British Immigration

Push & Pull, Journey, Treatment, Contributions

Push and Pull Factors

The first British settlers who came from England and surrounding countries, migrated to North America to practice their religious faith and for economic development or economic opportunity. For example, practicing an individual's faith was clearly seen in 1620, when a group of about 100 British immigrants- later known as Pilgrims- left religious persecution in Europe to come to North America. However, a larger number of British immigrants came to America looking for economic opportunities.

Of these reasons, the strongest pull factor causing early British immigrants to migrate to North America was for seeking economic opportunity in overseas trade.During the 15th century, England was lacking economic potential. English producers and merchants lost access to merchandise during the Revolt of the Netherlands. This happened because many battles were fought in European grounds which contributed to why part of merchants trading goods and merchandise went lost or missing. While in North America there was a big source of tobacco plant, which was a high profitable item in overseas trade. There were also rich fishing grounds and many corn crops. This seemed as a great opportunity to British explorers, for the British empire could gain wealth by exploring new land, and trading new materials. They would have lots of land to work with, and would make a considerable amount of money from overseas trade. In the new land - America, there were new world grains such as corn that kept the colonists from starving, while tobacco plants contributed as a profitable cash crop. This ‘bright’ economic prospect caught the attention from other settlers in the motherland, which meant many immigrants came to America to also gain wealth. All of which resulting in economic opportunities as the strongest pull factor for the British to migrate to North America.

Journey and Treatment

The journey from British countries to America/the new land, was a lengthy trip that took about 43 days. The number of ships that traveled across the Atlantic tripled from 500 ships in the 1670’s to about 1,500 by the early 1700’s. This happened because more people could afford the trip to America due to the lowered traveling expenses between 1720-1770. Life on a boat was not a pleasant ride because passengers slept in narrow bunks under the deck with little fresh air. Immigrating overseas to America was also a life threatening experience because many factors came into play. For instance, having seasickness, a lack of food, and spreading of diseases. There was also a caution of going shipwreck due to poor ship construction. For example, in 1834 17 ships got lost at sea. Considering how many passengers aboard one ship, 17 shipwrecks in a year accounts in many deaths. An event like this might make immigrants uneasy, and the overall trip not a happy memorable experience.

When the new British settlers and explorers got to their destination, they dismissed the rights of the Native Americans. They did this by forcing native Americans out of their land in order to have land to build colonies. Some might think that this was done because the newcomers were afraid of being taken control of, so they decided to start developing their land at the soonest opportunity possible. This is also an example of how they ignored the Natives, and went along with their own plans. However, the Native Americans had plans of their own. In 1755, an English trader mentioned that one day the Colonials might need the help of Native Americans. He said “the prosperity of our Colonies on the Continent will stand or fall with our Interest and favor among them.” . According to National Humanities Center Resource Toolbox, a documentary was written about the Natives response to the Europeans’ actions. It turns out that the Natives were keeping their power of knowledge about how to stay alive and well in such surroundings of nature. It can be said that they did this so the new colonials would not be able to completely disregard the Native Americans from their own land.

British contributions to America

British immigrants have contributed to American culture in many ways. For example, the British people brought over their English language that many people have been using since the earliest of times. In fact, the English language is the third most spoken language in the world, with 312-380 million English language speaking people. British immigrants also influenced America through fashion. When the British came to America, they looked noticeably different from the Natives in the way that they dressed. This was because, British had a more formal attire. This can be seen today, as Kate Middleton has created her own clothing line where items are so popular, that they sell admittedly. According to the Huffington Post, Kate is planning to open 13 outlets in America. This shows, how even today highly respected individuals such as Kate Middleton herself, are continuing to influence American fashion.

The most influential contribution that the British has made to America took place in establishing government.British immigrants included Europeans who did not agree of being under the influence of a King. In the mid 1700’s, it was decided among colonists that a group of eligible leaders would write a document that declared their people's Independence. This document is titled as the Declaration of Independence, which has been known as the foundation for America’s government system as it declared the new country’s democracy. The Declaration of Independence set boundaries for our nation's government. Inevitably, the three branches of government and their duties were grounded by the declaration of independence, stating what could and could not done in the hands of representatives, leaving certain rights to citizens. The Declaration of Independence lead to other official written documents identify certain rights and responsibilities of citizens, not to mention the ‘setup’ of our country's government. These documents include the Bill of Rights, and The Constitution. Overall, the British has greatly impacted part of the American culture by giving birth to our country’s democracy and freedom. Still even today 300 some years after the Declaration of independence was written, American citizens and representatives follow and believe in what it has set up for our country.


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