Examples supporting the claim that colonists came to America for its economic opportunity and religious freedom

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People Settling in America for Economic Opportunities and Religious Freedom

People move around and settle down because they are looking for better pastures. People arrived in America during the 1699s with two primary goals in mind. With the wish to find economic opportunities and religious freedom, they settled. The Puritans, the Dutch, and the Quakers were among those who colonized America. The majority of English immigrants who established in Massachusetts were Puritans. Protestants who disagreed with the Anglican Church were known as Puritans. Their primary goal was to transform and sanctify the church. The Puritans had sufficient freedom in Massachusetts to settle there and persuade the local populace to adopt their faith. They actually settled and became the largest religious group in Massachusetts, as a result of the religious freedom they received in this place. They thought that their religion was the true religion and that everyone should believe in it (Simmons 56).

Religious Intolerance and the Forced Exit of Roger Williams

Actually, those who tried to disagree with them like Roger Williams were forced to move out, or else, believe in their religion. Williams spoke and wrote against the forcing of people to believe in a certain religion they otherwise would not believe in. As a result of this, he was forced to leave the colony by the Massachusetts Bay Colony where he left to the South.

Southbound Journey of Williams and the Establishment of Rhode Island

Williams, a Puritan, moved to the South to seek religious freedom. He settled in the south of America after the Parliament in England gave him permission to establish a new colony, Rhode Island. Rhode Island accepted people of all religious groups that included Catholic, Quakers, Jews, among others (Tindall, Brown, and Shi).

Economic Motivations of the Dutch in Settling New York

Second, the Dutch, who settled in the area called New York State, were after economic gains. They claimed the American land between the Puritans in the north and the Anglican tobacco farmers in the south. Trading posts were established by the Dutch West India Company where people from all over Europe wanted to buy goods made from the skins of animals that were trapped in the islands of Manhattan and Long. People soon settled in America, while the Dutch remained there after being permitted by the English people to settle in Manhattan. The establishment of the Dutch West India Company attracted many people, an evidence showing people settled for economic gains (Tindall et al).

The Quakers' Pursuit of Religious Freedom in Pennsylvania

Another example is that Quakers settled in Pennsylvania after they were granted the freedom to do so. King Charles gave William Penn (a Quaker by naturalization) the land between Puritans in the North and the Anglicans in the South. The Quakers were against the act of forcing people to believe in a certain religious belief practiced by the English people. This resulted to Quakers wanting to leave England, as they were disliked by the English people for this. However, they were still not welcomed in most American colonies. It was after they gained their own colony (the land given to them by King Charles), that they settled in America. Their colony land was named Pennsylvania. Quakers sought religious freedom by going against the wishes of the English people. They believed that everyone has the freedom to believe in any religious belief they felt good for them, something that led them to obtain their colony in America and settle there (Finke, Roger, and Stark).


In conclusion, most people settled in America as a way to seek religious freedom, as well as to seek economic opportunities as seen from the examples of the Dutch people, Quakers, and the Puritans from England.

Works cited

Finke, Roger, and Rodney Stark. The churching of America, 1776-2005: Winners and losers in our religious economy. Rutgers University Press, 2005.

Simmons, Willian S. “Cultural Bias in the New England Puritans’ Perception of Indians.” The William and Mary Quarterly: A magazine of Early America History (1981): 56-72.

Tindall, George Brown, and David E. Shi. America: A narrative history. WW Norton & Company, 2016.

July 07, 2023
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