For many living in Western Europe in the early seventeenth century, it seemed that their society was being overrun by vice, iniquity, and crime. Impoverished farmers and homeless serfs were flooding into England’s urban areas, and entire neighborhoods in cities such as London and Bristol were swarming with petty criminals of all varieties. Those who promoted the English colonization of North America used the public’s fear of crime as yet another way to make life in the colonies appear as an attractive alternative to life in the mother country. Those prototypical travel agents portrayed the colonies as havens of safety and virtue, as places free from the sin and wickedness of the Old World, as a world in which honest, hardworking men and women could live without fear of being victimized by highwaymen, con artists, lewd women, and thugs. It was an effective selling strategy. While some of the early colonists were utopians, none of them truly believed they could create a society completely free of crime, vice, and violence. They knew crime would be a part of their lives in the New World as it had been a part of their lives in the Old, but they were confident they could keep it to manageable levels, levels far below those of the countries they were leaving. To a large extent, they were successful. Crime in the early North American colonies was far from widespread. Even with the waning of the strict moral codes set forth by the first colonial generation, increasing secularism, and the urbanization of many of the seaports, crime never became a problem of the same magnitude as in Western Europe. The majority of colonists were law-abiding people, who lived according to their moral traditions and middle-class values. Crime, then as now, was the exception, rather than the rule. Jay R. Hopler See also: Debt and Debtor’s Prison; Gambling; Prisons and Punishment; Prostitution; Riots. Bibliography Barck, Oscar Theodore, Jr., and Hugh Talmage Lefler. Colonial America. New York: Macmillan, 1958. Bridenbaugh, Carl. Cities in Revolt: Urban Life in America, 1743 1776. New York: Capricorn, 1955. Bridenbaugh, Carl. Cities in the Wilderness: The First Century of Urban Life in America, 1625 1742. New York: Capricorn, 1964. Browning, Frank, and John Gerassi. The American Way of Crime. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1980. Cohen, Daniel A. “A Fellowship of Thieves: Property Criminals in Eighteenth-Century Massachusetts.” Journal of Social History 22:1 (Fall 1988): 65 92. Erikson, Kai T. Wayward Puritans: A Study in the Sociology of Deviance. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1966. Powers, Edwin. Crime and Punishment in Early Massachusetts, 1620 1692: A Documentary History. Boston: Beacon, 1966. Purvis, Thomas L. Colonial America to 1763. New York: Facts on File, 1999. Scott, Kenneth. Counterfeiting in Colonial America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1957. Semmes, Raphael. Crime and Punishment in Early Maryland. Montclair, NJ: Patterson Smith, 1970. Photo : What To Write In A Conclusion Of An Essay Images Drawing Conclusions with the Help of PowerPoint Presentations … Conclusion Stock Photos, Images, & Pictures Shutterstock

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