Motivations for immigration to American colonies in 1700s. Reasons for large population increase in 1700s.

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The first successful colony in America was in Jamestown, Virginia, established 1607. When it was first founded, the colony contained only several hundred people. During the two hundred years that followed the population increased greatly, due in part to massive immigration from the Old World. By 1790 the colony housed a little under four million people. The high rate of immigration stemmed from a number of different motivators, including the peoples' hope for a better lifestyle than the one they experienced in the Old World, religious zeal, cheaper land and higher wages for manual laborers, and overpopulation in England.

Farmers and manual laborers were attracted to America by the prospect of higher wages and lower costs of living. "Most of these people were of the 'industrious' sort--craftsmen, yeomen farmers, and small merchants..." (Document A). Since the New World sought these types of laborers to further the economy and lacked a sufficient number of them, the demand increased, and with it the wages.

The cost of living was also lower because the New World was virtually unpopulated and there was a low demand for residence as compared with England; subsequently, the costs were lower. According to William Penn, "their labor will be worth more than it is in England and their living will be cheaper." (Document 1).

Religious types, especially the Puritans, were drawn to America by the possibility of converting natives and spreading the message and lifestyle that they upheld to others through example. They hoped for "new souls" to be "won for God." (David Cressy article). By establishing what they considered to be an ideal and pious community, these colonizers wanted to build a new home for Christianity, extended from its confines of the Old World. One man who brought people like this to America through...