England and the Colonies Essay

Published: 2020-01-29 11:51:27
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The origins of the United States of America can be traced to the colonization of England in the 17th and 18th centuries. Thirteen of the states that are now part of the nation were initially English colonies. However, the relations between England and the colonies were severed when British policies proved to be too oppressive for the colonists. Eventually, the conflict led to the American Revolution, in which the colonies gained their independence from British rule. From the beginning, England and its colonies have differed in terms of social and political climate.

These differences contributed in heightening the tension between the two. The colonies were established between the years 1607 and 1733 (Perry, 1989). The first colony was set up in Virginia in 1607. During that time, monarchy still existed in England, but the power of the Parliament in constricting royal authority had increased. This is the reason why the political climate in England was filled with tension. There was always a clash between the monarch and Parliament. When the first colony was founded, James I was the ruling monarch.

He had constant disagreement with the Parliament, a disagreement which would eventually worsen with his successor and son Charles I. The tension between the monarch and the Parliament had become worse, prompting a civil war to occur in August 1642. The outcome of the war led to the execution of Charles I and the establishment of a republic. Royal rule was only restored in 1660, with Charles II as monarch (Perry, 1989). The social climate in England was also filled with tension. This was the result of the religious conflict which began during the reign of James I (Perry, 1989).

When his predecessor Elizabeth I was the monarch, the Church of England dominated but many people embraced Protestantism. A group of Protestants known as Puritans wanted to remove what they thought was Roman Catholic influence on the Church of England. James I refused to acknowledge the Puritans clamor for religious change. During the rule of Charles I, the situation with the Puritans became more intense. William Laud was the archbishop of Canterbury and he promoted unjust treatment of Puritans. Because of his encouragement, many Puritans were fined and put in jail (Perry, 1989).

The political climate in the colonies was significantly different from that of England. The colonists did not have a single, central government. They were not ruled by monarchy or Parliament. Those colonies located in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire had their own government and set of laws (Perry, 1989). In the Pennsylvania colony, William Penn even supported political freedom (Perry, 1989). This situation left no room for political conflict, as the colonies were left on their own to govern themselves.

Hence, the political climate in the colonies was more calm and stable than that in England. It was not until the conflict with England that the colonies were forced to unite and fight the British in war. On the contrary, the social climate is somewhat similar to that in England. Most of the colonists were persecuted in England for their religious beliefs (Perry, 1989). The reason why some of them decided to move to America was because they sought to establish a community where they could freely practice their religion.

Unfortunately, some colonists repressed religious preference the same way British leaders did. In the Massachusetts Bay colony, they refused to welcome people who did not embrace the Puritan religion. However, other colonies were more tolerant than others. For instance, the colony established by Roger Williams in Rhode Island permitted people to practice whatever religion they wanted. The same religious tolerance was extended by Penn (Perry, 1989). England and the colonies differed in terms of political and social climate.

In England, there was tension due to political conflict and religious intolerance. In the colonies, individual governments avoided political unrest. Just like in England, religious freedom is also repressed in the colonies; nonetheless, this repression is not absolute. Some colonies tolerated differences in religion. These are the differences between England and the colonies.


Perry, M. (1989). A History of the World. Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin.

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