Chesapeake And New England Colony Dbq


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Chesapeake and New England Colony DBQ

The Crusades of the middle ages introduced much innovative and formerly unheard of merchandise into Western Europe; however the scarcity of these luxury goods instilled Europeans with drive to find easier access to the Far East. Although desired "Northwest Passage" never was found, joint-stock companies, like the Virginia Company of London, settled colonies in the New World for untapped resources such as silver and other tradable goods. Many more corporations followed suit, settling mainly in the Chesapeake Bay area, their small settlements eventually developing into the Chesapeake colonies. The Chesapeake colonies were focused primarily on profitable enterprises. At the same time, the New England colonies were being settled with a whole different set of initiatives, principally religious freedoms and family. Governing bodies were established, with their success dependent on the quality of the settlers the colony attracted. The different motives for settlement affected the routine events in such a way that the New England and Chesapeake colonies differed very greatly from one another even though they were both mainly settled by the English.
While the Protestant Revolution raged in Europe, Catholics and other radicals were fleeing to the New World to find religious freedom and to escape prosecution. Because of this, the northern colonies became more family and religiously orientated as the families of the pilgrims settled there. From the Ship’s List of Emigrants Bound for New England we see that six families on board made up sixty nine of the ships passengers (B). Not only did families tend to move to New England, but whole congregations made the journey to find a place where they could set up “a city upon a hill”, and become an example to all who follow to live by as John Winthrop put it to his Puritan followers (A). Contrastingly, the Chesapeake colonies only had profit in their mind, which pushed them to become agriculturally advanced. Since Virginia, one of the Chesapeake colonies, was first settled with the intention of becoming an economic power house, it was mainly inhabited by working-class, single men. The average age of a man leaving for the Americas was only twenty two and a half years old according to the Ship’s List of Emigrants bound for Virginia (C). The harsh conditions of the colony did not appeal to those who wished to settle with a family. Added on to that was the fact that the average lifespan in the Chesapeake colonies was a full ten years or more shorter than that in other more desirable living quarters to the north.

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Without the restrictions families imposed, men were rowdier and less willing to live with less than was promised them. In exchange for passage to the New World and a piece of land many men became indentured servants, spending their first seven years in servitude to the man who paid for their voyage. When the land was not voluntarily given the readily feisty men were pushed to fight for what they thought was rightfully theirs. Even the infamous Captain John Smith agreed that “the worst with their golden promises made all their men slaves in hope of recompenses.” Such men as Capt. Smith talked of gave false hope to their men which only provoked them further (F). The “headright system” which was used to supplement the dwindling working population, gave fifty acres per worker a man brought to work on a plantation. This helps explain the underprivileged white planters’ feelings towards the rich plantation owners. The poor whites felt that they had been cheated out of their own wealth by “unworthy favorites and juggling parasites” that they felt were the upper class, which one must not take at direct face value because the monetary disparity between the two parties was so large (H). Because of the make up of the populace of the Chesapeake those in power had a very hard time keeping control and like Governor Berkley had to call for help because of their inability to defend the colony of Virginia (G). Though southern colonies did boast the first real self government in the House of Burgesses they fell behind when the government in Massachusetts was placed second to the church according to the Articles of Agreement for Springfield. The people who signed on to form the community had to agree to basic rules such as forming and joining a church, planning the composition of the town’s families, and allotting land depending on the family’s quality and estate (D). This shows the political stability the northern colonies lived in because of their cooperative attitudes which was not shared by their neighbors to the south.
The land for the New England colonies was not given to private companies as an economic gold mine for the monarch like the Chesapeake, instead it was to placate the nobles who had lent money to the king during various religious wars and fights with other countries over colonial possessions besides North America and had yet to be paid back, such as the Penn family. Not only did the money make such circumstances difficult, the religion changes that were so prevalent and violent made charters an escape for nobles of the currently out of favor faith. The land chartered to the Penn family went towards the building of the colony Pennsylvania, or Penn’s Woodland. The largest and most tolerant city, Philadelphia, was also the most planned out with roads and buildings built to a common map unlike the hodgepodge of buildings and winding tracks that made up the Chesapeake region. As the Chesapeake lived off of plantation style farming, the New England colonies became merchant traders. Since men in these positions would be able to make immense fortunes, laws had to be put in place to regulate the standard of pay for workmen and traders to be set at the General Court of Connecticut (E).
While both the New England and Chesapeake colonies were settled by a majority English population, they evolved into socially opposite assemblies. This came to be through the diverse motives for settling in the first place, religious differences such as the north being religiously devout while the south worked more than prayed. Very different English men and women coming for each colony, the single men to the Chesapeake and the congregations and families to New England changed the demographics of the colonies. The fact that the Chesapeake were originally for profit and not freedom also played a large part in the evolution of the different economies of the colonies. But no matter how diverse the colonies became in their social and economic ventures they still had enough in common to work together when it became a matter of survival for a way of life jeopardized by the English.


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