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The Differences Between The Developing Societies Of New England And The Chesapeake Regions.

1123 words - 4 pages

New England vs. Chesapeake DBQBy: Andrew FerryAlthough the New England and Chesapeake regions were both settled largely by people of English origin, by 1700 the two had evolved into two distinct societies. While it would be impossible to explain each of the thousands of reasons for this change in development, there were many important factors whose effects can be easily seen and are easily understood. Some of these factors were social or economic, while others stemmed from the environment and location of the colonies. This essay will illustrate some of these factors, and attempt to show how their individual effects came together and helped turn the New England and Chesapeake regions into separate, distinct societies.New England during colonial times was a growing system of small towns, isolated farmlands, and bustling port cities. The amount of various social influences throughout the region would have been tremendous, but a very major influence was the type of person who settled here. While there were certainly many different types of settlers in New England around the 17th and 18th centuries, a good deal of the early New England settlers consisted of Puritan families. When examining Document B, a shipping manifest of emigrants bound for New England, one can see that the list is composed almost exclusively of families. Early New Englanders believed that God ordained the family for human benefit; they saw the family as a tool to help men and women resist temptation that they would otherwise succumb to. The New Englander's concern over the "Godly Family" played a prominent role in shaping their society as a whole. Unlike most settlers moving to the Chesapeake region, most New Englanders moved in established family units. This allowed them to preserve English traditions and adjust more quickly than the Chesapeake settlers, who mainly traveled as single youths or adults, as can be seen in document C, a ship's list of emigrants bound for Virginia. This emphasis on family life by New Englanders was one of the most prominent and influential factors that shaped that region in the 17th Century.Yet another prominent factor in shaping the two region's societies was the survival rate of the two areas. In New England, the life expectancy was much higher than it had been in Europe. Not only did parents now live to see saw their children grow up, but they also lived to see their grandchildren. One historian by the name of John Murrin argues that New Englanders "invented" grandparents. Most first-generation males in New England lived to the age of 80. While the exact reasons for this life expectancy are still unknown, the environment certainly played a part. The cool climate discouraged the spread of disease, as did the wide dispersion of the population. While the New Englanders enjoyed long lives and overall good health, the story was much different for the Chesapeake region. The average life expectancy for a Chesapeake male was only 43 years old; nearly 30...

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