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The Chesapeake and New England regions Essay

By the 1700s the English came to the New World and settled in The Chesapeake and New England regions. The lives of the people settled in these regions were centered on two dissimilar lifestyles. Distinctive differences between these regions were in expectations, beliefs, and social cultures. The differences created a clear cut between North and South. The wide gap between the development of The Chesapeake and New England regions was mainly because of the way their lives were centered. The Chesapeakes were geared around monetary profits and striking it rich, while New Englands focal point was about family and religious freedom.

The Chesapeake region was settled in part to get rich quick, like what Captain John Smith said there was no talkbut dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, load gold (Doc F). Life expectancy was low because people only cared about gold. They barely took time to eat and take care of themselves. Diseases took its toll on the people of this region; few people lived to the age of 50. Because of that many people grew up never knowing their grandparents, which led to no family values being taught. Women were scarce; men outnumbered women six to one. In the Ships List of Emigrants Bound for Virginia there was about fifty single men and sixteen single women aboard. (Doc C) Governor Berkeley and His Council reported on their inability to defend Virginia against a Dutch attack because one third of the freemen available for defense are single freemen whose labor will hardly maintain them. (Doc G) Many woman wound up pregnant before marriage and many ended up widows having to raise a family as a single mother.

The Chesapeake regions soil and weather was perfect for tobacco cultivation. They profited quickly with tobacco, but tobacco ruined the soil so they constantly had to expand for more land to grow more tobacco. With the scarcity of people, the need for laborers was high. In the beginning indentured servants were given passage and sometimes a small plot of land to come to the colony to work. Once they were freemen most of them never received their land, which led to the Bacons Rebellion. To justify the rebellion, in Bacons Manifesto, he stated that the government and land owners were at fault for the rebellion for withholding the land and money they fully deserved and were promised. (Doc H) Then black slaves became the labor source of the Chesapeakes. They were less rebellious and easily controlled according to the landowners. Racial discrimination developed with the thinking that the blacks were made to serve. The social gap began to appear and widen causing much controversy in the area.

On the other hand there was the New England region, where the people had a completely different view on life. The priority of this region was a family focus. In New England it was much cleaner, nicer, and cooler so there was little disease and death. This increased the life expectancy by ten to twenty years, which helped create a better stable family life. People grew up knowing their grandparents, and widowhood was less common. In the Ships List of Emigrants Bound for New England nearly all of the emigrants were families of more then four. (Doc B) New Englanders tended to stay together as a family. Women married in their twenties and gave birth every two or so years. New England men had much power over the women because widowhood was less likely many women didnt have the same rights as they did in the south.

Towns were centered on the community so they intended that the towns be composed of at least forty familiesrich and poor, and that everyone should have a share of meadow and a house lot. (Doc D) In every town there was a meetinghouse surrounded by house and a village green. A meetinghouse was used for community gatherings and a place of worship. Puritanism was very strong in the New England region. The town recommended that all tradesmen consider the religious end of their callings and how they can and will be serving God. (Doc E) Education was of high importance; towns of fifty families had to provide primary education and towns of one hundred had to proved secondary education.

They established their first college, Harvard College, only eight years after settlement unlike Virginias college, William and Mary, which took eighty years. New Englanders became great traders because they had a lack of soil and planting area. Which made it less ethnically mixed because there was no need for black slave labor. Fishing and ship building were other main occupations of New England. Weather was extreme and rivers were fast-moving which contributed to their isolation from England. Because of this New England colonist were very stern, stubborn, self-reliant, resourceful, and energetic.

The English settling in America led to the development of The Chesapeake and New England regions. The final result from these settlers was two distinct societies. Although they came to the New World on the same voyage, they were more different than you could imagine. The Chesapeake region achieved their pursuit of wealth and maintained an upper class society. They kept slaves on their plantations, and built bigger and better homes for themselves. The New England region prospered within their families, freedom to practice their religion, and kept and enjoyed a simple life. They maintained the value of a proper education, and continued to teach their children scripture. As far as dreams go, both regions succeeded in fulfilling them. A North and South of the New World were born.


Halcon, Ronald. AP US History Lecture. 2006

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