Category: History

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United States History to Reconstruction

The efforts of different colonial powers to establish colonies in the New World differed with individual effort. The Spanish put in a lot of effort to ensure that they establish strong colonies in the new world. They ensured that they had a unity that helped them develop strong colonial powers in the countries conquered. Ferdinand and Isabella united them in the colonies, they expelled all the Jews, and Muslims in the countries conquered. The Spanish also had first-hand experience of how to colonize other countries since they had experienced from the colony of the Canary Islands. The other efforts made by Spaniards included intermarriages that enabled them to interact with the natives and helped them establish a strong base (Tomlins 56). This applied to unmarried males. The church also acted as a support feature as it united and protected the locals. Having the colonies, answer to one crown was also a good effort to help build a strong base. The French, on the other hand, did not pay particular effort to settle in their colonies. They, however, focused on expanding their colonies through warfare and advancing from one colony to the other as seen in their conquest of Canada and Virginia (Meltzer 78). The British used religion to establish colonies in 1517 and 1536, where reforms were seen in Germany and Geneva. Political unity also played a key role between the English in establishing colonies as seen under Henry VIII.

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The need to have colonies that would serve as an alternative source of raw materials was also one of the driving forces that led to the establishment of colonies by the British. This was an argument by Richard Hakluyt who believed in colonies as a source of profit. The need to counter catholic spread by the Spanish also led them to establish colonies. The Dutch focused on Business adventures especially with their dominance over trade commodities, which helped them establish themselves in the colonies since they exported commodities at a cheaper price hence their products, were preferred over those from other colonial powers (Tomlins 23).

The results of colonization efforts by the British, Spanish, French, and Dutch differed greatly. For the British, their results were clashes among its political cultures in their colonies. This was due to the conflicting political institutions that were being set up in the colonies. The colonies attempted to create institutions similar to those used in Britain, but they failed to appreciate the different environments and people under their leadership. The powers given to the royal governors in the colonies were too much and they had more political powers than the King back in England in regards to their Veto legislation and power over the judiciary and military. This led to an imbalanced and abused use of power. The need to establish their power in the colonies acquired led to the bitter rivalry between them and the French whom they regarded as rivals. Other results of colonial establishment among the British were the rise of economic value as they recognized the economic potential of these colonies under Charles II's leadership. This also led to the establishment of local manufacturing plants where the focus was paid on creating local products to be exported rather than focusing on imports (Saari and Julie 94). The need to have more power and control over colonies led to the passing of legislative acts that sought to increase revenue for the crown.

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Efforts by the British to control navigation rights and reduce the number of imported products led to a decrease in their dependency on the Dutch for most commodities. As a result, the Dutch began losing control over most imported properties in the English colonies especially with the implementation of the navigation act passed in 1663 that demanded 75% of goods and passengers to be from England. On the other hand, the Spanish had a more successful conquest as compared to the British since they had the first-hand experience from their earlier conquests. The Spanish, unlike the British, established their colonies, but the powers of the appointed officials were limited, as they had to answer to the crown back in Spain. This was different from the British who had more powers than the leader back in their country. The other difference is in their religious orientation with the Spanish paying particular focus on spreading the Catholic religion while the British were more inclined on the economic side of their colonial prowess. This was also beneficial to the locals since the church acted as a protective feature where the local Indians got protection from it.

There were mixed marriages among the Indians and most unmarried Spanish men leading to a mixed-blood population in the colonies. On the other hand, the French had a more successful conquest and establishment of colonies. Unlike the British and the Spanish, crown, the French crown was not so much into settling its colonists but paid particular focus on acquiring more colonies. This led to a bitter relation with its rival back in their continent, Britain. This resulted in the development of allied groups among the Dutch, Britain, and Spain to counter its political and economic threat to their survival in the colonies. The rivalry among the major colonial powers manifested as they went into war to foster their might in the colonial world. The rivalry experienced among the countries split into their colonies and this led to many differences among those under their power. This can be seen in how the Spanish and the British fought over the control of Roanoke where it proved that women in power had might and could compete with their male counterparts for dominance over colonies. This, however, proved that religion and Nationalism was the most used weapon during this time of colonial establishment (Saari and Julie 89)

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The most successful colony up to the 1770s was the British because they had managed to establish themselves in most colonies. Moreover, they created their own independent assemblies and even though they were controlled to some level by the crown, their assemblies had powers to appoint and dismiss judges. They also had military powers, which is an important aspect for any power in control over a colony because depending on the mother country for military assistance proved to be ineffective among other colonial powers. The economic power of the British and their effort to dominate local and colonial trade put them at the forefront in their efforts to make their power felt by their rivals. They depended on their own commodities both in their country and in colonies making them independent and able to survive on their own. Thus, this made it possible for them to cut off most of the competitors from getting basic trade commodities and shipment to their colonies (Meltzer 67).

The religious battles used by the colonial powers to lure locals to follow them were successfully used by the British since they had many protestants under them. They managed to counter the spread of catholic religion in most colonies as their missionaries spread the word and managed to convince them that God only communicated to them through the Bible and not with the use of Popes as stipulated by the Spanish. Their constitution also served as a good feature in helping them established balanced political powers in their colonies.

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