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Chesapeake Colonies Vs. New England Colonies

By quackinator Nov 12, 2014 805 Words
Quinn Anderson
Mr. Salmon APUSH
1st Period

Chesapeake Colonies vs New England Colonies
In 1607, the first permanent English colony was established in North America. This settlement was known as Jamestown, and it paved the way for future English colonies. Originally, the first settlements were established for monetary reasons, future colonies, namely the New England colonies, were established as religious havens for various groups. These first few settlements, Virginia and Maryland, also known as the Chesapeake colonies, were seen as a way to become rich in a new, unexplored world.

The Chesapeake colonies were initially founded with profit in mind, and had nothing much to do with religion. They were located in the area around the Chesapeake bay, hence the name. Their major cities were all located near rivers or other bodies of water, to allow for quick transportation of goods. In the beginning, the average settler was a gentleman unaccustomed to hard labor, with very few women or children around. Over time however, indentured servants and families made the journey, and later African slaves began to take over the hard labor jobs, and become a significant portion of the population. The economy of the Chesapeake colonies was based almost entirely on agriculture, with the major export being a special strain of tobacco developed by John Rolfe. The Chesapeake colonies were especially notable for Virginia's House of Burgesses, the first representative assembly, something that was unheard of in the colonies. Although they had more freedom than most other colonies, Virginia was still a royal colony, under direct control of the royal governor, and Maryland was a proprietary colony. While Virginia was founded for monetary reasons, Maryland was initially planned to be a haven for English Catholics, although very few Catholics actually moved to Maryland. The Church of England was the established church in Virginia, making it the most common religion. In 1649 Maryland proposed the Act of Religious Toleration, the first law granting freedom of worship in the colonies. This helped ease tensions between Catholics and Protestants in the Chesapeake Colonies. After Bacon's rebellion in Virginia, landowners started to turn to alternate sources of labor. Virginia was one of the first colonies to introduce slaves into the labor system, and over time implemented laws making slavery hereditary and based entirely on race. On the whole, treatment of natives was fairly similar across all the colonies. Relations were, for the most part, hostile as the Indians resented the Europeans seizing land and throwing out or killing the previous inhabitants. Over time, disease and warfare killed enough natives that the colonists were able to seize land without any major resistance.

The New England Colonies, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, all were created, in some way or another, as a haven from religious persecution. They were located farther north than the other colonies, in a series of bays such as Massachusetts bay and Narragansett bay. The major cities all were found in these bay areas, allowing faster trade with England. All the New England colonies in one way or another were founded as havens from religious persecution, beginning with the settlement at Plymouth as a haven for Separatists who had been heavily persecuted in England. Over time other groups split off of the Massachusetts colony to create their own colonies with different views towards religions. The average New England citizen was either a puritan or a separatist, with much smaller religious groups such as Catholics and Anglicans found around the area. There were not as many slaves in the New England colonies, as their economy was more focused on industrial production rather than the huge plantations found in the Chesapeake colonies. There was also not a huge disparity between wealthy and poor in the New England colonies; because almost everyone in a town was puritan or separatist, they all shared a common connection, and supported each other in times of need. As stated before, the economy of New England was mostly focused on manufacturing products, and while some smaller families worked in agriculture to support themselves, many others became shipbuilders and fishers. The political hierarchy was centered around religion, with Church and State not separated, and general court and town meetings dealing with smaller, not so significant matters. The New England colonies and the Chesapeake colonies both had one major thing in common however: their treatment of the natives. The New England colonies also received help initially from the natives, but as time progressed and relations became more and more hostile, all out war began to occur, especially with the Wampanoags. As disease and war ravaged the natives, settlers continued to seize as much land as they could. The Chesapeake and New England colonies had very little in common, and unfortunately, the one thing they did have in common was the harsh treatment of the natives they encountered.

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