Chesapeake Colonies Vs New England Colonies

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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 …show more content…
Aside from a vague support for the Church of England, there was little spiritual enthusiasm among the early Virginians (at least in comparison with the New England Puritans). It was first and foremost a profit-making venture, dedicated to the proposition that all the investors should receive dividends commensurate to their investments. Most of the original settlers were lone men who had left their families behind4 in order to attend to the territory that was to (hopefully) yield gold for King and Country and (most importantly) the shareholders. During the colony's initial years, "there was no talk...but dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, load gold...."5 Gold was, unfortunately, not abundant, but rich, fertile land was. The investors in the Virginia Company quickly seized upon the ancient vocation of farming as a substitute for gold-mining, and paid for the passage of numerous indentured servants, and later, slaves to the New World. This created a very stratified agrarian society in contrast to New England's commercial community. This was characterised by a fear of the lower classes so intense that, at times, the upper classes would not go off to defend their colony for fear of leaving their homes undefended against the indentured servants and slaves they were masters over only when they could enforce their dominion with whip and gun.6 Controlled by the aristocratic planters, the southern governments did not display the charity (supposedly) so integral to the Puritan administrations. Their arrogance towards the rustic peoples of the western regions and the poor servants and slaves of the seaboard eventually did lead to a few minor examples of the feared underclass uprising. One of these was Bacon's Rebellion, justified by its leader, Nathaniel Bacon, because the wealthy government officials did nothing for the defense or economic

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