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American Colonies

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.
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MLA Citation:
"American Colonies." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Jan 2013