English settlers coming to America imagined a perfect place where they would have a say in their government. Before they could live in such a society, they would have to gradually break Britain's hold on them. The American settlers had to end a monarchy and start their own form of government. They also had to find a way to gain some decision-making power. The colonists wanted to create a society unlike that of England.
Although by 1763 some colonies had established churches, most had created a system of religious tolerance and separation of church and state. In the mid-1600's, England was still dominated by the Christian religion, while the colonies were mostly Puritan. Taxation in support of the Puritan church was the only barrier preventing complete separation of church and state in New England. Unlike the churches in England, New England's churches had no political power. Seaport towns, such as Gloucester, became more religious with time, demonstrating religious tolerance, which the Christian Church of England lacked. The colonies' undefined social classes allowed settlers to rise socially.
They would not have been able to do this within the rigid social system in England. In America, new settlers on the coasts could gain wealth by fishing and selling what they caught. If fishing failed to produce wealth, then settlers could try farming. Getting land was an easy task within the colonies. Head right grants allotted each male fifty acres for himself, along with an additional fifty acres per indentured servant.
England could not do this because of their tight social system and lack of land. The colonies eventually abandoned their system of mercantilism with England and developed a capitalist economy. Mercantilism was the idea of a set amount of wealth in which a person could only become wealthy by taking from another who is already wealthy. The colonists did not support this idea in America.
They believed that they could gain wealth without taking from another as long as they had a decent method. This capitalist way of thinking produced many wealthy men in America, unlike in England. Also, in England, colonial ships were forced to stop before delivering their cargo. This was their way of trying to take a portion of the colonists' profits. England's attempts did not last long, however, because the colonies began to turn their raw materials into finished goods in America without having to go through England. England never imagined having to give the colonies so much liberty and self-government.
Colonial governments distanced themselves further from England's governments as time went on, although a few conflicts arose. The governors of the colonies began to gain power that the King had lost, and the colonies gained more authority, which Parliament had yet to receive. England's concern with the scuffle between Parliament and Stuart Kings prevented them from effectively controlling the American colonies. Although the separation from England took many years, the colonies eventually enjoyed their long-deserved freedom. By developing capitalism, self-government, and a loose class system, the colonies were able to secure their liberty from England. Changes in religion, economics, politics, and social structure enabled the Americanization of the transplanted Europeans.