Thirteen Colonies - Push and Pull Factors

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Topic: Pull and Pull Factors Identify and discuss the “push and pull” factors which accounted for the colonization and settlement of the 13 North American colonies. Introduction Myths about American history began with the colonial period. The so-called “push-pull effect,” which would evaluate the colonial process both by what attracted immigrants to America and by the conditions in Europe that “pushed” them to leave their homeland. The settlement of America was neither easy nor simple—the forces that brought colonists from Europe were complex, as were the many changes that being in a new, alien environment engendered in the colonists. They came for a variety of reasons, but all wanted a better life. Carving a better life out of the vast wilderness the early colonists found in North America challenged even the hardiest of those early pioneers. In England and in much of Europe, the poor were chronically unemployed, and opportunities to rise out of poverty were scarce; by comparison, almost any alternative might have seemed promising, Europe in 1600 had lots of push. On the other hand, conditions in early America were difficult, to say the least, but the “pull factor” was helped by what can only be characterized as propaganda. Proprietors of the companies that sponsored American colonies quickly realized that settlers were needed if their investments were to show a return, and their efforts to recruit settlers made the New World appear far more attractive than conditions warranted. Essay According to Smith (1986) in the broadest sense the American colonial experience was not unique in history. Following the discovery of the New World by Columbus, the European nations primarily Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, France, and England all set out to build colonial empires based on certain assumptions:
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