The Virginia Colony vs. The Massachusetts Bay Colony
The Virginia Colony and the Massachusetts Bay Colony were both similar and different on three main topics: religion, economics, and demographics.
Religious views and importance differentiated greatly between the two colonies. New Englanders, the area in which the Massachusetts Bay Colony settled, came to America to exercise religious beliefs that were not allowed before the English Civil War and after the Restoration. They were made up of Protestant sects, mostly Puritans. This religion defined almost every aspect of New England life. Religion was much less significant in Virginia. The main church was the Anglican Church of England, however church attendance and rules did not dictate settlers' actions or goals.
The economics of these colonies varied due to the area in which these colonies were located. Virginian economics were based on a cash-crop industry. This helped lead to the importing of slaves from Africa. Due to this importation of slaves there was a drastic divide in the social structure of Virginia, resulting in a three-layered society. Slaves were at the bottom, small farmers and laborers were in the middle, and wealthy plantation owners were at the top. Society in New England was not nearly as layered. The majority of families occupied what we today call the “middle class”. Although many New England families did own slaves, they typically owned only one or two. The demographics between these two colonies differentiated greatly at first, but transcended to an almost equal status through the years to follow. The majority of English colonists that voyaged to Virginia in the seventeenth century were single men in their twenties. They saw Virginia as a place where quick profits could be earned before returning to Great Britain. Few had any intention of staying more than a couple of years in Virginia. This is in contrast to the New England colonies. Here the communities were...
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