Why were the British more successful than the French and Dutch in establishing colonies in North America?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were reasons why the British had more success than the French and the Dutch in establishing colonies in North America. The Dutch were very cautious people, and many people were very hesitant to leave the familiarity of their homeland. Also, political, religious, and economic conditions were good in the Netherlands. As a result, many people had no reason to leave the Netherlands and come to North America.

French policies did not encourage people to come to North America. Only the nobles could own land, and only Catholics were allowed to come and settle in North America. The French offered few freedoms for those came to North America. As a result, their settlements grew slowly.

The British made it more attractive for settlers to come to North America. Land ownership was allowed. In some colonies, there was religious freedom. The people had their own legislatures in the colonies. There were more rights for the colonists, such as the right to a jury trial and the right to bring complaints to the King. As a result, the British colonies grew quicker and were more successful than the colonies established by the Dutch and the French.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Dutch were unable to succeed because they tried to recreate feudal manors in their colony of New Netherlands.  This failed because very few people were interested in coming to the New World to be serfs on the estate of a patroon.

The French failed largely because they tried to be too centralized.  They tried to keep very close control of their colonies.  They did not allow people from other European countries to come to their colonies and they did not allow dissenting French people (like the Huguenots) to come over either.

By contrast, the British allowed essentially anyone to come to their colonies.  There were many different colonies and they were allowed to have a large degree of self-government.  These things attracted many colonists to the British colonies while the French and Dutch had relatively few.