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American Colonial and Revolutionary History

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Smith 1

Week 2 Individual Assignment
William Smith
His/309 American Colonial and Revolutionary History
10/14/13

Smith 2 With the colonization of the new world came the opportunity of economic growth and expansion for both the Monarchies and the Colonies. In Virginia and Maryland the boom of tobacco would take hold and both of their economies would be based solely off of the production and trade of this product. Other colonies prospered off the production of corn, fishing, and even fur trade with the Indians and other colonies. The English however, would look to monitor the trade system and implement acts and regulations to control trade. The Navigation act made it so that all goods brought from Asia, Africa, and America to England had to be carried in British ships. When the British would eventually conquer islands in the West Indies they would replace tobacco production with sugar. They would later revise the Navigation act to ensure that goods were carried in a British Ship, with a British captain, as well as a British crew. Eventually Parliament would enact the Plantation Duty Act which would require merchants to pay a duty on anything shipped between the colonies. This would extremely benefit the monarchies back home and help the British monitor any violators of these rules. These regulations and acts did not sit well however with the colonists at the time. Eventually over time this allowed for many of the rich prosperous land owners to be the only ones growing more and more successful in the trade industry. The relationship’s that the colonists had with the Native Americans also affected the trade system. Some of the colonies relied heavily on trade with the tribes in the area for furs, food, and also to keep tensions at ease. With the expansion of the colonies all along the Atlantic coast the British were able to develop a synchronized and effective trade route that could benefit them greatly back home. Later down the road the trade restrictions that were developed would contribute to the quarrels and disputes that the members of the colonies would have with the homeland.
Smith 3 Religious freedom is one of the primary reasons for colonizing North America. Many people flocked to the new world to save themselves from the persecution and control of the Church of England. The colonies had become a melting pot for a number of different religions in which people could practice without ridicule. Unlike the influence in today’s society the church in those days was a very powerful and very important institute that had significant control over the people and even the government. The groups that were the least tolerated would eventually pack up and try and make a new life for themselves in the colonies. When first arriving here, there were only a small number of different religious groups, one main one being the Puritans. Eventually over time the colonies would grow and many different religious groups would be prevalent throughout the colonies. In colonial times high members of the church held a significant spot in the decision making of the colony. Men that worked their way up to high levels within the church could sit on committees and chairs of government that would create laws for the colony. In the Massachusetts Bay Colony they would eventually branch off into a different type of Puritan religion that they would call a Separatist. These followers, similar to the society that we live in today, believed that each individual church or institute had the right to govern their institute’s religious beliefs the way that they seemed fit. They believed it was their right to make the decisions best suitable for their organization. In some colonies however, some religions did not share the same freedoms as others. Later this would change, due to a man named William Penn who would have an influential impact on religious freedom and tolerance in the new colonies. Penn was a Quaker who was granted a very large area of land in the new world in which he wanted to conduct a “holy experiment” in the new land (Reich 2011). He would offer cheap land to settlers that wanted to start new and would instate a belief that no man would be persecuted or judged for his belief in religion. This region would become Pennsylvania
Smith 4 as we know it today. With all of the religious beliefs and views that we have today Penn’s new colony could be the basis for the tolerant society that we live in. As the English put their new regulations and taxes on trade the colonists began to become unhappy and tensions seemed to flare. The new king had granted a large portion of land to rich nobles who would eventually sell their portions back to the crow. The colonials had resentment towards English policy and elections were being held off from year to year. The reservation policy which had also kept the peace for so many years was now being second guessed and settlers were becoming unhappy with the new migration of the local Indian tribes. The colonists saw this invasion of territory as a perfect chance to move on the Indians and take over their territory in which the current governor denied them of. A young Englishman by the name of Nathaniel Bacon would eventually lead a small group of people against the Indians. This attack would be against the governor’s orders and would be declared as rebels. They would later lead an attack on the colony of Jamestown and would take over the town for a small period of time. After Bacon died his followers would disband but the rebellion would leave an impact on the colonies. Eventually Bacon’s laws would be passed that would again allow freemen to vote, counselors were no longer exempt from taxation, and plural office holding was outlawed (Reich 2011). These laws would eventually be repealed. The reservation system would be discontinued and the Native Americans would be removed from their land. I believe that Bacon’s Rebellion was a precursor to the Revolutionary War that would soon come. These events were slowly adding up and the new restrictions were angering the colonists. The colonists were starting to feel taken advantage of and that England was distributing their land unfairly. I feel that with the
Smith 5 trade restrictions and the new taxes along with the wrongful distribution of their land would eventually be a precursor to the war.

References
Reich, J. R. (2011). Colonial America (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.…...

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