The Chesapeake Bay Colonies

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Colonial settlements shared very few similarities. In fact, the single uniting trait that they all had in common was what continent they were settled upon. Two regions, the Chesapeake Bay area and New England, both developed with significant variations. The differences in societal development between the New England Colonies and the Chesapeake Bay Colonies was due to the difference in the primary religion of the majority of settlers in the specific area and the people who desired to settle there which would help lead to the development of vastly different societies in the areas, the difference in climate, soil fertility and availability of resources in each area which would lead to the development of two different economies, and the form of…show more content…
The difference in climate, the fertility of the soil, and the availability of natural resources in each area caused for vastly different economies to develop. The warm-weathered climate in the Chesapeake Bay coupled with the quality of soil in the region and the availability of the tobacco plant already existing in the area was perfect for the development of the tobacco industry, which soon became the primary focus of the scores of mostly men who were attempting to work in the region. Because tobacco was harvested on large plantations, the farming society required workers. This need for labor provided a means for those in debt in England to travel to the new world, paving the way for slews of men to be left in disarray once their designated periods of servitude ended and suddenly they were thrust into the life of a poor farmer. In New England, the soil quality and weather was much less lucrative. Crops such as tobacco or sugar couldn’t survive the cold weather or rocky topsoil, so colonists had to find other means to make money. Out of this dilemma rose the development of the lumber, fishing, and fur pelt trade. The availability of lumber for ships, the abundance of fish in the area, and the rich pelts of the northeastern wildlife helped lead to the development of an economy that became focused on a merchant…show more content…
Those who held power in the church also held political power, with the ability to sway the opinions of the masses due to their religious authority. The basis of laws in the local government came from the religious laws practiced by the colonists, and although only male freemen-- that is all male members of the Puritan Church-- had the right to vote, because of the religious reasoning the remaining population of the area (women and children) couldn’t argue. However, because of the differences in religious beliefs in the Chesapeake Bay area, there was no one act of laws which could be implemented into the governing of all individuals in the region. This led to constant dispute over who should be represented and have suffrage, and who shouldn’t. Before Virginia was subdivided in 1632, the primary governing body in the colony was the Virginia House of Burgesses. After King Charles I split the region, an assembly developed in the new proprietary colony, Maryland. However the rich Catholics of the region were heavily outnumbered by Protestant farmers, so Cecil Calvert pushed the assembly for a bill that would give religious freedom to all Christians, otherwise known as the Act of Toleration. Although it was repealed after a short civil war, it represented another difference in society from New England, in which any religion other
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