The settlers who came to what eventually became the United States came to a complete wilderness, broken only sporadically by settlements of people who seemed as wild as the unending forests. The only laws, rules or mores* of a civilized society were the ones they brought with them. We all know the story, but few of us have ever really sat down and thought about how horribly difficult, treacherous and arduous it must have been to develop this new society. The people traveled in ships for up to four months across the Atlantic to get to the New World did so for a myriad of reasons--but those reasons all have something in common; a desire for freedom from something they didn’t like in their original countries.
We are going to be studying several documents from the very beginning of our history to discover what motivates people to leave an established society and develop a new one, and what elements a society needs in order to succeed. While we are doing this, you will be theorizing a reason why you might leave this country and go somewhere else, how you’d get there, how you’d motivate others to go with you, and how you’d succeed in developing a society with laws, rules and mores once you get there.