America in 1620-1700 or Colonial America was filled with life and diversity as the influences of its new settlers slowly merged with the native practices of locals, instilling a sense of independence amongst territories. With the variety of cultures that have now mixed in the country’s way of life, there were notable legacies that left a mark in the country and are presently influencing the country at present. This particular period was also considered as the age of development and understanding as the country slowly started recognizing its own heritage and capacity in securing its own independence and identity from the monarchy. But, which elements from this period have managed to make a mark in present-day America? This paper will cite some of the elements from the 1620-1700 that is still evident today.
One of the most interesting elements from the 1620-1700 still present today is the concept of society, freedom and politics. This is visibly seen in the history of the thirteen colonies. They introduced new concepts such as equality, freedom and a sense of order. The colonists and the natives formulated their own version of the national government because they have seen the lapses and inconsistencies of the English monarchy over its territories. Colonists also introduced traditions they have learned from their home countries such as seeking political and religious freedom. These radical ideas allowed the colonists and natives to be aware of their own separate image that the English monarchy does not want them to be. An example to America’s newly found knowledge in politics and order is the Charter released by the Dutch West India Company in 1629. The company has defined in the charter the boundaries and the regulations in the continent regarding trade and how they would do business with other companies and nations. The charter also laid down the consequences should any party decide to forgo the guidelines they have set on the business or trade deal..
The importance of religion is also another element from 1620-1700 that remains today. Most English settlers migrated to America in full hopes that they can have freedom in choosing the religion they wish to partake in without being oppressed by the country or their home countries. As they found their freedom to select their own religion in America, they established a new church that may enable anyone to select which religion is perfect for them to worship and believe in. Religion has also contributed in the creation of groups in the thirteen colonies and influenced their creeds and charters. But, there were groups who believed that their religion is better than the rest and tried numerous ways to punish these non-believers. The Puritans as an example believed that everyone should follow their ways and religion, thus forcing others to follow them and punish those who do not. Many were forced out of their own colonies and had no choice but to create their own religions which they can follow freely. As a result, other religious groups emerged in the other colonies namely the Quakers, Anglicans, Baptists, Protestants and the Lutherans. Religion also played an important part in the day-to-day activities and in the colony as religion enabled diversity to flourish in each territory and allowed their population to grow. The population rapidly grew also because America became known slowly as a safe haven for religious victims and refugees. American Politics was also influenced by religion as seen on the Cambridge Platform of 1640, noted to have Puritan doctrines and beliefs embedded in the document. Another example aside the Cambridge Platform is the Act Concerning Religion of 1649 which strengthened America’s position as a country where free religion is open for all. Documents such as the Massachusetts Proposals and the Bill of Rights were also influenced by religion and they both determined specific important laws that enable religion to be an important part of society. It was also in this particular period where the debate between the separation of church and state began. Many groups have argued that religion must be separated from the state due to the difference in idealism, but others see that it would not matter if both groups are not separated from one another. Despite the heated debate regarding this separation, this did not hinder America’s religious growth and diversity.
America also started adopting the concept of paternity or patriarchal dominance, an element also seen in other countries. Each of the thirteen colonies exercised paternity and left women with lesser rights in their respective colony. This might have been the start of women oppression in the region as women lost their rights to own properties and to their own identity once they get married. They must also act accordingly on behalf of her husband’s name as one action would make all the difference in their husband’s reputation. Women were also not allowed to request for public and government assistance even if they were abused. The only known role of colonial women is to nurture and take care of their family. Women are also expected to accept traditional works such as sewing, cooking and farming within the colony. There were only rare instances that women were treated. At present, women are slowly being treated equally by men and they can now take an active role in society. But, there are still racist and sexists groups who believe that women should not be given positions as they should be nurturing their families. Many feminists and other experts refuted this claim as it is completely unjust since women today are known to multitask. With this special skill, this enables women to juggle their responsibilities both at work and at home.
Colonial America also started concentrating on the improvement of the country’s educational and medical field. Education in Colonial America as each of the thirteen colonies saw the importance that their children must properly be educated. As an answer to this realization, they have slowly conceptualized schools that will help their children learn basic skills and subjects. Schools became mandatory in some states such as Massachusetts where schools must be established in towns where the population is fifty families. Grammar schools were also established in towns with larger communities. This particular requirement for school establishment became the foundation for America’s public school system. Universities and colleges were also built in other regions such as the one in 1636 in Boston. After two years, a young minister named John Harvard donated $4000 to the newly built college and the administration renamed the college after him. Today, the school is revered as one of the best universities in the world. Other colleges were also established in the same period, such as William and Mary in 1693, Yale in 1701, Princeton in 1743, University of Pennsylvania in 1749, Columbia in 1754 and Brown University in 1764. Private schooling was also established in this period as many families were not happy with public schools. Tutors were employed by families to have their children learn even at home.
Medicines back in the colonial period were less than satisfactory as colonies were not concerned in improving their techniques that may be crucial in preventing casualties from escalating in each colony. However, colonies back then held their village doctors with high regards, despite the doctor’s expertise to be far from satisfactory. They are always seen in important events, but their skills are only mediocre at best as they only have short internships under their resume and just use this short experience as proof of their capacity as a doctor. The establishment of Medical schools was not taken into consideration on this period before the Revolution, thus resulting to the lack of credentials for doctors to expound their knowledge on other medical procedures. Some medical procedures such as bloodletting were usually left for barbers or amateur practitioners to administer. This is quite risky for patients as these people do not have enough knowledge in executing these procedures and may cause patients to contract very deadly diseases as a result. Despite these medical lapses, there have been many types of native medicines that have gained popularity amongst the colonies such as Indian medicine and herbal medicine. These varieties not only were common for colonists, but this supported the concept that they accepted other forms of development, even if it is medicine.
Without these contributions and legacies from the development and colonial period, the United States of America will not take into shape as it is today. It will be a neutral country following the idealism of its English colonists which cannot be compared to its current position and stand. Without these legacies, the US would just be America and nothing more.
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