I've just been reading The Rise & Fall Of The British Empire by Lawrence James. In this book, James said that craftsmen, who were not prosecuted for their religion, went to the New World because it was just what was done back then; It was quite normal for a blacksmith from Sussex village to travel from village to village across England. James seems to say that the reason for traveling to the New World despite its dangers was because of tradition. Does this explanation make any sense?

  • Not to my readings, many who came were endentured servants or who had a little money and no capability to establish trades in already saturated areas (such as large urban areas where they apprenticed). So many made the journey to the New World which was in need of craftsmen, since the access to ships was "right there". There probably were journeymen who did as James notes but my understanding of some trades like blacksmiths was that they put down roots and stayed.
    – MichaelF
    Jul 23, 2012 at 11:43

1 Answer 1


There are people who want "adventure" or a "change of pace" in any event.

Persecution makes people more receptive to such a proposition (by making "what they have" less valuable), but wasn't always necessary to get people to want to go to the new world.

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