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Looking out for Number one: Conflicting Cultural Values in Early Seventeenth-Century Virginia

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History 135

Bob Greet

The article, Looking Out for Number One: Conflicting Cultural Values in Early Seventeenth-Century Virginia, is written by T.H. Breen. T.H. Breen is trying to show the show the motivation of the early settlers. Also he tries to explain how the early settlers, in 1640, impacted the development of the society of Virginia. They had believed in different values than the Englishmen who had found the other colonies in the New World.

Thousands of women and men fifth who were European moved to Barbados, to Virginia and New England. The new migrants had set up your own colonies. Virginia lived off of its' rich soil which helped produce tobacco. Some values carried over to America.

Men and women from England were traveling to the new world, for Chesapeake Bay. These men and still had the majority of the same values as those in New England. In Virginia religious and political values remained that same as in New England.

Breen's article "Looking Out for Number One: Conflicting Values in Early Seventeenth-Century Virginia" discusses the individualistic society which developed in earlyVirginia which distinguished it from other colonies. People came to Virginia looking to get rich quick. All records agree that most of the men that came to Virginia were "street toughs, roughnecks fresh from the wars in Ireland, old soldiers looking for new glory, naïve adventurers, mean-spirited sea captains, marginal persons attempting to recoup their losses." Because so many of the men were untrustworthy and not afraid to employ violence to get what they wanted, people in Virginia became competitive and suspicious of each other. With tobacco, the colonists acquired private plots of land miles apart from each other. This self-imposed isolation limited the contact between the farmers in Virginia that you would have had in New England at a town meeting, for example. Because of this isolation and individualism the culture in Virginia developed distinctly different than in other colonies. The society had "a value system suited for soldiers and adventurers" where there was a love of freedom, a necessity for individualism, and a patriarchal society.

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