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Colonizing America

Irina Simanschi
Third year, English - Spanish

In order to have a closer view and to be able to have the right opinion on the actual
process of building the state that today is The United States of America generically and
mistakenly called America - we must certainly focus on the nations which colonized the territory.
As a matter of fact, not only did the nations have an impact on the newly discovered land,
but also did their way of living and their own culture, which had been maintained during the
unifying stage.
According to the voyages which Christophor Columbus and other explorers made, we
can definitely assume that on the worlds map there were a lot of territories which were not
discovered. The important matter to discuss is the one involving the inhabitants of those
territories whose customs were unknown to the Europeans.
Considered the beginner of the European Expansion, we can place Columbus near
Amerigo Vespucci, as a candidate for the title of the pioneer of Americas. He was convinced
that he had reached the Indies, disregarding the fact that a great opportunity laid ahead. He was
the European who changed the whole idea of international trading and commerce although his
thoughts were not the same with the ones of his supporters.
The native Americans, also called Amerindians, considered inferiors and labeled by
England rulers, were found in the situation of defending themselves against the incapacity of the
so called educated world from across the ocean. This incapacity turned out to be a massive will
for killing the right owners of that land, action based only on their lack of responsibility and
information about the latter.

The inhabitants of the new continent were seen as savages in the eyes of the elevated and
educated explorers. They were presented as beings who did not share the same traits with the
ones they were used to and treated in accordance, when having been depicted to the English
society. This attitude is best seen in Cotton Mathers Magnalia Chriti Americana, from 1702.
The dichotomy savage civilized is expressed through subtle visual images, rendered through
recurrent comparisons of the Amerindians with animals. The text is a well-structured colonial
discourse, which represents an important aspect of the process of self-differentiation led by the
Later, however, the civilized world found a way in which it could take advantage of their
new lands, which it assumed to own. This happened by the end of the 16 th century, when the first
steps in colonizing were made by sir Walter Raleigh. At the time, England knew a time of
flourishment under the reign of Elizabeth I, also known as the Virgin queen. In the name of the
Queen, the first colony was entitled Virginia.
In 1607, Jamestown was founded, the first city to be consolidated on the new territory. It
was led by John Smith, a soldier, whose skills were not developed enough to ensure a beneficial
economic functioning of the city. That is why Jamestown did not function at the beginning.
However, John Rolfe discovered the tobacco in 1612, accomplishment which provided a solution
to the problem.
From a religious point of view, matters were intricate at the time. The Queen was not a
defender of Christianity, but neither a convinced enemy of Protestantism. Some protestant
followers were against the Queen`s policy regarding religion. As a result, they decided to leave
the country and head to a place where they were not affected by any religious restraint.
In fact, the ones who could not tolerate anymore the Queens religious policies were
adepts of Puritanism, whose ideas were based on Jean Calvins doctrine. In 1608, the Brownists
decided to leave England and went to the Low Countries (Lyden), where religion could be
practiced freely, but they were still persecuted by the Catholics and had no opportunity for
economic progress. In 1620, they sailed on Mayflower (which transported 20 pilgrims and
everything but soldiers), from Lyden to the New World. Having reached a new territory that

could provide them with the spiritual connection and border safety they were seeking, they
settled down and managed to build up communities.
Right from the beginning, the colonial societies were divided in social classes, by the
administration, which was formed of House of Delegates, House of Burgesses and Assembly of
Freemen. This governing pattern was strictly followed in all thirteen colonies, as well as the
religion, which was definitely not related to the one in their homeland, matter which became
their purpose.
Although they were considered to be deserters, they managed to conserve and arise the
democratic spirit. The leaders were providing them with civil protection, disregarding their
choice of religion. The governors applied the same law which ruled across the ocean, so as to
keep a similar order and provide the population with the developing of new structures.
Eventually, the result of an insatiable wish of expansion led to the appearance of a new
state of mind and way of thinking, as the people who decided to start a new life on the American
continent were soon burning with the desire of having their own nation. After many inner
conflicts had been fought, the wish of a change proved to be so great, that it was materialized in
The Boston Tea Party. Quite soon, what followed was the Independence War, which victoriously
ended in 1776, when The First American Constitution was signed.
1.Burdescu, Felicia, Hermenutics of American Literature, Ed. Universitaria, Craiova,
2.Mather, Cotton, Magnalia Chriti Americana, Bible and Three Crowns, Cheapside,
Londra, 1702
3.Byrd, William, History of the Dividing Line, 1841