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New England and the Chesapeake Colonies

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APUSH DBQ 1: New England

 and the Chesapeake Colonies

New England and the Chesapeake regions both stemmed out from the same origin. However, they each left to pursue a new distinct future for themselves. Different philosophies and motives naturally led to a difference in development. Difference in who was settling in the region, the reasons behind settlement, as well as religion played a role in the difference in development amongst the two regions.

To start off with, the New England colonies and the Chesapeake colonies each had different reasons for settling, which also led to each of them finding very different climates. New England primarily left for religious freedom. They wanted to escape religious persecution and so the people immigrating to New England were not just individual men, but men and their families as well as their servants (Document B). They wanted to take all that they had, and head over to a land where they could practice at their own will. The immigrants also headed toward a land that required a substantially large amount of labor (due to rocky soil and long winters). This clearly laid out their intentions for long-term settlement and plans for developing their community. The people of the Chesapeake colonies were settling for economic purposes. There was an imbalance of wealth, and a clear difference in the general welfare of those that were not wealthy. The rich were prospering fine while the poor were struggling (Document F). The settlers faced a “starving time” and where after Captain John Smith implemented the, “he who shall not work, shall not eat” rule. The Chesapeake colonies sought gold, they sought to make a profit for themselves to develop their own community in the way that they could not in England.  They were looking for a ladder to climb out of the poverty and hunger that some remained in. Their reasons for settling revolved around economic improvement.

Difference in religious and social views played a large role in how the two regions came to be so distinct. In the New England colonies, the people were primarily Puritans. Religion was the center of everything. Their education revolved around bible study. They believed that their economic development would be based on their faithfulness to the church as well (Document D). They saw that as long as they stuck together in the name of God, it was all they needed to secure their lives on the settlement. They acknowledged the existence of different wealth classes, but put emphasis on the importance of unity as one. That unity would be what they believed they needed in order for God to help them (Document A). In the Chesapeake regions, it was primarily Anglicanism. However religion was not of great importance as it was in the New England colonies. Education was not emphasized due to the focus on working and developing the economy. This in turn resulted in low literacy rates, unlike the New England colonies. The Chesapeake colonies had an aristocratic atmosphere due to a large percentage of men being indentured servants. While one region sought religious freedom, and continued on to make religion the center of their colonies, another region was focused on finding gold and making their region benefit financially.

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