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Life In Colonial America Essay

1474 words - 6 pages

Life in Colonial AmericaMarcus Downey American History 121 01/26/08The people who founded and created the New World were as diverse, and in some ways opposite, as a box of Crayola crayons. Their mix of cultures and ideas were evident and can be seen today. But what brought them together was their determination to see their "new country" prosper. From their persecution in their homeland, their tough travels on the sea, to being faced with a clean slate, each day was spent working to stay alive. To have a full understanding of how the Americas were born, one must travel back in time and see the many struggles the colonists endured to make us the strong nation we are now.Before we dig into the how or why the Europeans started their travel, it's important to recognize that the New World wasn't unpopulated prior to their arrival. According to many experts, the "discovery" of America took place approximately 40,000 years ago when a group of nomads crossed from Siberia to Alaska by the way of a land bridge. Indians, as both we and Columbus refer to them as, had spread across all of North, Central and South America. Some believe that the Indians may have reached a population of up to eighteen million people, speaking over 2000 different languages (Department of State, 2005). Native Americans had tribes across the entire land and I can only imagine the Europeans move to the New World came as quite the surprise.Europeans had many reasons for their move to the New World, including lack of work, religious persecution, the hope to own land and become wealthy. Many British felt the Catholic Church had too much corruption and they were not allowed to practice freely. Others had no steady work, due to high unemployment and large competition for even menial labor. Some travelers wanted the opportunity to own land, as it was very difficult in Europe as most of it was taken and expensive. Even thieves and prisoners took a chance and moved to the New World in hope for a new existence. So the New World was seen as a great opportunity, and though they new the travel and life wouldn't be easy, they ventured across the ocean.As mentioned, the trip across the ocean was anything but trouble-free. Added to all the elements beyond their control, the same excitement of something new caused fear and nervousness. Because emigration from England was not directly sponsored by the government, but by private groups of individuals whose chief motive was profit, the immigrants were allowed to take with them very little. The ships were packed with food, but because they were traveling 5000 Kilometers, much of it would spoil, rot, and become inedible. Some immigrants became sick from the bad food or lack of medicine on board; many perished while still en-route.When the immigrants arrived, they found that the number one priority was the same as it was on the boat - to survive. The colonists didn't have the pleasure of coming to the New World with stores, local governments, or homes...

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