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MODULE 3: THE SECRETS OF COLONIAL SUCCESS As Roanoake proved, the settlement of a colony in America was by no means a guaranteed success. As the colonization industry became increasingly privatized, the urgency of returning a swift and sizeable profit became a matter of life and death for a settlement. Jamestown supplied powerful lessons both of what to do and what not to do for those who sought to relocate in the Americas, and as the several colonies achieved permanence over the century or so during which they were established, each exhibited particular characteristics that came to define a successful colony. So what were they? Sponsors The proliferation of the joint-stock company reflected the fact that few Englishmen individually had the means with which to start a colonial settlement. Consider the requirements: such an effort required the ships to make the trip, the colonists themselves, food and supplies to sustain the colonists during the trans-Atlantic journey and after their arrival, draft animals for use in agriculture, and any number of peripheral supplies. It was expensive, involved enormous financial risk, and like any business enterprise today, required the combined resources of many investors to succeed. In order to settle, the companies had to petition the king for a charter that endowed the company with control over the land. That charter, QuickTime1 and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture.
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which represented the source of all authority over colonial affairs—indeed, the very source of the existence of the colony itself—typically remained in London to remain under royal supervision. Virginia, Plymouth, and Massachusetts Bay (which later yielded Maine and New Hampshire) were all joint-stock ventures. The other primary form of colonial sponsorship was the proprietary colony, in which an individual received royal authority for the founding and administration of an American colony. Maryland, Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York were all proprietary colonies. Skilled Settlers I know, I know.’s a no-brainer. Perhaps, but remember the fate of Roanoake and the near-fate of Jamestown, each of which were initially populated with people who had no earthly idea as to how to build a settlement. I bring this issue up less to deliberate over the merits of skilled labor than to contemplate what brought English settlers to the Americas in the first place. The two major influences were economic opportunity and religious freedom. As the American West would become in the nineteenth century, the American colonies were viewed in England as a place where settlers could begin anew, unburdened by the mistakes of their past, or perhaps free from the pursuit of the law. It was not uncommon to see men who had engaged in unethical business practices, who had jilted a fiancée or taken one without her father’s permission, or who had engaged in otherwise criminal conduct make haste for the New World in order to stay out of jail or debtor’s prison.
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This note was uploaded on 07/08/2008 for the course HIST 2113 taught by Professor Motl during the Spring '08 term at Ouachita Baptist.

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