Curiosity and bravery led the English to discover the East Coast ofwhat is now the United States of America. These strong willed Europeans,determined to find a new world, set out with high hopes and ambitions. Settling a variety of colonies along the coast of North America, theEnglish were among the first true pioneers.
After several expeditions andshiploads of emigrants, the English had a divergence of reasons fordeparting Europe for America. The settlers of the Chesapeake and NewEngland colonies were foreigners to the land, but they established twoexceptional but contrary societies due to the diversity of Englishcitizens. Chesapeake and New England colonies, although from the sameEnglish background, developed distinctions from the very start of thesixteenth century; their reasons for fleeing Europe, political standards,family life, religions and use of land. With King James I offering a charter for the Virginia Company ofLondon, a joint stock company, to prompt a settlement in the New World,profit filled Englishmen could not refuse this gracious proposal.Order now
A promiseof golden lands and a new passage route through America to the West Indies,the hearty men embarked on a journey that, to their eyes, seemed to bethrough the vast unknown. Arriving on the shores of Chesapeake Bay in 1606,they were soon attacked by Indians. Finally having to settle on the JamesRiver (named in honor of their King) the Virginia Company was forced tomake their home within a mosquito infested and unhealthily region. Beginning their arduous search from the onset, the stubborn men searchedfor gold day and night through starvation, malnutrition, and disease. TheEnglishmen of the Virginia Company voyaged to America with their hearts inhope of gold and their minds set on discovering this precious metal andnothing else.
Meanwhile, back in England around the 1530’s, King Henry VIII hadbroken ties with the Roman Catholic Church and was anointing himself theHead of the Church of England. Soon in 1603 King James I become the head ofthe Church of England causing the Puritans to oppose him as a spiritualleader. Since they could resist him as a spiritual leader and then wouldcertainly defy as a political leader as well, King James I menaced them outof the land. Compelled to sail to America in search of religious tolerationthese English soon founded Plymouth colony. They were separatist known asPilgrims who settled the land in strong belief that they would be free ofreligious prosecution.
Coming to America for entirely opposite motivationscaused these two colonies to begin to contrast from the very start. Controlling the colonies dealing with separate perspectives on life,Governor John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay colony (part of NewEngland) and Governor William Berkley of the Virginia colony (part ofChesapeake) had a difference in views on the upraising of a community. According to John Winthrop all people are equal; the rich, the poor, themean, and the powerful. With God at the center of the New England colony,the pilgrims believed in working together as one for the glory of God,where the colonists at Chesapeake believed that one man could be betterthen another. In 1630 while Governor Winthrop was aboard the Arbella hewrites that the community needs to uphold a fellowship together. Theirunity should be abided by one spirit of peace for everyone is a worthyservant of Christ.
On the other hand Governor Berkeley’s viewpoint wasquite varied form that of Winthrop’s. In a statement to his council ondefending Virginia against a Dutch attack in 1673, Berkeley addresses hiscouncil by telling them that it is their duty to take part in a war toguard their country. By declaring that Negroes and men in debt are not goodenough to defend the country, he is clearly putting people of his colony insocial order, which is exactly what the Governor of the New Englandcolonies preached against. These two adequate governors strived to achieve the best for theircolonies and helped the growth of two separate societies. Both governors,although coming from highly different backgrounds and mindsets had simularreasons for the different view points on the formulation of each the NewEngland and the Chesapeake colonies. The differences in family life,religion and land draw the final line where these two distinct coloniesdivide in difference and development.
Fleeing from religious persecution,the pilgrims migrated to New England in close-knit families. In 1635 thepassengers heading to America for New England ranged from children toteenagers, to middle aged men, and therefore the New England colonies wereunited from the start with a well-off family lifestyle. On another note,the ship’s list for passengers coming to Virginia in 1635 included mostlymen ages from 14 to a few 51 year olds. A 6 to 1 men/women ratio revealsthat family life was not a necessity for the Virginians. New Englandemphasized religion and family values, while Chesapeake concentrated onslavery, servants and prospering their tobacco industries. Equality andintegrity lead the New England colonies to widespread survival.
In Massachusetts, an Article of Agreement was formed for the citizensto embrace. The articles incorporate a list that embodies covenants for thecommunity to follow in order to acquire a livelihood. The citizens of NewEngland were leveled headed, conservative, and organized. Meanwhile, arebellion in Chesapeake against the governor was about to set forth. Nathaniel Bacon, a 29-year-old indentured servant launched an attackagainst William Berkeley due to his toleration with the Indians and theirfrustration with broken expectations of acquiring land. Bacon confirmed adeclaration justifying his attack against Berkeley in 1676, by remarkingthat some citizens are building larger estates and taking the “publictreasure”, while they (the indentured servants) make by on merely nothing.
Comparing these two controversial colonies exhibits that the citizens ofeach community lead exhaustively different lifestyles. While New Englandcivilians were fabricating laws of agreement to live by based around theirfaith, the people of Chesapeake are finding ways to go against their faithby attacking their governor. This indicates that the two colonies mainfocuses are not nearly related. Using slaves and indentured servants forfarming and cultivating the land of Chesapeake, the Virginians thrived onhigh profits, large estates, utilizing slavery, fighting Indians andattacking slaves. On the other hand, the New England colonies were centeredaround a Christian background, grounded on family ties, community unity,and flourishing from a diverse population. The New England and theChesapeake colonies, both settled by the English become two entirelydifferent societies by the beginning of the eighteenth century.
As anoutcome of individualism in the two societies, a vast difference in thedevelopment occurred. Ranging from family life to religion, to initialincentive for escaping the old practices of England, to styles ofgoverning, these two communities advanced in opposite directions, but alsoemerged as becoming unique successful societies of the English origin.