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Early american settlements

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Early american settlements


How Much is Too Much?



In order for any society to be successful there must be some kind of law and order. Without some established rules and regulations little would get done and there would be chaos and confusion. But in turn there is another side to the spectrum. At what point are the rules too much? There comes a point in which enforcements are overbearing and hinder the people under them. This often seems to be the case in early American times. Though these early laws benefited the foundation of church and state into a more united community, the often caused many hardships to the citizens under them.

In studying laws in early American settlements it seems logical to look at Jamestown first. Jamestown had its problems from the beginning. One of the main ones was the colonists lack of desire to work. The work schedule of the day was considered easy even by modern day standards. Colonists were only required to work 6 hours a day, while the rest was reserved for personal leisure time. This from a colony that was practically starving to death. This is one of the few examples in which the laws in early colonial America were actually not harsh enough. But this was all about to change.

By 1611 things were not good in Jamestown. Many more people had died than had survived the harsh east coast winters. People were still frolicking in the streets instead of working hard to ensure their survival. Then Sir Thomas Dale arrives in May of 1611.

He was sent to bring discipline among the disorganized colonist, and discipline he brought. He published a set of rules now known as "Dales Laws." Many of these rules called for harsh punishments for what today would be thought ...

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