The history of the colonial USA is a significant part of understanding the history of the European settlements and subsequent colonization of countries around the world. In the late years of the 16th century, some of the most powerful nations of Europe majorly England, France, Netherlands, and Spain launched some serious bid for colonial coverage in the North of America and got very competitive amongst themselves for such occupations (Daniel, 165). As the British settlers moved into North America, they moved in different social setups and for differing reasons and also motifs for establishing such colonies. The various social groupings of the settlers had varied social, religious, political and economic ideologies and philosophies. It is this that created the diversity within America occupied by a variety of social groupings over the course of time. The British were the dominant country in America, and four distinct groupings set up camp in the now united regions to become the United States of America. The four very different and unique British regions were New England, Chesapeake Bay Colonies on the Upper South, Middle Colonies, and the Lower South colonies. The arrival of the of the European settlers was between 1600 to 1650, and they found the majority of the native Americans that lived on the Eastern side of the United States ravaged in diseases introduced to them by the explorer that passed by the land as they sailed past the region. The colonies of the Chesapeake and New England were the strikingly different in their cultures and lifestyles brought by the settlers (Lambert, 80-90). The differences were majorly brought in by the fact that their founding fathers had different intentions as they settled in the respective areas as they joined the New World. Therefore, differences existed between the founding fathers resulting to disparities in the political, economic, religious and social characteristics of the colonies.
The Chesapeake and the New England colonies had settlements that were primarily of the English people. The New England settlers were first individuals from England from the East Anglia that had to flee England as a result of the religious persecutions they underwent the time. There were hundreds of men, women, children and families that had run off from their previous homes in England in search of new opportunities and also of a New World (Daniel, 165). They searched for a New world that they could practice their beliefs freely and also protect their own and hence the movement to America. They began by settling in the region and then practiced their religious beliefs with much ease. They were called the Puritans ion the beginning as they majorly focused on their religion more than any other thing. They concentrated on what was of importance to them keeping things simple and also used the community to ensure that they would achieve their goals as a social grouping, they, therefore, built new towns and enjoy the social aspect of their religion establishing the model societies for Christianity in the regions that they covered. On the contrary, the Chesapeake settlers were fundamentally after making a source of income. They were merchants and business people that were seeking new opportunities in the new World. They settled in the Southern part with the motive of making a profit and also commercializing the region while taking major profits back to their home country in England. It is this that they enforced at all costs despite the resistance that they faced from the natives. The Chesapeake settlers first came to the New World in 16-07 and settled in Jamestown forming the first English colony with just 104 members as compared to the over 400 immigrants that later joined the New World creating the New England (Lambert, 96). They majorly hoped to find gold, silver, a cure for Syphilis and also hoped to get a northwest passage to Asia coupled with other valuables that they could exploit and take back to Europe to make profits. They were lead by Captain John Smith. They experienced resistance in the region and were characterized by war and terror and also disease with few of them surviving to form the Chesapeake colony in the South.
The Chesapeake colony includes areas such as Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania majorly found in the South. These areas in the South were more stricken by disease and had a very life expectancy; there were a limited number of women found in the region characterized by destitution, violence and frustration among the people (Daniel, 165). The New England was in the North of Chesapeake and consisted of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, Rhode Island and the New Haven that later became part of Connecticut. The regions were healthier as compared to the Chesapeake region in the southern part. There was a dependable source of water and had a lesser threat of death and hence the settlers found it easier to settle in focusing on their spiritual, social and economic wellbeing.
The settler demographics of the two regions were also of significant differences due to the disparity in the intentions of the settlers. The Chesapeake settlers were fundamentally young and single men that dispersed along the settlements in search of their opportunities (Taylor, 103). Few women engaged in the region for the economic intentions, and hence some fewer families moved to the area as well. Few women moved to Virginia and later were the indentured servants and then the African slaves introduced. On the other hand, the New England settlers came as social groupings with their families as they escaped their native lands with no intention of going back to England but wanted a place to settle in and enjoy their religious freedom (Lambert, 102). They lived in compact settlements as they lived together to ensure that they continued to practice their religion and as a result was bigger in number than the Chesapeake. Their population in the colony also multiplied faster than that of their Chesapeake colony counterparts.
The economic systems of the two colonies also varied in a major way. The Chesapeake had realized that there was the opportunity for commercial farming and also tobacco in the Southern region and therefore, intended to exploit that. It is this that had the tobacco farming which was the staple crop being at the center of their economy and engaged in intense cultivation and also plantation of the crop. The tobacco industry grew to great magnitude, and it also paved the way for other industries in the region (Lambert, 105). The industry was motivated by the fact that the settlers had fundamentally moved to the area for economic reasons and wanted to create enterprises that would result in profits and also commercialization. The demand for the continued growth of the market and also the labor intensive market is what inspire the need for the indentured servants. Te indentured servants were required for continued growth of the tobacco industry and hence the sales could finance the importation of such servants, and this further grew into a fully blossomed slave trade. the slave trade made it possible for the continued thriving of the Tobacco industry while at the same time, the slave trade became a boom with Virginia and the south become a major transit point and also a major market for the slaves not just to America but for the international slave trade. The slaves were captured in Africa and other areas and shipped to the South where trading would occur. At first, the business was made possible by the sales made in the Tobacco industry before the slave trade became a full sector or industry on its own that further supported the tobacco plantation making the economy of the colony thrive even further (Taylor, 108-110).
The economic system in the New England, on the other hand, was very different from that of Chesapeake since they majorly maintained a similar system as was in England. They also ventured into a variety of markets and industries at the same time. They had a system of small family self-sufficiency whereby they would engage in farming on a small scale and sell the surplus in the areas. They also had excellent sold for livestock and therefore also involved in animal husbandry. They further engaged in fishing and also some other smaller commercial ventures (Sarson). They aimed at a an economic system that would ensure their continued thriving as they engaged in their primary goals that was to future their religion and were not out to make profits or rather just create economic empires like the southern colony. However, with time, there was the rise of industrial merchants within the economy and it also led to the sprouting of economic classes and also of some towns becoming majorly commercial centers. Boston was also the commercial hub of the region and also became the home of some of the merchants that existed in the colony (Sarson). The first generation of the New Englanders had tried to have some form of direct trade links with Europe before turning to some indirect trading schemes that resulted in some triangular trade that became very profitable with time thus supporting the economy of the region and the colony in general. It brought some of the merchants that existed high status and also wealth. Boston became home to the middle-class artisan, shopkeepers, property sailors, workers, and transients. It was not the initial vision of the Puritans but the presence of economic activities and the need to have a thriving economy led to the rise of the social classes. About the slave trade, the New England people perceived it to be very wrong and refrained from practicing or engaging in the business. They firmly believed that every man was equal and therefore no one should have been enslaved. They, therefore, worked to end slavery not just within their region but also in the south and it is this that led to their constant endeavor to ensure that their people were educated (Sarson). Unlike the Chesapeake that strongly relied on slave labor for the thriving of their economy, the New Englanders relied on free labor and slavery played a minor role at the provision of labor in the region. It only existed in small extent from some of the merchants.
The political differences between the colonies were also apparent. The Chesapeake, who were primarily out there for commercial, and profit making purposes had a system that involved the planter aristocracy. It is the planters that held the power and were also the members of the representative assembly. In 1619, there was also the establishment of the House of Burgesses (Taylor, 100). There was also the colonial assembly that shared their power with the royally appointed governor. There were also the county courts that had power at the local level of the governance and there were usually no any form of democracy or popular elections at these levels. However, in the New England colony, the political scene was primary independent from the supervision of the British to protect the prerogatives of the Puritan church and also to ensure that there was the enforcement of the Church’s laws and values. The political responsibility of instilling peace and order in the Puritan society was vested in the local town governments. The power was also held by a form of religious hierarchy and the General Court also had some power (Taylor, 102-107). There was also the existence of the charter’s governing board and it is these that became the meeting assembly.
In conclusion, it is apparent that the founding fathers of the Chesapeake were quite different from those of the New England colonies, and it is this that resulted in the differences observed between the two colonies. The Chesapeake’s founding fathers or settlers were majorly merchants and individuals out to engaging in commercialization ad also profit making in the New World that had received immense attention from the entire Europe. They came in smaller groupings and did not bring their families since they intended to make profits and take them back home. As a result, they engaged in large-scale planting of Tobacco as the main cash crop, and it is this that further led to the growth of slave trade furthering the economy of the region. The political system in the area was also more of a planter aristocracy and remained in touch and controlled by the English government. On the contrary, the founding fathers of the New England were of the Puritan Church and aimed at offering second chance for the followers of the church in the New World, they therefore moved with their families settling in the Northern region. Their primary goals was to enjoy their religious freedom that was not present in England as they faced persecution and therefore, were not interested in commercialization although some merchants came up with time, their political system was also led by the church system or order and tried to avoid the influence of the English government to protect their religious values. They strongly opposed the slave trade. Therefore, it is the various differences that existed between the founding fathers of the colonies that resulted to the ultimate disparities in the political, economic, religious and social characteristics of the colonies.
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