American Colonies Essay

            1. English colonies differed from their European counterparts religiously, occupationally, and economically. Their form of government was different, and their population growth was substantially higher (American History on File 1). While the colonies of France and Spain were primarily Catholic, English colonies were primarily protestant. While the original colonists from Spain and France were soldiers, missionaries and merchants, English colonists consisted of farmers, artisans, tradesmen, criminals and immigrants from other countries (American History On File 1). Finally, while English colonies had pro-immigration policies, and grew quickly, Spanish and French colonies grew very slowly (American History on File 1). France and Spain seem to have been more interested in taking goods from the new world back to benefit their mother countries than they were in establishing permanent settlements in the Americas.

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            2. Many have compared indentured servitude to slavery. An indentured servant would sign a contract, agreeing to work for a landowner for a certain period of time, for food, shelter, and eventually, a piece of land. In the early days, this was a popular practice in Virginia, as landowners often needed help on their plantations and were happy to have relatively cheap labor. It was not as popular in Massachusetts, as the people of Massachussets were involved in trade and industry that did not involve the same kind of harvesting that Virginia planters had to toil at. Eventually, indentured servants would be replaced by slavery, which was cheaper for landowners, as the terms of slaves never came to an end and a slave would never have to be paid. While a landowner might lose a parcel of land to an indentured servant after a contract was up, this was not the case with slavery.

            3. According to Douglas Harper, even though there were much fewer incidents of slavery in the northern colonies than in the southern colonies, slaves in the north were still often treated very poorly (Harper 1). One brick maker in Philadelphia, he says, kept his slaves in iron collars with hackles (Harper 1). 19-year-old slave mothers were sometimes separated from their 6-month-old babies, who were also sold as slaves (Harper 1). Yet, slavery in South Carolina seems to have been much more violent than slavery in the north or in the Chesapeake bay colonies (Henretta 4). Because, according to James A. Henretta, slaves greatly outnumbered whites in South Carolina, landowners would treat them brutally (Henretta 4).  Most of the slaves in South Carolina, says Henretta, were born in Africa, meanwhile, the slaves of the Chesapeake were often born in America (Henretta 4). This was because owners in the Chesapeake encouraged slave births so that they could save money (Henretta 4). Not only were slaves in the Chesapeake allowed to build families, but they often worked in better conditions than slaves in the Carolinas. Henretta says that this is because Tabacco was a much easier crop to grow than rice. (Henretta 4)

Works Cited

“Colonization and Settlement.” American History on File. 2006.

Harper, Douglas. “Slavery in the North.” 2003. Available at:

Henretta, James. “Life in Colonial America.” Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2007

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