The Jamestown Fiasco Commentary

Category: Jamestown
Last Updated: 18 Apr 2023
Pages: 1 Views: 153

According to Edmund S. Morgan, the majority of problems faced by the first settlers who arrived to Jamestown in the year 1607 were caused by the poor organization within the colony. For example, the settlers were unwilling to grow their own food supply and establish a reliable foundation for future settlers. Despite the abundance of game to hunt, and perfect weather conditions to harvest crops, the settlers would instead dig up corpses, and in one case a man killed his wife and ate her in order to survive the starvation.

By the year 1610, only 60 settlers had survived. Morgan’s portrayed the settlers as lazy, who were starving by mere choice. Another problem faced by the first settlers of Jamestown was, according to John Smith, one of the colony leaders, that there were too many men in the grain fields, yet very few of them were working to crop the field. Morgan also points out that since the settlers felt superior to the Indians, they believed it was not their job to harvest the crops for the colonies.

Instead, they would spend their time raiding Indian territory, and burning down crops that could have been used to feed the starving settlers back in the colony. Their own governor once sent one of the settlers, George Percy, to destroy the town of the Paspaheghs where he believed Powhaten kept his runaway English man. It is obvious then, and as stated by Morgan, that the reason Jamestown failed to develop as it was expected was caused mainly by the unwillingness of the settlers to work, and to create an organized and stable order for their community.

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The Jamestown Fiasco Commentary. (2017, May 26). Retrieved from

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