Thursday, March 29, 2012


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Cultural backgrounds affected colonization of the Americas radically. In New England, all colonies were distinct and each had their own differing factor. They were influenced in many ways; religion and business being the biggest predominance. Whether it was good or bad, each of the colonies including Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts and the Middle colonies were affected by England and Old British culture. Colonists would unknowingly set the base for American culture forever.

Jamestown, Virginia was the first successful settlement in the Americas by Britain. It was lead by captain John Smith and he came with a group of young men. Virginia would not succeed as a religious haven, but as a proprietary. Most of them seeking gold. This was already a starting point of influence by Britain. People wanted to look for gold. Gold was a big thing in Britain. Everything was disorder for this new place they had come to was nothing like their home. The Pawhattans, a native group that lived by the area, helped them. Right away, their British way of thinking kicked in and their first thought was, we must convert these people. Religion was a big factor to all British people and at this time they were having a revolution over it. Their culture believed that everybody had the right to be converted. Britain liked to conquer and take over. When John Smith tried to take over the Natives, he didn’t receive very good results. Not only were they a part of their religion, but of their lifestyle. They quickly adopted the slave trade and began to have slaves. Unlike in Britain, this did not function very well as the slaves did not cooperate. Virginians established their own government and felt that they had to be free from their British counterparts. At this time, Britain was all about business and religion.

Since religion was a big factor like business, to no surprise, Americans started to look for a religious haven in the United States. At this time, there was a revolution of new ideas in Britain. A war was breaking out between liberal people and those that wanted to be conservative. Anybody labeled a “pilgrim” was a separatist from the Anglican Church. Pilgrims believed that in order to be closer to God they had to be in a place where they could have their own ideals. Their counterparts, the Puritans believed the opposite. Pilgrims decided to leave Britain to be able to worship, as they wanted. They left in one little ship, the Mayflower, hoping to get to Jamestown. In 161 they landed in Cape Cod. Their government was much like British government. Leaders had to be white, church member, land owning, and literate men. Contrary to popular belief, the relationship of the Pilgrims and the Natives was not good. When the Pilgrims, arrived at Plymouth Rock, they did so in the fall, not knowing the winter that awaited them. Squanto, a polyglot native offered his services and that of his people. They showed them how to pick berries and survive the brutal winter.

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The Puritans had a totally different point of view than the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims were gobbled up by the Puritans They came right after the Pilgrims in 17-5 ships. They were definitely more. They set up the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Unlike the Pilgrims, this was a very religiously strict colony. Everything was set up on the church, as in Britain. Their Governor was John Winthrop. He believed in self government. Leadership came from being church members. Unlike in Plymouth, this society encouraged the unity of church and state. It was definitely made in the reflection of England. Their colony was based on working. They had to work off all the sins they had done. If you enjoyed yourself it was a sin. Puritans encouraged education of boys and men only. Women could not be educated because they would get crazy ideas. Anything that looked like enjoyment or pleasure was punished severely. They were punished publicly. Their industry was based mainly on ship building and lumbering. Winthrop was an extraordinary man with extraordinary ideas. He believed that his society ha to be a “ beacon on a hill”. They had to be an example to Britain, and to all colonies. They had left Britain to make a point. Britain was a mess of ideas at the time over how the churched should be run. They had reformed the Christian ideas and came up with their own religion. The Puritans were definitely not happy with this and they saw to it that they made their point and shoed how wrong everybody in Britain was.

Connecticut was more of a liberal society,. It was between the Pilgrim idea and the Puritan idea. A dissenter established it by the name of Hooker.

Whether good or bad it was inevitable for the colonization of America to be untouched by British culture. The cultural background of the Colonists definitely affected their ideals and how they ran their colonies. Whether it be for business or religion, the effect of Britain was obvious in all cases. Both the colonists and the natives were affected in more ways than one.

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