Comparingand Contrasting Chesapeake and the New England
Mostof the colonies in the areas that were later combined to form thecurrent United States were inhabited by people from England, but theyended up pursuing different social, religious, economic, andpolitical ambitions. The first colony was established around 1607 inNorth America in a region referred to as Chesapeake. However, anothergroup of settlers arrived around 1630 and chose to reside in a groupof colonies (including Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont,Connecticut, and New Hampshire) that were later named “the NewEngland” (Meuwese 310). The primary source of differences that havebeen reported between the two groups of colonies is derived from thetenets on which each one of them was established. The New England wasfounded on religious ideologies while the Chesapeake was founded onthe notions of trade and profit making. This paper will address thedifferences as well as similarities between the Chesapeake and theNew England in terms of religious, social, political, and economicaspects of life.
Thetwo groups had different types of occupation, which influenced themanner in which they utilized their land. In Chesapeake, people weremainly interested in large parcels of land, which motivated them tosettle in Rhodes Island, Connecticut, New Haven, and Bay Colony inMassachusetts. It was easier to find large parcels of land in theseareas. The main occupation of the people who settled in these areaswas the extraction of minerals (Smithsonian National Museum ofNatural History 2). Their hope was to find valuable minerals (such asGold and silver) in the large pieces of land. Apart from engaging inthe mining activities, people in Chesapeake wanted to find productsfor trading. Their desire to expand their land towards the north wasmotivated by the need to find viable trade routes. Therefore, theirmain types of occupation included trade and mining.
Settlersin the New England, on the other hand, hand a different motivepertaining to their search for land. Most of the New England settlersearned their living from the artisan industry. This implies that mostof them engaged in carpentry, painting, and ship building (TheMariner’s Museum 1). Therefore, they were interested in findingland that could supply them with materials that they need to advancetheir artisan industry. To this end, it can be argued that the maineconomic activity of the settlers in Chesapeake was trade while thosein the New England were interested in artwork.
Agricultureis an economic activity that was common in both Chesapeake and theNew England. However, agriculture was practiced in different scalesin the two regions, depending on the type of environmental conditionsthat prevailed in each area. Chesapeake was a swampy land, which madeit difficult to grow ordinary crops. However, settlers in the regiondiscovered that tobacco could do well in the environmental conditionsthat prevailed in their area. Land for growing the newly discoveredcash crop was readily available. The large scale production oftobacco resulted in the inclusion of agriculture in a list of themajor economic activities practiced in Chesapeake (The Mariner’sMuseum 1). Settlers in the New England, on the other hand, had smallparcels of land. They engaged in small scale farming. The human laborprovided by members of the family was sufficient to maintain smallerscale farms in the New England. On the contrary, settlers inChesapeake forced people who needed to enter into America to work intheir large farms. This practice resulted in the growth of slavery.The differences in terms of labor demands in the two regions explainwhy the slave trade was common in the Southern States compared tothose that are located in the North of the U.S.
Thetype of religious is part of the major factors that are consideredwhen analyzing the differences between settlers in the New Englandand Chesapeake. Most of the settlers in the New England were PuritanSeparatists. These separatists needed to have religious freedom,which occurred at a time when the Church of England had justseparated from the Catholic (Crandell 20). These settlers had strongreligious beliefs that pressured them to undermine the other groups.They held that God had selected them for a special purpose.Consequently, the settlers in the New England allowed religiousbeliefs to influence the manner in which they conducted themselves inthe public life. They could not tolerate anyone with differentreligious beliefs from their own, and some of them could evenprosecute other groups. Chesapeake, on the other hand, was comprisedof a mixture of Catholics and protestant. The mixture of religiouspractices enabled the Chesapeake settlers to create an environment inwhich people with different beliefs and practices could be tolerated.These settlers focused more on their crops and disputes that emanatedfrom the Native Americans (Crandell 20). In other words, people werenot persecuted because of their religious backgrounds. Therefore, itis evident that the settlers in the New England were unable toseparate the church from the state, unlike their counterparts fromChesapeake who managed to consider the two entities as beingdifferent and independent.
Differencesin Social Lives
Thetwo regions, Chesapeake and the New England, had different socialcompositions. Chesapeake was initially occupied by men, including thebusinessmen before the arrival of slaves (Everett 1). Most of thesettlers in this region were interested in business opportunities andadventure. However, working conditions and the environmentalconditions forced most of them to leave the Chesapeake area. Manypeople got separated from their relatives, which resulted in theinterference in the overall social structure of individual familiesand the entire community. However, there were other groups ofservants and slaved that were being shipped into the region in orderto meet the high demand for human labor that was growing in thefarms. The community of people living in the Chesapeake was alsocharacterized by wide gaps between the poor residents and thosebelonging to the rich class. The rich class was comprised of theowners of crop plantations and wealthy business people (Everett 1).The lower classes were comprised of slaves and servants who wereemployed in crop plantations. This created significant imbalances interms of the social structure of the Chesapeake’s settlers.
Socialfeatures of the people residing in the New England were quitedifferent. People in the New England, were colonists who had movedinto the region together with their respective families. These peoplewere able to establish a stable society since the sense of livingtogether started at the family and extended to the community level(Everett 1). Differences in terms of social classes were not largecompared to those that were reported in the Chesapeake region.
Thesize of families is another source of difference between the tworegions. People living in the New England were able to establishlarge families. Their counterparts in Chesapeake had small familiessince most of them were men who came for business reasons or servantswho came to work in farms, leaving their wives and children back inEngland (Everett 1).
PoliticalSimilarities and Differences
Themajor similarity between the Chesapeake and the New England is thatresidents in both regions believed in some form of organizedgovernment. However, they differed significantly in terms of theseparation between the state and religion. Religious beliefs wereinstrumental in the New England and only the Puritans were allowed toengage in the voting exercise (Everett 1). The political system ofthe Chesapeake was quite liberal and people could be allowed to vote,irrespective of their religious background. However, peasants in theremote areas were under represented. In addition, residents of theNew England were able to establish a highly structured system ofgovernment compared to settlers of Chesapeake who were lessorganized. Moreover, the political leadership of Chesapeakeemphasized on the master servant relationship, where the wealthypeople were interested in commanding slaves and servants who workedfor them. These characteristics indicate that the political system ofthe Chesapeake was haphazard while the leadership of the New Englandwas organized.
Themain source of the difference between the way settlers lived indifferent colonies is attributed to the fact that those in theChesapeake were motivated by the business ideologies while whose inthe New England based their lives on religion. Residents ofChesapeake were miners and traders while those living in the NewEngland were artisans. Both groups upheld the Christian beliefs, butthe people of the Chesapeake were Protestants, while the residents ofthe New England were Puritan Separatists. Additionally, the twogroups had some form of government, but the people of the New Englandwere more organized.
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Everett,E. The middle, Chesapeake, and Southern colonies. StudyNotes.2016. Web. 20 December 2016.
Meuwese,M. “The Dutch connection: New Netherland, the Pequots, and thePuritans in Southern New England”. AnInterdisciplinary Journal9.2 (2011): 295-323. Print.
SmithsonianNational Museum of Natural History. Article:17thCentury colonization of the Chesapeake area. Washington, DC: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History,2011. Print.
TheMariner’s Museum. The colonial period, 1607-1780. TheMariner’s Museum.2012. Web. 20 December 2016.