American Colonies and Separation from England Essay
American Colonies and Separation from England
When settlers from England came to America, they envisioned a Utopia, where they would have a say in what the government can and cannot do. Before they could live in such a society they would have to take many small steps to break the hold England had on them. The settlers of America had to end a monarchy and start their own, unique, form of government. They also had to find a way that they would have some kind of decision making power. The most important change that the colonies in America had to make was to become a society quite different from that in England.
By 1763 although some colonies still maintained established churches, other colonies had accomplished a virtual revolution for religious toleration and separation of church and state. During the mid-1600’s England was a Christian dominated nation; the colonies, however, were mainly Puritans. When Sir Edmond Andros took over a Puritan church in Boston for Anglican worship, the Puritans believed this was done to break their power and authority. The Puritan church in New England was almost entirely separated from the state, except that they taxed the residents for the church’s support. The churches in New England had no temporal power, unlike the church of England. Many seaport towns like Marble head and Gloucester, became more religious as time pasted. This show of religious freedom was a way in which the colonies had religious toleration and differed from the Christian church in England.
Unlike the well-defined social classes of England, the colonies had a streamline class structure, which gave individuals the chance to rise on the social latter. New settlers living on the coast could become rich by fishing and selling what they caught. If fishing was not a settler’s strong point, then they could try their hand at farming. Getting the land to farm on was the easy part. The ‘head right’ system gave each male 50 acres, and 50 acres to each indentured servant he might bring over. England could not do this because England so defined the social classes and they did not have enough land that they could give to every male and his indentured servant.
In a similar economic revolution, the colonies out grew their mercantile relationship with England and developed their own expanding capitalist system. The idea of a set amount of wealth in the world and that if one were to become wealthy, he or she had to take from someone who is already wealthy, is basically what mercantilism means. The colonies did not believe this idea in America. They believed that no matter who you were, if you had a good idea for making money you could do so, and without having to take it from someone else. This capitalistic spirit made many men very prosperous, unlike England who tried to force colonial ships to stop at England before they deliver their cargo. This would take money from the colonists and put it in the pockets of England. However, it did not work because the colonies figured out ways to make the raw materials on their ships into useable goods at the colonies themselves instead of at England.
The colonies broadened the notion of liberty and self-government far beyond what England had ever envisioned. Through the years certain anomalies occurred, as colonial governments furthered themselves from the government of England. The governors of the colonies got power and certain prerogatives that the King had lost; the assembly of a colony got powers, particularly with respect to appointments, which Parliament had yet to gain. England was too preoccupied by the struggle between Parliament and Stuart Kings, to perfect effective imperial control over the colonies in America.
The separation from England by the colonies in America took many years, but ultimately gave the colonists a real sense of freedom. Through small steps like, capitalism, self-government, and a fluid class structure, the colonies slowly, but surely, gained their independence from England. These changes in religion, economics, politics, and social structure illustrate this Americanization of the transplanted Europeans.