France

    1. Reasons for Colonization

    2. Relations w/ and Affect Upon First Nations

    3. Economic Arrangements

    4. Political Administration

    5. Religion

  3. England

    1. Reasons for Colonization

    2. Relations w/ and Affect Upon First Nations

    3. Economic Arrangements

    4. Political Administration

    5. Religion

  1. “Despite important similarities among the colonial regions of North America, in the 18th century the experience of the British colonies began to diverge sharply from that of the French and Spanish. Immigration, economic growth, and provincial struggles all pushed British colonists in a radically different direction” (Faragher, et. al., Out of Many, brief ed., vol. 1, p. 83) Write an essay that explains this statement. Be sure to pay attention to the differences between the British colonies as well as the differences between the British, Spanish, and French empires in North America. Be sure that your discussion of immigration includes the forced migration of Africans to the British mainland colonies of North America.

  1. Colin Calloway wrote in New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early America (p. 196): “Ultimately, European power, European numbers, and European germs dictated that Europeans would prevail in the struggle for early America, though when and where the issue hung momentarily in the balance, European adaptation of Indian ways often helped tip the scales.”

Write an essay about this statement: how and why Europeans prevailed in the struggle for early America and how European adaptation of Indian ways often helped tip the scales. Use examples.

  1. In 1774, Thomas Jefferson wrote that though “single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to accident…., but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly proves a deliberate and systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.”

Referring to the above statement by Jefferson, write an essay that explains the colonies’ decision to separate from England.
Great Awakening

Period of spiritual “re-awakening” in the late 17th century when lay preachers like Johnathan Edwards became colony-wide celebrities – repopularizing the values of the original Puritan settlers of New England. It is important because it created a spiritual unity between the diverse colonies – and the great awakening preachers who spoke out against existing authorities planted some of the first seeds of revolution among the colonists.


A Native American urban settlement of 30,000 near present-day St. Louis. Cahokia flourished in the 13th century, but was abandoned in the 1300s. The city was notable for massive earthworks. European explorers who studied the remains of the city believed that it was evidence of a “lost race”, as they did not believe it could be attributed to Native Americans. It is important because Cahokia is a key example of both European prejudice and of how the First Nations were more advanced than they are typically portrayed.


Philosophy introduced in the mid-seventeenth century that claimed the universe was governed by natural laws which could be understood and applied to human advantage. John Locke was a key enlightenment thinker. He claimed that the state existed to provide happiness and security for the individuals – and that the individual was endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty and property. It is important because Enlightenment thinking forms much of the basis behind the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Enlightenment thinking also formed much of the basis for the institutions of higher education formed in the colonies – Harvard, William and Mary, Yale, etc.

Wampum and “diplomacy”

Wampum are belts fashioned from quahog shells. Many Native American groups use them as symbols during diplomatic discussions. The act of giving wampum belts indicates sincerity and made agreements binding. Rejecting wampum belts could mean a breakdown of negotiations. Both the French and the British devoted agents to wampum diplomacy. This is important because it is indicative of a) the difference between the Native and European cultures, b) the lengths the two Old World enemies would go through to gain Native American support and c) an example of how the Europeans would adopt Native American ways to help them in the New World.

Praying Towns”

A series of (seven) villages set up in Mass. and Connecticut beginning in 1650 with the goal of allowing Native Americans to live as Christians. Rev. John Eliot was responsible for the philosophy behind the towns, and he created a series of rules of conduct for the inhabitants. “Praying Indians” gave up their language, religion, dress, etc. in exchange for adopting those of the Puritans. Praying Towns generally ceased to exist around 1675, a result of anti-native sentiment created by King Philip’s War It is important because it shows both the lack of understanding the Europeans had of Native culture and the lengths they went through to “civilize” the New World.


The term refers to the original settlers of the Americas. Paleo-Indians were nomandic tribes of hunters who crossed a land bridge from Asia to what is now Alaska. Paleo-Indians settled throughout the Americas and eventually became the Native American tribes the Europeans first encountered in the 13th century. This is important because it leads into the idea that North America was by no means a “new world” – it had been inhabited by descendents of the paleo-indians for many thousands of years.


The first permanent British colony in North America. It was founded in 1607 in Virginia, chartered by the Virginia Company. The colony got off to a rough start – the original plan called for the colonists to use the local natives for things like harvesting food... but in reality the Native Americans were not impressed by the British colonists, and the two groups would eventually come into direct conflict. It is important because the conflicts with the local natives set the tone for future such incidents.

Massachusetts Bay Colony

British colony in the NeW World founded by Puritans who were escaping persecution in pre-civil war England (1630). It was set up as a “city on a hill”, an example to others of the greatness of Puritan ideals. For twenty years the colony prospered, but after a Puritan victor in the English civil war, interest in coming to the new world dwindled and the colony opened itself up to more diverse groups. It is important for all the same reasons the other Puritan terms are important – introduced public schools, closeness of family, city centers, etc.

City on a Hill”

Concept behind the Puritan colonization of Mass. – the idea that they would create a perfect Puritan society in North America which would be a shining example fo the European world of the rightness of their ideals. The term was coined in 1630 by John Winthrop, who described it in a speech. This is important because of the long lasting effects Puritan beliefs had on North America – their beliefs regarding issues like the closeness of families, the importance of public education continue to be important to this day.

New England Puritanism

Concept of “ideal” Puritanism preached by those colonizing Mass. in the New World. Included the idea that they would set up a “city on a hill”, which would be a beacon for the rest of the world. Puritanism included the idea that everyone had a particular lot in life that they must follow. It also created a very ordered society with close nit families and something akin to arranged marriage. Puritanism supported things like public schooling and the creation of institutions of higher education.

Powhatan Confederacy

The group of Algonquian tribes in Virginia, which the first British settlers at Jamestown came into contact with. The Powhatan Confederacy enjoyed an uneasy truce with the British for several years, until Chief Opechancanough took over following Powhatan’s death in 1618. He began a series of violent campaigns against the colonists, ultimately being defeated in 1644. By the 1660s most of the lands of the Powhatan Confederacy had been ceded to the colonists.

Five Nations Iroquois Confederacy

Allied group of First Nations, including the Seneca, Onodaga, Oneda, Cayuga and Mowhawks. The Iroquois Confederacy was formed before the first contact with the Europeans, in order to solidify those particular groups against other tribes. They were the most powerful group of Native Americans in North America. Both the French and the English attempted to curry favor with the Iroquois in their wars against eachother.

Indentured Servitude

Labor system in which colonists would trade a set number of years of service in exchange for passage to the New World. After that, they were free and allowed to pursue their own futures. This was above slavery in that indentured servants retained legal rights during their servitude – but it was below apprenticeships because indentured servants did not learn a trade. This was important because it was the system by which a majority of people arrived at the new world.

Navigation Acts

Series of acts passed starting in the mid 17th century in order to protect British shipping interests by restricting what the colonies could and could not export. They also banned the colonies from using non-British ships and exporting to non British areas. The general idea was to protect the mercantile system and to prevent enemy countries like France from getting rich off of British raw materials. This is important because it’s yet another thing the framers of the rebellion found offensive.

New Netherland

A series of trading posts in North America backed by a powerful fleet of warships. Set up in the Hudson River Valley starting in 1609. The Dutch used their outposts to trade with the Iroquois, who used Dutch products to help get rid of other European colonists in the area. This is important because it is an example of Europeans and Native Americans working together for a common goal rather than Europeans oppressing natives.

Middle Passage

The “Middle Passage” refers to the route between Africa and the southern colonies along which slaves were transported. It was so named because it was the “middle” of three legs of the mercantile system: manufactured goods made of American raw materials were transported from Europe for sale in Africa, African slaves were transported to the colonies for sale and raw materials were transported from the colonies back to Europe for use in manufactured good.


One of the Middle Colonies. Pennsylvania was founded by the Quakers, who allowed other groups to purchase land easily and cheaply. The Quakers also believed in equality for all people – including other races, religions and women. This lead to a quick colonization of the area, and a push into the “backcountry” in the mid 1700s. This increasingly westward area was more lawless and of the traditional “pioneer” archetype. Land was held rather than owned. This is important because the initial settlement (by the Quakers) is an example of equality with natives uncommon to the early colonies… and the move to the backcountry is a prelude to later pioneer societies in the early 19th century.

Atlantic Slave Trade

System by which Africans were captured or purchased, sailed in slave ships across the “middle passage” and then sold as slaves to plantation owners in the colonies. Slavery was very common in the southern farming colonies, which were not built around close nit cities like the Puritan-settled areas. This was important the morality and value of slavery would be a huge sticking point among the framers of the constitution.

Tobacco Coast

Term which refers to the Chesapeake coastline. Since profitable tobacco crops could be grown in small areas, they were very popular in the upper southern colonies (Maryland and Virginia). The downside was that tobacco quickly takes nutrients from the soil, forcing a general migration westward for tobacco farmers. This is important because tobacco crops were both a reason for interest in colonizing the new world and the forcing of Native Americans further and further westward.


The system by which European colonies created colonies and then regulated their trade, creating an economic balance. The system imposed tarrrifs on the colonists for trading with countries other than England – making it only profitable to sell raw materials to the mother country. It also decreed that the colonists could not produce manufactured goods – they must buy them from England. This is important because it is one of the key reasons for the continued colonization of North America. Further, the profits lost to the colonists who lived under the mercantile system are seen as one of the driving factors behind the revolution.

Middle Colonies

Portion of North America initially settled by the Dutch, the Swedish, the French, the Scots and other groups. These colonies are what is now New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. As a result of their varied origin, these colonies developed very differently from the Puritan Northeast and the slave-based South. This is important because it is an example of the “melting pot” sort of society that would be popularized as modern America.

Seven Years’ War

Also known as the French and Indian War. War between England and France which was fought in multiple theaters (Old and New World). In the colonies the war was fought largely by proxy, with the French arming native tribes against the British colonists. This is important because the British victory in the war ultimately gave them (per the Treaty of Paris) essentially complete control of the disputed North American territories… and the taxes levied against the colonists to help pay for the war lead to the revolution.

Stamp Act Crisis

The Stamp Act (1765) required the purchasing of special embossed paper for all newspapers, legal documents, insurance papers, etc. The tax was passed to pay for money spent on the Seven Years War. The colonists broadly rejected the act, protesting at a level completely unexpected by the British. Groups of protesters burned effigies and became violent against British officials. England repealed the Stemp Act the next year, after being completely unable to enforce it. This is important because the protest resulting from the stamp act were the first acts of open rebellion taken by the colonists against the British government.

Townshend Revenue Acts

Series of taxes set forth in 1767 by Charles Townsend in order to shrink rising British national debt. The Revenue Acts included taxes on commodities like lead, glass, paper, paint and tea. Making matters worse, Townsend insisted on a very stringent enforcement of the acts. The colonists reacted violently, ultimately leading to the Boston Massacre.

First Continental Congress

September 1774 meeting of delegates from the colonies which passed a Declaration and Resolves. The first continental congress claimed that thirteen acts passed by Parliament were in violation of their rights as British citizens. The delegates agreed to the nonimportantion and nonconsumption of British goods, and a prohibition of the export of colonial commodities to Britain and its other colonies. This is important because it was the prelude to a similar convention which would pass the Declaration of Independence.

King William’s War

North American portion of the War of the League of Augsburg. Began with an English-Iroquiois attack on Montreal in 1689. It was followed by French attacks on New York, New Hampshire and Maine. Ended with the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 with no conclusive resolution. This is important because it was a direct replude to the Seven Years War.


The concept of having a government where officials represent the needs and rights of the governed. Based on Enlightenment concepts, such as John Locke’s thoughts about the rights of the individual. This is important because the colonies (eventually) agreed to form a republic.

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