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Colonial Differences

Oct 08, 1999 819 Words
The differences in development between the New England colonies and the Chesapeake or Middle colonies occurred for a many number of reasons. First, they were different people. They come from different places and had different ways of life. Not only did the two regions both have different governing systems, but they were also driven to the New World by different religions or incentives. Even their slight economic differences helped to shape the individuality of the two areas.

Most could probably see that is was painfully obvious as to who the religious fanatics were. New England's colonists seemed to have a more religious tone, than did that of the Middle or Southern regions. The Puritans, who had apparently come to America to escape ridicule and religious persecution, were taking up on that very idea, punishing all those whom did not share in their ideas. They were stiff, strict people and did not allow for much, but the main idea is that they were driven by a higher power, God. This made the Puritans successful Massachusetts's colonists in that they were strong-willed and willing to make their government work. The type of government chosen by the Puritans worked well, a theocratic environment. A theocracy is defined as government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided. According the John Winthrop, who was to be their governor for some number of years, it seemed that their grand purpose in America was to build A City upon a hill, in which the eyes of all people were upon them. In other words, they thought their purpose in the New World was to construct the model city. Connecticut, one of the other New England colonies was basically like Massachusetts. Their only quarrel with the Bay colony was that it was not strict enough.

Not all of the New England colonies were formed by the Puritans. The small state of Rhode Island manifested from the outcasts of the Puritans. Rhode Island was a haven for independent thinkers, for those such as Ann Hutchinson who was banished from he Bay colony. Later on, the Quakers (Separatists), and Jews began to appear in the colony.

In the Middle colonies, things were a bit different. Some of the religious tone was still there, however it didn't really affect the governing of the colonies. The Chesapeake colonies were established as proprietary colonies, which is basically halfway between a royal province and a self-governing colony. Control of the colony went to a man or group of men appointed by the king. These people then appointed the governor, set up law courts, and collected land tax from the settlers. The Middle colonies were still definitely interested in religious freedom. Maryland, in fact, was a colony founded for Catholics. The Quakers, who were a special kind of Puritan, founded the state of Pennsylvania. They believed in equality very strongly and were not welcome in England.

The economic standings of these two regions also helped develop some of the differences, which made them evolve into two separate societies. Take it as no surprise that the Middle colonies had the best-balanced economy due to the wide variety of products they could offer. Not only could they manage the fishing and lumber, etc. of the New England colonies, but because they could go farther inland, they were also able to do some of the agricultural work that the colonies farther South were getting into. They were also able to put the new, African slaves to more use. Cheap labor was better than costly labor.

Even the shear immigration numbers made a difference in the development of the two regions. For example, the densely populated New England consisted mainly of families including the husbands, wives, and children, while the Middle colonies, which were nonetheless still densely populated, consisted of a majority of men, with a small percentage of unmarried women who were to eventually become the wives of the men.

Perhaps there is something to be said for the Indian relations that existed for these colonies. Needless to say, the Puritans did not go well at all with their "heathen" neighbors. New England killed off all but one fourth of the major Indian population in the area. The Middle colonies had some of the same problems, however the Quakers had exceptionally good standings with the Natives. Since they seen them as equals, they too, were treated as equals.

So, there really were many reasons that the New Englanders and Chesapeake colonists developed into two distinct societies. Differences in religion, along with differences in preferences of government caused quite a bit of divergence. Even the economy, which was actually shaped by geography of the land, made a difference. However most of all, the difference was that they were difference types of people, and the people are the ones who make the community.

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