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The Role Of English Colonies In Shaping The American History

If one looks at the events of the past, it becomes evident that the settlement of English colonies played a crucial role in shaping American history. Jamestown colony is an example of such an event that has left quite an impact on not only the British but Native tribes as well. Jamestown in Virginia was the first English settlement in American history that initiated a setup in which the British lived alongside the Native tribes. Since the establishment, both the natives and the English settlers faced numerous issues that resulted in death. The reasons for the death of the English settlers were observed to be mainly disease and starvation due to the lack of food and medical supplies. Most of the shipmates had died onboard, and the remaining few died soon after arriving on land. Virginia, being a bountiful land with crops that mostly consisted of tobacco, gave the English planters a good opportunity to earn money for themselves. They required labour to till the fields; however, the local Indians proved to be hostile and resistant, refusing to work for the planters. Since the English planters could not enslave the natives, therefore, they were in a tight spot. The settlers resolved to hire poor English adults who readily agreed to work for the settlers. The workers signed a contract of four to five years in exchange for safe passage to North America.

One of the workers was Richard Frenthorne, who wrote a letter to his parents stating the horrible condition of the colony (“Our Plantation Is Very Weak”: The Experiences of an Indentured Servant in Virginia, 1623″). In his letter, Richard pleaded with his parents to redeem the indenture so that he could return home. In the letter, Richard’s appeal to his parents can be seen from the way he presents the scenario of the settlement and talks about the way of living that the settlers have acquired. The entire depiction of the colony is gruesome, as Richard writes in the following lines,

If you did know as much as I [do] when people cry out day and night – Oh! That they were in which is most pitiful.

Richard’s letter shows how bad the situation had gotten in Jamestown, Virginia, where people only wished to return home, even if it meant selling their limbs. In 1788, Thomas Jefferson wrote an article that was based on faulty reasoning meant to explain why whites were superior to blacks. He began his article by pointing out the difference in the colour of both races and then proceeded to the feelings that were exhibited by either side (“Thomas Jefferson’s Racism, 1788 | The American Yawp Reader”). Jefferson’s biasedness can be seen from the way he refers to the blacks as inferior on the basis of being less intelligent. Articles such as these fueled the situation and worsened the racist attitude. Racial discrimination spread across the colonies over the years, making it difficult for Black minorities to live out their lives in peace. In the year 1829, David Walker appealed to the coloured people, explaining to them that the notions of freedom and Christianity preached by the whites were nothing but lies spewed to make the blacks function according to the American way of life (“David Walker’s Appeal To The Colored Citizens Of The World, 1829 | The American Yawp Reader”). He hoped that his race would wake up and realize that the whites were using religion as a tool to turn the blacks into followers of the American traditions.

It is noticeable how the words and actions of a few can lead a nation towards being engrossed in racist attitudes. American history is enriched with events that have been discriminatory towards one race while fulfilling the needs of another. It can be seen that what started as a simple settlement ended with years of hatred between whites and blacks due to the difference in skin colour and, most of all, the difference in mindset.

Works Cited

“David Walker’s Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World, 1829 | The American Yawp Reader”. Americanyawp.Com, 2018, http://www.americanyawp.com/reader/religion-and-reform/david-walkers-appeal-to-the-colored-citizens-of-the-world-1829/. Accessed 8 Mar 2018.

“Our Plantation Is Very Weak”: The Experiences of an Indentured Servant in Virginia, 1623″. Historymatters.Gmu.Edu, 2018, http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6475/. Accessed 8 Mar 2018.

“Thomas Jefferson’s Racism, 1788 | The American Yawp Reader”. Americanyawp.Com, 2018, http://www.americanyawp.com/reader/the-early-republic/thomas-jefferson-notes-on-the-state-of-virginia-1788/. Accessed 8 Mar 2018.

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