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Social and Plitical system of colonial period

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Jyoti Jindal Pd. 5 How do the social and political systems of colonial British North America compare to those of Latin America? Illustrate three positions. The conquest of the New World by Spain began almost a century before England began its own. By the time England started its colonization, Spain had already taken control of Latin America from the Aztecs and the Incas and was on its way to becoming one of the richest nations in Europe due to the large amounts of gold and silver in Latin America. Although both mother countries were monarchies and had similar aristocratic hierarchies, they developed different social systems in the Americas not only in the colonies and viceroyalties but also in their treatment of the natives. However, because both mother countries were monarchies, the political systems were very similar with a few discrepancies due to the nature of the conquest. In colonial British North America, the colonists had a hierarchy system very different from that of the Spaniards. The colonists' system was vertical: "They thought of themselves as connected vertically rather than horizontally, and were more apt to be conscious of those immediately above and below them than they were of those alongside them". (Wood, 23) ...read more.


This was because the Spaniards forced the natives to mine gold and silver as part of an encomienda system created by Nicol�s de Ovando. The system had natives offer labor as tribute, first to the Crown, and then to an encomendero. In return the native would be provided protection by said encomendero as well as be educated in Christianity. (Williamson, 109, 111) This was all in contrast though to Queen Isabella's declaration: "...declared them [the natives] to be free and equal subjects of the Crown; ..." (Williamson, 109). When the encomienda system was changed by the New Laws of the Indies, the Spaniards had a violent reaction that eventually forced the Crown to let the New Laws lapse. (Williamson, 111) In North America however, there were no precious metals to be mined. Also, the Native Americans were considered a separate people, part of another nation; this was acknowledged when Britain passed The Royal Proclamation of 1763 which recognized the rights of Native Americans to the land they occupied. (wikipedia.org) Thus, interaction with the Native Americans was very limited. Also, the English were not so focused on missionary attempts with the Natives; they had their own religious freedom to worry about. ...read more.


(Williamson, 81) Another dissimilarity is that Latin America had essentially two republics under the control of the King-that of the Spaniards and the other of the Indians (Williamson, 10) whereas only the colonists were under the rule of the British Crown. Colonial British North America and Latin America have different social systems because of the way England and Spain took over and the reasons behind the conquests. Spain conquered and essentially, stole the land from the natives and then forced them to work it under harsh labor conditions; plus its missionary objective was to bring Christianity to the natives. England did not have that problem because North America had very little precious metals and a motive behind many settlements was religious freedom. Also, English settlements started out very small in comparison to the Spanish settlers and so did not pose the same threat to the native people that the Spaniards did. They have similar political systems because both the Old World countries are monarchies and establishing the ruling of the crown was one of the first things both nations did. The similarities and differences in political and social systems of colonial North and South America are key components to understanding how today's nations came to be. ...read more.

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