The Influence Of Religion Essay

1033 words - 4 pages

Since the day Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean, religion has been a major component in the shaping of the New World. Religion defines cultures, changes history, and molds civilizations. During the seventeenth century in the New England and Southern colonies religion did just this. Religion took the settlers bound for the New England and Southern colonies people of starting in the same place, and lead them in very different directions. The New England colonies became defined by their religion, while the Southern colonies in the same way became defined by their production of tobacco.
Religion was influential in creating the different social aspects in the New England and Southern colonies. The Massachusetts Bay colony was started by a group of 700 puritans lead by John Winthrop, their goal was to set a shinning example of godliness for the people of England. The colonists had very strong conviction to their goal, and so they entered a covenant with one another and God. Their determination attracted thousands of new settlers, the new settlers were made up mostly of middle class families. Along with the many Puritan families moving to New England, many Puritan ministers joined the new settlers. So many so that they had the highest ratio of preachers to population in all of Christendom. The immigrants in the New England colony believed in the idea of hierarchy and mutual dependence on each other. The strong connection between the colonists and God, the number of families and their sense of community defined the social orders of colony. The colony in Jamestown Virginia was started when the Virginia Company received a royal charter. The colony started with 144 Englishmen lead by John Smith, in their beginnings they struggle with famine and disease, which lead to many of them died. The Virginia Company continued to send more and more settlers. The settlers found refuge in help from the Algonquin Indians already settled there. Out of this relationship came tobacco, which became the backbone of society in the Southern Colonies. The work to maintain the tobacco was labor intensive and so the need for new labor lead to the immigration of thousands of indentured servants. Servants made up eighty percent of the of the immigrants to the Chesapeake during the seventeenth century, and of that eighty percent four fifths were men. The immigrants were predominately Protestants, unlike New England few clergymen came to Chesapeake and few of those who did were examples of righteousness and piety. Then in 1634 Lord Baltimore was granted land in the northern Chesapeake area to create a haven for Catholics who were discriminated against in England. Due to the Puritan Revolution most settlers were Protestants instead of Catholics. Catholics and the Catholic faith, although being the minority had influence on society and it became identical to Virginia. Both groups became more devoted to their faith in tobacco than religion. The strong connection of the...

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