Between the two colonies, Virginia and Puritan Massachusetts, it is easy for one to decide based on textual evidence which one seemed to be a better place to live in. The colony in Massachusetts was based upon equality and strong work ethics, while the colony in Virginia was based upon slavery and a non-religious based society. For a young, possibly single, poor indentured servant traveling to America to start a better life, massachusetts, with its puritan motives and stable living conditions would have been the best choice.
The main motive of the Virgiinia colonies was thought to be religion, but many settlers agreed that was just a cover-up for money and trading goods. "Although the king's charter to the company began witha concern for bringing Christian religion to native people...most of the settlers probably agreed with Captain John Smith, who emerged as their strongest leader. "We did admire," he wrote, "how it was possible such wise men could so torment themselves with such absurdities, making religion their coulour, when all their aim was profit"( page 76, The American People). So, the Virginia colonies main motives were nto based on a structure-based society, but on profit for England. The living conditions and disease when the settlers arrived in Virginia were also miserable. "dysentery, malaria, drought and malnutrition carried off most of the first colonists. more than 900 settlers, mostly men, arrived int he colony between 1607 and 1609; only 60 survived"(page 77, The American People). not only was the disease factor and the living conditions bad, but the way indentured servants were treated was worse. "Life for indentured servants often turned into a nightmare. Only about one in twenty realized the dream of freedom and land. If malarial fever or dysentery did not quickly kill them, they often succumbed to brutal work routines"(page 29, The American People). The work routines consisted of beatings, sexual abuse, and malnutrition by the indentured servants so called "masters". An indentured servant supposedly signed a contract before they left England that made them serve these so called masters for however many years. However, most of these servants were not servants in England, they were usually just poor people looking for a place to start a new life and maybe earn some money. by signing these contracts, they thought they were signing for a better life, but they were really handing themselves over to these "masters". "Masters bought and sold their servants as property, gambled for them and worked them to death, for there was little motive for keeping htem alive beyond their term of labor...contrary to English custom, master often put women servants to work at the hoe. Sexual abuse was common, and servant women paid dearly for illegitimate pregnancies"(page 79, The American People). Based on this evidence, Virginia seems to be a horrible place for a person to start a new life, and if the person lived, prevented anyone from possibly becoming wealthy.
Compared to the situation in Virginia, the colonies in Massachusetts seemed pretty uplifting and happy. the Massachusetts colonies were based upon a puritan society and wanted to create equality for every person living there. "One part of their plan was a social ethic stressing work as a primary way of serving god. This emphasis on work made the religious quest of every member of society equally worthy. the labor of a mason was just as valuable in god's sight as that of a merchant, and so was his soul"(page 89, The American People). they also supported families, so marriage and children were easy to establish there. One positive ot the vision of equality was that every person was given an equal amount of land and wealthy. That way, if you were a poor person coming from England, one could actually establish a comfortable living style. " 4. that every inhabitant shall have a convenient proportion for a house lot as we shall see [fit] for everyone's quality and estate..."(Document D). Another benefit of The New England puritans was that the colony thrived, and a person could count on not obtaining a disease, or a shortage of money more than in Virginia. "motivated by their militant work ethic and sense of mission, and led by men experiences in local government, law, and exhortation, the puritans thrived"( pages 90-91, The American People).
looking at the two colonies, many people would automatically choose Massachusetts as the better choice. However, one could argue that many of the people traveling to Massachusetts were already established family units, while many of the people travelingi to New England were single. looking at two documents from the immigrants traveling to New England and Virginia, they show that primarily young men and women chose to go to Virginia, while married couples and their children chose the route to Massachusetts( Document B and Document C).
Even though many single people chose to go to Virginia over Massachusetts, it is obvious that Massachusetts would have been the better choice for anyone. Massachusetts offered a good home, good living conditions, and a puritan-based lifestyle that proved to be prosperous.