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What Happened In England ? Background information leading to the establishment of the first English Colonies in North America
English Government • English Government in 1606 can be described in a hierarchy or levels of different classes • King • Nobility • Gentry • Ordinary People or Commoners
King James I • 1606 Elizabeth I dies • James becomes king • He believes he rules because “God” selected him • He sees self as head of government and he only answers to himself and “God”
Nobility • Very powerful • Members of Parliament • Parliament: group of leaders that make laws, levy taxes and collect taxes • Elected representatives of different neighborhoods • They are use to controlling the Monarch • James and Nobility have conflict over who has power
Gentry • This group enforces laws of Parliament • Control different neighborhoods • Wealthy land owners who elect representatives to Parliament
3 o’clock Appointment • What is the benefit of this relationship for the Gentry and Nobility? • How might this cause problems for others in England?
Ordinary People or Commoners • Workers, farmers, craftsmen • Most Englishmen worked for other Englishmen • No voice in Government
Rule of Common Law • Law in England was based on customs and what had been done in the past • No laws were written down • Parliament was allowed to interpret custom
Rule of Common Law • King also leader of Church • No separation of church and state • Church leaders also part of Parliament • “morally right” to follow laws • Concern to keep common people working • work = God’s approval
Problems with England • Parliament and Gentry did not have to follow law • Most men worked in agriculture • Can’t farm year round • No work left time to play • Not proper to work all the time
12 o’clock Appointment • What predictions can you make about the situation in England in 1606?
Problems with England • Population Explosion • Too many people not enough work • Government tries to find jobs for everyone • Everyone gets a little work, but not enough to survive • Causes under employment • Law requires employers to hire men for at least 1 year
Problems with England • Nobility becomes greedy • Start buying things they want, but don’t need • More money starts circulating • Cost of ALL goods goes up but jobs are still scarce • Leads to inflation • Inflation: Cost of living goes up, but income stays same or decreases
Problems with England • Large land owners have big problems • Land lease system: people lease land for “3 lives” • Land is leased at the same price for 75-100 years • Land owners broke so they sell their farmland • “Sheep eat Men” • Farmers out of work • Move to the city
Elizabethan Poor Law • Outlaws begging • All men are required by law to work • Colonies become a source of work