During and Chesapeake. In the New England

April 21, 2019 Religion

During the 17th century, many people of the English origin came to North America in search of a new life. In order to begin their new lives, the English began to settle in the New England and Chesapeake regions. Despite the New England and Chesapeake regions being settled by people of English origin, two distinct societies developed and evolved by the 1700’s. These differences were caused by varying religions, changes in economic growth, and diverse lifestyles.
Religion was one of the main causes for the difference in development between New England and Chesapeake. In the New England area, Puritans established a new life for themselves. They chose to break away from the Church of England and came to North America as a result of being threatened by the king. Additionally, because of the religious upheaval in England that took place in 1629, thousand of Puritans fled to America in search of a new life. Several factors contributed to the success of the Puritan colonies. Cold climate help to inhibit and slow the spread of mosquito-based diseases, and religious discipline established a strong work ethic within the colonies. Conversely, the Chesapeake region focused on religious change. John Winthrop envisioned a reformed Christian society that would inspire this idea of change. He saw the Massachusetts Bay colony as a “City Upon a Hill” and he wanted a truly “New” England. Additionally, the government of the Chesapeake region transformed the general court of shareholders into a representative political system. Just as religion played a role in the difference between New England and Chesapeake, economic growth also had an effect on the colonial development of this region.
The distinction between economic growth in the two colonies also contributed to their differences. The Chesapeake region found a great amount of success in tobacco. Tobacco, an important cash crop, brought large amounts of money to Virginia. The growth of tobacco created a 40 year economic boom which brought more settlers to the Chesapeake area. However, this growth also brought lots of indentured servants with it. Planters who were successful hired servants to work for them, and as Chesapeake’s region grew, so did the number of planters in the area. As a result, the elite planter class dominated life in Virginia and Maryland. Planters set up retail stores and became middlemen and moneylenders. Because of this, the main motives for settlement in Chesapeake were those of commercial and profit. The majority of people who were found there were either young men, indentured servants, and later, African slaves. Eventually, distinct social patterns developed in the Chesapeake region. Low-class workers made up the bottom of the social pyramid, and the top of the pyramid was formed by plantation workers who held social and economic power. In contrast, the region of New England had small farms that were self-sufficient. There was not a large social gap between the rich and poor, and families settled there instead of men or indentured servants. Varying lifestyles also played a part in the development between New England and Chesapeake.
Lastly, the overall difference in ideals and lifestyle led New England and Chesapeake to differ. The main focus in the New England region was religion and family. The majority of people who settled here were Puritans, and this newfound religious freedom attracted many families there. People in New England placed an emphasis on education, which was very different from the Chesapeake region. Additionally, most people in New England were shipbuilders or fisherman, since the colony did not contain the proper land type for heavy agriculture. Conversely, the Chesapeake region was inhabited by mostly men, and later servants and slaves. The primary focus for the people of Chesapeake was money. The settler’s principles contributed to the development of two distinct societies.
Because of the religious, economic, and lifestyle differences between the New England and Chesapeake regions, two very diverse societies developed. The above reasons help to explain why these locations developed so differently, even though people of the same origin settled there at the same time.


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