Resistance to Early British Rule Essay by Research Group

Resistance to Early British Rule
Examines why indentured servants, Native Americans, and African slaves did not join together to overthrow the oligarchy that ruled over the thirteen British colonies in the seventeenth century.
# 26417 | 1,122 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on May 05, 2003 in History (U.S. American Society, 1640-1750)

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This paper discusses the many reasons why a large-scale revolt against the British never took place: The three groups did not often have a language in common; the government of the colonies (and the government of Britain) were well-organized and armed; there was nowhere for people in revolt against the system to flee if they could not seize control; there was relatively little contact among the groups in many areas; and, if successful, these groups would have had to defend themselves against outside forces while engaged in the very difficult struggle to feed, house, and cloth themselves in an alien environment. It further discusses that the principal reason why there was no major seventeenth-century revolt was the differences in the dominant group's policies toward indentured Europeans, African slaves, and Native Americans which, in turn, produced different ideal goals among the people in these categories.

From the Paper:

"The absence of significant cooperation among the oppressed groups in the British colonies was not the case in Spain's Caribbean possessions. As Carew notes, there were many instances throughout the sixteenth century of the "joining together of Blacks and Indians in a common struggle" in the Spanish colonies--such as the cimarron revolts in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola (105). Such revolts and even more frequent acts of cooperative resistance continued for over 200 years in these colonies. But behind this cooperation was a "sense of community that was continually forged and reproduced in their everyday lives by virtue of the places they shared in the system of exploitation" (Carew 106). The difference between the situation of Caribbean and North American Indians was, however, that the former peoples were generally absorbed more directly and far more successfully into the system of slave labor than were the Indians of the British colonies. And in the seventeenth century African slaves were imported to the Spanish colonies in much greater numbers than in Britain's territory. Therefore the two groups were in immediate, constant contact and the chances of cooperative action were far higher."

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