Dbq: New England Vs. Chesapeake Essay

1003 words - 5 pages

England, after failed attempts to colonize North America, returned and planted crops in the rich climate of the Chesapeake, allowing Protestant dissenters to populate the less fertile New England. The religious motives behind New England’s colonization and the economic motives behind the Chesapeake region’s prompted the creation of distinct societies by the 1700s, the former based on community and order; the latter, individuality and labor. The Puritans’ desire for an ordered world based upon their religion influenced colonial development, making the Church a central part of citizens’ lives and linking the government and economy to the Church. In the Chesapeake, the desire for profit rather ...view middle of the document...

As a result, strictly ordered societies developed in which only male Church members were granted suffrage. Signs of a colony’s failure were interpreted as a failure to God and its people’s faith. Wanting to “work as one man,” Puritans developed strong, well-educated, and established communities of people clustered around the Church. Puritanical values were even reflected in the economy, for prices and wages were kept fair in order to prevent the oppression of local workers and consumers [Doc E]. New England colonists’ religious motives provided the foundation for a homogeneous, utopian society based upon the Church.
On the contrary, those who came to the Chesapeake searched for economic prosperity, which brought about unsophisticated, competitive colonies consisting of indentured servitude and weak relations. King James I issued royal charters in the early 1600s with the intent of colonizing the mid-Atlantic. Joint-stock companies such as the Virginia Company raised capital to send settlers to Chesapeake Bay, where they built Jamestown, a fort. Faced with a rough first winter, the Virginia colonists experienced a miracle of economic development: tobacco. This cash crop required large amounts of land and a plantation agriculture. To incentivize colonization, the Virginia Company began a system of headright grants in which wealthy colonists paid for the transportation of young, unskilled men to work as indentured servants in exchange for land [Doc C]. Like Virginia, the proprietary colony Maryland fostered a tobacco plantation economy and also adopted its own headright grant program. Due to epidemics, mortality rates increased, family size decreased, and bonds between people in the communities weakened. Unlike New England, few schools, churches, and other public institutions existed. These colonies’ profit-seeking nature fostered competitiveness, corruption, and greed among men instead of friendship [Doc F]. The Chesapeake colonists’ economic motivation brought forth individualistic plantation settlements full of competition, servitude, and fragile kinship.
The different motives for colonization also impacted the types of conflict that originated; New England dealt with those who questioned the order imposed in its religious...

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