How Economic Development Affected Politics in the Massachusetts and Virgina Colonies

Essay by 890765High School, 11th gradeA+, September 2008

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The development of areas and their politics can be greatly affected by many things, but one of the major developmental factors is economics. If two areas have vastly different economies, they will develop vastly different political systems. One such case can be found when exploring the development of Massachusetts and Virginia in the periods of 1607 to 1750.

Massachusetts was a polar opposite of Virginia when it comes to economic development. In the early ages of migration to the new world, the majority of people who came to Massachusetts were families or groups. Some were escaping religious persecution, and others were middle class merchants. The migrating groups usually settled together, which led to high rates of population per mile. This led to the development of towns. The primary fields of employment were mercantile, fishing, shipbuilding, lumbering, and small farms. They were mainly focused on supporting themselves.

Virginia was more of a business town than a family area.

The main people migrating there were wealthy business owners, indentured servants, and slaves. This in combination with the use of the Headright system created many large farms and plantations spread over many miles. The land all went to large rich owners, and there was little left for others. The primary field of employment in the south was farming cash crops such as cotton or tobacco. They were mainly focused on making a profit.

When the economic foundations of each colony are analyzed, it can be seen that they have roots in very different areas. This fact foreshadows the great political differences in the two regions.

In Massachusetts, the society was based in towns, due to the high population density. This led to people like John Winthrop, who wanted to make their town a model community for all others to follow. Winthrop’s “City...