I would GREATLY appreciate it if someone could guide me in the general direction of the actual purposes for the English and Spanish colonization of Northern America...?
Short answer: Gold, Glory and God (generally in that order).
The New World was rich in resources, so they wanted to exploit those (hence gold), they wanted to bring prestige to their international reputation by having overseas colonies (hence glory), and they often said that they were interested in proselytizing the "heathen Indians," though more often than not that was just an excuse to look for more treasure (hence God).
And definitely do not forget that they wanted power. If one country amasses greater wealth than you....you're screwed.
Also along the same lines as the "little kid syndrome." Just like when a little kid doesn't care about a toy until another one starts to play with it, these countries didn't like others dabbling in places they weren't.