1.10 The Colonies Grow and Change.odt - The Colonies Mature...

This preview shows page 1 - 2 out of 7 pages.

The Colonies Mature Throughout the 1600s, social and political changes in England—including religious persecutions, civil war, and the execution of a king—influenced the development of the North American colonies. Around 1700, when the Glorious Revolution at last brought peace and stability to England, England’s new king, William III, set his sights on expanding Britain’s empire. He began by declaring war against France and Spain, two nations that had also staked claims to colonies in North America. England’s powerful navy led a series of victories. One result was that in 1713 the English demanded that France give up the North American fishing regions of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and the Hudson Bay. Victorious and confident, England also insisted that France and Spain recognize the recent merger of England, Wales, and Scotland into a new international power known as Great Britain. With its major rivals weakened, and a time of peace at hand, England and its colonies enjoyed new political stability and economic opportunity. From about 1700 to 1763, Britain’s North American colonies experienced a period of dynamic growth and prosperity. The population in the colonies increased dramatically, regional characteristics took shape, and diverse economies expanded. Many colonists were able to own land, which qualified them to participate in town and colonial government and made for active colonial legislatures. As British officials pondered their North American colonies during this period, they began referring to the people there not just as “colonists” but as “Americans.” Great Britain’s Growing North American Empire The series of Navigation Acts passed in the 1600s had tied all colonial trade to Britain. The colonists sent the mother country resources such as lumber, fish, and fur, as well as products such as tobacco and rum. In turn, the colonists purchased manufactured goods from Britain. To make the most of the North American resources and markets, British authorities and American colonists both agreed that the colonies needed to attract more colonists. In 1700, the population of the American colonies amounted to about 250,000, with most people huddled along the eastern seaboard only loosely connected to each other. England wanted to encourage settlement of the colonies, but not at the expense of its own population. With its economy booming from the growth of manufacturing, England needed laborers at home to man the textile mills and iron works. How could England meet its own needs for labor while also increasing the population in the colonies? Growing Georgia One idea came from James Oglethorpe, an army officer, member of Parliament, and social reformer. He dedicated himself to the cause of prison reform after one of his friends fell into debt and was imprisoned. In jail, Oglethorpe’s friend contracted smallpox and died. Oglethorpe led a parliamentary committee to inspect English prisons. He gained national attentionas he demanded reforms to improve the miserable conditions in English jails.

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture