The question of whether or not the 16th and 17th centuries were times of social experimentation can not be answered without first understanding what social experimentation is. Here in lies another perplexing problem, because who is to decide what defines a social experiment? One common definition that most peoples have agreed upon is that a social experimentation is the way in which a society or group of people tries to adapt/adjust to a new life or new situations. With this theory we can begin to see the social experimentation that took place during these centuries, and the increases and decreases of it.

The best way to understand what peoples in a new land had to do to survive; we must first understand how they lived in their native lands. The English had a reputation of doing almost anything, even terrorizing the native peoples of a land, to gain control of it. [1] A pamphleteer, Thomas Churchyard said,” killed manne, woman, and child, and spoiled, wasted, and burned, by the grounde all that he might: leaving nothing of the enemies in saffetie, which he could possiblie waste, or consume. [2] These are a peoples who demand for an empire, and the resources they gain from them, rive and compel them to kill and suppress native peoples.

The Spanish outlook on empire building and resource acquisition, although in reasoning is somewhat more brutal, the actions taken are typically less violent. This fact comes largely into play when these people spread colonies into North America. “You do not expect me to make lengthy commemoration of the judgment and talent of the Spainards…

And who can ignore the other vitures of our people, their fortitude, their humanity, their love of justice and religion? ” and “For numerous and grave reasons these barbarians are obligated to accept the rule of the Spainards ccording to natural law” are both quotes that give insight into Spanish ethic ideals, and also their will to not burn, pillage, rape, and kill every living thing in these villages, as much so as consume and encompass them. 3] Although the question of why these people actually left their native lands hasn’t been answered concretely, we can assume the vast majority of these people left to rid themselves of the old feudal system, and the horrible economic state of Europe. [4] Knowing this allows us to understand what ideas they brought over to this new land. I’ve spoken with my father, 30 year history teacher, and he has enlightened me to some of these early colonies.

For instance, in Europe, men were men and “they ruled over the women, as an adult does over a child, and the father over his children”[5], yet we have situations in this new land that create favorable stances for women. With the early deaths of men due to disease and constant interaction with the natives, women were generally left to look after these estates. As we know too, land owners were the government and spoke for the people with their right to vote. “There was a colony in New Jersey that llowed women the right to vote whether they owned land or not”. [6] This is by far nothing of the English feudal lord system.

Now we have a history of movement and conquest of these peoples, and a few of their ideas, so how did they become, and how did they make every culture around them a social experiment? This question encompasses a very broad topic, and to be able to answer I must first focus on a singular topic. The Virginia Laws, provided to us from 1643 until 1691 truly do identify a social experiment between two races of people and even classes of people. If we recap, a social experiment is anything a society or group of peoples does to adapt/adjust to a new place or situation.

These laws show the progression of a peoples values overtime, and how they adapt to make life and society exactly as they believe it should be. The first idea of not allowing the intermixing of marriages arises in March of 1643. [7] In 1658, we still have the idea of having “servants”, and the idea of stealing persons as processions comes up. [8] In 1662 the question arose of what a child born of a negro women should be-slave or free, and they esolved this by law making them born under the condition of their mothers.

The underlying problem I have writing this theory of how social classes will degree and announce how they want society to live based on their past experiences and experiments is that truth of a monolithic argument. I can not write about a peoples who have no history as we see it. These were not literate peoples, and their views and ideas about how their social structure changed is not part of our history. I agree that social experimentation continued, and continues everyday. We base our future decisions on our past problems and choices.