New Ideas, People, Food, and Diseases by Columbian Exchange

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The Columbian Exchange moved new ideas, people, food, and diseases across the Atlantic. This transfer could be described as a boon for Europeans and a bane to Native Americans. For the Native Americans their entire fate changed the moment Europeans settlers stepped foot on their territory. If one word could describe the entire experience it would be death. War and political differences were not the most dangerous thing European explorers had to offer. The transmission of diseases that arrived from the Old World was introduced to New world. Diseases in which the natives had never been exposed to were brought, examples include smallpox, measles, chickenpox, syphilis and many more detrimental, and harmful diseases. These viruses swept through the region killing around 50 to 90 percent of the Indian population. Despite all the brutality and murders that had occured, European explorers were eager to enlighten the natives with new amenities such as livestock and new technologies. The Europeans also introduced their way of trade which would change the Natives ecology and economy forever. New livestock, such as pigs, cows, horses, and oxen were brought to the New World. Native Americans were introduced to new weapons that overpowered obsolete bow and arrows, and spears. The horses that Europeans brought were especially appreciated by the Natives. This was more efficient than the llamas they used in the past. The horses could carry more weight and were faster. Although the Indians were introduced to new ideas and lifestyles the final outcome was that European explorers had thrived at the expense of destroying Indian society and cultures.

The New World introduced one of the most influential and profiting plants to European society, this was known as tobacco. As tobacco increased in popularity in European countries, an incessant need for this product encouraged colonization in the New World. Livestock such as pigs, cows, and horses were imported to the New World and remade the food supply. The abundance of meat from these animals and plentiful land for agriculture changed the lives of millions. Plants from the New World like tomatoes, corn, beans and potatoes were all new and exciting to the explorers. The immense expansion of the food supply leads to a huge population increase, there was always a surplus of food. Corn was exported to the Old world and was able to sustain populations another very influential vegetable was the potato. This was added to every European’s diet. The potato has a high caloric value, this unique trait allowed farmers to feed their families hasslefree. The North American potato also allowed farmers to get more produce out of a smaller area of land. Farmers were able to cultivate more land with less time, this was especially helpful to poorer farmers.These New World European explorers helped transform Europe from tribal feudalism to a primitive form of capitalism. A lot of the columbian exchange was only beneficial to European explorers who were discovering all the new commodities the New World had to offer. These new goods and items gave yet even more reasons for exploration and colonization during this time.

During the 15th and 16th century there was a rising number of new religious movement groups appearing throughout the American colonies. There were mass amounts of hostility towards religious groups that did not fully support the Church of England. This caused lots of conflict for these newly formed groups, they all wanted their own home to settle upon and be free to practice their religions. Amongst all the different groups there were the Puritans. They were a group of protestant christians who wanted to “purify” some of the practices. Puritans desired to reform towards the Church of England, they believed the Church had become corrupt and they criticized them. They were unhappy with the king and wanted to worship in their own way, they sought out for religious freedom. They also wanted to set an example for other groups to follow. The other group were Separatists who were also Puritans except these people wanted to completely leave the church in order to pursue their own denominations, they wanted to completely break away from the corruption and start their own religion. Protestants believed that separatists were threats in England and were persecuted. So separatists left to Holland and were accepted by the Dutch people, but they did not want to absorbed into that culture. To address these problems they came up with The Mayflower Compact. They wanted their own place where they could practice their own religion outside of bad influences. Both these groups fled to America and found themselves in Massachusetts. The next group were the Quakers they were pacifists, who had rights for womens. They had religious toleration for many different religions. They were not accepted by other religious groups and were imprisoned or banished from New England.

The Separatists gained their own sense of independence before any other group and completely broke away from the Church of England. They fled to the to transport their customs to the New World and ended up in the Plymouth Bay In 1620 and constructed the Mayflower Compact. This document set certain rules and laws that these pilgrims all agreed too. The compact contained the basic ideas of American Democracy that we see today. This was the first attempt at an American Government. They did this in order to escape prosecution from the Church of England. This group was able to practice their own religion and practice their beliefs without any consequences. The other group looking for religious freedom were the Quakers also known as “the society of friends” they wanted to spread their beliefs amongst colonists. They went to New Jersey as well as Pennsylvania and were religiously tolerant and had respect for the Indian communities and established treaties with them. They sought to create this new society as pacifists and as a safe haven for those wanting to practice their own religions. This group created a place that welcomed all people and even gave women rights which was extremely progressive at this time. These people believed that everyone had the Light of Christ and god inside of them and that everyone is equal in the eyes of god. They also outlawed slavery Quakers established successful businesses and schools in their society. They also believed that the Pennsylvania charter should be able to be changed, this showed political innovation.

These taxes that Britain had forced the colonists to pay for had made the colonists resent their English rulers and raise tensions between them. The Stamp Act of 1765 declared that all printing materials had to have a stamp, and that stamp was not free. This affected the colonists that used lots of paper such as newspaper printers and lawyers, which were not the best people to anger about taxes. Protesters had gathered due to this tax and organized the Stamp Act Congress, which decided that boycotting british goods would be the best solution. This was the first major coordinated action by all the colonies together. This caused the colonies to use their powers together and united them as a whole. The Committees of correspondence had been created to encourage opposition to earlier acts, and now the colonists were able to coordinate their needs together to fight against Parliament. This helped organized boycotts and helped people become aware of their rights and liberties. Colonists also spurred street boycotts which occasionally became violent. The British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act and replaced it which essentially tried to make it clear that the British had all the power and had the right to tax the colonists if they desired. Many more acts were passed in order to gain revenue for Britain. Overall the boycotts and protests were effective and British merchants pushed for the repeal of those acts, leaving only the tax on tea. The colonists felt that if they allowed the British to tax a near universal product set a precedent that Britain could tax whatever they wanted. This eventually led up to the Intolerable Acts which many colonies decided not to pay for which eventually led to the American Revolution.

During this time England believed in a mercantilism system this was the idea that the government should be able to regulate the economy in order to fulfill the need to increase international power. They did this by using the Colonists and all the raw materials they produced. Britain then got into a war with France and the 7 years war occured. After the war ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1763 the colonists began to get cranky because it limited their ability to take land from the Indians and England was in extreme debt and they sought to find a way to reestablish their wealth and power. The British Government had to borrow lots of money, and the interest payment on that ate up half of their national budget. So in order to pay for the war they chose to begin taxing the colonists. Since the primary beneficiaries of the war had been the American Colonists, the British Government felt it was only fair if some of their burden fell upon them. Parliament and The King believed that they had the right to tax these colonists. Parliament had first passed the Sugar act of 1764 which changed the tax on imports from the Caribbean. This Act gave British courts the right to trial colonial smugglers, taking that power away from colonial courts. The British believed that they had protected the colonists during this war and they should be paid back in return which is why taxes became so important despite the fact that colonists felt they did not need the British Military’s protection.

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New Ideas, People, Food, and Diseases by Columbian Exchange. (2021, Jun 16). Retrieved from

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