Comparative Analysis of Virginia Colony and New England Colonies

HomeEssaysHistory and PoliticsComparative Analysis of Virginia Colony and New England Colonies
Comparative Analysis of Virginia Colony and New England Colonies

Throughout the sixtieth and seventieth centuries, the European colonists managed to colonize New American territories in a fast way. Particularly, England sent a great number of its representatives to the eastern coast of North America, Chesapeake and the New England areas in particular. In the late 1700s, these two regions were united in order to become a single nation. However, both of them originally possessed some specific characteristics. These peculiar features were based on one of the principal factors. More precisely, the reason that the settlers arrived to the new continent had major influence on social, political, and economical factors. As a result, James River along with 104 settlers established the first English colony on the continent. The principle way to generate income in Virginia was the cultivation of tobacco. (Anderson 1994).

In terms of the politics and religion, Virginia had some difference with the New England colonies. Thus, the Church of England was considered to be an established church in Virginia, which implied an idea that the taxpayers would have support the church financially irrespectively of whether they were Anglicans or not. At the same time, it is necessary to mention that the support of the church was scarce. In fact, religion played a secondary role in society of the colony (Instructions for the Virginia Colony 1606).

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The structure of the colony’s government had similar features with that of the English country courts, while there was little in common with the theocratic structure of the government of Massachusetts. This made it possible to set appropriate tax rates and develop public infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Back in the 1650s, the colonial assembly adopted a bicameral pattern. The assembly held regular meetings, mostly to introduce new tax policies. In terms of the economy of the region, it is necessary to mention that tobacco was the principal basis of the region’s economy. For that matter, plantations were based along the riverbanks in order to ensure the transportation convenience as well as good condition of soil. Due to the fact that the planters had their own wharves contracted, the development of the town was somewhat slowed down (Axtell 1988).

In order to cultivate tobacco, the planters used services of larger numbers of workers from England, primarily young males. By 1700, over 110,000 arrived to the region. At the same time, it is worth mentioning that New England was considered to be the area surrounded by small-scale farms, whereas Virginia was mostly characterized by small quantity of urban population with large plantations as the dominant source of income. The major emphasis was placed on labor with only a scarce number of females being settled in the Virginian colonies. All of these factors, accompanied by the high mortality rates and spread of such diseases as dysentery and malaria, caused a negative effect on the population growth rate. One of the shared features of New England and Virginia was the way they treated the Native Americans (Winthrop 1628).

The changes in tobacco prices led to a devastating economic depression in the period from 1660 to the early 1700s. Unfortunately, the Native Americans suffered from these frustrations of the disillusioned colonists. Thus, in 1676 N. Bacon led over three hundred settlers to kill the peaceful local tribes. As his army grew up to twelve hundred people, he made a decision to evict all of the Native Americans from the colony. However, the Governor realized that Bacon’s intention was excessive and recalled his army. Such an approach to tackling social issues perfectly illustrated the tensions between the Native Americans and the colonists.

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When comparing experiences of the locals living in Virginia and New England colonies with England as the main dominator, it is necessary to mention that the native population was a victim of cruelty and oppression.

The life of the indigenous people in Virginia was connected to slavery for the benefit of colonial powers. The attitude to the indigenous people was as if to the inferior beings whose purpose was to serve commercial purposes. In case with the English colonists, it is necessary to mention that they treated the native population much better than the Dutch colonists did. The latter ones were responsible for the establishment of apartheid policies. In Virginia, the British colonial ruling can be characterized as brutal, as numerous native tribes were evicted from their native lands because the trappers and traders used these lands.

The experiences of the indigenous population in these regions can be compared to the experiences of the inhabitants of North American regions lying along the Mexican and Canadian frontiers. During the emergence of the Dutch colonies, the colonists committed genocide against the Native Americans. Consequently, the colonists evicted the native tribes from their lands and relocated to reservations under less favorable conditions. This meant that the level of racial inferiority under the Dutch colonists was even higher as compared to the ruling of the British. However, there were still major differences in terms of attitudes that were not consequential. In either case, the indigenous people were destitute. Moreover, the British colonists took measures to help the natives assimilate by launching an educational process that was aimed at removing the vestiges of native languages and cultures as a reminder of their historical background.

The goal of the governmental policies regarding the Native Americans in the late nineteenth century was to gain the westward territories that the Native American tribes occupied. Thus, later the tribes occupied almost all the western territory of the colonies.

The governmental policies towards the Native Americans could be characterized as a set of legislative norms that were introduced to society. They were aimed at outlining how the relationships between the Native American tribes and the federal government should develop. At the point when the colonies gained their independence, they inherited the European policies towards the indigenous people. However, in the course of the two following centuries, the colonies established their own system of the varying governmental policies with regard to the fast-changing perspectives and the needs of the indigenous population. Many young Native Americans became interested in the political processes undergoing in the country.

In this context, the government authorities highlighted the economic development and the improvement of the living conditions of the Native Americans in the reservations as one of the top priorities for the country. Therefore, the government granted the indigenous population a more significant role in numerous federal programs in the reservations. Moreover, the Native Americans could enjoy the economic benefits of the business enterprises as they could launch under the new legislation.

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