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By 1763 the British North American Colonists Were Known as the Freest People in the World

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According to Samuel Elliot Morrison, "By 1763 the British North American colonists were known as the freest people in the world". This was mainly due to the fact that England lacked the experience of trying to govern the colonist from afar and especially during the transition of greater distractions in the British Empire. Morrison's statement can be justified by the colonists' religious, political, and economic movements.

In the 1600's many people began moving to the American colonies to experience religious freedom. Personal voices were beginning to knit together kindred and blending of religious beliefs. One such group, the Puritans, settling in Massachusetts, enjoyed religious freedom for themselves but persecuted others who refused to follow their religious beliefs. The Salem Witchcraft Trials in 1692 is a common example of one of many religious movements taking place in the British Colonies. Nineteen women lost their lives after being convicted of practicing witchcraft. Another religious group included the Quakers, with their own desire for religious freedom.

The Mayflower Compact signed on November 11, 1620, by forty one of the one hundred and one passengers aboard ship was a self-governing document known to have created the first form of a civil government in the new world. This government pledged loyalty to the king but also stated that the purpose of the compact would be to build "just and equal laws" for the general good of the colony. The Mayflower Compact was also a document agreeing to accept the decisions of the majority rule. Citizens decided to have a form of self-government with survival being there first concern. This placed a wedge between the monarchy and the people.

Economically the colonists especially in Jamestown and in the Carolinas stabilized their government and began expanding along the inland. The colonies started early expansion largely because of a highly profitable cash crop known as tobacco. By the time of the late 1620's the colonies had exported over 1.5 million pounds of tobacco to England yearly. The income from the tobacco attracted more colonists whom upon their arrival brought with them healthy new workers and vital supplies. Another high profit crop was hemp. Hemp was valued because of the hempen fibers it produced. Not only did these crops benefit them economically but also brought about socialization with the Native Americans; who taught the colonist how to cultivate the hemp. Later controversy over hemp would lead the colonists into the American Revolutionary.

Between the years of 1607 and 1763 British North American colonist certainly could have been known as the freest people in the world. The Salem Witchcraft Trials in 1692 was a common example of religious movement groups. The Mayflower Compact, the first documented efforts of self-government, is an example of their political movements, and tobacco, a profitable cash crop exported

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