Although New England and the Chesapeake regions were both settle largely by people of English origin, the two regions developed differently. Certainly they eventually evolved into similar modern societies. However in their early years, they were very different. Thus, by 1700, the New England and Chesapeake regions had developed into two separate and distinct societies due to differences in social structures, political structures, and economies.
The social structures of the two regions were very different, mainly in demographics and the incentives of the immigrants and religion. In the New England area, the early populations was mostly comprised of families with children and servants. This brought to the New World skilled craftsmen, farmers, and indentured servants to shape the economy. This also provided a relatively equal male to female ratio. They had longer life spans and less infant and childbirth related deaths. The incentives of the New England immigrants was to escape religious and political conflicts in England, thus shaping their religion. The religion of the of the New England settlers was very Puritan. They wanted to establish themselves as a “city on a hill” or a place of morality and social reciprocity to serve as role model for the rest of the Americas.
The Puritan communities were strong and tightly knit and the Puritan marriages were stable and most lasted until death. The religion of these settlers greatly influenced their politics; their form of government was a theocracy. The Chesapeake immigrants were many teenage boys and very few women. The women who did immigrate there had great choice in husbands. They married young, widowed, and usually remarried, carrying on the plantations of their late-husbands, resulting in greater economic freedom for women Most of the male immigrants were seeking gold in the New World and prone to fights from the start. The Chesapeake was very diverse in religion. This diversity nearly required religious toleration to some extent. As a result, the community life was very unstable.
The political structures of the New England colonies and the Chesapeake colonies, too, were different. In the New England colonies, the government was a Puritan theocracy. Each town had an agreed upon covenant or promise of not only moral, but social commitment. Established and enforced by their government and covenant were fair and set wages, shared property, and public schools. Each town had a annual town meeting during which the male voters would appoint men to govern for the coming year. In the Chesapeake there was at first general chaos. The councilors appointed by the English king wanted to just go back home to England. The established governments were oligarchies and aristocracies, breeding social unrest in the lower classes, as is very apparent in Bacon’s Rebellion. In the Chesapeake, there was a system of headrights or one of land grants to people who were willing to either immigrate to the colony or pay for the voyage of another.
Also different were the economies of north and south. The New England economy was primarily sustained on agriculture and some fur trading. As governed by their Puritan ideals, goods and foods were traded for need, not profit. The Chesapeake colonies were mainly plantation colonies. The main crops was tobacco, but cotton, indigo and rice were also grown. The labor intensity of the crops grown in the Chesapeake, the bad soil, and unfavorable growing conditions gave rise to slavery in the south. All the crops grown were grown for profits, so there was a very competitive system of plantations.
The New England and Chesapeake colonies were settle mostly by the English, but they developed differently. By 1700 the two areas had two very different had developed into two very separate and very distinct societies due two differences in social structures, political structures, and economies.
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