Immigration To The Americas Essay Research Paper

Immigration To The Americas Essay, Research Paper

Prior to 1650, many Englishmen immigrated to the New World,

specifically to the North American Colonies. These immigrants fled

from a society that they found to be displeasing in many specific

ways. Although economic and political values led to much of the

English migration to the New World, religious tumult in England was

undoubtedly the main cause for the immigration.

James I, who believed in the divine right of kings, thought he

was allowed to disobey Parliament because he answered to no one but

God. He started a conflict with Parliament that gained momentum under

Charles I’s reign. This conflict finally sparked a civil war lasting

seven years, during which time the government unsympathetically

persecuted its citizens, driving many of them out of the country.

Furthermore, England’s unstable economy and inflation led to

much poverty. The demand for a certain raw material like wool could

put many slaves out of a job if the landowner suddenly decided it was

more profitable to raise sheep; thus requiring only a small fraction

of the work force. Inflation also made life hard for the poorer

people, who found they could no longer pay for basic necessities.

People saw that moving to the North American Colonies was a great

money-making opportunity. Growing sugar on islands off the North

American coast was so profitable that one man’s capital may have

spilled over to a relative who lived generations later. People were

also quite excited about the idea of Capitalism, the economic system

in which one makes even more money by investing his capital in a

growing business, for example. Finally, people saw that the vast

fields in the New World would yield much produce, and that moving to

the Colonies was an opportunity too good to pass up.

Religious conflict, however, was the main factor contributing

to the English migration to New England. The Catholic Church had

become too intense on individuals and their everyday life, and

Protestantism seemed to be the best alternative for many people. Also,

King Henry VIII had established the Anglican Church, which he strongly

enforced upon the Englishmen. Protestants and Catholics in this

society were shunned by their neighbors, fined by the government, and

even sent to jail. The English nation was in a state of religious

turmoil with no religion to unify its citizens.

In addition, Religious warfare had become extremely gory, and

the amount of bloodshed was immense, simply because of each side’s

belief that any killing of the enemy was good since God was on their

side. People did not know where to turn, and began looking toward the

North American Colonies.

Certain Protestants, however, took the Reformation a step

further and tried to simplify or “purify” the Anglican Church, since

they believed that even Anglicanism was not as much a reform from

Catholicism as they wanted. These Protestants were called Puritans,

and they believed that they did not need priests, Anglicanism, or its

Church, but that they, alone, could talk to God. Such a feeling was

common to all the Protestants, so they decided that they would attempt

to create a Protestant nation in North America. Since they knew that

changing the ways and customs of an existing society would be far too

difficult, they left England and headed straight toward the New World.

Some of the Puritans even believed in typology; that their

life was a repetition of the Bible, and that they were compared to the

ancient Hebrews, who fled from Egypt only to wander in the desert for

forty years before entering the promised land. They believed that

while they temporarily settled in the Colonies, England would be

destroyed, and that they, the “saving remnants”, as they called

themselves, would later return and resettle it as the promised land.

After a couple of generations with no word of Europe’s long awaited

destruction, though, the colonists decided that they would create a

permanent settlement in the New World, since perhaps this was the

promised land.

Many people from England fled to the New World during the late

1500s and early 1600s. Their country was in a state of economic,

political, and religious tumult, and they saw great potential in the

New World. They were displeased with the Catholic Church and all of

England, so they came to the Colonies to start anew, and create what

was, in their eyes, the perfect society.


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