Colonial life for early Americans was not what they originally anticipated. For a long time, they had to struggle to survive. When they came to America they were looking to be free from religious persecution. They wanted to be able to start a new life in this New World. They eventually created a thriving group of colonies, but their success did not come easy. Their ideals of settlement directly contrasted with the disease, death, slavery, rebellion, and inner-betrayal and rebellion that they struggled with. In seventeenth-century Virginia, land was plentiful but people were needed to work the fields. They found poor English adults who agreed to sign indentures, which stated that they would provide labor to till the fields in exchange for a passage into America. Those chosen were excited to gain entry into present-day America, because they wanted to be free of the religious persecution they faced in England, and escape the plagues and sicknesses …show more content…
They wanted to be able to practice their faith however, whenever, and wherever they wanted. However, in Richard Hakluyt's Discourse of Western Planting, he stated that it was necessary for the British Empire to convert the Native Americans to Christianity. There were various approaches on how to succeed in doing this. Some were mellow, some were violent, and some were in-between. Many Native Americans refused to accept Christianity, mostly because of the examples that the only Christians they knew set. The Europeans often tried to enforce violence in order to force the acceptance of baptism. However, this violence merely provoked resistance and rejection from the Native Americans. Ironically, though they wanted to escape religious persecution, they persecuted the natives for religious reasons. Also, since they were met with so much resistance, their ideal settlement with everyone being Christian contrasted with the reality of the New
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Throughout history, people have always wanted to settle in new places. However, their reasoning for choosing to leave behind their homes and head into the unknown is not always the same. The article, “America as a Religious Refuge” from Religion and the Founding of the American Republic helps inform us about why settlers chose to move to America. Back in the 1600s, people were faced with a question: what religion should I practice? The decision wasn’t always as easy as it seems; people were faced with dangerous persecution if they chose to be believe in anything but the Church of England.
Mary Rowlandson was taken as captive by Native Americans during King Philip's War in 17th century America. Her faith and a Bible given to her by her captors got her through her 11-week captivity, and afterwards she wrote her story in a book titled The Sovereignty and Goodness of God. Her book, the first American best seller, sparked a genre of captivity narratives in American literature. But the dangers of early America were ever-present, and when war broke out between the Native Americans and the English settlers, Mary and her children were captured and taken as prisoner.
Indeed, from their first arrival in the New World, the European explorers treated the native people, and the slaves that they brought, as barbarous heathens, incapable of higher thought or civilized behavior. For example, Christopher Columbus’s letter to the King of Spain from his first voyage intricately shows these original encounters. In this letter, he carefully describes the people of the island, pointing out that they “all go naked, men and women, as their mothers bore them” and that they “are very marvelously timorous.” He then adds that he “gave them a thousand handsome good things, which [he] had brought, in order that they might conceive affection for us and, more than that, might become Christians and be inclined to the love and service of Your Highness.” Though he is not describing forced religious conversion, he is undoubtedly showing how the Europeans treated people with religions that were different from their own.
Agwachiwagan viewed the religion as “fable” with its only use as being an invention “to inspire [people] with real fear of an imaginary fire in the false hope of a good that will never come to [its people]” (25). The French colonist spread their religion through warlike ways and rearranged society to better accommodate their faith. Through the interaction of French people when they were introducing the natives their Christian religion, in Agwachiwagan eyes, the New World religion was killing almost all of the natives indigenous to the land. The worst thing that happened to the natives was the influx of deadly diseases for which they had no immunity, they were exposed to these illnesses through the interactions with the French colonist. Agwachiwagan explains to his peoples about the colonized faith by asking them questions that only he can answer for him, unlike the baptized Christians, was able to escape “from the clutches of a thousand deaths” against the Christian
Native Americans’ customs and religion relies on oral transmission rather than written texts. This allows for fluidity, as the customs can change and evolve over time along side with new technology and innovations. When Europeans first came to the Americas, they force the Natives to convert to a from of Christianity, thus, creating the long struggle as Native Americans battles with their beliefs and this new world religion. In modern times, the struggles still continue and Native Americans are still fighting to protect their customs. One such ritual that many Native Americans participates in is the sweat lodges.
Moreover, Indentured servitude began ten years after the first colonial settlement took place in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607 as a necessity for cheap labor. Although indenture servitude was fundamental for the colonies economic growth, there were changes in its function. The timing of the first British settlements in North America was ideal since the end of the Thirty-Year war had destroyed Europe’s economy leaving several skilled and unskilled laborers without employment. Point in fact, most of the poor immigrants to the New World signed contracts of servitude to migrate to the colonies. Historian David Galenson state in his research on indenture servitude that there were more than 20,000 indenture immigrants.
Colonist had their reasons for coming over to the New World. For many it was for economic growth, religious freedoms, or escaping the political and social systems of their native lands. They enjoyed their freedoms and liberties as new societies while being developed, but it was not an easy accomplishment. The colonist worked hard on developing their towns on their beliefs and values far from the reach of England. As time went on, there was growing tension between the thirteen American colonies and England, their motherland.
The British hesitated to establish slavery in their new American colonies, as they largely relied on indentured servants in the 17th century. Indentured servants were men and women who signed a contract by which they agreed to work for a certain number of years in exchange for transportation to Virginia and, once they arrived, food, clothing, and a place where to live. Adults usually served for four to seven years and children sometimes for much longer, with most working in the colony’s tobacco fields. At first, the Virginia Company of London paid to transport servants across the Atlantic, but with the institution of the headright system in 1618, the company attracted planters and merchants to undertake the cost with a promise of land. At
Indians who survived the initial invasion were required to work and to accept Christianity. If they refused, they could be forced to comply. Many did resist and a system was devised to deal with them. It was known as the encomienda.
During the 19th century, the policy of the U.S. towards Indians was to drive them further westward, breaking several treaties. The Plains Indians did not wish to settle down in civilized communities and instead preferred the life of a hunter. However, the westward expansions of the U.S. directly conflicted these interests, settling the once open prairies. The Indians rebelled because the white men violated their treaties, took away their land, shot them, and burned their homes. On the other hand, the Catholic Church tried to convert and gain equal rights for the Indians.
They were getting away from issues they had experienced in England, which took into consideration colonists to be similar. As stated previously, the opportunities that the colonists in the New England settlements and the Chesapeake region colonies were
Instead, Amerindians were experiencing a whole new way of life. Another facet of their being that was disrupted was their faith. Spaniards, in particular, were convinced that it was their duty to civilize the Natives and they would first do that by converting them to Christianity. This conversion was not optional. In fact, many Indians were punished or killed for refusing to comply.
Settlers were curious about the land to the west, they wanted to spread their religion and express themselves freely. It was all sunshine and rainbows for the settlers, but they were pushing the Natives off their homeland and forcing them to find new land. When the Natives came into contact with the settlers diseases were spread throughout their tribe, killing off many of the Natives. These are sources that I have read telling me how the Native Americans were treated.
When the white man came to America, they took on a manifest destiny attitude. Every tribe became grouped together in the minds of white businessmen regardless of how different the numerous tribes were. The belief was that the native people needed to be Christianized by God’s chosen people. Even though there was plenty of land for everyone involved, the white businessmen