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Economic and Social Factors of the Thirteen Colonies, Research Paper Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1697

Research Paper

It is already apparent in American history that slavery has played an immense role in the economic and social development of the thirteen colonies during the years 1607-1776. The efforts to advance the economy were obviously the exception which was no more than a mere effort to make“ties which unite us with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural interest’s developments and achievements of the people of America.”(Davidson &Heyrman, 2009). Over our long history this American paradox was at the center of our existence. The American Revolution was at its height denying a system of labor which denied human liberty and dignity nearly every hour of the day. The paradox was that free ships would make free goods but that did not happen. This was because the goods that were produced for the Americans were produced largely by slave labor. The colonists did not have the ships nor the goods to continue. They begged the assistance of France for the commodity of tobacco. The Americans were soon called the “King Tobacco Diplomacy” in 1776 but even for a long span thereafter. Americans bought their economic and social independence with the help of slave labor.

Let’s take for example the entire colony of Virginia depended upon planters to go into personal debt and for British merchants to extend credit for them to economically thrive during the rising of the Thirteen Colonies. Jefferson was considered a debtor and did not fare well with the idea of debt himself. Jefferson said he would be miserable until his debt was paid in full. The British had a tight financial hold over the Americans during this time. Jefferson wanted to put a tight hold over this situation by way of a foreign policy. However the domestic policy would make them in debt to the Native Americans creditors whose hold might become just as pernicious. Jefferson felt the amount of debt threatened the republican liberty of the country and the formation of the Thirteen Colonies. He felt it weakened the country’s ability to survive as a republic. He further postured the country should be comprised of a body of free, independent, property-owning citizens. People should be freely able to support their family. To help the economy thrive Jefferson gave Jefferson gave fifty acres of land to every American who did not have land. He felt every man deserved to be free and could only do so if they were land owners. Jefferson believed that farmers held the means to make our country economically and socially thriving. He felt they were the key to the social and economic advancement of the Thirteen Colonies from the Jamestown to the American Revolutionary Periods. Artificers on the other hand were not good for the economy because they were totally dependent on the caprice and casualties of customers. He had a total distrust for the landless laborer. Americans learned their basic republican lessons of economics from the British Commonwealth.

John Locke shared a different viewpoint than Jefferson during this revolutionary period. He wanted the right of liberty but did not did not want to extend that right to the landless poor. He instead wanted to make it compulsory that they and their children work in the labor fields. He suggested the children commence work in public labor schools to learn spinning and knitting. They would be paid with bread and water. Since the mothers would not have to do these duties they could work alongside the husbands. The ones that could not find regular jobs could attend the working school with their children.

Madison wanted to eliminate the poor much better than the situation of the poor in France. He felt that if we spread the land to all inhabitants there would still be a surplus of men in trades that would be unemployed. This is because there is such a high population of men, women and children. He stated “there is such a large degree of population over surge and that is why the economy is moving towards that direction.” (Davidson &Heyrman, 2009). He thought there would be vast numbers of landless poor just as Fletcher did as the population grew by geometric progression. The labor force was really no threat and the agricultural force was already enslaved to the economic and social strains of the times. Men and women worked for other people by majority and most of the workers were slaves.

Three distinct regions developed during the settling of the thirteen colonies: the New England Colonies, the Middle Colonies and the Southern Colonies. The different economies, religious groups, social structures, structures of educations and laws evolved mainly due to geographic differences and types of people who originally settled there. Despite differences in the three regions each created a culture that would plant the seeds for the future of America. Events such as the Boston Massacre and Boston Tea Party eventually led to the indignation of civil liberties and much resentment. One of the major economic downfalls put upon the colonists was the Stamp Act. It was put to help pay for the war debt because of Great Britain after the French and Indian War. The people believed only the legislature had the authority to levy taxes upon them. The American people therefore boycotted British goods. Parliament was eventually forced to repeal

The Quartering Act put restriction on the civil liberties of people in the colonies. Colonists had to quarter the soldiers if necessary.  The colonies had to also pay for stationing troops when they were in the areas. The colonists were very discontent because the monies were used to purchase redcoats and the French were already expelled from the continent as a result of the Indian War. Britain’s measure also hastened the Revolutionary War. The Boston Massacre soon happened two years later after the British ships landed carrying troops to Boston to show their authority in Massachusetts.The Quebec Act caused some uproar because the new borders of Quebec touched the borders of the Ohio Valley which was a strategic location for economic and social expansion for the colonists.

By majority the people who settled in the New England Colonies came to make a family and to be able to practice their own religion freely. Some came to make money but they by far were not the majority. They were accustomed to doing thing independently and wanted to keep things that way. In Pennsylvania, mainly, the people in the Middle Colonies came primarily to practice their religion freely diligently in the in ironworks and shipyards. The settlers in the Southern Colonies came to make money. They brought their families with them and lived on southern plantations. They thrived to make the good money that was available on the American market.

The New England Colonies were involved farming and fishing. New York and Pennsylvania grew primary grain and wheat products to flourish. They made corn and wheat and shipped it to England. Colonists made their own shoes and clothes. The major New England port was Boston, Massachusetts. The Middle Colonies were agriculture and industrial, also. Factories in Maryland and Pennsylvania produced iron, paper and textiles. The Southern Colonies produced the majority of agriculture. There was much farmland for agriculture and people lived on the plantation. Most of the workers were African American slaves who grew indigo, rice and tobacco. The Pilgrims were some of the people who came to America and settle in the colonies for religious freedom. Laws were passed allowing them religious freedom. More and more the people believed they should not pay taxes to England because they could not serve the English government directly.

As the people protested the taxes the English separated the colonies in hopes of separating their power and keeping them from pulling together as a stronger force. An example of this is the Intolerable Act which singled out Boston, Massachusetts in particular. The port of Boston was to be closed and nothing could enter or leave unless they paid extra fees to have it transported there. An example would be to have it transported Revolutionary War. Of course the Americans were victorious. This is what transpired to be the first permanent settlement called Jamestown in 1607, now called Virginia. John Smith was the first to settle then came the Pilgrims. Other colonies formed from the east coast to Maine and Georgia then throughout the south. England and France had the largest presence during the 1600-1700’s. England and France fought for control of the colonies and England won. They also gained control over Canada and all of the English colonies. Bythis time, the English colonies numbered 13. They were Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Virginia was founded with the motivation of expanding the British Empire which was earned from the tobacco crop. It was created as a royal colony after Queen Elizabeth as Virgin Queen. Massachusetts was founded by the Puritans to seek refuge in the New World. New Hampshire was founded with hopes of creating a fishing colony near the Piscataqua River. Maryland was founded by Lord Baltimore with hopes of having a separate settlement for the Roman Catholics. Connecticut was considered a permanent Dutch settlement. It was filled with settlers of wealth and religious freedom. Charles II, King of England founded Delaware. North Carolina initially had proprietary problems. To solve these problems the colony was split into two which are today, North and South Carolina. New Jersey was originally known as The Netherlands. It was made a royal colony in 1702. Pennsylvania was made for the freedom of religion for the Quakers by William Penn. King George created a colony between South Carolina and Florida and named it Georgia.

As you can tell there were certainly trials and tribulations involving the economic and social factors of the original thirteen colonies. The original settling as well as the American Revolution which led to the American freedom from England certainly impacted both the same. Each and every tribulation is what led to the formation and advancement of our country today.
References

Davidson, G. and Heyrman, L. A Narrative History of the American Republic: Nation of Nations 5th edition volume 1 to 1877 NY: New York McGraw-Hill Publishing, 2009.

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