Moll Flanders Historical Context

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The American Colonies and the English Economy

In the novel, Moll sails to Virginia twice: first as the wife of a plantation owner, and second as a convicted criminal sentenced to serve time as a slave. In the late seventeenth century and early eighteenth century, Virginia was an English colony, evidence of expanding English overseas interests in the name of trade and political power. Settled in the early 1600s, Virginia was a thriving and important complement to England's economy by the early 1700s.

During this period, wealth came progressively more from merchants' capital, creating a powerful and prosperous business class. Business was booming in England, fostering an attitude that there was lots of money to be made. England's major manufactured export product during this period was cloth, which, along with other manufactured goods, was shipped to the American colonies in exchange for an increasingly valuable commodity, tobacco.

The Role of Women

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This section contains 569 words
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