The Chesapeake colonies, starting in Jamestown in colonial Virginia, were generally populated by people who wanted to make money, including people who had been held in debtors' prisons in England and indentured servants. The harsh conditions of early Jamestown, including the "Starving Time," meant that there was a high mortality rate and that families could not establish themselves. In addition, many of the early settlers were single men, so the settlement was not, for the most part, populated by families. As a result, women were generally under less control by their families and had more power than they did in other colonies. Colonists in Jamestown turned to growing tobacco to survive, and the first slaves were recorded arriving in the colonies in 1619. Over time, the colony increasingly turned to slavery. Most of the colonists were members of the Church of England, or the Anglican Church. Later, Maryland was founded along similar lines, though it was at first a colony that offered religious freedom for Catholics.
Colonial New England, on the other hand, was populated by religious dissenters (first, Pilgrims who broke away from the Church of England and later Puritans who stayed within the church but wanted to purify it). The Puritans saw themselves as a model to the rest of the world—a "city upon a hill," and placed a high value on literacy and education. The inhabitants were settled into families, as they immigrated largely as families, and their towns were rigidly controlled by the church. Young people and women were under the strict control of the patriarchal church and family structure. As the soil in New England was rocky, many colonists turned to small-scale industries such as shipbuilding over time, and there were far fewer slaves than in colonial Virginia.