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At the start of the seventeenth century, the English had not established a permanent settlement in the Americas. Over the next century, however, they outpaced their rivals. The English encouraged emigration far more than the Spanish, French, or Dutch. They established nearly a dozen colonies, sending swarms of immigrants to populate the land. England had experienced a dramatic rise in population in the sixteenth century, and the colonies appeared a welcoming place for those who faced overcrowding and grinding poverty at home.
Thousands of English migrants arrived in the Chesapeake Bay colonies of Virginia and Maryland to work in the tobacco fields. Another stream, this one of pious Puritan families, sought to live as they believed scripture demanded and established the Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, New Haven, Connecticut, and Rhode Island colonies of New England. In the early seventeenth century, thousands of English settlers came to what are now Virginia, Maryland, and the New England states in search of opportunity and a better life.
Promoters of English colonization in North America, many of whom never ventured across the Atlantic, wrote about the bounty the English would find there. These boosters of colonization hoped to turn a profit—whether by importing raw resources or providing new markets for English goods—and spread Protestantism. The English migrants who actually made the journey, however, had different goals. In Chesapeake Bay, English migrants established Virginia and Maryland with a decidedly commercial orientation.
Though the early Virginians at Jamestown hoped to find gold, they and the settlers in Maryland quickly discovered that growing tobacco was the only sure means of making money.
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Thousands of unmarried, unemployed, and impatient young Englishmen, along with a few Englishwomen, pinned their hopes for a better life on the tobacco fields of these two colonies. A very different group of English men and women flocked to the cold climate and rocky soil of New England, spurred by religious motives. Many of the Puritans crossing the Atlantic were people who brought families and children. While the English in Virginia and Maryland worked on expanding their profitable tobacco fields, the English in New England built towns focused on the church, where each congregation decided what was best for itself.
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The Congregational Church is the result of the Puritan enterprise in America. Many historians believe the fault lines separating what later became the North and South in the United States originated in the profound differences between the Chesapeake and New England colonies. Increasingly in the early s, the English state church—the Church of England, established in the s—demanded conformity, or compliance with its practices, but Puritans pushed for greater reforms. By the s, the Church of England began to see leading Puritan ministers and their followers as outlaws, a national security threat because of their opposition to its power.
As the noose of conformity tightened around them, many Puritans decided to remove to New England. By , New England had a population of twenty-five thousand. Meanwhile, many loyal members of the Church of England, who ridiculed and mocked Puritans both at home and in New England, flocked to Virginia for economic opportunity.
The troubles in England escalated in the s when civil war broke out, pitting Royalist supporters of King Charles I and the Church of England against Parliamentarians, the Puritan reformers and their supporters in Parliament. In , the Parliamentarians gained the upper hand and, in an unprecedented move, executed Charles I.
In the s, therefore, England became a republic, a state without a king. English colonists in America closely followed these events. Indeed, many Puritans left New England and returned home to take part in the struggle against the king and the national church. Other English men and women in the Chesapeake colonies and elsewhere in the English Atlantic World looked on in horror at the mayhem the Parliamentarians, led by the Puritan insurgents, appeared to unleash in England.
The turmoil in England made the administration and imperial oversight of the Chesapeake and New England colonies difficult, and the two regions developed divergent cultures. The Chesapeake colonies of Virginia and Maryland served a vital purpose in the developing seventeenth-century English empire by providing tobacco, a cash crop. However, the early history of Jamestown did not suggest the English outpost would survive.
From the outset, its settlers struggled both with each other and with the native inhabitants, the powerful Powhatan, who controlled the area. Jealousies and infighting among the English destabilized the colony. One member, John Smith, whose famous map begins this chapter, took control and exercised near-dictatorial powers, which furthered aggravated the squabbling. They were essentially employees of the Virginia Company of London, an English joint-stock company, in which investors provided the capital and assumed the risk in order to reap the profit, and they had to make a profit for their shareholders as well as for themselves.
Most initially devoted themselves to finding gold and silver instead of finding ways to grow their own food. Poor health, lack of food, and fighting with native peoples took the lives of many of the original Jamestown settlers. By June , the few remaining settlers had decided to abandon the area; only the last-minute arrival of a supply ship from England prevented another failed colonization effort. The supply ship brought new settlers, but only twelve hundred of the seventy-five hundred who came to Virginia between and survived.
George Percy, the youngest son of an English nobleman, was in the first group of settlers at the Jamestown Colony. Now all of us at James Town, beginning to feel that sharp prick of hunger which no man truly describe but he which has tasted the bitterness thereof, a world of miseries ensued as the sequel will express unto you, in so much that some to satisfy their hunger have robbed the store for the which I caused them to be executed.
Then having fed upon horses and other beasts as long as they lasted, we were glad to make shift with vermin as dogs, cats, rats, and mice. All was fish that came to net to satisfy cruel hunger as to eat boots, shoes, or any other leather some could come by, and, those being spent and devoured, some were enforced to search the woods and to feed upon serpents and snakes and to dig the earth for wild and unknown roots, where many of our men were cut off of and slain by the savages.
And now famine beginning to look ghastly and pale in every face that nothing was spared to maintain life and to do those things which seem incredible as to dig up dead corpses out of graves and to eat them, and some have licked up the blood which has fallen from their weak fellows. How do you think Jamestown managed to survive after such an experience? What do you think the Jamestown colonists learned?
By the s, Virginia had weathered the worst and gained a degree of permanence. Political stability came slowly, but by , the fledgling colony was operating under the leadership of a governor, a council, and a House of Burgesses. Economic stability came from the lucrative cultivation of tobacco. Smoking tobacco was a long-standing practice among native peoples, and English and other European consumers soon adopted it.
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In , the Virginia colony began exporting tobacco back to England, which earned it a sizable profit and saved the colony from ruin. A second tobacco colony, Maryland, was formed in , when King Charles I granted its charter to the Calvert family for their loyal service to England. Growing tobacco proved very labor-intensive, and the Chesapeake colonists needed a steady workforce to do the hard work of clearing the land and caring for the tender young plants.
The mature leaf of the plant then had to be cured dried , which necessitated the construction of drying barns.
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Once cured, the tobacco had to be packaged in hogsheads large wooden barrels and loaded aboard ship, which also required considerable labor. In this painting by an unknown artist, slaves work in tobacco-drying sheds.
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To meet these labor demands, early Virginians relied on indentured servants. An indenture is a labor contract that young, impoverished, and often illiterate Englishmen and occasionally Englishwomen signed in England, pledging to work for a number of years usually between five and seven growing tobacco in the Chesapeake colonies.
In return, indentured servants received paid passage to America and food, clothing, and lodging. In the s, some , indentured servants traveled to the Chesapeake Bay. Most were poor young men in their early twenties. Life in the colonies proved harsh, however. Indentured servants could not marry, and they were subject to the will of the tobacco planters who bought their labor contracts. If they committed a crime or disobeyed their masters, they found their terms of service lengthened, often by several years.
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Female indentured servants faced special dangers in what was essentially a bachelor colony. Many were exploited by unscrupulous tobacco planters who seduced them with promises of marriage. These planters would then sell their pregnant servants to other tobacco planters to avoid the costs of raising a child. Nonetheless, those indentured servants who completed their term of service often began new lives as tobacco planters. To entice even more migrants to the New World, the Virginia Company also implemented the headright system , in which those who paid their own passage to Virginia received fifty acres plus an additional fifty for each servant or family member they brought with them.
The headright system and the promise of a new life for servants acted as powerful incentives for English migrants to hazard the journey to the New World. This engraving by Simon van de Passe, completed when Pocahontas and John Rolfe were presented at court in England, is the only known contemporary image of Pocahontas.
Note her European garb and pose. To minimize the impact of dumb luck on your career, apply for as many jobs as reasonable. We recommend only applying to positions you are likely to accept if you receive an offer. The more jobs you apply for, the better your chances. Anything you can do to increase your job applications will play to your benefit.
Consider jobs outside the discipline in which you were trained that may value your work.
Ask around and try to find fields where your credentials may make you competitive and even give you an edge. If possible, also consider jobs in a variety of locations. By definition, most Ph. These schools are full of scientists who are doing great work and training the next generation of scholars.
These positions also offer a better fit for many people. Do your research to see if you might find fulfillment on this career path. Applying over multiple job cycles can also be helpful. In many cases, you may even be able to negotiate a deferral to finish up work at your current institution. Overall, aim for places where you can be successful, feel fulfilled, and get your work done. Then, if you are happy and productive, you can stay for the long term. Many people find the market easier to navigate once they already have a job because they can be more selective, and the experience may make them even more appealing candidates for the most competitive jobs.
Indeed, when we look down the hallway, roughly half our colleagues came from a prior job before joining our departments. Navigating the job market is a stressful time for many people due to the high stakes, uncertainty, and fierce competition for the limited number of open positions. The academic job market can be brutal, but your best weapon in this fight is to minimize the noise and maximize the signal.
Send your thoughts, questions, and suggestions for future column topics to letterstoyoungscientists aaas. Read more from Letters to Young Scientists. At the same time, the U. Labor Department projected an unemployment rate of about 25 percent. It was clear that some type of government program was required.
The GI Bill was a phenomenal success by any measure. More than half of all soldiers tapped the education benefit in one form or another. In fact, three years after it was passed, vets consisted of 49 percent of all college admissions, and these students quickly gained a reputation for their unwavering commitment to learning. It also provided vocational and technical training that was greatly needed at the time. At the same time, the public rallied around veterans, and employers were eager to hire them. The GI Bill along with a positive sentiment toward veterans continued to provide dividends through the Korean War and beyond.
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However, attitudes about veterans during the Vietnam War led to changes. No less significant: The GI Bill had undergone fundamental changes after the original version expired in July From that, they had to pay tuition, books and other living expenses.
The change was initiated because some institutions had been caught overcharging students in an attempt to defraud the government. The unintended consequence of all this change was that by the time Vietnam vets attempted to tap their educational benefit, tuition costs had risen and net payments to cover college expenses had decreased. Gillespie V. Unfortunately, by , some veterans found themselves receiving only one-tenth of their total education costs.
Finally, in , Congress passed the most recent GI Bill, which has expanded benefits to include up to percent tuition along with fees to cover books and supplies. As the 2. Today, despite a high level of support for troops and corporate hiring initiatives focused on veterans, the unemployment rate for returning military personnel hovers around 9 percent. The national unemployment rate was at 8.
To ease the transition, President Barack Obama has proposed a number of changes for veterans returning from service.