Tobacco. Established as the money crop of the American colonies through John Rolfe’s experiments at Jamestown, it demanded high labor and lots of land in order to be profitable. But labor wasn’t as effortless to come by. For the most part, relations with Native Americans were prevented or tense either.
Enslaving the native population, which at that time was gradually dying of infectious diseases brought over by the colonists, wasn’t as great of a choice as the colonists wished for. Instead, their labor source at first came from Europe: indentured servants. Indentured servitude began in 1617 to increase the colonization of the New World and provide the needed labor source for tobacco production.
Joint-stock companies, such as The Virginia Company, promoted an idealized version of the New World to the lower classes of England. But why did such attempts work? First, the lower classes in England didn’t have an easy life. Emerging from the ravages of plague after plague through the Dark Ages, a people was experienced by them growth.
- Forensic Accountant
- 30-27 5.39% 7.38% 4.12% 3.26%
- Investment real estate (turnkey cash-flow local rental properties)
- Good people skills
This boom intended more folks. And more folks supposed more mouths to nourish, more land to divide up to farm, and more competition for careers. It led to a crisis for the lower class: no careers, no food, no land. Second, there is another shift in Britain that affected the full lives of the low course. Traditionally, England relied on the production of wheat as its main crop.
Wheat is labor-intensive, signifying there is always jobs and food to bypass. However, in the 1500s, England shifted from wheat creation and only wool production away. This led to the investment in sheep and land for grazing, further depleting the land designed for lower class families. Yet there is a problem: sheep are nowhere near as labor-intensive as wheat production.
This resulted in the loss of hundreds of careers, especially in the lower classes of tenant farmers. The tenant farmers now had nowhere to visit: homeless and wandering, these were dying of starvation and overcrowding cities looking for work. So the New World, for all those its potential disadvantages (like savage Indians and no stores to purchase wares), appeared like nearly as good a gamble as any – maybe better still than the risk of dying on London’s streets.
Third, there was the introduction of the Headright System. Pioneered by the Virginia Company, this system was a major draw for potential colonists. After 5 to 7 years of servitude, a servant would be granted 50 acres of land. For each additional person in the family that came with the servant, the servant received another 50 acres of land.
Thus, whole families now viewed the New World as a genuine way to start over. Provided they survived the severe sea voyage and rampant disease (not highlighted in the advertisements), it was a good deal and a brand new start for people who otherwise would probably never own land of their own.