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1 The Collision Of Cultures
2 Britain And Its Colonies
3 Colonial Ways Of Life
4 The Imperial Perspective
5 From Empire To Independence
6 The American Revolution
7 Shaping A Federal Union
8 The Federalist Era
9 The Early Republic
10 Nationalism And Sectionalism
11 The Jacksonian Impulse
12 The Dynamics Of Growth
13 An American Renaissance: Religion, Romanticism, And Reform
14 Manifest Destiny
15 The Old South
16 The Crisis Of Union
17 The War Of The Union
18 Reconstruction: North And South
19 New Frontiers: South And West
20 Big Business And Organized Labor
21 The Emergence Of Urban America
22 Gilded-age Politics And Agrarian Revolt
23 An American Empire
24 The Progressive Era
25 America And The Great War
26 The Modern Temper
27 Republican Resurgence And Decline
28 New Deal America
29 From Isolation To Global War
30 The Second World War
31 The Fair Deal And Containment
32 Through The Picture Window: Society And Culture, 19451960
33 Conflict And Deadlock: The Eisenhower Years
34 New Frontiers: Politics And Social Change In The 1960s
35 Rebellion And Reaction In The 1960s And 1970s
36 A Conservative Insurgency
37 Triumph And Tragedy: America At The Turn Of The Century

England and Its Colonies

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As the Old World pushed some peoples out, the New World pulled them over the Atlantic. Over the course of the seventeenth century, English colonists shipped out for a number of reasons, including those of economics, politics, and religion. Their motives were reflected in where they settled and how they sowed, nurtured, and defended their cuttings from that hardy oak called English civilization. In the course of transplantation, the colonists took with them certain shared attitudes and behaviors; but they also carried with them localized variations depending on where in England they came from and why they decided to emigrate. Further modification or deviation occurred as the offshoots took root in new soils, were nurtured by new fertilizers, and not only survived but thrived due to grafts from aborigine, African, and other European cultures. Thus, although the colonies had much in common as they developed, they also differed, in their religious, political, and social establishments.

The English colonists compared themselves to and defined themselves against native peoples, including the Powhatans, Pequots, and Mohawks, and immigrant groups, such as the Dutch and African. Coming in contact with those cultures made many colonists more aware and more defensive of their own. While adopting what they deemed useful from the other cultures, they simultaneously established their own identity—or identities—through their interactions with these groups and with English settlers in other colonies. Thus these colonists proclaimed their English identity, while developing regional—New England, Virginian, and Carolinian, for instance—and ethnic or racial ones. Cultural interchange would differ in kind and amount, since colonists in some areas would have more contact with diverse groups than the colonists in others. Intent on implementing their own version of civilization, however, the English colonists—as well as other European colonists—attempted to control this cultural interchange wherever, whenever, and however it happened by imposing their own legal and social principles.

Controlling intercultural exchanges was but one of the complex tasks inherent to colonization; commanding the colonists themselves was another. Military, political, social, and religious leaders found it difficult to impose order in the colonies. From the first, the often dreadful demands of survival challenged the colonists' plans and attempts to create properly regulated and cohesive societies; although the need to survive caused some people to work together, it led others to struggle and strive for their own ends at the expense of others. While the vastness of the land and the different peoples that inhabited it frightened some settlers into huddling their houses close together and accepting strict regulation for protection, others embraced the wilderness for the implied freedom it promised from nosy neighbors and government's rules. Then, as settlement proceeded, other factors, such as the growing diversity of religions and immigrants, complicated social transplantation. Whereas many colonists had hoped to reconstruct traditional social structures and mores, they found that circumstances sometimes demanded new constructions or adaptations. Each colony addressed such problems in different ways: some rooted out those who did not conform to their religious and social prescripts, while others attempted limited toleration and even inclusion. Such reactions, and the results they produced, illuminate both the initial challenges inherent to colonization as well as the developing nature of the different colonial societies.


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