Colonies in Early America Differences Between Chesapeake Term Paper

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¶ … Colonies in Early America

Differences between Chesapeake Colonies and New England Colonies

The Chesapeake colonies - Virginia and Maryland - were called Chesapeake colonies because they bordered on the huge Chesapeake Bay. There were of course many variations in the ways of life - and basic philosophies which motivated people - between the Chesapeake settlers and New England settlers, according to Mary Beth Norton's text, A People & A Nation: A History of the United States.

First of all, the English settlers in Virginia did not get along with the Native Americans (Indians) as well as settlers in New England. Authority within Indian tribes (in particular Algonkian tribes) was based on agreement within the tribe community, a consensus arrangement, whereas English power was autocratic.

Also, "...The English refused to accept the validity of Indian claims to traditional hunting territories" (26), and the English "showed little respect for traditional Indian ways of life." As a result of this lack of understanding and lack of respect for the Indians, and of the fact that the Virginia colonists were expanding their tobacco fields deep into Indian territory - trying to convert the Indians to Christianity in the meantime - the Indians attacked on March 22, 1622. Some 347 colonists were slain, about one-fourth of the entire settlement.

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And though the Indians were eventually repelled, and beaten back, this savage attack helped assure that the Virginia Company did not profit from all the growth of tobacco: "The Virginia colony reeled from the blow but did not collapse" (26).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Colonies in Early America Differences Between Chesapeake Assignment

Meanwhile, following this economic failure of tobacco, Virginia, in a sense, became an economic laboratory of King James I: he created a "royal colony" out of Virginia in 1624, appointed his own officials to govern the colony. Virginia became a "headright" system as each new arrival "was promised a land grant of fifty acres" (27); to the wealthy, it offered the chance to establish "vast agricultural enterprises" which in many cases were worked by indentured servants. Those English servants "accounted for 75 to 85% of the approximately 130,000" (28) migrants to Virginia and Maryland.

According to the Gary B. Nash text, Red, White, and Black: The Peoples of Early America, a male indentured servant "could tend about 1,000 to 2,000 tobacco plants" (53), which would be worth about 100 to 150 British Pounds per year. The indentured servants (who had signed contracts in England committing to a certain specified number of years of servitude) were brought to Virginia "by the shipload" and "auctioned off at the doc to the highest bidder" (53). And the "more servants" the landowner could purchase, "the greater the crop he could produce; larger crops brought more capital with which to purchase land and additional servants."

The New England Colonies' primary reasons for settling were unlike the Chesapeake settlers, who, according to Norton's book, were "little affected by religious motives" (30), while the New Englanders' religious beliefs were "a primary motivating factor."… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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