Societies of Chesapeake Bay and New England Colonies Many settlers who came to the New World from Britain in the early seventeenth century sought to establish a settlement for motives including economic and religious freedom in areas such as Chesapeake Bay colonies that comprised of Virginia and Maryland colonies and the New England colonies that consisted of Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Settlers who often came to these regions came with varying motivations, settled into different regions that had varying geographies, and encountered different circumstances.Through the passing of time, these particular distinctions would contribute into casting the two regions into two distinct societies. While those who settled in the early sixteenth centuries in the New England and Chesapeake Bay colonies were mostly settled by the English, on the contrary to what most believe, these two regions developed into two distinct societies by the eighteenth century. These societies were able to be characterized through their differences in many aspects of society including politically, economically, socially, and educationally.
One aspect that illustrates difference between the Chesapeake Bay and New England colonies was the social differences that the two regions developed. For example, in the Chesapeake region, disease such as dysentery, typhoid fever, and malaria ravaged through the area. Unclean air and the hot climate further spread disease amongst the settlers. These factors had larger implications for Chesapeake colony society.
With the combination of these factors, an individual living in the Chesapeake often had their life cut short by an average of ten years than an individual in the New England colony.As a result of shorter life spans, many families were disunited as widows were left with young children to support. Thus, women had a greater status than women in the New England colonies. Women of the Chesapeake region were able to inherit their husband’s estates and were issued a different property title. Disease also affected the population growth of the Chesapeake region.
Since disease was widespread and many women did not migrate to the region, fertility rates were low. However, in the New England colonies, where a combination of clean air and colder climate helped decrease the risk of diseases, an individual tended to outlive their ounterpart in the Chesapeake region. Furthermore, settlers tended to migrate as families to the New England colonies, so the population was able to grow quicker.
With a longer life, an individual could see the upbringing of their grandchildren. They had a pivotal role in ensuring the children grew up in a nurturing environment and that these children followed the morale and guidelines of society. Early marriage and high fertility rates contributed in a booming birthrate. These facets contributed to the creation a strong, tranquil social structure of the New England colonies.Also unlike their Chesapeake counterparts, women in the New England colonies gave up there property rights when they married because Puritan lawmakers worried that recognizing women’s separate rights would cause conflicts between the husband and wife.
As illustrated through these examples, New England and Chesapeake colonies were varied through social aspects of their societies. Another aspect in which the two regions differentiated in were economically. For example, in New England colonies, where there was not much arable land, the settlers were forced to depend on more livestock such as pigs, cattle, and sheep.
Nonetheless, the settlers were able to create a small varied assortment of crops from the little land that they had. Furthermore, settlers of the New England region developed other industries such as developing their coastlines and built them for use as harbors for industries such as fishing and shipbuilding. In contrast to the New England region, the Chesapeake Bay colonies were quite different economically. The colonies of this region were much more dependent on agriculture economically.The settlers widely grew the addictive tobacco plant after John Rolfe (settler of the Virginia colony and the husband of Pocahantas) improved the bitterness of the plant. Thus, the demand for the plant grew steadily in England.
This dependency on agriculture would eventually advance where individuals would create plantation system in order to meet the demands. Once again, as illustrated, Chesapeake and the New England region were different through their economic standards is one of the way that these two regions developed into distinct societies.These different economic characteristics eventually leads to another differentiation in these two colonial societies. In addition to these two societies differing economically and socially, these colonial regions also differed in the political aspects. For instance, in the New England colonies, especially in the colony of Connecticut, the government was based on a town system. The congregational Puritan churches of the region were where the adult men would gather and vote.The New England villagers voted on aspects such as electing their officials, appointing schoolmasters, as well as discussing daily matters.
The colonists of this region saw sovereignty as being in the towns. The colonists also adopted this idea as a result of their conviction of unity for purpose. Conversely, the governments of the Chesapeake region operated more on a county system such as that of the House of Burgesses, where the colonists met on a yearly basis. This was a result of the people being spread out from their use of the plantation that tended to distribute the population throughout the region.As demonstrated, the New England colonies form of government varied widely from the Chesapeake form of government. New England’s use of the town meeting system and the Chesapeake colonies use of the county system show the differing political viewpoints, just one of the aspects that defined the two regions as two different distinct societies.
Although the Chesapeake and New England colonies were considered monolithic when they were first settled in the early sixteenth century, the passing of time would eventually these regions into two distinctive societies.Those differences that define the characteristics of these two societies are essential because they play an essential role in the creation in several facets United States history such as the development of the government (as later shown in history through Roger Sherman‘s Connecticut Compromise) and social and political issues such as slavery. The Chesapeake Bay and New England colonies were indeed significant regions; even though they varied in many aspects, played a significant role in shaping the attitudes of American society later in the nation’s history.