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" Societies take their shape from any number of forming elements, some roughly
identifiable, some obscure and mysterious. There is a strange interplay between
ideas and geography, between thought and the landscape that thought encounters;
between inherited ideas and acquired environment." (pg 152 Smith, Page A
New Age Now Begins)
History has shown us that in order for a society to flourish there must be some commonality within the society. Sharing similar values, interests and cultures may be the basis for forming a community. The true test of a society is when communities can comprise, merging together as a larger, stronger, united society. For this process to even begin, there must be a common factor, be it foe, economic reasons, etc., a common goal amongst the communities. A prime example is the creation of a united American society. To truly appreciate the complexity of forming a united society you must first understand why these groups of people came to this strange new land. What similarities they shared, the differences which divided them and the force which unified them.
In the early 16th century immigrants from England fled their country in search of a better life. They fled their homelands for many reasons; poverty, religious intolerance and persecution, others in search of an adventure or for a new start. They packed up their families and possessions some even brought their servants, embarking on a perilous journey across the Atlantic Ocean and reached the land known today as America. The first of the immigrants landed in two regions; the Massachusetts bay and the Chesapeake Bay. Both these regions would soon be colonies known as Massachusetts and Virginia, both major colonies. Throughout the years more and more people started to flee their homelands in Europe and come to America.
Soon there were colonists from all over the world, from Europe to Africa. By 1732 there were a total of thirteen English colonies. Those thirteen colonies were broken up in three sections, the New England, Middle, and Southern Colonies.
These colonies had their differences and these differences attracted different kinds of people to the colonies. For example many large religious families immigrated towards the New England and Middle Colonies because that is were most of the religious tolerance was. Pennsylvania was known as the "Quaker Haven" because of its tolerance to many religions. Delaware was also an extremely tolerant place. They were even tolerant towards the religion of Judaism.
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"Colonial Unification Dbq." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Mar 2019
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Although the colonies had their differences they also had their similarities. "The shared experiences of trade, language, English law and military activity laid the foundation for the union of the colonies in 1776." (Pg 25 American History The Easy Way). They also shared their reason for leaving their homelands, freedom. Many settlers were sent here to procure land and develop European settlements for future immigrants. However, they were under constant threat either indirectly or directly from either the Spanish, French, or Indians. The Southern colonies were under threat of the Natives and the Spanish while the Middle and New England were under threat of French and some Native tribes. The New England colony was the only colony that allied
themselves with certain Native American tribes. Also each and every colony had sworn a common allegiance to the British Crown. Whether they give a percentage of income to the motherland or allow England to do as they please with their land they were all still loyal in some way to their old kingdom, at least in the beginning.
Each colony had it's own uniqueness, but there were certain events that drew the colonies closer to later form a whole. The American settlers were beginning to form their own societies and political structures. But events such as the Navigation Act reminded the colonists of their place in the English Imperial System. The Navigation Act was a regulation on trade enacted by Parliament in 1660 which required the colonies to trade only with England. It required that all goods (enumerated articles) must travel on English ships comprised of English crews. The laws reflected the economic policy known as mercantilism, which held that colonies exist for the benefit of the mother country as a source of raw materials and market for its manufactured goods. (pg. 31 Soifer, Paul Cliffs Quick Review U.S. History I). The Navigation Act was meant to reign in the colonists while benefitting from the fruits of a new land. Although many colonist still remained loyal to England, they had after all fled England and it's Parliamentary control. Like a child growing up and leaving the safety, security and restrictions of their parental home to form their own life. So did the Colonists, They were growing away from Mother England.
The Great Awakening was an event that began to unify the religious background of the colonies. "By mid-century, the dissenters in every colony had made tremendous gains, especially among the common people, Through the religious revival known as the Great Awakening. This was the first important and spontaneous movement of the entire English colonial population. (Pg.
107 The Growth of the American Republic) The Great Awakening was a Protestant movement of revival that took place during the 1730's and 40's. One of the men who started the movement was a preacher from Massachusetts, his name was Jonathan Edwards. Edwards sought to return to the Pilgrims' strict roots of Calvinism and to reopen the "Fear of God."Edwards was an extremely good preacher who drew crowds of enormous sizes that would listen to his sermons. George Whitefield, an English preacher, and other preachers continued the movement Edwards had started. They traveled throughout the colonies preaching in and emotional and dramatic style. There is little doubt that the Great Awakening contributed to an increase in church membership and the creation of new churches. "Not one colony or county was unaffected by the Great Awakening. Intermittently, but over the entire decade of the 1740's, it raged through New England, the Middle Colonies, and the South." (Pg. 108 The Growth of the American Republic) Congregations would split into two opponents. One would be the "New Lights" or the supporters the others the "Old Lights". Soon slaves and Indians would convert to the religion of Christianity in large numbers. Also other evangelicals sects such as the Methodists or Baptists grew larger than ever. The Great Awakening also promoted religious pluralism throughout the colonies. Differences between the Protestant denominations became less important. (pg 37 Soifer, Paul Cliffs Quick Review U.S. History I) This movement was also credited for the encouragement of the creation of high learning institutions. The Great Awakening might have been the very early beginning of the phrase "one nation under God." Despite religious differences, they were all searching for the same road to salvation.
Between 1689 and 1748, England and France engaged in the King Williams War, Queen Anne's War and King George's war over territory and power. Although England was victorious
in claiming many new territories it was at a great cost of life, mainly to New Englander's who where sent to do battle in Canada. These wars incurred great debt resulting in higher taxation. The years to follow would not be so successful for England. In the early years of the Seven years war, colonists were forced or coerced to fight for England, resulting in numerous defeats. Not until 1757 when William Pitt became Secretary of State and encouraged England to work with the colonists to win the war rather than order them to fight, was England successful. William Pitt understood that the colonies needed to fight this war as much for themselves as for England. In this sense, the Seven Years War was a unifying factor. It was the beginning of England granting slight power and acceptance to the colonies. If you copy and paste this you're a dumb shit because I added this so don't copy me word to word BITCH.
Ben franklin and Thomas Hutchinson presented the Albany Plan of Union at the Albany Congress in June 1754. This plan calling for a representative body could have unified the colonies but not one colonial assembly accepted the plan because they were not willing to give up their exclusive power.
Although the stage was set for the creation of a single American Society by the outbreak of the French and Indian War, it would not be accurate to say that the New England, Middle and Southern Colonies had merged to create a unified society by that time. The consolidation of the American colonies would take many years and many events. "In 1713 nobody predicted or suspected that the English colonies would ever seek union, unless in an imperial war, much less free themselves from English rule; in 1763 union if not independence was a distinct possibility." (Pg. 91 The Growth of the American Republic) The French and Indian War was a part of the beginning, it was an important step in the colonies putting aside their differences to fight side by
side as a unified force for their land of freedom. This war was also very costly to England, who increased taxes on the colonist to absorb the debt. It was these taxes which would ultimately separate the colonists from England. Not until they had their independence from England could they truly be a unified nation. Not until a decade after the French and Indian War did the 13 American Colonies merge to form a functioning unified society.
Works Cited Page
1. Morison, Samuel E. The Growth of the American Republic. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980.
2.Smith, Page. A New Age Now Begins. U.S.: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1976
3. Kellogg, William O. American History the Easy Way. Concord New Hampshire: St. Paul's School1991.
4. Soifer, Paul Pd.D. U.S. History I. Cliffs Quick Review. Wiley Publishing Inc. New York, New York: 1998
5.Craven, Wesley F. The Colonies in Transition . Harper and Row, Publishers. New York: 1968