The Jamestown Fiasco

Edmund Sears Morgan was an American Historian who majored on specific aspects of the discipline, mainly American Colonial History about English History. The Jamestown article is one of his first works, but he also focused on other topics namely political ideas, slavery, family life, historiography, the American Revolution, Puritanism, slavery and critical figures and personalities during this period. He uses an incisive writing style when he is illustrating his points, and he does so to capture the reader’s attention. Every one of his paragraphs has a new story and manner in which the article is meant to continue. This makes the piece all the more remarkable because it tells of the plight that befell Jamestown and why it began as a failure for the British. This article is not aimed at anyone specific but for those who seek information and knowledge of the events that took place during this period. This piece gives a very detailed report of the activities of Jamestown, and from this, it provides the reader with a much more informed view of how this period. According to the article by Edmund, the early settlers had gone to Jamestown with misplaced expectations, and this became a threat to their existence in the New World.The settlers at the time were too reliant on their government for supplies, and by the time the supplies arrived in Virginia, the whole crop of immigrants had mysteriously vanished. Many suggested that these settlers were lazy, and they depended on the Indians for food, meaning that their survival was in the hands of the Indians. John Smith was crucial for the British at this time because he advised the government to focus on the production and exportation of Tobacco from Virginia. The weed was said to be as valuable to the British as was Gold and Silver to the Spanish at the time. John Smith advised that all the labor that was available to be directed to the tobacco industry.

The Joint-Stock company planned on embarking on a venture of sophisticated colonial exploitation to reap from America its most valuable resources to compete with Spain. A change of tact by the authorities had to be employed to save the colony from ruin, and this was in the guise of an agricultural based economy that was focused on the export and cultivation of tobacco. The reliance on complex economic ventures such as tobacco trade became more lucrative than the slave trade. The first settlers had a strained relationship with the Indians because the Indians were fearful that their lands and possessions would be taken over, such as the Spanish had done to their fellow Indians. 

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The term character of the immigrants by John Smith was about how the settlers had conducted themselves in the first years, and this had to change for them to be able to adapt to the new environment. John Rolfe became a savior of the colony because he was responsible for the first cultivation of tobacco as a cash crop in Virginia as a colony. John Smith did not like the Indian natives at Jamestown and he and warned the administration that the Indians had the upper hand if there were to be a conflict. The Englishmen were very hopeful that they would find abundant resources in North America; this was brought about by the exploits of the Spanish in the New World.

Works CitedEdmund S. Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1975.

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