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Compare and Contrast Jamestown and Massachusetts
Topics: Massachusetts Bay Colony, Massachusetts, Boston, Colonialism, Colony, Puritan / Pages: 3 (643 words) / Published: Aug 27th, 2012

Both settlers of Jamestown and Massachusetts colonized those different areas to establish a colony in the New World and look for resources to in return to England’s investments. However, Jamestown and Massachusetts both had more early problems than successes in their colonies. One major problem was both colonies faced harsh weather conditions. Along with limited natural resources. Also, they had problems with people coming from England to try to take control of the colonies. One major example that both Massachusetts and Jamestown had in common was the reasoning of why the colonists settled in that specific region. Starting in 1607, colonists selected with what they believed to be an easily defended location, inland setting they believed would offer security. However, the site was low, swampy, hot and humid. In the summer outbreaks of malaria occurred. Since the settlers had no prior exposure, and therefore no immunity to infections of the new land. They quickly ran into other major early problems. First, the area had thick woods which made it difficult to clear for cultivation. Second, the land laid within the territory of powerful local Indians, confederation led by an imperial chief, Powhatan. Thirdly, promoters of London demanded a quick return on their investment; the colonists spent their energy on searching for gold. They quickly found out that there wasn’t any gold in Virginia. Among those problems, the London Company had little interest in creating a family-centered community. So, at first no women were present in Jamestown, making it difficult to establish and semblance of a society. Also, greed and rootlessness contributed to the failure to grow a sufficient food; inadequate diets contributed to colonists vulnerability to disease. When John Smith came along in 1608, he organized raids on neighboring villages to steal food and kidnap natives. Soon after that the “starving time” many people succumbed fevers before cold weather came. The local Indians still antagonized by Smith’s actions, they killed livestock and barricaded colonists. Soon after in 1609, when Smith was deposed from the council and returned to England, the colony of Jamestown was showing promise of survival. In Massachusetts, Puritans merchants obtained a land grant in New England. They acquired a charter from the king allowing them to create Massachusetts Bay Company and to establish the colony in the New World. John Winthrop organized the single largest migration of its kind in the seventeenth century. He also carried the charter saying that colonists would be responsible to no company officials in England only themselves. Soon the colonists transformed into a colonial government. Their intentions were to not break away from the Church of England. Which was different to Jamestown who went settled there and work to “pay back” England’s investment. However, just like Jamestown, facing harsh weather conditions, during Massachusetts first winter, unusually severe nearly one-third of the colonists died. One thing that was extremely different than Jamestown was that there was a community church in every town. They had “complete liberty to stand alone.” Unlike churches in highly centralized Anglican structure in England. Each congregation chose its own minister and regulated its own affairs. This form of parish organization eventually became as the Congregational Church. After this formation of the church, the government taxed the people, unlike in Jamestown where the people weren’t taxed. They government also made a law acquiring attendance at church services. Colonial Massachusetts became a “theocracy”, a society in which the line between church and state were hard to see. Affluent incoming settlers brought needed tools and other goods, which they exchanged for cattle, corn, and other produce that helped establish colonists and natives. Large numbers of families, contrary to Jamestown helped ensure feeling of commitment to the community and a sense of order among settlers. Also, opposite of Jamestown, there was strong religious and political hierarchy that ensured a measure of social stability.

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