History of Religion in the United States

By Clifton E. Olmstead | Go to book overview
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The Rise and Progress of
Colonial Anglicanism

TOWARD THE CLOSE OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY, ENGLAND FOUND HERSELF in a perilous economic condition. The rapid growth of population called for a commensurate development of industry in order to provide adequate employment and maintain a sound economy. Raw materials, especially wood, were vital to the preservation of industry, and they were becoming increasingly scarce. English businessmen recognized that if they could not find some satisfactory means of importing basic materials for the smelting, shipbuilding, and woolen industries, the country would experience a severe depression.

In the meantime, English navigators had returned home with glowing reports of extensive forest lands in America, of virgin territory rich in natural resources. And so, out of economic necessity, was born the English expansion into the New World. There were, of course, other important factors and motives in English colonization--the hope of discovering a new route to the East, the impulse to curb the power of Spain, the longing to find cheap land on which to settle, even the desire to convert the Indians. Still the basic purpose was economic, and it is highly


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History of Religion in the United States


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