Throughout the colonial period, economic concerns had more to do with the settling of British North America than did religious concerns. Assess the validity of this statement with specific reference to economic and religious concerns.
All the people of England wanted was freedom of religion—and to be rich. In the 16th and 17th centuries, religion was very important to people. The lack of separation between church and government had the people of England up in arms. Some religious sects sought freedom in the New World and settled colonies there. However, different colonies settled in America for different reasons. The primary goal of most settlers that came to the New World was to find fertile and gold rich land just as the Spanish explorers had before them. While a few colonies did settle in the New World in search of religious freedom, the early settling British colonists undoubtedly came for the economic gains for which the Spanish had set the precedent. In the wake of the Protestant Reformation, a few religious groups from England fled to the New World in search of religious freedom. The separating Puritans, also known as Pilgrims, were the first to come for purely religious reasons. Fed up with the Catholicized ways of the Church of England, they settled in Plymouth hoping to start their own, separate, purified church. Later, a group of non-separatist Puritans followed suit and came to the New World also because of religion. Founding the Massachusetts Bay Colony, they hoped to become a “city on a hill,” as their leader John Winthrop put it, and set an example of a purified church in hopes of saving the Anglican Church. The Quakers also sought freedom to practice their religion in the New World. Initially settling in New England, they found their lasting home in Pennsylvania where they wanted equality for all, including women and other religious groups. All of these religious sects found what they were looking for in the New World: freedom to practice the...
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