In the seventeenth century, the political situation in the world was significantly impacted by the active position of the British Empire, which expanded its power on a global scale. It had a particular interest in obtaining the lands of North America, which is why the large territories were gradually colonized, and the rule of the British government was enforced. However, the differences in beliefs, values, political, economic, and social characteristics ultimately led to a disruption in the colonization plans of the British Empire and the American Revolution. This paper explores the reasons for the English colonization of North America, the characteristics of distinctive colonies, the causes of the American Revolution, and its impact on women, Native Americans, and African Americans.
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The Reasons for English Colonization
From the political point of view, the British Empire in the seventeenth century faced significant growing competition over global dominance and influence from the side of big European countries such as Spain and Portugal. In order to obtain an advantage in geographic positioning on the territories and expand the power of the British government overseas to the under-discovered lands, England intensified its entrance to North America (Norton et al., 2008). In such a manner, England envisioned an opportunity to mine gold and silver in the newly acquired territories. It would ultimately lead to an increase in wealth and power and contribute to the dominance of the empire over its European rivals, such as Spain and Portugal (Norton et al., 2008). With the expansion, the colonization imposed tobacco and sugar production, as well as the exploitation of the local populations.
The social pressures that contributed to English colonization were determined by the historic tendencies caused by religious shifts, demographic changes, and labor interests. The raise of Puritans motivated people to leave England and go to America (Norton et al., 2008). The growing population of the empire demanded increased volumes of food and products, which necessitated territory expansion. Also, the diminished employment opportunities motivated people to go overseas in search of a job.
Economic Systems, Social Characteristics, and Political Systems of the Colonies
The economic systems of Massachusetts Bay were impacted by the joint-stock characteristics; the colony specialized in ship-building, fur, and fishing. Demographically, the colony was comprised mainly of the middle-class population. The social characteristics of the colony include strict behavioral codes, family values, and strong religious loyalty to the Church of England. The colony was politically detached from England, it had its own government controlled by Puritans and was highly influenced by the church.
The colony’s economy was based on its status as a crown colony that generated profit from tobacco and cotton; the wealth was concentrated in the hands of a few rich individuals. From a social perspective, the colony’s vast population was males, most of which were slaves; the population was predominantly poor. The colony operated as a constitutional monarchy that was the first to introduce democratic elections, although only white males could vote.
The colony was a crown colony that produced rice, sugar, and cattle, which determined the social characteristics of intensified slavery, as slaves could contribute to the production of sugar and rice. Also, the religious life was diverse since the colony was tolerant of churches other than the Church of England. Within the political realm, the colony’s government included only wealthy individuals who were granted the right to vote.
Major Ideas and Events that Led to the American Revolution
A range of events contributed to the emergence of the American Revolution. In general, the growing differences in the colonies’ governance, social life, and economy, as well as their willingness to eliminate the burden of the empire, constituted the belief behind the American Revolution. As for the particular events that led to the revolution, one of the major ones was the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767 that intensified the taxation of the colonies to facilitate the financial situation in the British Empire (Norton et al., 2008). Another contributing event was the Boston Tea Party of 1773, during which the activists confronted the colonists to demonstrate their disagreement with the remaining taxation of tea production (Norton et al., 2008). These and other events and acts led to armed confrontations in the later years that constituted the American Revolution events.
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The Impact of the American Revolution on Particular Groups
Native Americans supported the British side in the course of the revolution in the hope to stop settlers from occupying the lands that belonged to the tribes. However, since the British lost the Revolution, the Native Americans were oppressed as a consequence. During the Revolution, African Americans were interested in the elimination of slavery that would provide them with freedom. Ultimately, Southern settlers maintained their power over slaves, but the revolutionary events became an inspiration for African Americans to fight for freedom. Before the revolution, women had diminished rights and could not vote; their status as individuals with diminished rights remained the same after the revolution. Moreover, the legislation was adopted to cease any political rights of women after marriage.
English colonization of North America was motivated by the interest of the British Empire in gaining wealth, power, and dominance over its European rivals. The British government had its political and economic reasons for colonization, as well as was influenced by such social pressures as labor shifts, demographic changes, and religious tension. The colonization induced significant differences between colonies, each of which was characterized by its political, social, and economic particularities that ultimately determined the need of the colonies to be free from the empire. A range of events during which the parliament tried to sustain its influence led to an inevitable war that turned into a revolution. Ultimately, colonization was eliminated, but such minorities as Native Americans, African Americans, and women remained discriminated against.
Norton, M. B., Kamensky, J., Sheriff, C., Blight, D. W., & Chudacoff, H. (2008). A people and a nation: A history of the United States. Cengage Learning.