Module Introduction

Colonial Period

Module Introduction

Module 2 explores the impact of exploration and colonization on the Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans. It also examines the economic, religious, and social developments that led Europeans to colonize new lands; the differences between Spanish, French, and English colonization; and the challenges that each European power faced in their efforts to establish American empires.

As you read this module, look for the disconnect between European countries’ motives for colonization and the motives of the colonists themselves. This will be very important as we build up to the American Revolution. Also, think about how the major European powers might have conducted colonization differently in order to avoid conflict with the Native Americans as well as keep their colonists from rebelling (this especially applies to Britain).

Module 2 goes on to explore England’s efforts to create an empire based on mercantilist principles and the conflicts that these efforts to assert control created between the English government and the colonists. It also examines changes that took place in the colonies during the 18th century, including population growth, economic transformation, the Enlightenment, and the Great Awakening, and how these changes contributed to the development of a clearly American identity among the colonists.

As you read this module, think about how it relates to the current or recent uprisings, such as the Arab Spring, the Syrian Civil War, and the civil war in Ukraine. Do you see similar causes for revolutions and civil wars, regardless of time period or geographic location? 1

Learning Outcomes

This module addresses the following Course Learning Outcomes listed in the Syllabus for this course:

  • Students will be able to articulate an understanding of the individual in society.
  • Students will be able to think critically about institutions, cultures, and behaviors in their local and/or national environment.
  • Students will understand the social, political, and economic development of the United States.
  • Students will integrate U.S. history into global history. 1

Module Objectives

Upon completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the motivations of the English, Spanish, and French to explore and colonize the New World.
  • Compare and contrast the experiences of the English, Spanish, and French in their efforts to establish American empires.
  • Discuss the reasons why many British came to the colonies. 1

Readings and Resources

  • Module 2 Learning Unit