School Improvement in Maryland
Clarifications: Each clarification provides an explanation of an indicator/objective to help teachers better understand the skills and/or concepts.

Standard 5.0 History

Topic B. Emergence, Expansion and Changes in Nations and Empires

Indicator 2. Analyze the growth and development of colonial America

Objective a. Describe the religious, political and economic motives of individuals who migrated to North America and the difficulties they encountered


Many settlers came to the New World in search of religious freedom. New England's colonies, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, were founded by Puritans who fled persecution from the Anglican Church and settled in North America to be able to practice their religion as they saw fit. The Pilgrims (Separatists who wanted to leave the Anglican Church altogether and found a new church) were the first to settle in Massachusetts, followed by the Puritans (those who wanted to reform the Anglican Church). Because the Puritans themselves persecuted those who did not follow their religious beliefs exactly, some people left Massachusetts to found the new colonies of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, where they could worship according to their own beliefs. The New England colonies weren't the only areas to be settled by people looking for religious toleration. Maryland was settled by Catholics who sought, in addition to fortune, the opportunity to practice Catholicism freely, and Pennsylvania was settled by Quakers seeking to form a society based on the Quaker ideals of equality and toleration.

The quest for economic opportunity also played a role in the founding of the new colonies. Although the Puritans' primary motive for migration was religious, they also wanted to escape hard times in England, and, as the New England colonies matured, more and more people came for economic reasons. Economic motives played a larger role in the Middle and Southern colonies from their beginnings. The first English colony, Virginia, was settled in 1607 by the Virginia Company in the hopes of making a fortune through gold and eventually tobacco. Maryland's colonists similarly hoped to profit from tobacco sales. England seized the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, renaming it New York, to take advantage of the colony's thriving trade. The Carolinas were settled by people hoping to make money through agriculture and trade. Georgia was founded as a place where English debtors could start a new life, and, while few debtors actually settled there, the colony did attract large numbers of poor Western Europeans hoping to prosper.

To a lesser degree, some colonists were prompted to migrate by political motives. Some colonies' promises of political freedoms such as representative assemblies also attracted people. Also, during the English Civil War, many people escaped the political turmoil by migrating to the colonies.

Regardless of their reasons for migration, all colonists faced similar hardships. For the earliest settlers, simple survival was a struggle as they worked to establish crops and build shelters. Relations with Native Americans were a constant source of difficulty, especially as the colonies grew and colonists pushed deeper into Native American lands without permission or payment. Colonies also faced internal dissension among colonists with different religious beliefs or economic and political interests. The climate also posed obstacles. Settlers in New England had to endure bitter winters, while those in the Southern colonies suffered from various deadly diseases and poor general health caused by heat, humidity, and marshy land.

Resources for Objective 5.B.2.a: