Chesapeake v. New England Colonies


Although New England and the Chesapeake region were settled largely by people of English origin, by 1700 the regions developed into two distinct societies. Why did this difference in development occur and in what ways were these societies different?

Introduction and Thesis

The east coast of North America was settled by Englishmen of the same ethnicity, but by 1700 they had developed into two distinct societies.

Body Paragraph 1 – Founded for different purposes and under different climate

- New England founded for religious reasons

o Puritans persecuted in England à wanted “New England”

§ Separatists founded Plymouth, broke from Anglican Church

§ Anglican Church reform too slow, moderate Puritans à Bay Colony

- “We shall be that city upon a hill” Winthrop

o Connecticut, the “Blue Law State”

§ Founded by energetic Puritans à wanted a closer church-government alliance

o Exception of Rhode Island also found based for religious freedom.

§ Founded by Roger Williams to “protest” against Puritan’s strict tolerations à freedom of worship

- Chesapeake colonies founded for economic reasons

o Jamestown settlers looked for gold

§ Gentlemen faced “starving time” b/c didn’t plant crops to survive

§ John Smith “he who shall not work, shall not eat”

- Those worked for economy only

o Cultivation of tobacco by James Rolfe

§ Indentured servants who came here looked for new start in economic life

§ No Puritans

o Exception Maryland, Catholic haven

§ Economically geared and used indentured servants for labor.

§ Became major competitor with Virginia for tobacco

- Difference in climate

o New England with rocky soil, long winters

§ Would impact economy and how farms were organized

o Chesapeake with hot summers but fertile land

§ Carolinas were the “Bread Colonies”

§ Perfect for tobacco growing

- Would impact economy and how communities were organized.

Body Paragraph 2– New England and Chesapeake colonies had political and economic differences

- Political New England - More democratic

o Compact towns à town meetings, “franchise” to free white Puritan males.

§ Colonies founded based on religion; Puritans persecuted in groups.

o Small farms = no slavery à less defined hierarchy, no aristocratic dominated assembly

§ Cold climate = small farms, no plantation owners.

- Economic New England – Less agriculture, more industry

o Small scale farming à long winters, poor rocky soil

§ Fishing, lumber, shipping, shipbuilding, whaling, not focused on tobacco in south w/ fertile fields.

o Mostly industrial region, manufacturing

§ No plantation colonies = more manufacturing of cities, has many large cities including Boston. Most industrious of American colonies

- Political Chesapeake –

o Legislative owned by aristocrats

o More spread out, only county governments

§ Backcountry farmers under represented.

o Charleston South Carolina only notable big city

- Economic Chesapeake

o Primarily based on agriculture

§ Large plantations, very little industry

o Fertile land, fertile agriculture

§ Could plant staple crops including tobacco, rice, indigo.

Body Paragraph 3 – Social and religious differences

- Social New England:

o Education

§ Puritans believed education = better study bible.

· Bible would help out of salvation.

§ First public education system, best education, highest literacy rate in world.

o Social stability –

§ Immigrated in communities, more social stability

§ Less 20 something males, immigrated in groups.

- Religious New England

o “We will be that city upon a hill” – Winthrop

§ Dominated by Congregational Church (ex. Rhode Island)

o Founded for religious colonies

- Social Chesapeake

o Due to plantation economies

§ Slavery à aristocratic atmosphere

o Social instability

§ 75% of early immigrants were indentured servants

· 20 something males

o Education

§ Not emphasized as plantations wide spread

§ Lowest literacy levels

o Aristocratic atmosphere except N. Carolina and Georgia

- Religious Chesapeake

o Rural environment makes schools + churches more difficult

o Church of England established, no Puritans

o Maryland as Catholic refuge


The founding principles which each of the colonies were founded upon along with their climate influences each of the colonies’ decisions, shaping colonies settled by Englishmen of the same ethnicity to be starkly different and distinct societies.


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