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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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