AP American History
Who discovered America? While the first European to reach America was most likely a Norseman named Lief Ericson. We credit this too Cristoforo Columbus sailing under the flag of Spain. However, no matter who discovered it, it is a fact that people moved to this new land for many reasons. These reasons brought people to the New World in a positive light or repelled them away from their homelands due to negative circumstances.
The first settlers of the new land came for economic reasons. These people were pulled in by the fact that they would be offered a charter of land across the ocean. With this land they would try to prosper by harnessing the natural resources of the land and the environment which surrounded them. Among the early crops were tobacco and cotton. This type of mentality is exhibited by the English Jamestown settlers in Virginia.
A "push" factor which some Europeans encountered, making them want to move to the New Land was religious persecution. A prime example of this is the puritans. In 1606 the members of the puritan faith separated from the Anglican church. They were then forced into exile and in September 1620 100 puritans set out from Plymouth, England and headed for America. From this group arose the "godly and zealous" Roger Williams. Williams was an extreme separatist even by Plymouth's standards. He joined the church of Salem and was elected minister in 1635. Williams believed that magistrates should have no voice in religion as "forced religion sinks in God's nostrils." He also believed that anyone who owned land should buy it from the Indians. Williams was eventually kicked out of the colony, heading south he worked out arrangements with local Indians and founded Providence. In 1644 he obtained a charter in England and established the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Here he created a relatively democratic government and all religions were tolerated. Williams is a perfect case of a rebel in the history of the early colonies.
However, we don't see these rebellious tendencies clearly until such events as Bacon's Rebellion occur. In 1676 more land was needed by planters on the western edge of Jamestown. These planters asked Sir William Berkeley to authorize an expedition against Indians who owned the land. When Berkeley refuse they took matters into their own hands. Nathaniel Bacon raised and army of 500 men described as "rabble of the basest sort" by Berkeley, who then declared Bacon a traitor. Bacon then marched on Jamestown and tried to make Berkeley legitimize his authority. In September he burned Jamestown to the ground.
These "heroes" of colonial time lay the basis for the fruition of these attitudes. The American Revolution of the 1770s.