The Vision of the New World That the Colonists Brought to America
New England, on the other hand, had developed into a religion and family based society comprised of mostly middle class families by 1700. Looking at the terrain, government, and the people themselves, reveals clues about how the drastic split in society came to be. While residing in England, the Puritans and faithful Catholics faced persecution, which led to their immigration to the New World. Many groups and parishes applied for charters to America and, led by their priest, the Pilgrims and Puritans made the long voyage to North America. Their religion became a unique element in the New England colonies by 1700.
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Before landing, the groups settled on agreements, signing laws and pacts to ensure a community effort towards survival when they came to shore, and while settling in New England. Their strong sense of community and faith in God led them to develop a hardworking society by year 1700. Their towns were well organized, with the church being the basis of everyone’s daily life, and they wanted to establish equality and have everyone working together in harmony. Family was an important part of the Puritan religion, so their ships came with twenty-two men and twenty-one women, so there was stability.
They learned useful farming techniques from the Native Americans, and farming was their prime source of the economy. The Puritan work ethic kept people from working for extreme material gain. The Puritans were hard workers who had goal for a religiously purified town. Not everyone in England was facing harsh persecution and many travelers came to the New World with high hopes of fame and gold, which led to numerous conflicts. It was a land for the rich to get richer. The people that were assigned to the ships destined for Jamestown (Chesapeake Region) came without their families and their ages ranged from old to young, but mainly oung men. The men outnumbered the women six to one. This caused the society to be more chaotic because there were many broken families and a mad rush for the few women. The settlers in the Chesapeake region main goal were to get rich, or to gain new land and find gold. According to John Smith, all the people could do was live for gold; it was their only purpose. The Chesapeake Bay settlers had to endure the harshness of their new environment. The climate was not favorable and nearly half of the people died because of exposure to diseases or starvation.
Those that were lucky and survived these hardships were left to fight with the local Indians. Dis-organized and unable to find mountains of gold, large tobacco plantations were started and farming was taken up by the settlers. These business men were not use to being agricultural farmers. This was why things were so difficult before John Smith took lead of the colony with his “You don’t work, you don’t eat” mentality. People were not accustomed to hard work and physical labor, and the colony was dying slow. As a result of the hardships the first importation of slavery began in the colonies.
At first indentured servants were being used to work the fields, but they were far less exploited than the slaves. Indentured servants worked for the person who paid their way to the Colony until the depths were paid off, but soon their services were less useful and slaves were being imported in massive numbers. The colonial planters were making money and gaining large profits off of free labor. The development of the two cultures may also have been the result of the terrain the groups occupied. In the Chesapeake region, the colonists settled on swampy marshland that was hard to defend and even more difficult to survive in.
With so many people dying from disease and starvation, and the extreme shortage of marriageable women, the population grew slowly, if at all. Families were more groups of mangy children half related, from different fathers. Frequent death made unnatural family life a common thing. In the New England colonies, the people chose flat, manageable ground that left them with easy to plow fields. The soil and religious beliefs were ideal for subsistence farming, which meant small, manageable farms that would provide for a family of eight to ten. Since the farmers looked only to feed themselves, there was little, if any, need for extra abor; having most, if not all, workers available inside their own family. The moderate climate made disease a rarity in the colony, and death even more so. The balanced family life and food supply meant more able-minded colonists. Society had a patriarchal structure of man before woman and woman before child. Children themselves skipped over a childhood and were treated as adults at a very early age. They were expected to obey their parents and keep faith in the church. All these elements together led to Northern prosperity and growth. The land itself was important, more so was how it became used for profit.
This “land is money” belief was a unique attribute of the region by 1700. The motive for profit also helped to develop society in the Chesapeake region. The Chesapeake men discovered tobacco and began a fierce production of it from their plantations. Since tobacco depleted the soil rapidly, new land was always a must. To acquire this land, wealthy owners paid for servants to be brought over and work the fields. Each was given a land grant of fifty acres, which was not worth all that much. However, the men were bringing over ten, twenty, maybe even thirty servants to work in the tobacco fields.
Thirty men at fifty acres a piece add up to a lot of land, so the land owners started to bring in slavery and more black people to work their fields. Instead of growing tobacco, New England farmers were most likely to produce barley or corn, which helped them stay well fed during long winter months. They were more concerned with the survival of their families than the profit they could make from the rich soil, so the food was not sold for a profit. Rather, the colony became self-supporting in the issue of food. With food taken care of, the New England colonies were left to import stoves, tea, and spices, among other things.
Since they only needed to grow food to support their own family as subsistence farmers, New England farmers rarely had any more than their original acreage. This created a more equal reality for all owners, comfortable or struggling. The differences between the New England colonies and the Chesapeake colonies led to separate societies by the time of the 1700’s. Agriculture, motive, people, religion, and terrain are all factors that affected how they grew apart. However, it is also through the actions of the men and woman who settled in the regions, and the choices they made, that led to the development of these two colonies.