1993 AP American History DBQ

  • Category: American History
  • Words: 870
  • Grade: 11
Although New England and the Chesapeake region were both settled largely by people of English origin, the regions diverged in their evolution and formed two completely different societies. While the Chesapeake colony was established in hopes of quick profits and finding gold, the New England settlers were primarily Separatists in search of religious freedom and thereby a better life. Due to different reasons for fleeing Europe, different lifestyles, family lives, religions, and political ideas; obvious distinctions between the two settlements emerged.
        Granted a charter by King James I, the Chesapeake Bay colony was established early in the 17th century. Upon their arrival, they immediately faced the problem of attack by the Indians, and were thus forced to settle on the James River, alongside disease-infested, mosquito-ridden waters. Disease spread, and malnutrition plagued the colony. However, as seen in document F, their conquest for Gold was not hindered. Fueled by greed, these men lived from hand to mouth, rarely having an adequate food supply. More than half of them died because of their focus on digging, washing, refining, and loading gold. In addition, since many of the settlers were English gentlemen, they felt that they should not do much work or strain themselves. Although not all were gentlemen with the lack of a work ethic, most of the settlers were men. As proven by document C, very few women embarked on the voyage because men were seen as superior to women at the time, and therefore could do more work, and find more gold. This prevented the growth of the population, being that there was a lack of females to reproduce with, which in turn led to weak family ties. Foreign invasion posed another problem to the Chesapeake Bay settlement. Conflict with the Indians was an immediate problem from the colonist's arrival. However, other invasions such as that of the Dutch was also a problem. Since the colony was not united and worked together very loosely, there was a very weak defense. Governor Berkeley and His Council can be quoted saying ""¦Virginia is intersected by so many vast rivers as makes it more miles to defend than we have men of trust to defend them." Berkeley can also be seen putting his people under a sort of social class system, saying that not all are equal. This presented the need for some sort of governing body, which did exist, but was proven ineffective under Berkeley. This lack of an effective, yet just government angered many, but none as much as Nathaniel Bacon. Bacon led a rebellion against Berkeley because he did not gain admittance to his "inner circle" with its financial advantages. Soon Bacon came to head a faction of like-minded persons, many whom resented his high taxes and enforcements of the hated Navigation acts imposed by Charles II. Bacon and his followers lashed out against Berkeley by burning Jamestown. Unfortunately for Bacon, the rebellion came to anticlimactic end when he died of dysentery.
        The New England colonies were settled quite differently. The main reason for the emigration of the soon to be colonists was religious persecution. They became separatists when King James I became the Head of the Church of England because they opposed his ways. Searching free themselves of religious persecution under James, they became pilgrims and set out on a voyage to the New World. Since they had a reason to flee England, and did not ever want to go back, there was immediately a different attitude towards the settlement of the New England colonies than the Chesapeake region. As shown by document B, the settlers clearly had the intention of starting a new civilization overseas. Whereas Chesapeake settlers were mostly men, the northern settlers varied from all ages and were usually entire families. This lead to a higher reproduction rate, and indicated the intention of establishing a permanent settlement. Another aspect in which the North differed from the southern Chesapeake settlement was religiously. New England settlers were generally very religious, and god-fearing. However, they had hope, and believed that if they were good to one another, they would succeed, and God would watch over them. One of the early settlers, John Winthrop, proclaimed that ""¦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." Clearly there was unity and a certain sense of "brotherly affection" amongst the settlers. In the Chesapeake settlement, one man could be better than another. Winthrop also emphasized equality, and made the need for a righteous governing body to keep order apparent. The articles of agreement established a few basic rules for the settlement, clearly showing the mark of a determined society. Wage and Price Regulations further showed the equality and liberty, being established to keep the new, still informal, colonies from resembling tyrannical and unjust ways in England.
        As one can clearly see, New England and the Chesapeake Bay region were two very different societies. While the Chesapeake region was settled for primarily economic reasons, New England was settled for social and political reasons. Ultimately both societies succeeded, but New England clearly achieved a higher level of success.
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