March 7, 2014
Response Essay Question One
Between 1689 and 1763, the “Wars of Empire” was occurring between, France, Britain, Spain, and their colonial possessions ( Era Introduction). Of course in the end Britain came out on top which put them in a position of high power, but they did not do it by themselves though. How did the English colonies become the most successful colonial power in North America by 1763? It was because many settlers were drawn to their political systems which encouraged cultural diversity, economic growth, representative government, and religious toleration (Colonial American History). Cultural diversity was important when it came to being a successful colonial power. Many minority groups such as African, Native Americans, etc…. were used as manual labor. The English did not see any minority as equals to themselves but as manpower. They were allied with the Native Americans throughout the “Wars of Empire.” The English provided the Natives with weaponry and the Natives gave the English in exchange food and sheltering.
Economic growth also aided in the success of English colonial power (Roark, Michael, Patricia, Sarah, and Susan). The English established a very bustling economy through farming and indentured servants. Most servants were promised a certain amount of land for their service and the owners of those servants would provide a constant cash-flow circulation. Merchants and other wealthy men played a vital role in this new economy. They would bring in slaves to work on the farms along with indentured servants. Through farming, slavery, and indentured servitude the English economy became more stable. In the third paragraph of his article, Gheist mentions, “By mid-century the colonial population was exploding, growing at nearly twice the rate of Europe's, doubling about every twenty-five years.”
The success of the English colonies is actually due to merchants instead of the English nation. The Virginia Company was a group of wealthy merchants that desired to build a colony in the “New World” and produce a successful business. Though short lived, the Virginia Company successfully established a common idealism for the colonies; establishing colonies based on religion and commonalities. At a similar time, the colonies also formed a political congress called the House of Commons. The House of Commons was the first parliament that the colonies ever had. The House would influence a sense of independence despite the colonies still being ruled by a monarchy. The English brought with them the art of self-government ( Doyle 36). Of course the states liked self-government so that was a big plus for the English. The first colonist consisted of Puritans that wished to escape the Catholic Church and the king. After coming to the colonies, the Puritans created their own communities. After some time, they began to spread out across the colonies. The Puritans would not attempt to convert many other Natives to their teaching but some did teach their servants the bible and English. Not every Puritan colony was the same. Many started to diverge from what many elders believed to be the “old ways” and did things that were considered outrageous or sinful like women wearing flashy make-up or clothing or going against one’s mother and father. These differences separated the Puritans. It was not until a raid from the Natives that led to the Natives capturing some of the Puritans. This made the Puritans go back to the old ways and beg for God’s forgiveness. So as you can see there was a lot going on. The English did not become the most successful colonial power overnight. It took time and it started with the “Wars of Empire.” The English would not have been so successful, however, if it was not for cultural diversity, economic growth, representative government, and religious toleration.
Cited: "Colonial American History." HubPages. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2014.
Doyle, John Andrew. English colonies in America .... New York: Henry Holt and Company, 18821907. Print.
"Era Introduction - The Colonial Wars (1689-1763)." The Colonial Wars (1689-1763). N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2014.
Gheist, Christopher. “The Emergence of Popular Culture in Colonial America.” Colonial
Williamsburg. N/A (2008): N/A. Print.
Roark, James, Michael Johnson, Patricia Cohen, Sarah Stage, and Susan Hartman. The American
Promise: A Concise History. 5 ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin 's, 2014. Print.
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