The first successful American colony in North America was settled in 1607 at Jamestown, Virginia. Though the Virginian colonists had difficulty in the beginning, by the late 1620s the Chesapeake area was thriving, having become a haven for those seeking economic opportunity in the new world. Pressures in England were growing as King Charles I was on the throne. Though Charles I himself was an Anglican, many suspected him of Catholic sympathies, a suspicion not alleviated by Charles I marriage to a French Catholic princess. Many Protestants had a growing desire to practice their faith and conduct their lives away from the mother country, and sought refuge in a destination called New England. The land chosen by this group, who "could pay their own way across the Atlantic" in contrast to the poorer settlers of the Chesapeake region was "colder, less abundant, but far healthier" than Virginia. Alan Taylor sees this decision as one in "classic Puritan fashion", citing one settler's view: "If men desire to have a people degenerate speedily, and to corrupt their minds and bodies too...let them seek a rich soil, that beings in much with little labor; but if they desire that Piety and Godliness should prosper...let them choose a Country such as [New England] which yields sufficiency with hard labor and industry." The Puritans who came to America were, therefore, primed for hard work, discipline and the independent life, unlike their English counterparts who "preferred Anglicanism and the traditional culture characterized by church ales, Sunday diversions, ceremonial services, inclusive churches, and deference to the monarch."
©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors