Culture is the flavor to any society. Derived from what makes a society successful, culture brings society to life. By 1700, the English colonist had developed two diverse cultures in the societies of the New England colonies and in the Chesapeake region due to religious and agricultural reasons.
Religion was the basis of culture in the New England colonies, yet it played a lesser role in the development of culture in the Chesapeake colonies. Due to strict enforcement, Religion influenced family life, education, and unity in the New England colonies of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Many Puritan Separatists, unsatisfied with the Church of England, moved to Massachusetts for religious unity. Newcomers had the choice of converting to Puritanism or leaving Massachusetts. To not attend church regularly or live near the church was illegal. Not committing oneself to Puritanism was as much a crime as treason. The first public schools were set up in the New England colonies so that everyone could read the Bible, which resulted in a higher level of education. Winthrop implies in A Model of Christian Clarity that the communities worked together as “one man.” Everyone knew one another because they attended church regularly and lived in proximity. In the Chesapeake colonies of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, religion seemed not nearly as prevalent in the culture.
Many newcomers turned to the Chesapeake colonies for its religious tolerance. Maryland initially established as a refuge for Catholics, also accepted Protestants. Protestants soon outnumbered the Catholics. As a result, the Act of Toleration, introduced by Lord Baltimore, established religious freedom in Maryland. Even Jews came to practice their religion freely. Puritanism was the backbone of New England society, yet religious toleration in the Chesapeake colonies was an open door that many newcomers decided to take. Rich soil became key to the sur…