Colonial Regions

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By the turn of the seventeenth century twelve of the English colonies were well on their way to surviving in the New World. The only colony not begun before 1700 was Georgia. These twelve colonies though unique as individual colonies several began to form similarities. Although by the 18th century Eastern America had been colonized by Englishmen, motives, geography, and settlers themselves created two distinct societies, New England and Chesapeake.

The motives of the founders of the colonies in each region played a significant part in the regions development. Sir Walter Raleigh and the Virginia Company, a joint-stock company, were among the first to try to develop settlements in the New World. Their motive to establish Roanoke and Jamestown in the Chesapeake region was primarily to make money. Thus the constant reminder that their first goal was to make profits influenced the settlers of Virginia. However, this conviction for making profits almost was the collapse of the colony for its settlers were more interested in finding gold then building shelter and growing food, finally found its outlet in the cash crop, tobacco, which John Rolfe perfected. Virginians were already greedy and self-centered. They were more concerned about personal gain than equality, and so the different levels of society appeared. Life centered on plantations, and so the rich planters were most important. Their constant need for labor source led to the introduction of land grants and indentured servants through the head-right system. In addition, the Carolinas, proprietary colonies created by Lord Berekley et al, was established strictly to profit the proprietor which they eventually did due also to cash crops.

However, in the New England region, th...

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...owners holding too much political and economic power, as personified by Governor Berkeley. Thus the landless, freed indentured servants revolted in 1676 in Bacon's Rebellion, as is stated in Bacon's Manifesto symbolizing the conflict in Virginia between its aristocratic and poor inhabitants of the back county over the aristocracy's concentration of power and refusal to help those living in the frontier.

Chesapeake and New England both ended up prospering in the colonial era, even with the widely different institutions and opinions they each held. The forces of motives for founding the colonies, geography, the settlers themselves influenced the contrast. However, in the next century New England and Chesapeake would discover the forces of freedom and liberty would lead them to find a common ground--that of breaking free from Great Britain in the American Revolution.

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