Actually freedom from religious persecution. Each religion left different areas in Europe and settled in different places here. Originally each state was founded on religious freedom, or as a particular religion as the accepted religion in order for these groups to practice what they could not in Europe.
Depends, some were convicts that were offered freedom and a chance to own a piece of wilderness, others for religious reasons, and still others were appointed by the crown. The Americas were dumping grounds for unwanted persons, just as Australia.