New England and the Chesapeake region
New England and the Chesapeake region
The New World was a marvel and a chance to make it big in the 1600s. England took its gamble at building colonies in the unsettled region of what is now the east coast. It then was separated into two regions, New England and the Chesapeake. Even though they were both founded by the English, their differences in religion, unity, and motives evolved their societies into polar opposites. In New England, unity was a way of life. They believed in a balance of “some must be rich [and] some poor,” (Doc A) but also believed in the idea of charity to “supply of others’ necessities.” (Doc A) When these beliefs were combined, it created a relationship between colonists that was previously not practiced by settlers before them. New England greatly embraced the idea of a “together” colony. They believed that a successful and plentiful colony needed to have members that “rejoice together, mourn together, [and] labor and suffer together” (Doc A) to create a bond that themselves and especially God would be proud of. Even before they set sail, they made sure to travel in groups of families such as the Hull family, who brought “his wife, two sons and his five daughters” (Doc B) along with their tailor Musachiell Bernard and “his wife Mary and two sons John and Nathaniel.”(Doc B)
This meant the citizens had people they could rely and depend on, along with the welcoming new colonists. In this way, the New England colonists grew more unified, whereas the Chesapeake Region never set unity as a priority. On the ship’s list to the Chesapeake Region, it states there were “sixty-three men in between the ages of 14 and 40” (Doc C) with nothing listed to the thought of a family member or any relationship at all. This leads to the conclusion of a every man for himself mentality, having nothing waiting for them except for a master to work for. This type of mentality led to more conflict and less cooperation between the settlers in the Chesapeake Region. Such non cooperation of the settlers led to problems of even defending the borders, as Governor Berkley proclaimed that they had “more miles to defend then men of trust to defend them.” (Doc G). The distrust then turned to the government and was then tried to over throw, with the philosophy that it was run by “parasites whose tottering fortunes [had] been repaired and supported at the public charge.” (Doc E)
In turn, the New England colonies thrived together in harmony while the Chesapeake Region constantly fueled conflict, leading them into a stressed and hostile society. New England had a set plan for their colony, and that was to be a “city upon a hill.” (Doc A) They wanted a perfect society, and for it to be accomplished they needed to have a strict set of rules or guidelines to follow, such as having “rich and poor” (Doc D) citizens. Another needed moral was to make sure that every family was provided for, including a “convenient proportion for a house lot” (Doc D) so that every family had something to come to instead of competing for land. Wages and price regulations were set in place so the settlers wouldn’t become bankrupt “by oppressing prices.” (Doc E) “Prices and wages [were] duly set at the General Courts,” (Doc E) establishing the first minimum wage that ensured that they would never be cheated from what they earned. This system completely contradicted the system of the Chesapeake Region, when its only goal was to make money.
Even on the journey to Chesapeake making money was the center point, as they bought from their “vile commanders [their] provisions at fifteen times the value,” (Doc F) making it hard for the travelers to even survive the journey. All that was talked about was money, and the main fantasy supplier was gold. It was told that they would “dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, [and] load gold” (Doc F) by their higher archys. They didn’t set protection as a high standard, so they had “more rivers than men to protect them.” (Doc G) They also blame others for their greed such as Bacon, who said that he was protecting himself from the “sponges [that] have sucked up the public treasure.” (Doc H) New England’s colonist based society led to a conservative and un hostile environment, while the Chesapeake’s goal of money led to constant conflict and distress of their people. Everything the New England colonies did was based off their religion and belief in God. they modeled themselves as the city upon a hill, with the mindset of “the eyes of the people are upon [them],” (Doc A) so they molded themselves in the way that God had professed to them.
If they didn’t follow the laws that God had given to them their “prayers [would be] turned to curses.” (Doc E) shaming God’s servants.Their rules are based on God, and the first one even states they will “walk in all the ways of Christ.” (Doc E) Even in things such as arts and trade they would “serve God by serving their neighbors.” (Doc E) But as New England made religion their livelihood, the Chesapeake region never really established a religion at all. The only religious action they committed was before they arrived when each traveler took “oaths of allegiance and supremacy to the Church discipline of England.” (Doc C) Unlike New England, they did not hold religion to a high standard, placing labor and material items over the religion that came from England.
New England’s religion ran the government and made a standard of equality for all generations, resulting in a peaceful and conformative society for years. On the other hand, the Chesapeake had no solid foundation for a religious based society. In doing this, there was no real moral code so conflict and altercations were present at all times in the region. In the end, the New England region reigned on top of the Chesapeake, unifying their settlers with clear and precise motives while staying true to their religious beliefs. This set the stage for a region that would prosper greatly and healthily for the generations to come opposed to the Chesapeake, whose lack of moral code and values let the unity of the region fall, leading settlers to dwell in bad behavior that started its progressive downfall.