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058 What is one reason colonists came to America?

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A: Colonial Period and Independence

58. What is one reason colonists came to America?
Answer:
• Freedom • Economic opportunity
• Political liberty • Practice their religion
• Religious freedom • Escape persecution

Explanation:
When the New World (or North and South America before many Europeans were living there) was discovered (or learned about for the first time), going there was a big adventure (or an exciting experience in one’s life, especially involving travel). European countries were establishing (or creating) colonies, which are areas of land that are far away but that belong to that country. Some of the colonists (or people who live in colonies) went there because they wanted an adventure, but most of them were fleeing (or running away from) something or seeking (or looking for) new opportunities.

Many of the countries in Europe were oppressive (or very controlling). Some of the people living there could not do all the things they wanted to do. In the countries ruled (or governed) by a king and queen, the people did not have any choice about who their leaders would be. Some of the people who fled Europe were looking for freedom and political liberty so that they could do more of the things they wanted to do and be able to decide what kind of government they wanted to have.

Other colonists were seeking religious freedom, which is the ability to follow whatever religion they wanted to, or no religion at all. In Europe, many people were persecuted (or treated unfairly) because of their religious beliefs. They thought that by coming to the colonies they would be able to practice their religion (or follow the teachings of a religion) freely, without anyone telling them that they couldn’t do it.

Finally, there were colonists who went to the colonies seeking economic opportunity. In many European countries, there was a class system, which is a way of
organizing society so that poor people stay poor and rich people stay rich, and it is difficult or impossible for poor people to become rich. People were frustrated because they had few or no opportunities to make more money or to live a better and more comfortable life. In the colonies, however, people who were willing to work hard had far fewer limitations, which meant that they could make their lives better if they wanted to. So colonists fled Europe and went to the colonies to seek these economic opportunities to improve life for themselves and their families.

Glossary

New World – North and South America before very many Europeans lived there
* When did your great- great-grandparents come to the New World?

to discover – to learn about something for the first time; to learn about something that nobody else knows about
* How did Copernicus discover that Earth moves around the sun?

adventure – an exciting experience in one’s life, especially involving traveling
* They decided to go on an adventure, riding their bicycles from New York to California.

colony – an area of land that is far away from the country it belongs to
* India was once a British colony.

to flee – to run away from something or someone, usually to leave a dangerous or difficult situation; to leave a dangerous or difficult situation
* They ran through the forest, fleeing the angry bees.

to seek office – to search; to look for something; to want to find something
* Co is seeking a challenging job in the energy industry.

oppressive – very controlling and overpowering, limiting what other people can do; allowing very little freedom
* The oppressive government controls what the people can say, do, eat, and wear.

to persecute – to attack or be mean to a group of people, treating them unfairly, usually because they are different than other people or because of their beliefs
* In Salem, Massachusetts, many women were persecuted because people thought they were witches.

to practice (one's) religion – to follow the teachings of a religion; to be part of a religion and do what it tells people to do
* She practices her religion by not eating meat on Fridays.

class system – a way of organizing society so that poor people stay poor and rich people stay rich, and it is difficult or impossible for poor people to become rich
* In a class system, if your father is a mechanic, you must work in a similar job, no matter how much you might like to be a doctor or lawyer.