The Headright System

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The main themes throughout the lecture and the reading for this week were the need for colonization in Europe, the Headright System, and the growth of New England. Queen Elizabeth supported the idea of colonizing the New World due to the countless number of jobless farmers, "beggars," roaming the streets of London. Many of the people against the Catholic religion were also in support of this proposal as well as they can now head to a new land with freedom of religion. This could now be land claimed by England with a fresh start for its inhabitants.

The land in the New World was lush and prosperous so there emerged a need for labor. Due to this high demand, England developed the Headright system. These were 50 acre land grants which could be acquired in several ways. The most popular way was for a wealthy land owner in America to pay for a homeless beggar's way which would institute a contract between them. The land owner would receive 50 acres for paying someone's way and the beggar would be in debt to them for 7 years of service on their land. This would later become a problem, however. These indentured servants would be easily stricken by malaria and would die sooner than their 7 years. This action would indirectly cause the Slave Trade in years to come.

The growth of New England began not only because of the want for more land, but because of the crop, tobacco. The English had found a cheaper form of tobacco and cultivated the land quickly. After using the land they would have to move because the land would be quickly exhausted after this crop. These people thought that if they raised enough money off of tobacco they would earn enough money to return to England. This would eventually prove to be wrong and the English would continue pressing westward into more and more Indian territory causing more raids and more Indians becoming extinct.
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