August 20, 2013
America’s Colonial Foundation
“They are a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes... I have heard many wish that they had been more intermixed also. For my part, I am no wisher, and I think it much better as it has happened. The exhibit a most conspicuous figure in this great and variegated picture” (Michle-Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur Discovers a New Man) The strength of our current America lies in the great diversity of cultures, ideas, and people within our states and the bonds based on common principles that unify those states and with them the cultures, ideas, and people. The foundation for this diversity was the English colonies. Colonies were formed on the basis of many different founding principles. Each unique set of circumstances produced important changes that are still a part of our core values as a collective people today. Maryland wrote the first official Act of Religious Tolerance – drafted for selfish reasons and lacking true toleration for all however still a step towards tolerance – that punished those who slandered others’ religions; Connecticut wrote an early version of a state constitution; South Carolina was an economic marvel with the evolution of plantation farming; North Carolina was the riff-raff of the colonies yet they showed the fortitude to build from nothing a successful enterprise in many crops and traded goods – the original American opportunists. All of these ideas, cultures and people heavily influenced our current America but none of the other nine original colonies contributed as much to our economic opportunities, ideas of government, cultural and ethnic diversity, and religious toleration as Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
Virginia was one of the fastest growing colonies and by 1780, the largest state newly freed from English control (The Growth of the Colonial Population). Virginia was also the first colony. The original intent of Virginia was to make money....
Cited: Bailey, Thomas Andrew, Hugh Ross, and Thomas Andrew Bailey, The American Pageant Guidebook: A Manual for Students, Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath, 1979. Print.
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