Significant Influences During the Early National Period Essay

Pages: 3 (1347 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: American History

¶ … National Period

American history technically begins in the east in the English colonies and it then spread gradually westward, only reaching the Appalachian Mountains by the end of the colonial period. According to this perspective, the "seeds" of the United States first appeared with the English colonists in 1607 at Jamestown in Virginia, and then followed in 1620 by "the Pilgrims" at Plymouth in New England (Taylor 2002, x). The small colonial cast (as the earlier Spanish and French settlements were pretty much irrelevant except as enemies) is compromised of the people who would create American colonial history, as it wasn't until the United States invaded the "West" during the early nineteenth century that the West would also become a part of the United States. Alaska and Hawaii wouldn't become a part of the United States' national history until the end of the nineteenth century (2002, x).

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The early Spanish and French colonizers neglected the mid-Atlantic seaboard, which is an important aspect to consider when contemplating what the United States would become. Because of their neglect of this region, the mid-Atlantic seaboard was open to English colonization during the 1580s. This area they simply called Virginia, named to honor their queen, Elizabeth I, a supposed virgin. Between the years of 1580 and 1620, the English name Virginia the entire area of coast between Florida and Acadia (Taylor 2002, 118). The English at first searched for gold mines on land and Spanish ships with treasures by sea -- sort of "get rich quick" tactics, but these tactics failed and they were forced to come up with ways that were more low and laborious when it came to making their livings. Thus, they began to harvest their plantation. By 1616, the colonists discovered a prime commodity in tobacco, "which permitted an explosive growth in population, territory, and wealth" (2002, 118).

Essay on Significant Influences During the Early National Period Assignment

Middleton (2002, 115) states in his book, Colonial America: A History, 1565 -- 1776, by 1660, the colonists were exporting tobacco, sugar, cotton, indigo and other dyes back to England. In October of 1660, English Parliament passed a new act, which excluded foreign traders by only allowing vessels owned and three-quarters manned by Englishmen to enter English colonial ports (2002, 115). This meant that all the aforementioned goods had to go back to England before being shipped elsewhere -- there they would be taxed and therefore denied any competitive advantage. These measures were only beneficial to England, however, the large mercantile marine was being established in the colonial states and it gave work to thousands of men. This provided the source for major naval power, which would become important as the century went on -- and we see its early influences today in our own naval power.

The Great Awakening is another period of time -- during the 1730s and the 1740s -- where there was a decreasing emphasis on the importance of church doctrine and instead there was a greater emphasis put on the individual and his or her own spiritual experience. This was probably the most significant religious phenomenon in colonial history (Geiter & Spark 2003, 167). There were certainly revivals before this time, but they were mainly confined to certain areas like New England. The Great Awakening was an "intercolonial experience" (2003, 167), however, which swept the land from Georgia to Maine. It began in New England and the middle colonies in the early part of the 1730s when people began to question the part the individual played in religion and society. It arose during the same period as the Enlightenment, which was all about the individual and logic and reason and understanding the universe based on science as opposed to religion. Basically stated, individuals wanted to understand salvation from a more personal approach as opposed from the abundance of church dogma that pervaded the colonies.

John Edwards was a key player in the Great Awakening; he preached that people needed to have an individual or more personal approach when it came to God and salvation. He wanted all Christians… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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