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Primary Sources - Workshop in American History The Virginia Companyhomesitemap
Introduction -Link Before You Watch - link Lectures and Activities Classroom and Applications - Link

Workshop 1:  Lectures & Activities

Lecture Transcript Two:
Evaluate the Virginia and Massachusetts Companies

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Now, though the Massachusetts Bay Company produced no more dividends than the Virginia Company, it succeeded in ways that the Virginia sponsors would certainly have liked. Since the Puritans of New England migrated in groups and in families, they brought their women with them. They had a sex ratio that was much more equal than Virginia's, like three men to two women. That plus the fact that they seemed to have come to a much healthier place allowed the population to grow by natural increase. Best we know there were about 20,000 people that came to New England between 1620 and 1640. By the end of the century, there were 90,000 without substantial subsequent immigration. Virginia's population at the end of the century is about 60,000, which is roughly the total of the number of immigrants who went there in the course of that century. Not much natural increase. It wasn't until about 1700 they got a more equal sex ratio so that they could grow.

Puritans, moreover, believed in work, where the Virginians were very good at avoiding it. Where the Virginians were individualists, out for their profit at the cost of others, the New Englanders were consummate groupies. They were always covenanting with each other, you know, making agreements to form churches, to form towns, and even makeshift colonial governments. That's what the Mayflower Compact is.

Massachusetts Bay Colony had shipyards; it had fisheries; it had merchants; it had craftsmen; it had cities, unlike Virginia. After the American Revolution, it was Massachusetts, not Virginia, that pioneered in the development of American corporate law. That should be no surprise. New Englanders had, by then, long experience in working together in voluntary groups, a habit that never took root in quite the same way in Virginia. On the other hand, Virginia had its own contributions to American culture: a deep value for individual liberty. But that's another story. Thank you.

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