This paper attempts to answer three questions regarding the history of America. These questions include motivations of New Englanders and Chesapeakes; causes of America Revolution; and the differences between Republicans and Federalists.
Colonists of New England and Chesapeake
The primary reason for emigration to America in the late fifteenth to early sixteenth centuries was frantic search for a new life beyond the oceans. However, the secondary reasons for this emigration differ from one party to another. The group that settled in New England, for example, had different motivations altogether from those of Chesapeake, Caribbean, and Restoration colonies.
The Puritan Separatists from England who had ideological commitments to the colonized land principally colonized New England, thus, perpetuating their religious practices there. To that extent, it can be inferred that their motive was religious freedom. The colonists’ dissatisfaction with the structure of the Church of England prompted them to call for the purification of the Church to be more congregationalis, hence the name Puritan Separatists.
They sailed to the America’s to freely practice their Puritan faith, settling in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620s before spreading to Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, et cetera. Given that their motivation was not economic, they copied much of the England’s economy with little variation. Accordingly, they relied on artisan-industries like shipbuilding, carpentry, and printing instead of growing staple crops in large scales.
The early colonists of Chesapeake, on the other hand, were driven by economic motives to settle in the region, which included Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. These colonists were looking for silver, gold, a cure for syphilis, a northwestern passage to Asia, among other valuables to sell in Europe and make profit.
Consequently, they ended up venturing into corn and tobacco growing in expanse plantations. Therefore, the region boomed with tobacco industry where plantation owners relied on cheap slave labor and/or indentured servants. In fact, slave trade became a leading business in this region due to high labor demands in the plantations. The thirst for economic prosperity was also replicated in the colonists who settled in the Caribbean and the Restoration colonies.
The different motivations of settlers in these two regions shaped their population composition, religion, economy, and politics. Whereas New England had white population, Chesapeake had black and white population with its economy based on tobacco industry. The former was content with its artisan-industry based economy and prioritized religion not profits as their counterparts.
Debates on the causes of American Revolution
The debate regarding the causes of the American Revolution takes two broad schools of interpretations from historians. While one school sees it as an ideological difference, the other considers it a result of economic phenomenon. In the writer’s perspective, arguments for economic causes hold much water compared to ideological standing.
According to Carl Becker, the revolution was a product of a two-pronged question of home rule and the person to rule at home. His thesis formed the basis of economic arguments for the revolution that revolved around social and economic tensions. The prevalence of mob activities in colonial cities, economic pressures on colonial merchants, the growing aura of economic distress; combined with transformation of the American culture and society to catalyze the revolution.
Other historians have argued that the changing aspects of the American culture brought increased interest in the experience of Native Americans, workers, women, and slaves who were marginalized; further stoking the embers of revolution. The writer thus, dismisses arguments of ideology because economic interests always takes precedence over ideological interests and that since the latter was at stake, it fuelled the revolution.
Differences between Federalists and Republicans
The point of dispute between the Federalists and Republicans was on side to support between the warring French forces and British forces. While Federalists wanted to support Britain, Republicans rooted for France using the Franco-American Alliance of 1778 as their basis. Federalists were avoiding war at all cost as a way of continuing the country’s economic growth. Britain was considered a trading partner that could not be lost. Republicans appreciated the help of France in gaining the American Revolution and wanted to reciprocate.
Republicans supported foreign policy issues and wanted the United States to firmly assert itself in the international arena. Federalists, on the other hand, strongly favored internal issues and especially a strong economy. Therefore, they supported commerce based on manufactured goods in contrast to the agrarian-based trade favored by the Republicans.
Moreover, Federalists enlisted, as party members, those who were rich and learned as opposed to Republicans who cared little about the economic and educational backgrounds of its members. Lastly, Republicans differed with the Federalists’ loose interpretation of the law, since they advocated strict interpretation. A case in point was the issues surrounding Alexander Hamilton’s proposal on the national bank.
The different motivations of the early colonists who settled in America were reflected in the regions they occupied. The Puritan Separatists who sought religious freedom settled in what they called New England; while the group that settled in Chesapeake had economic motivation, embarking on large-scale tobacco growing.
Historians’ debate around ideological and economic causes of the American Revolution leaves the latter factors stronger in the explanation. The argument is that, ideology presupposes economic interests. Finally, the difference between Federalists and Republicans started because of loose interpretation of the Constitution, shaping the two parties in different ideological structures.
Brinkley, Alan. American History: A Survey, Volume 1. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2008.
Brinkley, Alan. “The Unfinished Nation: A Brief Interactive History of the American People.” The Unfinished Nation, February 14, 2011,
http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072879130/student_view0/chapter5/where_historians_disagree.html (Accessed February 15, 2011)
The Chesapeake and New England Colonies. “A Comparison.” 123HelpMe.com. February 14, 2011,
http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id+23307 (Accessed February 15, 2011)
The Chesapeake and New England Colonies: A Comparison.123HelpMe.com. Retrieved on February 14, 2011, from: http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id+23307
Ibid. para. 4.
Brinkley, A. The Unfinished Nation: A Brief Interactive History of the American People. Retrieved on February 14, 2011, from: http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072879130/student_view0/chapter5/where_historians_disagree.html
Brinkley, A. American History: A Survey, Volume 1. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2008.
Brinkley, op. cit. para 7.