Homework One Answers - Student Nineteen

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1. Which time period or periods in American History do you expect to enjoy studying the most? Why?

I expect to enjoy studying the Revolutionary War and the events that led to that and those that followed. I studied this time of our nation's history with my children, but only briefly. It is exciting to me to see this beginning, to see the foundation the Founding Fathers put down and to learn more about George Washington and his leadership, not only in the war but in his Presidency as well.

3. Christopher Columbus: overrated, or not given enough credit? Explain.

In my opinion, he was not given enough credit. He was not he first European to reach American shores, but he was the first one in centuries that embarked upon the perilous travels over the Atlantic. His goal of reaching Asia by sailing westward was unrealized, but his voyages did open the Western Hemisphere to European exploration and colonization.

4. True or false: the Puritans came to America in order to separate church from state (government). Explain.

I don't believe that the entire population of Puritans wanted a separation, but I do believe that some of them did. They wanted to 'purify' the Church of England. The Puritans belonged to the Calvinist reform movement and they sought to abolish all religious beliefs and practices not based expressly on the Bible. The Church of England was based on Catholic tradition and that was repugnant to the Puritans. The Church of England was established by royal authority. At first, most Puritans wished only to make changes in doctrine and ritual. They wanted each congregation to be self governing. It was an extreme group of Independents called the Separatists that favored separation from the Church of England. The Puritans who came to America, the group that founded Plymouth Colony in 1620, were Separatists. In my research, I found that the name 'Puritans' usually describes the settlers who founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony, also in 1620. Many of those Puritans were Independents and not Separatists. When they came to New England, they set up Congregational churches free from Anglican authority.

5. Why do you think Philadelphia became the most populated city in North America by the mid-1700's, and the second most populated city (after London) in the entire British Empire?

William Penn founded this colony based on the single principle of religious freedom for all. This attracted many people from many nationalities, not just English. There was abundant country side adjacent to the city and Quakers that lived there were industrious, producing farm crops for export. Manufacturing grew up and around the city and Philadelphia's port became the busiest one in the colonies. Families enjoyed the thriving cities and the religious freedom they found there making Philadelphia very popular.

7. In what ways did the colonies build the economic strength of England?

John Rolfe grew tobacco in Virginia, then exported it to Europe. The king banned the growing of tobacco in England and provided a competition free environment for Rolfe who became incredibly wealthy as did the entire Jamestown Colony. The Pilgrims, who were governed by William Bradford, were given plots of land to develop and began the free market. The produced more food than they could consume and began exporting their corn bringing in a profit. The Massachusetts Bay Company sent a group of Puritans to settle in New England and within five years more settlers followed. They all participated in trade by sea with England, the West Indies and West Africa.

8. Spain settled America before England did. So why is the United States an English-Speaking nation, rather than a Spanish speaking one?

Spain did settle America before England did, but where whole families came from England, only Spanish soldiers came from Spain. Their wives did not travel with them and their children were not born here. Their families didn't multiply in America and there were few distinct or permanent Spanish settlements. Separate governments were not established due to the fact that the Spanish were subservient to their king in Europe.