Both colonies of the New England and of Chesapeake Bay originated from the British Empire, but social, economic, and political opportunities set them apart and onto different courses. People groups with many differences and goals went into each of the colonies. The Puritans (middling sorts) favored New England in hopes of settling down with family and to build on their home life. Chesapeake Bay migrants “gentry’s” however went for the sole purpose of furthering their limited fortune and escaping the hard life they felt while in England. Most of these migrants were poor and “short-lived” indentured servants as opposed to New England whose migrants were able to sustain themselves with money they already owned Both groups of people would discover that life in this “New World” would also generate different sets of problems for them.
The Puritans did choose to migrate to America to escape the religious persecution they were facing while living in England. The church and the state were united for religion was a big part of their everyday living. Since they faced religious persecution it should be the belief that they extended religious freedom to everyone in their colonies but that was not the case. You could have religious freedom if that religion was the religion they chose.
Anyone who dissented from this idea or did not agree with the choices they made were not accepted. Puritans were not very tolerant people when it came to focus on religion anything that was not deemed acceptable by them was immediately banned or forbidden. Chesapeake, however, took a different approach to religion it is not known if all the Chesapeake colonies had religious freedom, but it is known that Chesapeake did not believe religion to be that important for them to focus all their energy on this. They based their life choices and ideas on how much money would be generated.
Economic opportunity was what led to making choices that would not only affect their colonies but all of America. They also differed in family life. While New England was all for building and growing their family that was not even an option for Chesapeake. The ratio of men to women in these colonies was substantial which made creating families impossible for most men.
Since the Puritans left England to escape religious persecution and what they believed to be straying away from God, New England was a blessing to them. New England gave them the chance to purify their churches, supervise one another, and make law directly from the Bible. To have a complete separation from the church they had to remove all rituals done by the Anglican Church in England. They reformed their churches and instead of good works and paying for your way into heaven the only way to get into heaven was through the grace of God. Their new method of Church gave them the sense that they were Godlier and better in comparison.
The orthodox new Englanders maintained the idea that they had a divine mission to create a model society for the whole world. That holy scripture was the most divine works and following it was the life you should be living. “We shall be a city upon a hill” a quote directly from Winthrop to again affirm the idea that they want to be a model for not only their people but England and the world.
Because of their devotion to a religion, they greatly valued their access to the Bible as it was important to their ways of living and identity as Protestants. Puritans had access to preaching on a wider scale than Chesapeake. There was sad to be a minister for every 415 people as opposed to Virginia having one minister for every 3,239 persons. New England’s access to the Bible led to their access to other books which lead them to teach and learning. Massachusetts founded the Harvard College in 1636 the “first institution in English America”.Chesapeake Bay colonies the amount of work they had to do to survive was too much for the people they had for them to do by themselves. Tobacco was their main source of commerce and required a lot of work and effort. This was a big contributing factor to what would later become slavery.
The colonist needed help, so they tried to enslave the Algonquians, but their efforts failed because this group of people quickly escaped into the forest or too soon died of disease. In 1619 some planters made the decision to bring slaves from Africa even though slavery was not yet economical and was not widespread across the country. It was not a massive amount though, in fact, slaves were on 2% of Chesapeake’s overall population.
The combined efforts of the slaves and indentured servants who had to pay odd the debt they acquired by voyaging to the New World. Many were willing to gamble their lives against tough working situations and deadly diseases just to escape the oppression they faced in England Chesapeake migrants were poor and their only hope was to move around in search of food. So, gambling their lives in the farms of Chesapeake Bay seemed like an upgrade from the life they lived in England.
“Despite all of this and the importation of 15,000 indentured servants between 1625 & 1640 Virginia population only increased by 7,000 because many found their way into early graves.” (Alan Taylor) This unstable background and foundation of little commonwealths increased the volatility of the people and economy that was already rocky, to begin with.Land and region in New England were very different from The Chesapeake region which had large farms that were handy for their path to economic gain. New England colonies had very few small farms and based most of their jobs and work in home-based industries.
A few of those industries were printing and carpentry. Families were the workers in these industries which introduced the problem of child labor. New England settlers did not need to acquire workers for their families were more than enough. This was a bonus because Slavery did not need to be introduced so early as it was introduced to the colonies more south of the country. New Englanders also had an easier life and could always depend on having food to eat as opposed to Chesapeake where I was not guaranteed. In New England even though they weren’t as rich as some parts of Chesapeake even the poorest of people could guarantee a place to sleep in New England.
Their small farms did not produce less than the plantations in Chesapeake that were bountiful but New England did distribute all rewards from their farms and any other food source more equally among their people. The simple fact that they did not meet slavery contributed to a “less defined monarchy and no aristocratic assembly” (Alan Taylor).”Compared to Chesapeake, New England was a land of relative equality, broad opportunity and entrepreneurial habits that sustained an especially diverse and complex company.” (jcs-group.com) They had large and healthy families because the ratio of their family life was not as vastly different as that of Chesapeake.
Not having to live in those harsh working conditions also extended their lifespans further than that of Chesapeake. The social and economic lives were much more stable for those reasons. Nowhere else in Colonial America and no other colonists enjoy access to education like how New Englanders had.
Those ideals that first started with the early New England migrants are what contribute to our own culture today and how America was and is shaped.