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What did the colonists bring with them to the New World? Illustration

The 13 Colonies for Kids
What did the colonists
bring with them?

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What did the colonists bring with them?

1. First and foremost, they brought their beliefs, their habits, and their culture. Most people who immigrated to the New World did not really want a new world. What they wanted was to re-create the life they had in England, with improvements. What they wanted was a new and improved England. But different people wanted different improvements, so right off, the colonies had more challenges to face than finding food and shelter. They had to find a way to get along.

Some of the beliefs they brought with them were accepted by nearly everyone - it was the English way.

Schools: Back in England, by 1640, there were over 900 elementary schools, free to everyone including the poor. In the New World, elementary schools were started, and were free to everyone.

Rights of Women: Back in England, women by law inherited at least part of their husband's estate. They could own their own business. They could marry whomever they chose. In the New World, these rights continued.

Right to a Jury of Their Peers: In the New World, as in England, people had the right to trial, and the right to a jury of their peers.

Some of the beliefs they brought with them were in conflict. Back in England, every village had their own way of doing things. Two farmers, for example, might have different ways of farming the land. One farmer might come from a village where everyone pitched in and worked together for the common good. Another farmer might come from a village where everyone had their own fenced off piece of land to work as they wished. Both men believed their system was superior. This led to many arguments of how things should be done.

2. They brought their frustrations with them. They would not have left England if they had not wanted certain things to change.

One of the biggest frustrations some colonists had with life in England was the lack of religious freedom. A relatively new state church had been organized under Elizabeth I. It was a sort of compromise church, created to stop the fighting between Catholics and Protestants. Queen Elizabeth kept things like choral music, but changed things like allowing priests to marry. People had to follow the dictates of the new state church, or they were persecuted. Some people decided it was time to leave England and seek religious freedom and separation of church and state in the New World.

3. They brought supplies. In the holds of their ships, the early settlers brought axes, shovels, hammers, nails, other tools, pigs, cows, sheep, goats, seed from English plants, and as many personal belongings as they could afford. They were reasonably well equipped to start a new life in the wilderness.

4. They brought a common goal: Whether they came to escape their past, or to worship as they wished, or to preserve a life style they knew and wanted, they all shared one main goal - to carve a new England out of the wilderness.

Nearly every settler in the early days of the New World believed the crown (the king back in England) was in charge. They believed next in importance were the nobility, followed by the clergy, lawyers, and doctors, and anyone else who could live without manual labor. But those beliefs didn't work very well in the colonies.

Farming skills were the single most important skill in these early days. That gave farmers something they never had before - a strong voice in local government.

Who came to the New World?

Quick View: Comparison, Pilgrims, Puritans, Quakers