Although New England and the Chesapeake Region Were Both Settled Largely by People of English Origin, by 1700 the Regions Had Evolved Into Two Distinct Societies. Why Did This Difference Occur?

Topics: Thirteen Colonies, Virginia, English American Pages: 2 (688 words) Published: September 15, 2013
The first major cause of this differentiation lay in the very reasons for the founding of the two region's colonies. In 1607 the London Company of Virginia, a joint-stock company, had been formed to settle in the Virginia area a colony of Englishmen. But the Company wanted this colony solely for economic gain. As Document F, Capt Smith's history of Virginia, shows the first colonists spent their time searching for gold like the Spanish windfall instead of planting crops. As a result, half of the colony died and only Capt. Smith's assumption of dictatorial power and his use of draconian measures prevented the colony from collapsing completely.

In contrast to the mercenary nature of Virginia, New England was founded out of altruistic and religious reasons. The Separatists, and later the Puritans who arrived in 1630, came primarily so that they might practice their religion as they wished, free of royal interference. As John Winthrop wrote, the settlers saw their colony as a noble experiment, a "city upon a hill" which was being watched by the entire world. The settlement would be a Christian community in which all would labor together for the common good, and everybody would help his neighbor in every way. Clearly the two regions had very different outlooks in life.

Secondly, the colonies differed in the nature of the English settlers they attracted. As the ship's list of those bound for New England shows, entire families of men, women and children came over together. The men were primarily in their thirties and forties and were usually skilled in a profession or craft. On the other hand, as the Virginia ship's list shows, those bound for the colony were almost all young, single men in their teens and twenties who came for adventure and to find their fortunes. Very few women came, and those that did were all young and single with no children.

Next, the very different geography of the two regions influenced the economic activities of the people and greatly...
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