Colonial America's The New Atlantic World

1145 Words 5 Pages
Kanong Vang
The New Atlantic World During the colonial period, Europeans and Africans arrived to the Americas. Europeans in the fifteenth century did not have the necessary tools and economic resources to overcome the wilderness. However, when Europeans and Africans arrived to the New World they did not find wilderness but a civilization that has been created many years before already by the Native Americans. “Even in places that Europeans regarded as primordial wilderness there is evidence that native peoples engineered landscapes to support their populations (Video Lecture, Pre-Columbian America).” In this welcoming environment created by the Native American people, Europeans, Africans, and settlers who arrived to the Americas were able
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Although it may have led land owners to turn to slaves, mostly African Americans, as a source for labor, some Africans slowly gained their independence. “John Smith had scarcely landed in Virginia in 1607 when he wrote that in America ‘every man may be the master and owner of his own labor and land (Foner, p. 43).’” Therefore, those who were able to regulate their own land could eventually be viewed as a free person. The New World was seen as a place where people could emigrate to and acquire land from to gain economic independence. English settlers believed that having access to land would bring them liberty. Although there was already Native Americans living on the land of North America, the English colonists were determined to take over that land and did so by purchasing the land the Indians had no official claim to. “Indians’ lives were powerfully altered by the changes set in motion in 1607 when English colonists landed at Jamestown (Foner p. 47).” Since settlers were obtaining more land and creating homes, the natural environment that Indians needed was vanishing. Tobacco which was introduced by John Rolfe was becoming high in demand which caused “Chesapeake planters to turn to the transatlantic trade in slaves (Foner, p. …show more content…
English settlers tried to convert Indians to Christianity but failed and North American slaves held on to their traditional African religions, even when they followed Christian practices they held on to their old beliefs and fused them together. There were many religions in the English colonies of North America and it shaped these colonies through acceptance of religions and seeing others despite their religion by the beginning of the national period. The year after the Bill of Rights was enacted in 1689, “the Toleration Act allowed Protestant Dissenters (but not Catholics) to worship freely, although only Anglicans could hold public office (Foner, p. 86).” Catholics and Dissenters experienced many forms of discrimination due to their choice of religion. However, in the eighteenth century, Enlightenment ideas traveled along the Atlantic and guided Enlightenment thinkers to allow “reason” to govern human life instead of letting religion do the deciding. In Thomas Jefferson’s Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom he “declared that God ‘hath created the mind free,’ eliminated religious requirement for voting and officeholding…, and bared the state from ‘forcing’ individuals to adopt one or another religious outlook (Foner, p. 174).” This became a model to allowing religion to remain a private factor when it comes to situations involving the government. Although in the beginning of the colonial

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