New England Colonies Compare to Chesapeake

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By the 1700s, New England and the Chesapeake region had developed very distinct societies. This dichotomy can be traced from the very foundation of the colonies. The New England colonies were founded as examples of pure religion, each was to "be as a city upon a hill."1 In contrast to this worthy cause, the Chesapeake colonies were originally founded during the great search for gold, and later continued as slave-supported plantation colonies. The New Englanders would come to prosper through their hard work, thrift, and the quality of their commitment to God and each other. The South, conversely, prospered because of the quantity of her land and the great staple crops harvested there. New England, unlike the Southern colonies, was settled from the outset by complete families, intending to create new lives of freedom in the virgin soil of the New World. One early shipment of passengers2 contained a minister and a large family, a few tailors and clothiers, and several husbandmen (small farmers) along with their families. The companionship (and responsibility) presented by a large, nearby family combined with the steadfast Puritan virtues of diligent labour and meticulous attention to their livelihoods resulted in prosperity for the many small businessmen and farmers of New England. Furthermore, the Christian values of charity and benevolence towards one's fellow man resulted in tightly knit communities that strove to care for every member thereof.3 The colonial theocratic governments also sought to further the welfare of the populace by enforcing God's Biblical laws, thus strengthening the people's support for the government (respect of authority is required by the Bible, and respect for a government that can hang you is required by common sense). Finally, the rugged land of New England did not yield the verdant growth of crops that allowed the Chesapeake colonies to prosper on agriculture alone. This led to an economy based on business, banking, and...
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