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The early seventeenth century was a time period defined by discovery, expansion, and the ensuing new societies in land previously thought to be non-existent by Europeans.

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The early seventeenth century was a time period defined by discovery, expansion, and the ensuing new societies in land previously thought to be non-existent by Europeans. While the Spanish and French settled in different corners of the New World, the English established their colonies relatively close to each other - in what is now known as Massachusetts and New England, while another group settled a few hundred miles southward, in the Chesapeake Bay area. However, a century and a half later, these two English societies were different in many ways: economically, politically, socially, and religiously, it is hard to imagine that the people within these colonies had indeed originated from the same place. These divergences between the New Englanders and the Virginians sprouted from the difference in their original reasons to leave England. The settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were a group of people dissatisfied with the religious conditions in their homeland, while the English who settled in the Chesapeake did so to advance their economic reputation. From the very beginning, the two groups of English settlers had different reasons for embarking on their emigration from England. ...read more.


This system rendered religion and government irrevocably entwined; thus, the society that evolved in the Massachusetts Bay Colony was governed by the rules of Scripture and the Bible, as interpreted by those appointed to this higher rank. In contrast, however, were the Virginian colonists. While the Puritans were self-sponsored and came completely of their own accord, the Virginians were sponsored by the Virginia Company of London as a political and economic endeavor. The Spanish colonies were not far to the South of the Chesapeake, and this geographic proximity was a political reason for the English to even be in the Chesapeake area at all, as they felt they needed to challenge the Spaniard settlement. However, the largest motivation for the English to settle in the Virginia area was economic. While Jamestown (the first settlement), was not an immediate success, as the Virginians learned agricultural techniques from the local Native Americans, the English soon became devoted to developing a large and prosperous crop. The primary crop cultivated was tobacco, which soon became the major export from Virginia. ...read more.


Those who politically controlled the colony also controlled the economy; they had no reason to employ those who were not in control, because they could buy slaves to do the labor without pay. As a result, there was an entire class of people left out economically and politically. Bacon, a member of this class, wrote in his "Manifesto" to justify his rebellion, "Let us trace...[the] men in authority and favor to whose hands the dispensation of the country's wealth has been committed. Let us observe the sudden rise of their estates...[compared] with the quality in which they first entered this country..." Both groups of English settlers did display some similarities; both were divided into two distinct classes, and both were governed by a group who were either holier or wealthier, respectively. However, these similarities sprouted in much the same manner as their many differences did: the New Englanders and the Virginians emigrated for vastly different reasons, were sponsored differently, and established their particular societies using different systems. The societies, then, would inevitably grow in different directions; their distinct developments were facilitated by outside influences, but from the time their boats set sail from the English coast, they were bound for different societies. ...read more.

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