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Rise of the American Nation - Part 3

Behavioral Objective:  The students will conclude the study of the early explorers and settlers of the New World and the discoveries they made. They will also learn about why further development was needed.  The lecture will lead to further discussion on Early American history and a test to check for understanding of the material.

Cognitive domain:  The students will read how the early explorers and settlers lived and how what they accomplished affects us even today.  They will start to understand why the King wanted more land and why there were so many explorers needed to form a New World.

Affective domain:  The students will understand the hardships that these explorers and settlers felt after reading the material. They will learn how the physical and emotional standards of the settlers affected the development of the New World.

Psychomotor domain:  The students will take the test to check for understanding of the material from the dates of the discoveries, as well as know the explorers of the time and what they discovered and how.  Through various discussions the students will see the similarities and differences from colonial times and the present.


Jamestown makes a poor start

1606- It was Christmastime when three small ships of the London Company moved down the Thames River that winter day.  They started  out taking the route that Columbus had taken and 16 out of 120 men died on the voyage.

1607- The settlement began to be built and they named it Jamestown in honor of the King.  The area they picked was not very good; Why? The land was in a low, wooded island in a river that they named the ‘James’ that had a marsh that was infested with malaria from the mosquitoes that were there.  They did not dig wells and built the weakest type of shelters and they had to drink the river water, as well as getting wet from the rains in summer and being half froze in winter.

The Directors made mistakes

England made mistakes about the voyage as well.  England wanted the settlers to hunt for gold.  Settlers wanted to do this but there was none in the area.  Settlers should have built better housing and worked on growing crops and make clothing.  Everything the settlers did was for the London Company in a common storehouse.  Settlers only received what and as much as they needed to survive.

The worst mistake was that the directors was that there were not enough workers for there were only 12 laborers and skilled workmen available out of 120 people (settlers).  They were primarily ‘gentlemen’  (the teacher will write this term on the blackboard and define). 

Bad times for Jamestown

At the end of the first year only 53 of the settlers were still alive.  John Smith self=appointed leader of the colony orders the men to dig wells, build better shelters and clear the land and plant corn and other crops. 

John Smith visited Indian villages to get corn and meat. He was a harsh leader. His motto was ‘No work …. No eat’  (Write on blackboard)  John Smith was a harsh leader for in the morning he would march the men into the fields to cultivate crops or into the forest to cut wood.  To and from these jobs was the beat of drum. (What does this sound like to you? The teacher can ask this question.)  Settlers complained but they the colony survived.  Smith returned to England but matter went from bad to worse in the winter of 1609-10 or known as ‘the starving time’ (write this on the blackboard) and the next Spring the settlers wanted to leave Jamestown; when a number of ships arrived from England with more settlers and fresh supplies giving them new hope.

1609- The King granted a new charter that gave more land to the Virginia colony.

Conditions improve

Slowly conditions improved after 1610 ‘Why?’  Tobacco saved the colony for the Europeans first learned about smoking tobacco from the American Indians.  By the early 1600’s the habit of smoking was spreading over Europe.  (Believe it or not) teacher could teach about this habit about today’s society and compare how and who tries to stop this habit) while King James I of England tried to stop it for these reasons: 1. Loathsome to the eyes 2.  Hateful to the nose 3.  Harmful to the brain  4.  Dangerous to the lungs.  (Write this list on the blackboard) People kept the habit though until Jamestown was settled all tobacco the Englishmen and other Europeans smoked came from the Spanish West Indies. 

1612-  John Rolfe who married the Indian princess Pocahontas learned how to grow and cure tobacco in Virginia and years the colonists were shipping large quantities of this valuable product to England.

1619- There was more than 1000 men in the Virginia colony and most of the colonists were making a living by raising tobacco.  Every inch of land cleared was for tobacco.  The farms dotted the James River for a distance of 20 miles beyond the original settlement.

Other reasons for the Growth of Jamestown

(list on the blackboard)

1. New settlers were skilled workmen that were carpenters, masons, farmers, blacksmiths, fishermen. 

2. London Company abandoned the common storehouse.

1618-  Each man who paid his own way to Jamestown was given 50 acres of land they can work their own land and sell their own products .

Self-government begins

1619- London Company gives the colonists the rights to share in their own government.  (Write on blackboard - July 30, 1619 there were 22 ‘burgesses’ or representatives two from each of the settled districts along the James River met in Jamestown.  Each of them had been elected by the waters of his own district.  The House of Burgesses as the law making body can be called, represented the men who owned land in the new colony. 

First session was short but very important for it marked the first step toward representative government in the New World.

The Colony Grows

1619- was memorable for other reasons the directors of the London Company sent 60 women to Virginia who were quickly married and as the directors had forseen exercised a steadying influence upon the men.

1619- also there were 20 Africans who arrived in the colony.  These Negros were the first of many thousands of men and women from Africa who for many years would come and work with people from many other lands in building the new colony.  (This was not the start of slavery as you will learn later in the course), but these first Negros were not slaves but were servants for a period of years to pay for transportation and after they paid that debt were free and settled own land and worked for themselves.

1640-  This is the beginning of slavery for African were brought to the British colonies as slaves.  Meanwhile, the London Company directors were encouraged by growing prosperity of Virginia and sent out hundreds of new settlers.  They were given orders to start an ironworks on the James River, while others planted olive trees and laid out vineyards and most newcomers cleared a piece of land and began growing tobacco.  After awhile disaster struck and alarmed by all the rapid growth of the colony the Indians went on the warpath. 

1622-  One night the Indians swooped down on the outlying farmhouses killing many settlers and burning them out, but Virginia in 1620 to 1624 there was 4000 men, women, and children who arrived as settlers in the colony. 

Virginia becomes a royal colony

1624- King James I decided Virginia was being badly managed and he withdrew the charter from the London Company and took over the management of the colony.  Now a royal colony ruled by the King and his ministers Virginia’s government was not as restrictive as the Spanish colonies to the south and west.  The King of Spain still held ‘absolute power’ (write this term on the blackboard and see if students can define the term.)  The King now appointed the governor and gave him power to veto and reject any laws even though there was a counsel of 12 members assisting the governor.  The King did not wipe out the House of Burgesses for they continued to make the laws only with the approval of the governor and the King, but the settlers continued to elect the members of the House of Burgesses.

End of Chapter One

Related lessons:

Rise of the American Nation Lesson Plan - Part 1

Rise of the American Nation Lesson Plan Part 2

Written by Mark Graham, Education World® Contributing Writer

Mark has earned two Bachelor degrees, a Master's, a Post-master's and Doctorate in Education, College teaching, Curriculum and instruction, Reading and literacy as well as a certificate in Children's literature.