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The New England and Chesapeake Colonies in Early America

By the 1700s two distinct societies were forming in colonial North America. Although both settled by people of English origin, the two regions had major differences in development. But by the 1700s, New England and the Chesapeake region were differing through social, economic, and religious diversity.

The social differences of the two regions evolved over the time leading up to the 1700s. New England, which was mostly populated with families, centred its focus on religion and brotherly affection (document A). In contrast, the Chesapeake region was a source of economic competition, such as the drop in the price of tobacco in 1660-1680.

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Opportunities began to diminish in the 1670s and by 1676 one quarter of Virginia’s free white men were landless. New England’s major concern was to portray the image of “city upon a hill” (Document A); they wanted the world to look upon them as a community of one.

The reason for English settlement in the Chesapeake region was for the gold mines. These proved to be a means of individual prosperity, which was the major attraction of the young males, the majority of the population (Document C). On the other hand, the English settled the New England region for religious benefits.

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This region met their desire to be a close-knit community with a religious foundation. As the century drew to a close the Chesapeake region began to decline as the number of workers increased as well as the products that caused the prices to drop. The New England region was mainly based upon the dependence of families upon each other which was a reason for its success.

The religious aspects of the two regions differ slightly for one major reason. The people and families in the New England area had to sign an oath that they will participate in the ministry. This meant that they were saying that they promise that when they become part of their community they will have a certain amount of time spent with the church. The Chesapeake region was much more individual and therefore it was the church was not as an important part of everyday life as it was in New England.

As the 18th century approached, these two regions of the colonies grew farther and farther apart. Both settled by English origin, they develop their own certain unique characteristics. Through the social, economic, and religious confrontations, these two societies were the foundation of early American history.

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The New England and Chesapeake Colonies in Early America. (2021, Feb 14). Retrieved March 24, 2023, from