America has gone through many building blocks to get to where this nation is today. Many events have taken place for this nation to be the “land of the free. ” America has fought long and hard to have the liberty to be equal. This paper agrees that the story of America from the creation of the colonies to the establishment of the United States Constitution is one centered on the ideas of liberty and freedom. American has been known to be called the land of the free. What has led everyone to believe that America is really the land of the free?
Before America was even found, this unknown land was occupied by the Native Americans. A man named Christopher Columbus set out to sail from Spain to Asia. Columbus was on a quest to access sources of spices and other oriental good going (Foner, Give Me Liberty). He had the idea to sail west to get to Asia but instead landed on an island, where he cited the land of a new world in between Europe and Asia to be America. While on the island with the Native Americans, Columbus had little to say about them but thought they were uncultivated.
In Columbus’ letter to the king and queen, he mentioned converting to the religion he thought was correct, which was Christianity. He had the mindset of conquering the natives and forcing them to convert to religions. Some natives were kept as slave’s others were executed under his authority. This led to the finding of the thirteen colonies. The thirteen colonies were once a part of the first British Empire but were later joined together to form the United States of America.
These colonies provided plantations while England would manufacture the good and sell it back to them. As time went on, these colonies began to question the British. These colonies ultimately parted ways from England to form the United States of America. These colonies came to the New World with a charter. A charter is a document that gives official permission given by the government to found a new colony in the New World (Foner, Give Me Liberty). Each of these colonies had a different mindset based on their religious, economic, political and social beliefs.
Among these thirteen colonies, they were divided into three major regions: The New England colonies, the Middle Colonies, and the Southern Colonies. The New England colonies of British America composed of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire. These colonies were established for religious freedom. These colonies relied on trade. Their natural resources were fish, furs, shipbuilding’s, timber exports and slave transport. In the lecture, it was stated that the New England colonies ran a colonial assembly government, the governor was elected by white landed males and held a town meeting.
Both the pilgrims and puritans came to the new world for many reasons but most importantly, they were seeking freedom to practice their religion. The pilgrims wanted to separate from the Anglican Church while the Puritans wanted a purer form of their religion (Foner, Give Me Liberty). The puritans were led by a man named John Winthrop. He was a very authoritarian ruler. He wanted to make sure puritans dominated the government in Massachusetts. The Middle Colonies composed of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
They focused on shipbuilding and agriculture and had a strong economy. The middle colonies acquired people of different cultures and religions. These colonists were German, Dutch, Scot-Irish, Scandinavian, enslaved Africans, but many of them were English (Foner, Give Me Liberty). William Penn believes “people of all religions should live together in peace” (Foner, Give Me Liberty), therefore the owner of the land in this colony allowed the colonist to practice different religions.
Other owners did not care about religious beliefs, all they really wanted was for the colonists to either buy or rent land. Although the English continue religious freedom, women lost property rights and free African Americans were prohibited from plying their trades. Many families living in the Middle Colonies were farmers. The climate and soil were great for farming. Many farmers grew more than they needed and could sell extra grains and livestock in the cities. This colony was considered to have a “free market economy. ” They could sell their goods to other cities and nations.
Colonists were free to do what they wanted and what they thought would help them become wealthy, this was called free enterprise (Foner, Give Me Liberty). The Southern Colonies also known as Chesapeake consists of Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina and Georgia. The settlers of this colony were mostly men. They were poor and the most indentured servants. They had a different social structure but not much of one than the other colonies. The lecture stated that “women had some inheritance rights because often they live longer than their husbands. Religion was not a central part of their daily life.
There was one minister for every fifty-five hundred colonists. Plantation owners grew tobacco, rice, indigo and imported slaves for labor (Foner, Give Me Liberty). Their government was a colonial assembly controlled by wealthy elites. Only white males that owned land could vote or be elected a governor but they were all uneducated. In 1632, the King of England gave the land that is now called Maryland to Cecilius Calvert who wanted it to be a refuge for Catholics (Foner, Give Me Liberty). Maryland passed the Toleration Act in 1649, which promised all Christians could worship freely (Foner, Give Me Liberty).
In 1663, King Charles II established a colony in hope to keep away the French and Spaniards that claimed to be theirs. It was divided and now known as North and South Carolina. Since then, America has been colonized by Britain, France, and Spain. In 1754, a war began between France and Britain between disputed territory in American which led to the Seven years’ war. The British defeated the French who had been helped by several native American tribes but was left heavily in debt.
Britain then decided to tax the American colonists but they refused to pay tax because they didn’t have representation but the British parliament. This was called the Stamp Act of 1765 (Foner, Give Me Liberty). They then began to boycott British goods. This led to the declaratory act 1766 which allowed the parliament to tax the colonist anytime they wanted to. The British then decided to increase taxes to be paid on lead, paper, paint, and tea which was called the Townshend Act of 1967 (Foner, Give Me Liberty). This made the colonist even more mad.
Thousands of British troops were sent to threaten the people of Boston. This led to more boycotts. As tension started to rise, five colonists died and news that the Boston Massacre quickly spread throughout the colonies. In 1773 Britain tried to import and sell on taxed tea to the east Indian company but the Americans didn’t allow them to unload the tea. Later, a group known as sons of liberty disguised as Native Americans boarded the ships and dumped the tea, this became known as the Boston Tea Party (Foner, Give Me Liberty).
In 1774, Britain punished Massachusetts with a series of Intolerable acts to control the colony. The colonist responded by holding the First Continental Congress in 1774. This was to “petition parliament to repeal the intolerable acts and restore friendly relations” (Foner, Give Me Liberty). In 1775, Thomas Gage and seven hundred troops went to Concord to “seize a colonial militia arsenal” (Foner, Give Me Liberty). While the war in Concord was going on, leaders of the three colonies came together for the Second Continental Congress to organize the war effort.
Meanwhile, congressman Thomas Jefferson drafted what became the Declaration of Independence that was ratified on July 4, 1776. It declared that the thirteen colonies were to be recognized as no longer being a part of the British empire (Foner, Give Me Liberty). They are now known as the United States of America. The united states organized itself throughout the decades of fighting for our independence. Soon after, the founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States in 1787 and ratified in 1788.
The constitution consisted of America’s national government and fundamental laws, it guaranteed certain basic rights for its citizens (Foner, Give Me Liberty). America has been founded on the ideas of liberty and freedom. This nation has come a long way but without all the fighting in wars, indentures and leaders that we have come across, America would not be known to be the land of the free. The united states have grown in many ways to become one of the most powerful countries in the world. America is continuously progressing to make it a better place for everyone and continue for us as a nation to have freedom.