New England Colonies Vs Southern Colonies


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How could it be possible that two colonies from the same origin country could turn out to be so different? Both populations originated from England and were ran by the British, so how could this be possible? As time went on and communities began to expand, differences and similarities could be more easily spotted amongst the two colonies. They can be best differentiated politically, economically, and religiously. Even with the colonies’ similarities, the two are more different than alike. This can be attributed to their different geographical locations and motives for settlement. “The geography and climate of the area had a significant impact on the economy and survival of the colonies”(the impact of geography on colonial America, September 2016).

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The creation of Jamestown began in the early 1600s and can be credited to beginning the New World slave trade in Virginia. A few years go by and Jamestown is now completely abandoned and for what seemed to be a dull future for this town. But with great fortune, they ran into a resupply ship located in the James River giving them the necessary and much-needed supplies to return and build Jamestown back up. As the restoration of Jamestown is occurring, the Mayflower contract was signed and New Amsterdam was established. For whichever reason they chose, people decided to leave the Old World and head to the New World. Some for a different economy and some for political reasons. But overall, everyone can acknowledge that the mass amounts of people traveling to the New World didn’t all come with the same opinion.

To no one’s surprise, political views in the New World have differed heavily from region to region. The northern New England Colony was generally more of a democratically dense area with their government under heavy influence by the churches. The colony had in place a theocracy that granted more freedom than the south, but the churches had been involved in governing the colonies. On the other hand, the Southern Colonies were not in fact entirely democratic. That’s because a few very rich plantation owners were secret government powers behind the wheel. By British authority, both colonies had a royal governor.“The king, or his officials, appointed the colony’s governor and had the right to approve (or disapprove) its laws” (Carolina Becomes North and South Carolina, 14). Like all new laws, not everyone personally approved them, but the royal governors put their best effort toward the creation of reasonable laws that were wanted by the people. The people could also achieve laws they wanted because both colonies had the ability to vote for which lawmakers to put in office. The Souths’ Virginia had in place a community-picked legislature called the House of Burgesses; whereas the Norths’ Pilgrims followed the laws that were stated in the Mayflower Compact. They show resemblance because they are both early examples of democracy. Even with the two colonies’ slight variations in government structure, it just goes to show how even the most different of communities can have alikeness with one another. But one factor that really tests the sameness of the two is their economic structures. They are the way society is run and where and how their sources of income are being accumulated which is incredibly vital for any population’s growth.

With the Southern Colonies being created in perfect farming land it made the South a very profitable farming location; which in turn granted incredible economic growth. The farmland was found to be great at growing tobacco, which made the plantation owners very rich leading to mass production of the product. Comparatively, New England’s geography did not allow them to produce tobacco as well, but it did give them other farming resources that worked better for New England families. They found their niche in lumbering and fishing but still could not keep up with the mass amounts of crops produced from the Southern Colonies.

The vastly contrasting geographies of the North and the South left for little to no economic similarities between them. The landscapes completely altered how they gained food, traded, and went about daily life.“The colonists made their living fishing, whaling, and shipbuilding” (New Colonies, Alchin 2017). But their economies did parallel with each other in some aspects of life. For example, fishing was popular among both colonies and both colonies used slave labor for food, but the north didn’t use slave labor as intensely as the South. New England was significantly more religiously based than the South. This is because they “were predominantly Puritans, who, by and large, led strict religious lives” (Religion in Colonial America: Trends, Regulations, and Beliefs, 106). The Puritans even went to the extent of constructing meeting houses in each town which acted like congregational church buildings. If one was to wander for their religious practices they were seen as a threat to the government and spiritual practices; they were severely punished. Religion in the South leaned more toward Baptist and Angelican but faith in general was a minuscule piece in the management of their territories. The fact that both colonies were Protestant no matter how devoted gave them both a similar religious goal. As a result of the personal reasons people left England for America, these early colonists inherently brought their differing opinions as well as their alike ones.

The New England and the Southern Colonies both brought their similarities and differences through their politics, economy and religious beliefs. The political sides of both colonies were directed by a royal governor appointed by the King and were different in the means that the North was more democratic compared to the South. Both economies had their own unique sources of income that helped fuel their societies. The South mass-produced tobacco and the North had easy accessibility to fishing and lumber. Both sets of colonies were a different branch of Protestantism, but the North’s religious beliefs played heavily into their day-to-day life whereas the Souths’ beliefs were not played out strictly in their lives. Their political views, economy, and religious beliefs were some important factors that lead to the American Revolution. The unfair taxes imposed by the British such as the Stamp Act riled and placed the Colonists on the path to revolution. The colonists used religion as a way to justify their radical thoughts of breaking away from Britain giving them a sense of moral high ground while simultaneously placing a beacon on America as a place of religious freedom. 

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