Edmund Morgan The Labor Problem At Jamestown Summary

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Turning Into “America” Expectation is defined by as “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future” (“Expectation”). Edmund S. Morgan’s article “The Labor Problem at Jamestown, 1607-18” compellingly reasons that expectations played a profound effect on the lack of success of early settlers at Jamestown. There were three main expectations that brought about the malfunction in the Jamestown settlement. First was expectation based on the stories about the New World from the Spanish. Second was the expectation of the labor force in Old World England prior to arriving in America. Last was the expectation of being part of the Virginia Company. When you put all three of these together, the men in Jamestown during the early 1600s thought this expedition to the New Land would be a walk in the park, which may have lead them to their initial failure establishing Jamestown (Miers, 107). One of the major downfalls of the early settlers was they were expecting it to be easy. They had read stories from the Spanish explorers about the friendly natives that would help them settle into their new home. Morgan gives the description stories they read explaining the land as “teeming with gentle and generous people who,…show more content…
“The most obvious English analogy to the Jamestown settlement was that of a military expedition” (Morgan 607). It was staffed with gentlemen and “footmen…that never did know what a [dayes] work was” (Morgan 608). The Virginia Company did not recruit men with varied skill sets. The expectations of a soldier did not include working the land, it consisted of much time doing nothing and waiting. The Company was “designed to extract wealth for shipment back to England” and “included few farmers or men skilled in construction trades” (Schweikart 16). The men behaved as if on a military voyage, resulting in idleness and

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