Differences between the Chesapeake Bay and New England Colonies

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Differences between the Chesapeake Bay and New England ColoniesThere are many key differences that distinguish the inhabitants of the New England colonies from those of the Chesapeake Bay colonies. These dissimilarities include but are not limited to the differences between the social structure, family life, forms of government, religion, and the lives of indentured servants and children in the two colonies.

The social structure and family life of the two colonies varied greatly. The inhabitants of the Chesapeake Bay colonies were never able to establish a successful social structure or sense of family life due primarily to the nature of its inhabitants. According to the essay Looking Out for Number One: Conflicting Cultural Values in Early Seventeenth-Century Virginia, Virginia drew a disproportionately large number of street toughs, roughnecks fresh from wars in Ireland, old soldiers looking for new glory, naïve adventurers, mean-spirited sea captains, marginal persons attempting to recoup their losses. (The Way We Lived 23). These settlers who colonized the Chesapeake Bay region, primarily being composed of males, came for only one reason and that was in order to make a profit. According to the essay Looking Out for Number One, the pursuit of private gain outranked the creation of corporate communities. (The Way We Lived 25). As a result of this idea, on March 22nd, the Indians of the region launched a coordinated attack on the scattered, poorly defended white settlements, and before the colonists could react, 347 of them had been killed. (The Way We Lived 28). Due to the minute number of women who made the journey to the Chesapeake Bay, there was very little sense of family life in the Chesapeake Bay colonies. Contrary to the exploitive competitive individualism present in Virginia, as well as the rest of the Chesapeake Bay, a deep sense of cooperative commitment to building a new Zion characterized the society established in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. (The Way We Lived 40). The Puritans who settled the New England colonies in Massachusetts Bay placed a high importance on creating a fully functional society. In order to create this fully functional society the Puritans relied heavily on family life, and according to the essay The Godly Family of Colonial Massachusetts, never thought of the family as purely a private unit, rigorously separated from the surrounding community. (The Way We Lived 41), but instead thought of them as an integral part of the larger political and social world. (The Way We Lived 42). As a result of the emphasis and importance that the Puritans placed on the family, the Puritan community felt that the larger community had a duty to ensure that families performed their functions properly. (The Way We Lived 43). Not only did the Puritans emphasize the importance of family life with regards to the community, but also with regards to economy. The Puritan family was the main unit of production in the economic system. (The Way We Lived 43), which meant that each family member was expected to contribute economically whether it be through tending to gardens, herding animals, spinning wool, or just taking care of younger brothers and sisters. The social structure in the New England colonies, unlike that of the Chesapeake Bay colonies, helped to insure the safety of its inhabitants by forming a closely knit community while maintaining a high quality of family life which allowed the Massachusetts Bay colonies to thrive.

Another significant difference between the settlement of the Chesapeake Bay colonies and the New England colonies was government. The Virginia Company who financed and organized the settlement of Virginia was the first attempt at government. However, in 1624 when the Virginia Company lost its charter, the colony was thrown into catastrophe because no one knew who held legitimate authority. In the Chesapeake Bay colonies, they also had the House of Burgesses which founded in1619, was...
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