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Two Distinct Societies: Chesapeake and New England

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Although people from England settled in the Chesapeake and New England area, the regions evolved into two distinct societies due to their differences in religion, politics, and especially, economies by 1700. The religion of the Chesapeake and New England areas differed. Because New Englanders came to escape religious persecution, one would think that it would become a land of complete tolerance. This was not the case, though. The New Englanders were very religious-based, and considered themselves to be “God’s providence” (Doc. D). Religion was family-based and with extreme piety. In the Chesapeake, religion was much less severe. The established church was the Anglican Church, but only became so after 1692. The religious tone was low-church, and many people (mostly slaves) did not participate in the Anglican Church. The varying political systems created in the New England and Chesapeake regions also defined a clear separation between the two areas.

When settlers arrived in New England, organized systems of government were immediately established, due to the Puritans extreme effort and dedication to a stable society. The Chesapeake region, however, lacked the sense of unity and togetherness that was vital in keeping a stable political system in New England. Leaders in the Chesapeake were often considered “vile commanders…with their golden promises made all men their slaves” (Doc. F) The structured rule of New England clashed greatly with the disorganized ways of the Chesapeake. The New England and Chesapeake regions differed economically as well. The Puritan work ethic played a major factor in the economic life of the New England colonists. Northern colonists withheld that they were “engaged together to make a plantation” (Doc. D), further emphasizing the importance of unity, diversity and class equality in the North.

In the Chesapeake, the class difference between rich and poorer plantation owners was quite obvious because often poorer plantation owners were forced to become “squatters” and live on the fringes of the settlement due to the dropping prices of cash crops such as tobacco and indigo. This class separation between rich and poor was not as obvious in the North, as the Puritan belief forced everyone to not “enrich themselves suddenly and inordinately” (Doc. E). Thus, the varying economics theories of the New England and Chesapeake colonies created more distinction between the two regions. In conclusion, the varying lifestyles of the settlers of New England and those of the Chesapeake created a noticeable difference between the two regions even the columnists migrated from the same country. Many New Englanders had their religion strongly rooted in the Puritan faith, creating a more unifying and diverse political and economic system. Settlers in the Chesapeake arrived in America hoping to gain profit from the land. In the end, this resulted in obvious differences between the North and Chesapeake colonies.

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