Chesapeake vs New England Before 1700 Essay

Zach Hite Hour 6 AP U. S. History Mr. Goetz Many of the differences that separated the Chesapeake from New England before 1700 were a result of the types of people that moved there, and the land that was available for use. New England, which consisted of Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, was a center for industrialized businesses while the Chesapeake that included the colonies of Virginia and Maryland, was a farming community Your Homework Will Be Sent To You Without Trouble! – click for more  .

The societies of New England and the Chesapeake were very different by 1700, this can be shown by looking at the reasons and types of people that chose to live in a certain region, the economies of the region, and the labor force that exists. To be able to understand how the Chesapeake and New England regions were initially separated, the focus needs to be turned to why people moved to the the colonies in the first place, and what they were planning on doing with their lives.

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People moving to the Chesapeake, particularly Virginia, in the 1600’s were usually people that had the trip over to America paid for by a plantation owner. These groups of people consisted of mainly men that were between the ages of 17 and 30 (Doc. C), with some women usually within the same range. These people would work for the person that paid their way over for an average of seven years on their farms. The main incentive for the plantation owners was what was known as the “headright” system.

This system which was established in 1618 authorized the grant of 50 acres of land for every individual that was moved over at the cost of the plantation owner. This system was introduced to encourage population growth by immigration, during a time where there was little to no population stability in the Chesapeake region. Another main trait that set these colonists apart from their neighbors in New England is the fact that they all belong to the Church of England.

Unlike the colonies of Virginia and Maryland, New England was a stable region seen as a starting point for the refinement of Catholicism by many Puritans. The lands of New England were more free from disease than those of the Chesapeake, which meant that the populations and economies of this region would be more stable (Doc. A), with less of a possibility for plague and outbreak. Many of the people that moved to New England were not looking to necessarily improve their lives, like most that would move to the Chesapeake, because most already had a fairly nice life in England how it was.

The main motive was to build upon and purify their religion of Puritanism. Puritans of the 17th century were some of the most successful town builders, mainly because of how the entire town was strongly bound together by their beliefs and values. The way that these people would lay out their communities showed how strong of a bond that existed between both rich and poor that existed. These people moved to New England, primarily Massachusetts, as families that stayed together and created communities with ones who were on the boats with them (Doc. B).

The community would be laid out so that everyone would have a plot of land that they could build their house on, and not only that, but also everyone would get their fair share of land that they would plant on (Doc. D). These regulations that were laid out for communities would restrict the rich, while helping the poor flourish. Because of the Puritan way of life where nobody should try to profit off of someone less fortunate than themselves and how money and prosperity should not be valued over god and religion, this system puts limits on how prosperous an individual can be by limiting how much land they can own.

The economies of the early Chesapeake and New England regions were separated by the focus of the people that lived there. In early New England the focus of the settlers was based on first building a town that can support their people and provide for the common good, and be seen as an example to the rest of the developing communities (Doc. A). The colonists in this region did not have a focus on only profits, which both helped and hurt them. This helped them because they were not going around searching for gold which was not available in great quantities around the eastern colonies.

But this mindset hurt them in the fact that they could be an even more industrialized area with businesses both importing but also exporting goods to countries with shortages of certain materials, foods, or goods to help the economy even more. In Connecticut restrictions were put on the wages of the workers and a universal pricing system was put on goods (Doc. E). This was effective in keeping the economy in balance unlike the shaky and unreliable Chesapeake. The people that populated the Chesapeake at first had gold, and only gold on their minds when they first arrived in the Colonies (Doc F).

This was a rumor that was spread, even though the Chesapeake contained little to no gold for these people to find and send back to England to pay for provisions that were supplied to them. This created at first a very weak and unstable economy until people found that planting crops using monoculture was very effective. They could then stay in one area and farm year round. This type of economy that is formed needs a lot of labor and that is exactly what the colonies lack at this time. Slaves come to the colonies few and far between, so the idea of indentured servitude comes up.

The way that labor shortages were taken care of in the Chesapeake and New England were very different. In the Chesapeake the first African slaves arrived in Jamestown in 1619. After this the only ones that came are usually left over from shipments to the Caribbean. These first slaves had rights like indentured servants and could buy their freedom and own slaves themselves. This fact lead to a lot of the population of the Chesapeake to be poor former indentured servants, slaves, and current indentured servants that were not trusted by the Planter Elites (Doc. G).

Because of this large population that could overthrow the Virginia and Maryland governments, the Virginia slave codes of 1682 were created to take away any power that blacks of this time had and to give the whites a feeling of superiority. After this event the Chesapeake was dependent upon upon slaves and is a slave society. In contrast the ways that the New England colonists dealt with the labor shortages was by innovation. They created water wheels that would work to either rotate the stone that would grind their grain, run the saws that would saw the boards of wood, or perform almost any task that would normally take human labor.

They also had labor but it was more of a society with slaves. The fact that they had slaves helped out with lives but the economy did not depend upon the slaves labor. New England and the Chesapeake had vastly different societies. The ways that these two societies became different include how the people who settled New England were mostly Puritans that because they focused on creating successful towns had a mixed economy that meant that they could be mostly independent, while the settlers of the Chesapeake region were highly dependent upon imports because they were very ignorant of their surroundings with the focus solely on gold.



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