Compare and contrast the English colonies in the Chesapeake and in New England. In what ways were they different, and in what ways were they alike?

2 Answers

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Historians generally discuss the ways in which the Chesapeake colonies and the New England colonies were different.  These differences are said to have created completely different societies whose differences even helped to bring about the Civil War. 

While these two regions were very different, they did have similarities.  For one, these areas were largely colonized by English people.  This was in contrast to places like Pennsylvania, which had more people from other European countries.  As another similarity, both of these areas had some amount of democratic rule.  They had elected assemblies that provided a voice for their people in government.  Finally, both of these regions had established churches and tax money went to support those churches.

However, there were many important differences as well.  The most important of these is that the Chesapeake colonies’ economy was generally dominated by large plantation owners.  Most of the labor for these plantations was provided by unfree workers.  By contrast, New England’s economy was dominated by small farmers and by merchants and artisans in cities.  This made for a much more egalitarian society.  As another difference, the New England colonies were settled by families and became very family-oriented.  By contrast, the Chesapeake colonies were often settled by single people and thus had less social cohesion.

These are some of the most important similarities and contrasts between the two.

mkoren's profile pic

mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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There were similarities and differences between the English colonies in New England and the English colonies in the Chesapeake. Some of the colonies in the Chesapeake included Maryland and Virginia. Some of the New England colonies included Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

One difference was the jobs in each region. In the New England colonies, there wasn’t as much large scale farming. Subsistence farming was common because the soil was rocky and the growing season was shorter. There was more manufacturing in New England. Mills were common. Shipbuilding was an important activity as was fishing. In the Chesapeake colonies, there was more large scale farming. The soil was very fertile, and the climate was better suited for farming.

A few other differences existed. There were fewer slaves in the New England colonies than in the Chesapeake colonies. The people of the New England colonies came for religious reasons. The Chesapeake colonies were formed to hopefully make money.

There were some similarities with these colonies. English was the language that was spoken in both sets of colonies. The King chartered both sets of colonies. As a result, these colonies had English roots.

While there were more differences than similarities, some similarities did exist  between the New England colonies and the Chesapeake colonies.