Reflective Essay (9/14/2014)
Compare the early development of New England with the Chesapeake as depicted in Massachusetts and Virginia colonies. How do the governing structures differ and what do they tell us about the early challenges the two colonies faced?
In 1606, King James I re-initiated England's efforts to establish a viable colony in the New World. The 1606 Charter was granted to the Virginia Company for the establishment of a colony in the Chesapeake region of North America. On May 14, 1607, the settlers landed on Jamestown Island and began the establishment of the Virginia English Colony. As political and religious oppression increased in England into the 1620s, the Puritans sought to leave England and establish an additional colony north of the Plymouth Plantation. In 1630, under the leadership of John Winthrop, these new settlers traveled to Massachusetts to establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Although the Virginia Colony and the Massachusetts Bay Colony were each settled and populated by people of English origin, the two regions developed into distinct societies due to their differing societal priorities, difficulties faced in settling and maintaining each colony, and their governing structures.
The Virginia Colony and the Massachusetts Bay Colony were formed with vastly different motivations and societal priorities. The Virginia Colony at Jamestown was prompted by the economic motives of the Virginia Company of London which sought to expand English trade and obtain wider markets for trade of goods. Naturally, they sought financial gain from their colony. The colony was, therefore, largely populated by young men seeking only financial gain. This singular focus nearly lead to the early demise of the colony as men died of malnutrition due to having neglected agricultural needs during the first year. Additionally, the lack of women resulted in an almost absent birth rate which forced the colony to rely on reinforcements to repopulate the...
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