1700 the regions had evolved into two distinct societies. I have described both societies in an attempt to
demonstrate their developments.
was profit rather than religion.
John Smith dealt with the Indians by shows of force and the Indians withdrew trade with the English.
Many settlers died of starvation in the first years.
shipped the first crop in 1617 and thereafter tobacco cultivation spread rapidly. By 1624, Virginia was
exporting 200,000 pounds of tobacco; by 1638 the crop exceeded 3 million pounds.
The cultivation of tobacco caused Virginia?s planters to find a reliable supply of cheap labor. To fill this
servants. They willingly sold a portion of their working lives in exchange for free passage across the
ladder from their places of origin.
The profitable tobacco crops created an intense demand for land. As more and more colonists settled along
bankruptcy of the Virginia Company. The surviving planters felt they had justified reasons for the
destruction of the Indians. As more settlers arrived, more pressure was placed on the Indians for land.
Wars over land was provoked in 1644 and again in 1675. In each of these conflicts, the colonizers were
victorious. The native population of Virginia was reduced to less than 1,000 by 1680.
Immigrants to the Chesapeake Bay region found existence difficult. Many immigrants arrived as
Widows and widowers often remarried soon after the death of their spouse, creating a complex web of
took root very slowly.
Settlers at first built primitive huts and shanties. After establishing crops, planters improved their habitats
but still built ramshackle one-room dwellings. Even as Virginia and Maryland matured, cheaply built and
cramped houses remained the norm. Life was too uncertain and the tobacco economy was too volatile.
Massachusetts Bay Colony
While some English settlers scrambled for wealth on the Chesapeake, others were seized by the spirit of
land. They wanted the new land to have a special mission in the world.
notion of community involvement. This community involvement was the belief that people were bound
together by reciprocal rights, obligations, and responsibilities. Puritans vowed to reverse the march of
disorder, wickedness and disregard for community by imposing a new discipline.
God to work for his ends. Civil and religious transgressors were rooted out and severely punished. Their
sense of mission, the Puritans thrived almost from the beginning. The early leaders were university-trained
was God?s prophecy for New England. Most of the ordinary settlers came as free men in with families.
Trained artisans and farmers from the mid rank of English society, they established close communities
where brutal exploitation of labor had no place.
with local Indians. They also established the first printing press and planted they seed of a university,
ordered every town with 50 families to establish an elementary school and every town with 100 families a
secondary school as well.
Although the Puritans had made many accomplishments, there were some dissenters from the Puritan way
should not interfere with religious matters. In 1634, Anne Hutchinson began to discuss religion, suggesting
The village was the vital center of Puritan life. These villages were small and tightly held. Many farmers
established agriculture fields set outside the village. Families lived close together in compact towns built
around a common meeting place. These small, communal villages kept families in close touch. Land was
town. It was believed that every family should have enough land to sustain it, and prospering men were
expected to use their wealth for the community?s benefit, not for themselves.
Women played a vital role in this family centered society. The presence of women and a stable family life
strongly affected New England?s architecture. Early economic gains were transformed into substantial
housing. Well constructed one-room houses with sleeping lofts quickly replaced the huts. Parlors and
lean-to kitchens were added as soon as possible.
Education was stressed in Puritan communities. Placing religion at the center of their lives, Puritans
emphasized the ability to read catechisms, psalmbooks and especially the Bible.
The 20,000 English immigrants who had come to New England by 1649 were dispersed from Maine to
Long Island. It was only natural that farmers wished for better farm land. To combat the problems of
dispersion, Puritan leaders established a broad intercolony political structure in 1643 called the
Confederation of New England. This first attempt at federalism managed to function fitfully for a
Although the Puritans built stable communities, developed the economy and constructed effective
government, their leaders, as early as the 1640s, complained that the founding vision of Massachusetts Bay
was mandated and family life was stable.