Comparison Of The Chesapeake And The New England Colonies

1058 words - 5 pages

Although the majority of the North American East Coast was settled primarily by English during the 17th century, the way of life and development politically, economically, and socially greatly differed, depending on where one had settled. The New England and Chesapeake colonies, both primarily comprised of English settlers, contrasted in that of their motivation for settlement, as well their style of governance, allowing for the creation and development of two distinct societies. The New England colonies, mainly composed of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, consisted of groups that had essentially settled for religious reasons, mainly the Puritans, and Pilgrims. In ...view middle of the document...

Their desire to create “a city upon a hill” demonstrates their motivation to create a permanent religious settlement, and the basing of their laws around their religious beliefs and morals. As religious practices and freedoms appealed more to families, mainly families settled in the New England colonies. (Doc B) As a result, these families often stuck together, forming communities to worship God together and creating more unified settlements. The emphasis on community and unification, combined with religion, formed the set of governance for the New England colonies. The settlers put little emphasis on individual gain or profit, and instead put forth the prosperity of the community as priority. Thus, the focus of living was to live equally under God. This included regulating wages among members of the community, in that “…all tradesmen and laborers consider the religious end of their callings, which is that receiving such moderate profit as may enable them to serve God and their neighbors with their arts and trade comfortably, they do not enrich themselves suddenly and inordinately (by pressing prices and wages to impoverishing of their neighbors) live in the practice of that crying sin of oppression…”(Doc E) The enrichment of one should not come at the expense of their neighbor, do not impoverish others for the sake of wealth, and instead be modest under God so everyone may live equally. As a result, the New England colonies developed in a strongly unified and religious manner, very different from the Chesapeake colonies.
The Chesapeake colonies, consisting of mainly Virginia and Maryland, was settled by mainly single young men, (Doc C) who sought profit and wealth in the New World. Their main focus was to “dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, load gold,” (Doc F)
When the Joint Stock Co landed at Jamestown, they were looking for gold to match the success of the Spanish Empire abroad. Though no gold was found, the development of tobacco as a cash crop and Virginia’s practice of the head right system ensured that wealth and profit would continue to shape the Chesapeake colonies and create a mercantilist based settlement, much unlike the modest and religious-centric New England colonies. In addition to different reasoning for settlement, the lack of family made the creation of unity and...

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