Differences Between New England and Central Colonies

Essay by Billy VarneyCollege, UndergraduateA+, September 1996

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Thesis: While New England and the Chesapeake area were settled by people of English origin, by 1700 both had developed two distinct societies because of differences in their geography, economy, religion, and communal and family structure.

Many years after the establishment of the first successful English colonies, differences began to appear in the religious, social, and economic characteristics of New England and the Chesapeake area, which would eventually lead to the evolution of two distinct societies. The people who settled New England and the Chesapeake area were mostly English Christians who were in some manner either discontent with their homeland or in search of a better life. However, because of the geography and the economies that developed in each area, certain types of people were attracted to different areas. They had different values and setup different types of communities. In New England, a close knit, highly organized society developed.

People were concerned with the affairs of their community and the welfare of its citizens. Also, the economy, while never specializing on a single industry, focused on logging, shipbuilding, and fishing. Without the Puritan unity of purpose, people of that area worked to better their individual condition, rather than focusing on the good of the community. In addition, the economy, which had become chiefly dependent on tobacco, made many men wealthy, while leaving many more poor. Rooted at the base of all of these differences are the physical features of the areas themselves.

To begin to understand the differences that developed between New England and the Chesapeake area, one must first consider the differences in geography and climate that exist between the two. New England, with its more northerly latitude, had a more severe climate change from season to season than the Chesapeake area. In addition, there were fewer wetlands...