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DBQ: Colonial New England and Chesapeake Regions

The Chesapeake and New England regions were settled by people of English descent, but by 1700, they had become two distinctly different societies. They had evolved so differently, mainly because of the way that the settlers followed their religion, their way of conducting politics and demographics in the colonies. Even though the settlers came from the same homeland--England, each group had its own reasons for coming to the New World and different ideas planned for the colonies.

On his way to the New World, aboard the Arabella in 1630, John Winthrop, Puritan leader of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, spoke of the plan that he had in store for the colony. He preached that there would be equality in the new colony and that they "... must be knit together in this work as one man." He spoke about the importance of community in the colony that was vital for the survival of the colony. His statements made on the Arabella are to the ideas in the Articles of Agreement, which compiled in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1636. In the Articles of Agreement, the community was to contain forty families--rich and poor. In the Articles of Agreement, the concern for comfort and quality of life (for families) is outlined. They again put emphasis on the importance of unity in the colony and they also express that social classes do not determine what a person is. In Connecticut, the colonists set up regulations for wages and price; these rules were made to include poor settlers in trading and the economy by keeping the prices in the colony "fair." Since the colonists in the New England region was untied "as one" in each colony, this was one way that caused them to become a different society from the Chesapeake region. In the New England colonies, having a stable and united community--that treated every person of any social status equally--was very important as opposed to the Chesapeake region were each person was independent and were spread out in the region.

In the Chesapeake region, the settlers came for entirely different reasons; they didn't come to form a community in the New World, they came looking for gold. Everything in Virginia--the colonist, the politics, and the society--was based on profit, unlike in the New England region, it was an "every-man-for-himself" society instead of a brotherly community. In History of Virginia, Capitan John Smith wrote that the colonist main reason for coming to the New World was to "... dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, load gold..." Another reason the Chesapeake region was so different from the New England region was because the basis of the settlement was to find gold and ship it back to Mother England, some of the colonist did not plan to stay in the New World either; they were only attracted by the economic benefits.

In the Ship List of Emigrants Bound for Virginia, it is reported that the settlers that are coming into the New World are still in allegiance with the Anglican Church and the King. This shows that the colonists are not seeking religious freedom or striving to become a "city upon a hill", but rather seeking economic opportunities. Another significant point that arises in the document is



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