Study Questions

James Horn
1619: Jamestown and the Forging of American Democracy

Why was 1619 an important year in American history? (By the way, note how to pronounce "Sandys.") What is the basic story that the book will be describing in more detail, according to the introduction?

What was Jamestown's original purpose to be, and what did the English hope it would produce? What in fact would be its only important export? Describe early problems. In what ways were the Virginia Company and the colony reorganized in 1608 and 1609? What unreasonable expectations did the English have for their colony? Describe the peoples of Virginia before Jamestown was founded. What problems and troubles began when the Company sought to reestablish the colony in 1609? How did the war with the Indians end?

Why did the Jamestown authorities create private property? How did they do that? Why did they create large-scale grants and what privileges did their owners have? What did the owners grow on their land grants? What problems and issues led to the 1619 overhaul of colonial government? Who was Sir Edwin Sandys and what was his vision for Virginia? When Governor Sir George Yeardley arrived in 1618, how did he change the colony and its government? What did the new government accomplish?

How did the first Africans arrive in Virginia? Where did they come from? How were they enslaved? Where was their original destination? What happened to them after they came to Virginia? How do we know they must have been slaves? What were English attitudes towards black Africans? Describe the institutionalization of colonists' racial prejudice.

Sandys and others in the Virginia Company wanted to establish a commonwealth in Virginia. In their minds, what did a commonwealth look like? What were its benefits? How were the ideals of a commonwealth put into practice in Virginia? Whom did the company recruit as settlers? How did the company attempt to attract colonists? What kind of economy did they try to promote in Virginia? What were the company's religious goals, and how did it try to put them into effect?

What disaster happened to Virginia in 1622? How did colonists and the English react and respond? How did relations with Indians change? How did the English justify harsh treatment of Indians? How had Sandys's situation changed in England? Describe discontent in Virginia with Sandys and the Company. How were events in England and in Virginia related in the 1620s? Why did James I revoke the charter of the Virginia Company in 1624?

How did the end of company rule in Virginia affect the situations of the rich, the poor, and the slaves? How did treatment of slaves change over time? How did John Ferrar describe Virginia in mid-century? Yet how did he portray the demise of the Virginia Company? How did the company's end reveal constitutional issues about royal power?

What survived of Sandys's vision for Virginia? What was lost?