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Economic and Religious Concerns Contributing to the Settling of British North America

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Economic and Religious Concerns Contributing to the Settling of British North America

Throughout the colonial period, both economic and religious concerns contributed to the settling of British North America. The statement that the “economic concerns had more to do with the settling of British North America than did religious concerns” is valid. These economic concerns, as a cause for the colonization of British North America, outweighed the notable religious concerns that arose, and dominated colonial life during and up until the very end of the British colonial era in North America.

Economic concerns of the British caused the colonization of British North America. Such economic concerns included the opportunity to acquire gold, silver, a North American waterway that would lead directly to China and the Indies, and the prospect of countering Spain’s dominance in North America (Boorstin et al. 34). In addition to these economic reasons for colonization, the English were also seeking to obtain the essential “raw materials” in America that they had been previously buying from other European countries for exorbitant amounts of money and gold (Boorstin et al. 34). Great Britain also sought to solve other economic problems through American colonization. For example, England needed to replenish some of its diminishing materials and assets, generate another “market” to export its cargo and merchandise, maintain its powerful navy and “merchant marine” through business with new American colonies, and to provide a new place for the unemployed to settle rather than escalating populace/crime and the economic burden in its own cities (Boorstin et al. 34).

Though there were religious concerns that contributed to the settling of British North America, the economic concerns outweighed the notable religious concerns. A religious concern that played a role in British colonization was that the British wanted to have the Indians of North America converted to Protestant Christianity (Boorstin et al. 34). In addition, specific groups that were seeking religious freedom used the British colonizing as a venue to achieve this objective. Such groups included the Puritan separatists who had begun to lose their freedoms in England, and thus they became colonists in New England.

Though the Puritans, as well as some later groups, fled to the American colonies to escape religious persecution or restrictions, the fact remains that the Puritans had been granted “a charter from King James” for their settlement. Thus, the colonists who came to America for religious reasons were serving the primary purpose of generating profits for the Mother country of England (Boorstin et al. 40-41). Furthermore, there were other people willing to make a fresh start in life as American colonists, and the colonies would have still flourished under a population of settlers that were either looking to improve their lives in America or escape hardships they had in Europe. For example, the colony of Georgia was made up of “some of London’s criminals and the drunken idle poor” (Boorstin et al. 47-48). In this way, the British were able to find others besides the religiously abused to settle in the American colonies, while at the same time improving existing problems in England.

Economic concerns dominated colonial life during and up until the very end of the British colonial era in North America. Great Britain believed in governing its colonies based on the mercantile system, which was the position that money, particularly gold and silver, is the focal point from which a nation derives its power, and “as applied to colonies, this meant that they existed only in order to enrich the mother country” (Boorstin et al. 1007). In this way, England’s economic concerns with the colonies (which was to get as much wealth from their relationship with colonies as they possibly could) were the chief reasons for the colonization of British North America. This policy of mercantilism was evident throughout the era of the North American British colonies. For example, England passed the Navigation Act of 1651. This Navigation Act stated “that all trade between France and English colonies, Europe and English colonies, and the colonies with themselves must be conducted on an English ship”, in order to improve England’s economy and develop England’s merchant marine(Colonial History). Great Britain continued the use of the Mercantile system, and The Navigation Act of 1660 established new restrictions, which included that colonial grown tobacco, cotton, wool, and indigo could not be shipped outside of Great Britain(Colonial History). In this way, England prospered because it “helped the central economy and government of the British by excluding such raw materials from trade to other countries” (Colonial History).

Great Britain again continued its policy

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