What Reasons Did the European Settlers Give for Immigrating to the New World?


Immigrants traveled to the New World for a number of reasons. Many people wanted to go simply for the adventure and excitement, but the majority of people who went to the New World sought religious freedom and a more prosperous life.

King James I and King Charles I of England both felt that their power was above Parliament’s power and equal only to God’s power. The result was that religious conflict and religious persecution followed. In England there was a horrific seven-year civil war in which people were hunted and persecuted. Moving to North America would give these oppressed people an opportunity to practice the religion that they wanted in the New World. The European settlers would be very far from the laws and rules concerning religion in England and the rest of Europe. In some cases the extreme religious zealots where actually shipped off to the New World from England as punishment. Religious reasons were why many European settlers immigrated to the New World.

The wars and disagreements that raged between the royalty and parliament, outside countries, and the people against royalty had made many European countries quite poor. Inflation was high and there was little to no chance to ever better themselves. Great Britain and other countries all ready had a strict social system that became even more divided with the extreme poverty in the countries. An immigrant could sign a deal and then travel to the Americas. For his ship passage cost, he had to work for seven years, and then he was given freedom. To many people the opportunity to leave with the knowledge that they would soon be able to make a living and be free was simply too tempting to not try. Moving to the New World meant a new and more prosperous life for many European settlers.

Many people from Europe simply traveled to the New World for the adventure and excitement of going to a new place and starting a new life. The vast land in the new World presented great opportunities to many people who had virtually nothing in Europe. Additionally, the ability to worship in any way they wanted pushed some European settlers to immigrate to the New World. They thought they could escape religious persecution. Of course, this move led to move desires of freedom and eventually the Revolutionary War.