Mary Foley Duquette Honors US History I July 7, 2011 Essay Question: #3 Compare and contrast the different ways

in which economic development affected politics in Massachusetts and Virginia in the period from 1607 to 1750. From all of the colonies that resulted from European expansion and conquest, perhaps the two most famous would be those of Virginia and Massachusetts. The economic development of Massachusetts and Virginia started in the same period of time but had many differences between them. Each was established by the similar groups of people but they had different beginnings, also a different view on religion, and different means economic stability, which created two different politics and economic systems. The settlements of Virginia and Massachusetts were both established about the same time, but the ways that they were established were incredibly different from each other. The first difference seen in the beginning of the colonies was caused by trial and error. The Virginia Companies had many failures and close calls, while Massachusetts has a successful first settlement by smart decisions regarding food and planning made this possible. The second difference also occurred was leaderships in each company. Virginia did not have good leadership until John Smith came and started well thought out society based on a set of ideals made life easy to follow. Before the time

being, Massachusetts had John Winthrop who successfully developed the settlement in the area. The third difference between the beginnings of Massachusetts and Virginia were the workers in the work forces. Virginia’s people were lazy and relied on the native people. While Massachusetts was settled by hard working Puritans, who did not have as much problems with natives in the beginning. In conclusion, the differences in the settlement’s upbringing were not the only thing that divided the two colonies. Another reason why the colonies divided was the differ views on religion helped to shape the economy of both settlements. The Virginia and Massachusetts Companies both realized that they would need to have a strong economic system, but their views on religion and profit had too many differences and resulted in different systems. The most obvious difference between the colonies was the religion. The Puritans believed in self-control and no need for “excessive” profits. Virginia had problems with embezzling, overcharging, and the use of company laborers. The second difference between the colonies was the Native American relations. Virginia had problems with natives from the start. Massachusetts learned the best ways to survive in the area by watching and having good relationships with the natives. The third difference was the urban life. Both

societies were impacted with an increase in immigrants, creating a competition for work. Boston was the worst and people looked to the community for help. In conclusion, all of the differences resulted in two economic systems that were successful, but very different. Both Virginia and Massachusetts had the same goal of colonial success and stability but their ways about securing the stability and gaining economic success and wealth reflected their previous established “morals and values”. The first difference was the establishment of plantations. Virginia began to establish plantations for tobacco and Massachusetts was a seaport. Both began to suffer from the increase of immigrants, which created more competition for work. This leads to the second difference, which was competition. The competition for work in each colony that each suffered but Virginia more than Massachusetts. The third difference was slavery. Virginia made its money through tobacco, and with that came an increase in slavery. Massachusetts did not have as great demand for slaves. In conclusion, although both of the settlements had different point of views, neither of them could avoid the problems from increase of immigration and both relied on their separate means of profit. In the end, it can be seen that both companies had similar goals and

realized what needed to be done to make their colonies last, but the methods that they used was incredibly different in many ways. From Virginia and Massachusetts it can be proven that two colonies with the same goal can come to two separate political systems based off of their economic development.


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