Development of New England

The Three Political Divisions of Colonial America

The Middle Colonies, the Southern Colonies, and New England are the three political divisions of Colonial America. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island made up New England, while the Middle Colonies were made up of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia were among the Southern Colonies, on the other hand. A region's natural surroundings have always been what has made it unique. In addition, cultural disparities and historical factors had a significant influence on how one region developed in comparison to others. (Greene and Pole 13).

Natural Resources and Economic Activities

Colonial America was dependent on natural resources to meet basic needs of both the people and the colony as a whole. As such, natural resources dictated the specialty of each of the regions. Numerous mountains and forests characterized New England. This, in addition to the poor soil and long winters, meant that the region was unsuitable for agriculture. As such, the major economic activities in New England were lumbering, boatbuilding, fishing, and whaling. The Middle Colonies, on the other hand, had rich farmland and a moderate climate. This made the region suitable for small to large-scale farming. The nature of the coastland in this region provided harbors which grew into large trading centers where the three regions met. The Southern Colonies featured vast plains and fertile farmland. This led to the development of plantation farming where they grew tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, rice, and indigo (Middleton 150).

Social Structures and Settlers

The types of settlers who dominated each of the regions were different; a factor which contributed to the differences in the development of the regions due to unique social structures. New England settlers were English, Puritan farmers. The society was based on religion and was characterized by intolerance of dissenters. The Church and the State were virtually combined in New England. Direct democracy was the type of government adopted in New England with town meetings being common. The Middle colonies were diverse, with settlers originating from England, Holland, France, Germany, Scotland, and Ireland. This was mirrored by the multiple religious groups in the region which bred tolerance. The social structure was more flexible than the one described in the New England setting. The government in this region was democratic with representation and rights of Englishmen serving as guiding principles (Warner 61). Settlers in the Southern colonies were English aristocrats. The Church of England and the Catholic Church were popular in this region. The region is renowned for the promotion of slavery to service the large plantations. The slavery-based agricultural economy eventually led to the development of the American Civil War. The large landowners dominated politics in this region. The Southern Colonies also maintained stronger ties with Britain than the other regions. The rural setting in the South persisted, and the region is still identified with it in the Modern day.

Unique Identities and the American Civil War

The differences between the three regions in terms of geography, climate, and social structure meant that they developed unique identities over time. Some aspects such as self-governance and free enterprise swept across all regions, but that was not enough to mask the differences. The North and the South grew into regions with different ideologies, which precipitated into the American Civil War.

Works Cited

Greene, Jack P., and Pole, Jack Richon. Colonial British America: Essays in the New History of the Early Modern Era. JHU Press, 1984.

Middleton, Richard. Colonial America: A History, 1585-1776. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1996.

Warner, Michael. "What's colonial about colonial America?" Possible Pasts: Becoming Colonial in Early America (2000): 49-70.

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