General History/American History/Argument
I have a homework question about the colonization in my history class. But I don't know how to start and what topics to include to get better grades. If you can give me some ideas it will be great.
The argument is:
While historians long argued that the abundance of free land and the egalitarian nature of the frontier encouraged the development of democratic institutions, evidence to the contrary exists. Discuss and evaluate this statement.
Also, I am asked to include the colonial need for land and labor and how that need was met in the discussion.
Traditionally in Europe, land was limited and Aristocrats controlled it. They tended to suppress the common people (called peasants) because giving them political power would result in them wanting more economic power and more control of the land. In those days, land meant wealth since the economy was based almost exclusively on farming.
In America, there was much more land available. Colonial leaders were competing against other countries for control of the new lands and needed a large loyal population to establish their authority over the land. Therefore, they developed policies which encouraged colonization by offering cheap land and basic freedoms to immigrants.
Even after the Revolution, the US had an expanding frontier which required settlement in order to ensure US dominance of the Continent. The wealth of the country was dependent on expansion. Other countries including France, Spain, and England were still seeking control of parts of North America (not to mention the Native Americans who claimed it). The US wanted to encourage more Americans to settle this area to strengthen US claims. Therefore, the US continued to offer free or cheap land to settlers willing to risk moving to these dangerous and undeveloped areas.
As in colonial times, the US had a continuing need for more immigrants to help with western expansion as well as for the industrial revolution. By offering more rights and opportunities, the US continued to encourage people to move to the US and become Americans.
I hope this helps!