New England And The Chesapeake Region Before 1700

Although New England and the Chesapeake region were both settled
largely by the people of English origin, by 1700 the regions had
evolved into two distinct societies. The reasons for this distinct
development were mostly based on the type on people from England who
chose to settle in the two areas, and on the manner in which the areas
were settled.
New England was a refuge for religious separatists leaving England,
while people who immigrated to the Chesapeake region had no religious
motives. As a result, New England formed a much more religious society
then the Chesapeake region. John Winthrop states that their goal was to
form "a city upon a hill", which represented a "pure" community, where
Christianity would be pursued in the most correct manner. Both the
Pilgrims and the Puritans were very religious people. In both cases,
the local government was controlled by the same people who controlled
the church, and the bible was the basis for all laws and regulations.
From the Article of Agreement, Springfield, Massachusetts it is clear
that religion was the basis for general laws. It uses the phrase "being
by God’s providence engaged together to make a plantation", showing that
everything was done in God’s name. The Wage and Price Regulations in
Connecticut is an example of common laws being justified by the bible.
Also in this document the word "community " is emphasized, just as
Winthrop emphasizes it saying: "we must be knit together in this work as
one man". The immigrants to New England formed very family and
religiously oriented communities. Looking at the emigrant lists of
people bound for New England it is easy to observe that most people came
in large families, and large families support the community atmosphere.
There were many children among the emigrants, and those children were
taught religion from their early childhood, and therefore grew up loyal
to the church, and easily controllable by the same. Any deviants from
the regime were silenced or persecuted before they could start any
movements that would be a threat to the authority of the church. Even
people like Ann Hutchinson and Roger Williams, who only slightly
deviated from the teaching of the Puritan church were expelled and
forced to move to Rode Island. As a result of this tight religious
control the society became very conservative in New England, and life
evolved to be simple and not elaborate as in Virginia.
In the Chesapeake region almost everything was exactly opposite of New
England. The immigrants were not idealists, but materialists, most of
whom sought money. As John Smith mentions in his History of Virginia,
many sought gold. As it can be observed from the ship’s list of
emigrants bound for Virginia, the immigrants were mostly young people,
most of them men, and like it is stated in the same list they were all
conformists of the Church of England, and unlike the Puritans, were not
discriminated against back in England. As John Smith points out, many
attempted to go back when they found difficulties instead of
opportunities to get rich. Many others died of hunger when the
Corporations that brought the settlers to America abandoned them, and
the difficulty of the situation is described in Document G. The
population was very small and the dangers were huge. The pioneers had
to defend themselves against both, the Dutch and the Indians. As a
result, the people who survived the first few years were all young
ambitious and ruthless pioneers. These were not the type of people who
would be easily controlled.
The independence of the pioneers of Virginia can be seen in Bacon’s
Manifesto. These people were not afraid to challenge authority and
believed that they had the full right to say in the governing of the
colonies. These people believed that if they had survived the hard
times with no or little help from authorities, those authorities had no
rights to impose laws upon them, especially if those laws were seen as
As a result of these differences two totally different types of people
formed in New England and in the Chesapeake region. New Englanders were
faithful followers of the teachings of their church, and the southerners
became independent citizens, with the ability to organize and the will
to fight to get what they wanted.

Category: History