Although people from other European nations were first to explore and settle certain parts of what would become the United States, by 1650 Britain had established itself as the dominant colonizing power along the Atlantic coast. The first British colony was established at Jamestown, Virginia, while another colony was established at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. Yet despite the British origins of both colonies, it soon became obvious that Colonial America would experience rather different patterns of colonization and development.
American myth has often emphasized the New England experience and colonization by Pilgrims who fled religious persecution in search of freedom in the New World. Most of the early New England colonists were from the middle ranks of English society and a large majority immigrated as established family groups. Servants accounted for a small minority and the Puritan leaders discouraged the migration of persons claiming noble blood. As such, they established relatively stable, orderly and egalitarian communities based mainly on self-sustaining family enterprises.
Conditions were markedly different around Virginia, which was colonized more by individuals (and fewer families) from both the upper ranks and the servant classes of British society. Moreover, Virginia was soon organized around the production for export of a major cash crop: tobacco. The result was a more competitive, hierarchical, unstable environment that emphasized risk-taking and labor exploitation in pursuit of quick profits. Different parts of Colonial America would develop in rather different directions.
Related Research Paper Topic Suggestions
American Colonies - American Colonies research papers discuss America in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries under British Mercantilism. Paper Masters provides a perfect example research paper.
Articles of Confederation - Articles of Confederation research papers discuss the original agreement between the first 13 American states that formed the national government.
Colonial Government - Colonial Government Research Papers delve into the relationship between Native American Leaders and the Colonist Leaders.
Stamp Act - Stamp Act research papers examine the British Government's tax requiring all printed material in the colonies to be produced on specific paper, produced in London, and carrying an official stamp.
Tea Act - Tea Act research papers reveal the history of the Boston Tea Party in the American Colonies.