Publisher's Note: One of the most significant things you can do to promote Liberty is to support our mission. Please make your gift to the 2022 Year-End Campaign today. Thank you! —Mark Alexander, Publisher

Linda Moss Mines / November 23, 2022

Jamestown: A ‘New World’ Experiment

Captain John Smith stepped forward and the Jamestown settlement morphed into a community based on military-style discipline.

Raise your hand if you can trace your family lineage to Jamestown or have visited the reconstructed site of the first permanent settlement in the English colonies.

I’ve always found it interesting that there are former presidents of the United States — apologies to Millard Fillmore and Franklin Pierce, among others — who are not readily recognized by citizens, but Jamestown and even the date 1607 seem to have a place in our collective memory. I cannot attribute that knowledge solely to Virginia’s excellent marketing as “the nation’s birthplace,” although the state has been masterful in helping generations of students and adults experience Jamestown and the representative government that was born at Williamsburg just 12 years later.

There is something about Jamestown’s story that strikes a chord.

One hundred and four English men and boys arrived at the future site of Jamestown in 1607 after having crossed the Atlantic aboard a convoy of three ships: the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery. The settlement was quickly named for King James I of England, the benefactor of their joint-stock venture, the Virginia Company, and their purpose was clearly identified in their charter: “to dig, mine, and search for all Manner of Mines of Gold, Silver, and Copper.” They selected the site on the James River after considering critical elements to survival: 1) a site surrounded by water on three sides and located sufficiently inland to allow defense again the Spanish; 2) deep water allowing them to dock their ships on the shoreline; and 3) no inhabitants already living on the site.

Their plans looked good and, within weeks, a triangular fort had been constructed, allowing artillery pieces to guard each of the fort’s corners. While the nearby Powhatan Indians did not reside on the peninsula, the settlers quickly discovered that the Powhatans considered the land to be their hunting lands. The relationship was tenuous and, when Captain Newport returned to England for additional supplies, the settlement slipped into disarray. The danger of complete failure hovered.

While the members of the expedition had been excited about the adventure to a “New World” and the possibility of discovering vast wealth, several problems arose. First, the majority of the men had previously lived in towns and generally had no experience in building, hunting, farming, or mining. Those who had a more financially secure background considered manual labor to be a “low class” activity and were disdainful of the difficult work necessary for success. But one of the major complications arose from the structure of the charter: All were simply employees of a company controlled by absentee owners; they would not gain personally from their hard work, therefore little work occurred. Even with food supplied by the Powhatan Indians, more than half would die in the first year and, like Roanoke, the colony seemed doomed for failure.

So, what happened? The question is more accurately asked as, “Who happened”?

Captain John Smith stepped forward and the Jamestown settlement morphed into a community based on military-style discipline where each person was expected to contribute through his labor. If one chose not to work, then food would be withheld. Private ownership of property and control over one’s own destiny — within limits, since it was still a rugged frontier settlement — improved the conditions, but Jamestown would continue to be plagued with the diseases associated with exposure, brackish water, lack of nutritious foods, and the ever-present possibility of Indian attacks.

By 1624, Virginia had become a royal colony and the Virginia Company was dissolved, once again promoting the idea of land ownership and an improved and permanent status as freemen. When women began to join the settlements, a sense of permanence, not exploration, developed. Families working together to create a new life became the most significant selling point for encouraging others to trade that predictable English life without hope for a more difficult colonial life with the potential for success.

Life was still difficult, but for many of the immigrants, life had always been difficult. Yet something momentous had changed. Now, these risk-takers could envision a better life for their children and their descendants.

A dream was being born…

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.