DBQ #1 Essay

Submitted By ninagoode
Words: 739
Pages: 3

The 1600’s brought about a revolution of exploration within the Europeans, which lead to the birth of America. Up to this point, America had remained mostly unexplored and unclaimed. All that changed very quickly. The Dutch, the French, and the English all started fiercely competing for land in the New World. By 1629, the English had started two colonies in America – Jamestown and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. These colonies were similar at first, but gradually major differences started to be seen. Although they were both originally settled largely by the English, New England and the Chesapeake region evolved into distinct societies economically, religiously, and based on each region’s original intentions for colonization. By 1700, it was clear that New England and the Chesapeake region’s economies were vastly different. While the Chesapeake region thrived on a single cash crop, tobacco, New England had a more varied economy and engaged in trading, fishing, ship building, and the lumber industry. A major cause of this contrast was the difference in land conditions between the two regions. The Chesapeake region was endowed with fertile, tenable soil, while New England had harsh, rocky soil that was hard to harvest. New England, though, had the advantage of harbors and vast forests, where the settlers had to turn to in order to make a living, given that farming was not a viable option. Settlers soon started fishing, cutting lumber, trading, and shipbuilding. The Puritan beliefs of New England also played a large part in the contrasting economies. Although both regions were settled largely to make money, the Puritans of New England still held on to their Puritan work ethic and were much less greedy than the settlers of the Chesapeake region, who, according to John Smith in History of Virginia, would only “dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, and load gold” when first arriving in the New World. The Chesapeake settlers also held very self-profiting attitudes when it came to tobacco. In contrast, New Englanders thought it important that “all tradesmen and laborers consider the religious end of their callings.”
The Chesapeake region saw a mixture of religions, including Quakers (who founded Pennsylvania), Catholics, Lutherans, a few Jews, and others. The colony of Maryland was originally founded as a safe haven for Irish Catholics. In the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland, the Church of England was recognized by law as the state church, and a portion of tax revenues went to support the parish and its priest. The New England colonists—with the exception of Rhode Island—were predominantly Puritans. Government in these colonies contained elements of theocracy from the start. John Winthrop, as governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, stated before landing in the New World that Massachusetts would be “a city upon a hill” and that they shall be an example of Christianity for all those who saw them. Their laws assumed that citizens who strayed away from conventional religious customs were a threat to civil order and