Although New England and the Chesapeake region were both settledlargely by the people of English origin, by 1700 the regions hadevolved into two distinct societies. The reasons for this distinctdevelopment were mostly based on the type on people from England whochose to settle in the two areas, and on the manner in which the areaswere settled. New England was a refuge for religious separatists leaving England,while people who immigrated to the Chesapeake region had no religiousmotives.
As a result, New England formed a much more religious societythen the Chesapeake region. John Winthrop states that their goal was toform “a city upon a hill”, which represented a “pure” community, whereChristianity would be pursued in the most correct manner. Both thePilgrims and the Puritans were very religious people.
In both cases,the local government was controlled by the same people who controlledthe church, and the bible was the basis for all laws and regulations.From the Article of Agreement, Springfield, Massachusetts it is clearthat religion was the basis for general laws. It uses the phrase “beingby God’s providence engaged together to make a plantation”, showing thateverything was done in God’s name. The Wage and Price Regulations inConnecticut is an example of common laws being justified by the bible.Also in this document the word “community ” is emphasized, just asWinthrop emphasizes it saying: “we must be knit together in this work asone man”. The immigrants to New England formed very family andreligiously oriented communities.
Looking at the emigrant lists ofpeople bound for New England it is easy to observe that most people camein large families, and large families support the community atmosphere. There were many children among the emigrants, and those children weretaught religion from their early childhood, and therefore grew up loyalto the church, and easily controllable by the same. Any deviants fromthe regime were silenced or persecuted before they could start anymovements that would be a threat to the authority of the church. Evenpeople like Ann Hutchinson and Roger Williams, who only slightlydeviated from the teaching of the Puritan church were expelled andforced to move to Rode Island. As a result of this tight religiouscontrol the society became very conservative in New England, and lifeevolved to be simple and not elaborate as in Virginia.
In the Chesapeake region almost everything was exactly opposite of NewEngland. The immigrants were not idealists, but materialists, most ofwhom sought money. As John Smith mentions in his History of Virginia,many sought gold. As it can be observed from the ship’s list ofemigrants bound for Virginia, the immigrants were mostly young people,most of them men, and like it is stated in the same list they were allconformists of the Church of England, and unlike the Puritans, were notdiscriminated against back in England. As John Smith points out, manyattempted to go back when they found difficulties instead ofopportunities to get rich. Many others died of hunger when theCorporations that brought the settlers to America abandoned them, andthe difficulty of the situation is described in Document G.
Thepopulation was very small and the dangers were huge. The pioneers hadto defend themselves against both, the Dutch and the Indians. As aresult, the people who survived the first few years were all youngambitious and ruthless pioneers. These were not the type of people whowould be easily controlled.The independence of the pioneers of Virginia can be seen in Bacon’sManifesto. These people were not afraid to challenge authority andbelieved that they had the full right to say in the governing of thecolonies. These people believed that if they had survived the hardtimes with no or little help from authorities, those authorities had norights to impose laws upon them, especially if those laws were seen asunfair.
As a result of these differences two totally different types of peopleformed in New England and in the Chesapeake region. New Englanders werefaithful followers of the teachings of their church, and the southernersbecame independent citizens, with the ability to organize and the willto fight to get what they wanted.