The Colonies: Motivations and Realities

Primary Source Set

The English colonists who settled in North America were motivated to leave Europe for a variety of reasons. From the earliest seventeenth-century English settlements, some colonists, including many in the Chesapeake region, hoped to find great fortune in the New World, while many in New England sought religious toleration. The British government, meanwhile, hoped to generate profits and power by establishing and maintaining a global empire. Many of these themes are documented in the inexpensive pamphlets that were produced to help win support for various positions. This set of documents allows students to explore three key themes relating to colonization in the eighteenth century: the motivations of the Quakers, those of the British government, and the realities of life in the Georgia colony.

Additional resources for research

  1. Colonial maps, David Rumsey, Digital Public Library of America.

  2. Colonial and Early America, the Library of Congress.

  3. Families in colonial North Carolina, LEARN NC, UNC School of Education.

  4. Experience the Life, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

  5. Mayflower and Mayflower Compact, Plimoth Plantation.

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