Reasons for Colonial Immigration

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Carley Anderson, AP U.S. History

Motivation for Colonization

Beginning in the early 1600s, although it had not been deemed an actual country, America began its long-lasting journey to becoming the renowned “mixing pot” of the world. People from all over Europe, especially ones originating from England, started migrating to this new, highly intriguing and unknown continent. The sudden migration has led to several historic controversies over the centuries – what was the chief incentive for the Europeans’ movement to colonial America? Although politics, religion, and the economy were all huge factors leading up to this historic occurrence, one influence rose above them all: economics. Money seemed to truly “make the world go ‘round”.

The issues that spurred the least amount of inspiration for the exodus to the Americas were the political issues currently causing chaos in Europe. Many of the governments of Europe were dominated solely by the nobility and landed elite, so the common person barely had any say in the government. This would cause many middle-class people, and particularly the lower-class peasantry, to want to travel to the Americas. Class differences were simply too prominent and affected their lives in the most negative way possible. The middle and lower class would be able to start a new life for themselves, and because they would be some of the first people to get to the New World, they would have a greater chance of finding themselves in the seat of power. Also, many individuals felt too controlled by a smothering, oppressive government. As a result, many hoped to seek political freedom in the new lands. Because a government would not have already been established and they would no longer be under direct control of Henry VIII and the church, people thought that they would have more say in political decisions and would have the freedom and “new beginning” they so deeply desired. Finally, some Europeans sought to escape the political unrest...
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