The American Colonies
The New England and Southern Colonies were both settled largely by the
English. By 1700, the regions had evolved into two distinct societies.
The southern colonies have characteristics that are the antithesis of
the New England colonies attributes. New England was colonized for Freedom
of Worship and freedom of political thought. The Southern colonies were
developed for freedom of economic opportunity. The New England colonies had
aspirations for a distinct society, where they could show their homeland,
how a country should be run. The southern colonies had goals for
mercantilism, and increasing the prosperity of England. The New England
colonies were based on theocracy, where the state forced the people to live
and worship in an orthodox way. The southern colonies(Virginia) had a
government based on a royal government, where the state was governed by a
governor and council named by the king, and an elected assembly chosen by
the people. Finally, the New England colonies wanted to establish the
colony for religious motives, while the southern colonies were established
for economic motives.
England and the rebels of England (Pilgrims), made up the New England
and southern colonies. “God Almighty in his most holy and wise providence
hath so disposed of the condition of mankind, in all times some must be
rich, some poor, some high and eminent in power and dignity, other mean and
in subjection. Yet we must be knit together in this work as one man.”(John
Winthrop, A Model of Christian Charity) This statement by John Winthrop,
demonstrates importance of religion in the lives of the New England
settlers. “We must delight in each other, make others’ conditions our own,
rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having
before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community as
members of the same body.” (John Winthrop, A Model of Christian Charity).
The use of the word “together” and “community” indicates that the New
England settlers were of a communal nature, they were less individualistic
than the southern colonies. The New England colonies were based on
religious freedom, thus their society was reflected the religion.
“These underwritten names are to be transported to Virginia, embarked in
the Merchant’s Hope, Hugh Weston, Master, per examination by the minister
of Gravesend touching upon their conformity to the Church discipline of
England, and have taken oaths of allegiance and supremacy:” (Ship’s List of
Emigrants Bound for Virginia). The use of the word “Master”, shows, that
the southern colonies were more of a individualistic state rather than a
communal state(New England). This individualism was the effect of the
motivation of the southern colonies for economic opportunity.
“We whose names are underwritten, being by God’s providnce engaged together
to make a plantation….” (Articles of Agreement). The New England settlers,
again were of a communal nature, in how they are binding together for the
good of the community. “We intend by God’s grace, as soon as we can with
all convenient speed, to procure some Godly and faithful minster with whom
we purpose to join in church covenant to walk in the ways of
Christ.”(Articles of Agreement). The statement above, shows how the
minister, was the head of the theocracy, of the small communities.
Furthermore, the “Articles of Agreement”, demonstates the importance of
sharing within the community. This article, was another product of the
motivation of the New England settlers for religious freedom.
“This court… in the interim recommends that all tradesmen and laborers
consider the religious end of their callings…”. The puritans believed
everyone had a specific duty in life, something that one was proficient at.
Almost all the mores and society itself radiated from religion, as a result,
many people who couldn’t endure the rigidity of such a society were exiled
and the dissenters created new societies.
“The worstamong us were the gold seekers whowith their golden promises
made all men their slaves in hope of recompenses. There was no talk… but
dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, load gold..” (Captain John Smith, History
of Virginia). The southern colonists were a people who settled in the
southern colonies for econmic motives. The people were more materialistic,
and individualistic, thus greed prevailed. Conversely, the New England
settlers were of a spiritual nature, and were dispassionate in
materialistic matters. The drive of the southern colonists were toward
“For by our nearest computation we leave at our backs as many
servants(besides Negroes) as there are friedman to defend the shores and
all our frontiers against the Indians….This gives men fearful
apprehensions of the danger they leave their estates and families in, while
they are drawn from their houses to defend the borders.”(Governor Berkeley
and His Council on Their Inability to defend Virginia Against a Dutch
Attack). The southern colonists were protective of their land, and were
seeking more and more land. The colonists’ idea was for more economic
prosperity coming from more and more land. The southern colonists were
motivated for economic prosperity.
“Let us observe the sudden rise of their estates…compared with the
quality in which they first entered this country.” (Bacons “Manifesto”).
This statement shows how the southern colonists had progressed by arriving
to America because of their economic motivation. The advancement is a
result of economic drive toward prosperity.
The colonies were settled chiefly by the same race of people. The
distinct quality that seperated the southern colonists from the New England
colonists is that the motivation of the two were distinct, and as a result
two colonies diverged in their goals. The southern colonists were aiming
for economic prosperity; the presence of vast quantities of cheap land in
America opened opportunities for economic advancement unknown in
overcrowded Europe. The religious freedom was a major contribution because
in Europe religious toleration was almost unknown, and dissenters were
looked down upon.
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