Table of Contents
- The Shape of Early America
- Society and Economy in the Southern Colonies
- Society and Economy in New England
- Society and Economy in the Middle Colonies
- An Emerging Colonial System
- Warfare in the Colonies
- Regulating The Colonies
- The Spreading Conflict
To compare and contrast the New England, Middle, and Southern colonies, this essay provides a comprehensive examination of their unique characteristics, providing a deeper understanding of the diverse experiences that shaped each region. The 3rd chapter of "The Colonial Way of Life" explains the societal and economical aspects of the three colonial regions, the southern, middle, and New England colonies. While chapter 4, "From Colonies To States" explains the tyrannies imposed on the colonies, thus leading to the oppressive need for independence.
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The Shape of Early America
The demographics of the colonies differed from Europe due to its low fatality rates which led to a huge increase in population in the American colonies. Another contribution of population growth was the marriage aspects being that women would marry very young thus giving them extra time to have more children. Although growth in population was rapidly increasing child birth alone would kill a quarter to half the women giving birth, and nearly all born people of that era died before twenty. Even though women basically kept the colonies flourishing they did not share equality with men. Women responsibilities were to the husband and the household and they were the ones raising all the children while still having to perform her womanly duties. One woman who broke this way of life was Elizabeth Lucas Pickney, who ran three indigo plantations and after being widowed continued her womanly inquiries as well as managing the plantations, her actions set forth the capability of women within the colonies eventually gaining rights and independence.
Society and Economy in the Southern Colonies
As time passed classifications of stature in the southern colonies had formed and became more distinct, the lowest of which being slaves and the highest being merchants and planters because they held political responsibility and assessed the colonies with luxury goods. Flourishing cash crop plantations such as tobacco and rice created an oppressive need for more slaves to work on these plantations. Although the southern colonies were fairly wealthy, the first to settle in the south made huts to live in with poor foundation which often led to its quick deterioration. After they progressed so did their homes, later being built more securely with sturdier foundations thus allowing them to last longer.
Society and Economy in New England
The society of the New England colonies prioritized on religion. The first public building in every new town would be a church. Their homes were wooden and sturdy and had roofs to catch the winter snowfall, they had no restrooms and the house was usually painted a deep red. In most cases the fathers were the only people who could eat while sitting on a chair. The heavy concentration of fish on the coast led to the evolution of shipbuilding which further progressed trading and flourished into the Atlantic trade. Due to unfavorable trading the triangular trade was formed. There’s a couple different versions of this trade one being that New England would trade for slaves in Africa, then the English ships would go to the Carribean Islands and sell the slaves, then return home with goods. The Salem witch era was a time of intensity for the beliefs in witchcraft. People would falsely accuse on the basis of hate or vengeance, thus leading to the frenzy of deaths and accusations.
Society and Economy in the Middle Colonies
These colonies had trading relations to the West Indies and the Southern colonies, in which they exported food and livestock. They would grant large sums of land to men called patroons, who would then rent to people who would pay to use the provided accommodations of the land, this was called patroonship and originated from the Dutch. Dutch culture influenced the names of many places within the colonies. The middle colonies were diverse overall and had a neutral feel, not having too many slaves like the South, or much trade and industrialization as the New England colonies.
An Emerging Colonial System
The British leader Walpole provided a policy of “salutary neglect”, where the colonies had freedom in their economic pursuits because of British stubbornness to pay for enforcing certain regulations upon the colonies, because of this they formed a self reliant attitude which they were not willing to change, eventually leading to the outbreak of conflict. The colonial assemblies gained power and influence thus following the precedent of self government.
Warfare in the Colonies
The French and Indian War was between Britain and France over the Ohio Valley lands lasting seven years with France taking the ultimate victory. The loss of the British sparked a world war for control and power. In trying to maintain power the Albany Plan was formed, in which delegates from the eleven united colonies would have total control over the Indians and have power in legislature. To protect themselves from Indian uprisings the plan was denied but it did however aid in the formation of the Articles of Confederation. War between France and Britain had only begun, and in General Braddock’s attempt to capture French forts him and his men were ambushed and they fled. During the spree of attack Braddock was shot and died a few days later. Braddock’s attempt to attack the French and Indian allies led to a world war in which French troops started attacking settlements within the colonies and war was declared in 1756. The Battle of Quebec was a significant turning point in the war with the British taking the victory. Eventually the war came to an end with the Treaty of Paris which gave Britain much of the French land thus expanding the British empire. In trying to manage this new empire taxes were put on the people to help with the debt gained from the war, unknown to them this would soon create problems within the colonies. After Britain was granted the land the Indians retaliated and started to attack the British because people started to move and settle on their ancient lands, this uprising would be known as Pontiac’s Rebellion. To maintain the peace between the Americans and the Indians the Royal Proclamation of 1763 was created, forbidding expansion west of the Appalachian Mountains on to the Indians sacred lands. Peace with France led to huge numbers of immigrants coming in search for new opportunities, as well as imported slaves from Africa to work down in the south.
Regulating The Colonies
For Britain to maintain control over the colonies they enforced the Navigation Acts. To gather money to get out of debt from war parliament passed the Sugar Act of 1764, which was a tax on molasses and other imported goods. Lack of gold and silver influenced Grenville to persuade parliament to pass the Currency Act in 1764 which kept the colonists from using paper money and only pay with gold or silver for imported goods from Britain. Another act passed was the Quartering Act in 1765 which demanded colonists to host soldiers, soon after the Stamp Act was passed by parliament which made colonists have to a government stamp when buying paper materials. This would soon call for a repeal of the act in 1766 due to protests and the decrease of imported British goods. Protestors consisted of the Sons of Liberty who would protest that we should have representation when taxes were to be put on the people. Another protest group was the Daughters of Liberty who stopped buying British goods so the British importation rates would drop. After the repeal of the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts were set in its place to tax all imports of tea, paper, glass, etc. While these protests of the acts were going on, the other parts of the country were pulling apart and disputing.
The Spreading Conflict
As the spread of conflict continued, George Washington was chosen based on his experience because of the Seven Years’ War to lead the Continental Army. The Battle of Bunker Hill was the initial clash between the British redcoats and the militiamen, with the militiamen facing less fatalities than the British. Instead of a negotiation of dispute the king announced the Americans as enemies. The urge for independence caused an outbreak of rebellious acts and although the Patriots lacked qualitative military aspects they were driven to fight for what is rightfully theirs.
The outbreak of colonial and European conflicts was driven for the need for independence. The lives lost and conflicts disputed will forever hold its place in history, giving us what is now our permanent form of government followed by the basis of our rights.