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New England Chesapeake Colonie Essay, Research Paper
In the New England and Chesapeake regions of Colonial America, drastic differences are
seen in the lives and attitudes of the settlers. All though most of the settlers were from England,
there were many preexisting differences in addition to freshly developing ones that caused the two
regions to evolve into two very different societies. Among these differences were religiousness,
the differences in the grouping of settlers, and furthermore, the hands in which the balance of
power rested, all of which caused the distinctions between the two regions.
Religion was a profound part of colonial society. Although both the settlers of the
Chesapeake region and of New England placed great importance on religion, the emphasis put on
it in the New England region was much greater. From the Mayflower Conflict to John
Winthrop s speech aboard the Arbella, (Doc. A), “God” was a center piece for the fabrication of
many statements, speeches, and documents, all of which carried over into the daily lives of New
England settlers. Chesapeake settlers, however, did not place such emphasis on religion. Unlike
Winthrop s statement which starts: “God Almighty in his most holy and wise…”, Chesapeake
settlers such as Governor Berkeley tended to rest their cases in the hands of the people (Doc. G).
Since there was less emphasis on religion, people from the Chesapeake region tended to lead a
much more lenient life than those of New England.
Yet another important factor in the evolution into distinct cultures is the fact that people
that settled in New England tended to settle in families or in groups from the same area, and at
older ages than the Chesapeake settlers who came over by themselves, usually as indentured
servants, and during much younger years. When a person came to New England, often times he
would be bringing along his wife daughter, 3 children, and servant along with two other families
from the same town (Doc. B). On the other hand, settlers on a boat headed for the Chesapeake
Region often never new each other, and whose lineage could range from the last names Towers,
to Loe, to Swayne (Doc. C). Furthermore, when male New England bound settlers left for the
New World, they were generally much older, established men averaging approximately 37 years
old, male Chesapeake settlers, however, aged only about 24 years. These differences in age and
group settlement caused the people in the Chesapeake region to have much different values,
goals, and aspirations than New Englanders. One final reason that the cultures in Chesapeake
and New England differed is the fact the balance of power in the government rested in different
hands. In New England, Religious leaders were generally town leaders as well. In the 1636
Articles of Agreement in Springfield, Massachusetts, (Doc. D), the first statement made by the
town leaders was that as quickly as possible, a minister would be brought to the town to spread
their religious teachings. The people from the Chesapeake region viewed politics differently. The
people in charge from these areas were usually either English aristocrats, or wealth plantation
owners whose goals were to acquire as much money and land as they conceivably could. In both
cases, the powerful group reserved the right to make laws, including ones concerning who could
and could not vote, thus preventing the power from shifting into the hands of another group,
which in turn was reflected in social attitudes.
There were many factors contributing to the differences in the New England and
Chesapeake regions. Group settlement, religious emphasis, and political power all affected how
people lived their lives in each respective area. These differences are what caused the New
England and Chesapeake regions to evolve into two distinct cultures.
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