How were the Jamestown settlers different from those in Salem?
The main differences between the settlers of Jamestown and Salem concern their perspectives on religious and economic matters. Jamestown was established by the Virginia Company of England in 1607 and was sponsored by investors in hopes of attaining wealth.
The Jamestown settlers were able to withstand the harsh environment and successfully exported tobacco to make a profit. They were purely driven by wealth and made their money by growing and exporting cash crops, mainly tobacco.
In contrast, the Puritans, a sect of English Reformed Protestants, left England in order to obtain religious freedom in the New World. The Puritans settled in Massachusetts in 1630 and established their austere community of Salem. Unlike the settlers of Jamestown, who were motivated by attaining wealth, the settlers of Salem were motivated to escape religious persecution and desired to worship freely.
Therefore, the settlers of Salem were much more focused on spiritual matters than attaining material wealth. The settlers of Salem lived strict lives, suppressed their desires, and refrained from indulging in "worldly" pleasures. Overall, the settlers of Jamestown and Salem differed in their motivation to settle in the New World and had different lifestyles.
I think that one primary difference between the two groups might come down to why they each migrated to the new world. Jamestown was driven for profit. The discovery of Jamestown was commissioned by a British company, the Virginia Company of England, sought to establish a new colony in North America. The discovery of tobacco and other cash crops helped to drive industry and wealth for the company. The establishment of materialist motives behind colonization emerged from this. At the same time, the founding of areas such as Plymouth and Salem were done so for a pursuit of religious freedom. This became the driving force behind why the Puritans came to the new world and why they practiced a brand of religious worship that was so dogmatic and driven by spiritual impurity and the castigation of the human soul into original sin. In this vacuum, between economic and political control alongside spiritual and religious pursuit of the good, Miller's play takes place, reflecting both in the Witchcraft Trials.
The Jamestown settlers were sponsored by a group of investors called the Virginia Company of London. This group hoped to turn a profit, expand the English empire, find the Northwest Passage, and convert Native Americans to the Church of England.
The Salem Puritans, on the other hand, felt that they had a divine and holy purpose to fulfill. The first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Winthrop, said that they would be as "a city on a hill," that their colony would serve as a guide for the rest of the world of how the perfect community would function. There would be no difference between the civil and the ecclesiastical, and the Puritans would be able to practice their "pure" religion in peace, simultaneously serving as a beacon of light for everyone else in Europe. The Jamestown settlers had no such higher purpose. For the Puritans, in other words, it was personal.