Greg Hasty J.M.

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Greg Hasty J.M.

9/27/2004The question of whether or not the 16th and 17th centuries were times
of social experimentation can not be answered without first understanding
what social experimentation is. Here in lies another perplexing problem,
because who is to decide what defines a social experiment? One common
definition that most peoples have agreed upon is that a social
experimentation is the way in which a society or group of people tries to
adapt/adjust to a new life or new situations. With this theory we can
begin to see the social experimentation that took place during these
centuries, and the increases and decreases of it.

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The best way to understand what peoples in a new land had to do to
survive; we must first understand how they lived in their native lands.

The English had a reputation of doing almost anything, even terrorizing the
native peoples of a land, to gain control of it.1 A pamphleteer, Thomas
Churchyard said,” killed manne, woman, and child, and spoiled, wasted, and
burned, by the grounde all that he might: leaving nothing of the enemies in
saffetie, which he could possiblie waste, or consume.”2 These are a
peoples who demand for an empire, and the resources they gain from them,
drive and compel them to kill and suppress native peoples.

The Spanish outlook on empire building and resource acquisition,
although in reasoning is somewhat more brutal, the actions taken are
typically less violent. This fact comes largely into play when these
people spread colonies into North America. “You do not expect me to make
lengthy commemoration of the judgment and talent of the Spainards…And who
can ignore the other vitures of our people, their fortitude, their
humanity, their love of justice and religion?” and “For numerous and grave
reasons these barbarians are obligated to accept the rule of the Spainards
according to natural law” are both quotes that give insight into Spanish
ethic ideals, and also their will to not burn, pillage, rape, and kill
every living thing in these villages, as much so as consume and encompass
Although the question of why these people actually left their native
lands hasn’t been answered concretely, we can assume the vast majority of
these people left to rid themselves of the old feudal system, and the
horrible economic state of Europe.4 Knowing this allows us to understand
what ideas they brought over to this new land. I’ve spoken with my father,
a 30 year history teacher, and he has enlightened me to some of these early
colonies. For instance, in Europe, men were men and “they ruled over the
women, as an adult does over a child, and the father over his children”5,
yet we have situations in this new land that create favorable stances for
women. With the early deaths of men due to disease and constant
interaction with the natives, women were generally left to look after these
estates. As we know too, land owners were the government and spoke for the
people with their right to vote. “There was a colony in New Jersey that
allowed women the right to vote whether they owned land or not”.6 This
is by far nothing of the English feudal lord system.

Now we have a history of movement and conquest of these peoples, and
a few of their ideas, so how did they become, and how did they make every
culture around them a social experiment? This question encompasses a very
broad topic, and to be able to answer I must first focus on a singular

The Virginia Laws, provided to us from 1643 until 1691 truly do
identify a social experiment between two races of people and even classes
of people. If we recap, a social experiment is anything a society or group
of peoples does to adapt/adjust to a new place or situation. These laws
show the progression of a peoples values overtime, and how they adapt to
make life and society exactly as they believe it should be. The first idea
of not allowing the intermixing of marriages arises in March of 1643.7
In 1658, we still have the idea of having “servants”, and the idea of
stealing persons as processions comes up.8 In 1662 the question arose of
what a child born of a negro women should be-slave or free, and they
resolved this by law making them born under the condition of their mothers.

The underlying problem I have writing this theory of how social
classes will degree and announce how they want society to


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