Compare and contrast the ways in which economic development affected politics in Massachusetts and Virginia in the period from 1607-1750.

Topics: Plymouth Colony, Mayflower, Jamestown, Virginia Pages: 5 (732 words) Published: August 3, 2006
1) Background on both Massachusetts and Virginia

a) The London Virginia Company founded Virginia in 1607.

i) Started with Jamestown.

b) Settled mostly by English aristocrats.

c) Discovered tobacco, and became a monopoly.

d) Pilgrims founded Massachusetts in 1620 arriving on the Mayflower.

i) Pilgrims wrote the Mayflower Compact.

(1) Provided a democratic government based on the opinions of everyone.

e) Massachusetts and Virginia were extremely different in politics due to economic developments and social status.

2) Details about Massachusetts

a) Massachusetts was settled by Pilgrims in 1620 and Puritans in 1629.

i) Both the settlements merged in 1691 to form what is now known as Massachusetts.

b) The Pilgrims came to Massachusetts because they became dissatisfied with the Church of England, and separated to come to start a new settlement.

c) The Puritans came to Massachusetts also because too wanted religious freedom.

i) Both Puritans and Pilgrims were highly religious and relied on the Bible for decision making.

(1) Criminal laws in the 17th century were usually based on the Scriptures and mostly the Old Testament.

d) The Puritans and Pilgrims both came to American in family units

i) This created closely-knit communities, which made democracy easier.

e) Pilgrims had written the Mayflower Compact, a document that was a constitution that stated the belief that government is a covenant, and that they needed the consent of everyone in order to consider the government legitimate, a democracy.

f) The settlers of Massachusetts were extremely successful in their trade.

i) They created several shipping and repairing centers around the coastline.

ii) They became successful in repairing ships and selling lumber.

g) All the factors, economy, social grouping, and religion all played a difference in developing a democracy in Massachusetts.

3) Details about Virginia

a) The London Virginia Company founded Virginia in 1607.

b) The company was mostly aristocrats who were looking for gold in America.

i) The aristocrats had no survival skills and depended on survival from John Smith.

ii) The journey was ill equipped and many original settlers died from various diseases.

c) John Rolfe started the planting and harvesting of tobacco.

i) As a result, Jamestown was thriving due to the sale of tobacco.

d) Huge plantations arose in order to plant and harvest tobacco more efficiently.

e) Because of the need of labor to plant and harvest tobacco, the plantation owners needed a reliable source of labor.

i) The indentured servants proved to be too rebellious with Bacon's Rebellion.

f) Then in 1619, the House of Burgesses was created.

i) It was the first legislature of elected representatives in America.

ii) The first was to set a minimum price for tobacco.

g) Settlements would elect 2 representatives, or burgesses, to represent them in government.

4) Comparing and contrasting the two colonies

a) Economically wise, the two colonies were extremely different.

i) Virginia was a plantation form of economy with large amounts of money towards a small amount of people, the plantation owners.

ii) Massachusetts, however, was more self-sufficient, and did not trade as much as Virginia. Instead they concentrated on ship building and timber.

b) Politically wise, the two colonies were also different.

i) Virginia hosted the House of Burgesses, which was a legislative body. The people elected representatives to represent their ideas in order to write laws.

ii) Massachusetts was almost the exact opposite. The government in Massachusetts was based on the Mayflower Compact, written by the Pilgrims. The Massachusetts Bay Colony decided to create a democracy with town meetings.

c) One other difference is the basis of the laws between the two colonies.

i) In Massachusetts, whose settlers were widely religious, they based their laws on the...

Bibliography: Kennedy, David, Lizabeth Cohen, and Thomas Bailey. The American Pageant. 13th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006.
"Jamestown, Virginia." 9 Oct. 2005. Wikipedia. 10 Oct. 2005 .
"Massachusetts." 9 Oct. 2005. Wikipedia. 10 Oct. 2005 <>.
"Emergence of Colonial Government." 9 Oct. 2005. 10 Oct. 2005 .
"CHAPTER 2: The Colonial Period." USIA. 10 Oct. 2005 .
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