Colonial America: New England and the Chesapeake Bay

Essay by RedRussia1945High School, 11th gradeA+, February 2008

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By 1700, England had established colonies along the eastern coast of the modern United States of America. The settlers of these colonies, therefore, were mostly of English descent. Despite this fact, the Northern and Southern regions developed differently, eventually molding two distinctly different societies, each with its own way way of life. This phenomenon is most clearly demonstrated in the development of the New England and Chesapeake colonies. Differences between these colonies developed as a direct result of the planning and social organization.

Preparation factored heavily into the progress of the American colonies. In the case of the Chesapeake colony of Jamestown, poor planning hindered its growth. An official list of emigrants bound for Virginia in July of 1635 illustrates a major oversight made by the settlers; the number of men en route to Jamestown exceeds the number of women by a large margin (C). Such an unbalanced ratio of men to women resulted in a poor family structure, and also led to an average mortality rate that vastly surpassed the average birthrate.

The settlers also lacked a proper work ethic for accomplishing their goals in the New World. The colony's population was mostly comprised of rich gentlemen, hoping to obtain great wealth from the new settlement. They were not, however, prepared for or willing to perform the intensive labor necessary to help the colony survive. John Smith, in his History of Virginia, describes how the settlers' lust for wealth led to unrest among the colonists (F). Unprepared for the required work, the wealthier settlers created a hierarchy, with themselves at the top, forcing others to work for them in the hopes of gaining wealth. However, this servitude backfired, and fights broke out among the colonists. John Smith recalls, "These brawls are so disgustful...they were better forgotten." These...