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The Main Reason Why New English Separated from Chesapeake Region

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Distinct Societies

In North America in the 1700s, the populations of New England and the Virginian Chesapeake region were mostly of English origin, but had gradually separated into two separate societies for several acknowledged reasons. The majority of these people could be sorted into two categories: the richer community, who were able to pay their voyage across the Atlantic to America themselves, and indentured servants, the poorer ones who relied on others for passage. In return for the voyage, the indentured servants repaid them with a certain number of years’ work.

The New England settlers were mainly Puritans, who believed in strong religious values and purifying the Protestant faith and the Church of England. John Winthrop, in his speech, A Model of Christian Charity, focused on the idea that Puritans needed to leave England and found their own colony, as well as to form a community under God rather than focus on individualistic needs. He stated that this new colony would be a city on a hill, watched and admired by the rest of the world (document A).

While the Puritans settled in New England, it stands to reason that the indentured servant population inhabited the Chesapeake region. This is supported by the apparent contrast in the lists of emigrants bound for New England and Virginia. The emigrants on the New England list are a minister and his family/servants, a tailor and his companions, and a farmer with his. The other document lists “underwritten” names, proving that this list is the list of indentured servants, and that they are bound for the Chesapeake region instead (documents B and C). This is also backed by fact that the inhabitants of Virginia could not defend themselves from a Dutch attack in 1673. “[B]y our nearest computation we leave at our backs as many servants as there are freemen to defend the shores and all our frontiers” (Document G). Their inability to protect themselves was due to their prominent populations of indentured servants and not militiamen.

It is also common knowledge that the principle crop in the Chesapeake was tobacco, also signifying a difference between the two locations. The New England soil was much more diversified, allowing for different crops to grow there. And since the Virginian soil grew tobacco, it required a great deal of slave and indentured servant labor to keep the plantations running. The settlements in these areas reflected this with their cultures and ways of life, impacting the way each area viewed commerce and the economy.

These initial differences set the tone for the gradual separation of societal values, and over a long period of time during the 1700s, these two areas grew apart due to religious beliefs, rich versus poor inhabitants, and primary crop growth. So, although both populations were of English origin, the Chesapeake region and New England colony grew into two distinct societies for these reasons.

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