Differences between the New England and Chesapeake Colonies

1 January 2018

By 1700, differences in religious convictions, wealth, and climate transformed the New England and Chesapeake Bay colonies into distinct societies with markedly contrasting cultures and values. Having fled England because of religious persecution, the Puritans placed a greater emphasis on religion. In contrast, the Chesapeake society, consisting mostly of men who were affected by the primogeniture laws, placed more importance on wealth and land. The climates of the two societies fostered distinct economies and new cultural practices, such as the tobacco wives in the Chesapeake region. Although the English made up the bulk of the Chesapeake Bay and New England societies, these influences shaped their ways of life and created two distinct cultures with values that continue today.

The New England colonies had developed into a religion and family based society comprised of mostly middle class families. The economy was based on fishing, shipbuilding, and farming. The farming in New England was done on a much smaller scale. Because the society was so family-orientated, they grew much of their own food and the farms were normally self-sufficient. It was nowhere near the size of the vast plantations in the Chesapeake. This was simply because New England’s focus was not on economic gain. Due to the home-based industry businesses, the New England settlers did not need to hire labor as their families were enough to provide the needed labor force for their work. As a result, it is worth noting that slavery never developed much in the northern part as compared to the southern.

The Chesapeake region developed into a land of plantations and money-driven owners, with the elite wealthy, almost no middle class, and those in poverty creating the population. Chesapeake region was mainly swampy and not suitable for typical crop growing activities. However, 5 years after their arrival in the land saw the discovery of tobacco which actually did well. In this regard, it is important to note that due to the tobacco growing in the land, Chesapeake settler used and employed cheap labor in their fields. They developed an indentured servitude system in which individuals who desired free passage to America had offer their services in terms of labor for some years before being allowed to enter into America.

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