Martin Luther, a monk, was tired of the way the Catholic Church was being led. Some of his biggest concerns about the way the Church was being run, where the sale of indulgences and that the Mass and Bible were both only in Latin. In turn, he nailed his 95 Theses to a church door, which inadvertently started the Protestant Reformation. Then later on in 1533, King Henry VII wanted an annulment with his wife, at the time Catherine of Aragon, so that he would be able to marry Anne Boleyn.
The Catholic Church refused to give him an annulment. Subsequently, because of this King Henry VII decided to start his own church, the Church of England. Yet, the Church of England didn’t really begin to differ much from the Catholic Church until his daughter Elizabeth I took over and became Queen. Although the Church of England was the religion Queen Elizabeth I practiced religious tolerance during her reign. After Queen Elizabeth, I came along James I and Charles I, who was not nearly as tolerant towards other religions.
This leads to people of all other denominations to seek a safe haven and they looked towards the New World for that very thing. Even though all these people left seeking religious freedom they formed remarkably different colonies. A strong example of this can be seen by looking at the colonies of Chesapeake and Plymouth. Chesapeake tolerated many religions, had better land for crops and had a set system of government. While Plymouth had one main religion, were better at industries such as lumber and timber, and a self-governing body.
Plymouth was founded in 1620 and had no charter, it was self-financed by the Massachusetts Bay Company. Plymouth was also founded by Separatist, who called themselves Puritans in America, and that is the only religion that they really allowed to be practiced within the colony. They were even known for exiling or excommunicating people who opposed their beliefs, such as Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson. Chesapeake, on the other hand, was a proprietary colony that was given to George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, by King Charles I.
The colony was founded at Chesapeake Bay, Massachusetts in 1634. The colony was originally meant to serve as a safe place for Catholics, but they were extremely tolerant of other religions. They also had the most culturally diverse settlement in the world. Chesapeake and Plymouth not only differed in the way they were founded but also in the way in which they made money. While Plymouth relied mostly on the fishing and lumber industries, because of their poor soil, Chesapeake was able to rely mostly on farming tobacco and grains. They ended up supply such an abundant supply of grains that they became known as the ‘bread basket’.
They also differed in the way they ran their system of government. In Chesapeake, they had the House of Delegates, which was mostly made up of immigrants. While Plymouth’s government was known as the General Court and was adapted over the years into a system of self-government that was made up of a two-house legislature. They also established a judicial branch, that resembled Englands in structure but differed in-laws. They both also differed tremendously in family life. In Chesapeake the men greatly outnumbered the women, there were high death rates, and servitude all made for an atypical family pattern. While in Plymouth the Puritans generally moved to the colony in families.
While the colonies had many differences they also shared a few similarities. Both Plymouth and Chesapeake continued to expand taking over Native American land in the process, which caused conflicts with the Native American tribes in the area. Another thing which they had in common is that they both were founded by people of English descent and had at least half of there colonist were English natives. Rather than people of other nationalities and cultures. The two also both participated is business opportunities such as ironworks, trading and shipping, and shipbuilding. Then within agriculture, the pair both participated in raising cattle and grains.
The colonies that were settled in North America by the English all came over with the idea of religious freedom in their heads. Yet, they ended up being so different, Plymouth and Chesapeake being prime examples. Chesapeake tolerated many religions, had better land for crops and had a set system of government. While on the other hand, Plymouth had one main religion, was better in industries such as lumber and timber, and a self-governing body. However, none of them would see the turn of events that would lead them band together to break connections with their Mother Country.
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