While in the New England colonies, the settlers were blessed with longer life spans due to cleaner water and cooler temperatures, which lessened the spread of the killer diseases. The fact that New England did have a better head start when it came to developing a healthier society did make it easier for them to adapt to their new lives. Most of the English settlers who ended up living in the Chesapeake migrated to the New World alone as indentured servants, independent artisans, or as the young members of upper-class English families, while many of the New England inhabitants migrated in families and groups.
With the idea that family should and would be the center of life, the New England colonists were able to thrive together and build a stable, tightly knit family society. Document A” more than reinforces this claim. It states that as a community people should delight in each other, make others’ conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together. ” Document B” further supports Document A’s” claim by listing the families that migrated to New England. These families were comprised of a mother, father, five or six children, servants, tailors, kinswomen, etc. However, within he Chesapeake, the people were far less able to come together because the high death rates and shortage of women (as Document C” states) made it far more difficult to start families and bond as a community. Not all life in the Chesapeake was completely hopeless. Oddly enough, women in the Chesapeake had greater rights than those in the New England colonies but not because women necessarily wanted more freedom but because it was their only way to survive their unfortunate living situations. Due to the unhealthy living conditions, many of the men would die young, leaving their widows with young children to support and care for.
To compensate, the Chesapeake colonies usually allowed married women to gain a separate title to their property and they would then receive the right to inherit their late husband’s estate. In a very odd sense, the horrible, squalid living conditions helped to further the progression of women’s rights in the Chesapeake. While in the New England colonies, the Puritan lawmakers were concerned that by recognizing a women’s separate property rights this would somehow dilute the unity of a couple’s marriage. Differences in the rights of women were definitely one of the major reasons why the two regions developed into two separate societies.
It was no secret that New England was far more organized and established than that of the Chesapeake. Document D” affirms that statement. It lists the qualities of a New England town. For example, the town would be appointed a minister that would walk in all the ways of Christ. ” Document D” also states that the town would be made up of about forty families (rich and poor), everyone would be allowed to lay claim to a convenient proportion for a house lot,” and that everyone shall have a share of the meadow or planting ground. Contrary to the Chesapeake, the New England colonies also had schools because education was valued and they had the time and the resources. It’s not as if the Chesapeake didn’t want education, it’s just that surviving played a much bigger role in the colony. The Chesapeake also had their fair share of unnecessary problems, which further got in the way of their chance to evolve into a better, more efficient community. One such problem was the Bacon” rebellion in which Nathaniel Bacon led a huge group of white, poor freemen who were frustrated by the lack of food, money and women to rebel against the government.
They also attacked Indians and were unhappy with the Governor’s peaceful relations with the Indian tribes. Document H” contains Bacon’s Manifesto” in which he justifies his rebellion against the Virginia Governor, William Berkeley. Within this document, Bacon states that sponges have sucked up the public treasure and whether it has not been privately contrived away by unworthy favorites and juggling parasites whose tottering fortunes have been repaired and supported at the public charge. ” This short sentence shows the utter unhappiness of the majority of the people living in the Chesapeake, which led to bigger problems.
If the Bacon’s rebellion wasn’t a big enough blow to the Chesapeake colony, their inability to defend themselves against a Dutch attack did not help matters. Document G” asserts Governor Berkeley’s admission of Virginia’s inability to defend itself against a Dutch attack. The document basically states that Virginia is unable and lacks the resources and manpower to defend itself against any type of attack. New England most certainly did not have to deal with any sort of problems like those of the Chesapeake when it came to rebellions and attacks by other countries which is why they were better able to succeed as a colony.
In addition to their political and social differences, both colonies had distinctly different ways of gaining income. In the Chesapeake people grew the crop tobacco and exported it to different parts of the country while people in New England became traders and builders due to the lack of soil. Even though the crop tobacco was the number one source of income for the Chesapeake, it was also the number one reason for why their land became ruined.
The English, however, did not have to worry about their land becoming ruined due to their advantageous use of the area’s abundant rivers and their skills as craftsmen. Once again, the New England colony seemed to have the upper hand. In conclusion, both the Chesapeake and the New England colonies did develop and evolve into two distinct societies. Without their guidance of how to, or in some cases, how not to run a society, I’m sure that we would not be the efficient and independent America that we are today.