The journey to America by Christopher Columbus in 1492 marked a new path for explorers from all over the world. England was one of those countries to explore the Newfoundland and settled into colonial America. By the 1700’s, Britain’s settlers divided into three distinct cultures within America. The New England, Middle, and Southern colonies were formed because of their differences in religious beliefs, geographic aspects, and occupation types.
The variety of religious view in the New England, Middle, and Southern colonies helped evolve the differences between them. The New England colonies heavily practiced puritanism. Puritanism was a strict religion that’s main ideal was “everything you do affects all of us.” The puritans highly prioritized work ethic and were not afraid to publicly shun their members if the puritans disapproved of their actions. They believed their religion should be involved in all aspects of their life. The puritans strongly opposed the Quakers who, by the 1700’s, had settled into the Middle colonies. Quakers, also called the Religious Society of Friends, greatly differed to New England’s religious beliefs. The Quakers were a diverse group of people of deep conviction. They were advocates of passive resistance, but also devoted democratic people.
The Quakers believed that they were all children in the sight of God. To the Puritans, the Bible supplied all religious authority, but Quakers believed that God could and did speak directly to the people. The Southern colonies largely supported the Church of England. The Church of England, whose members are called Anglicans, clung to a faith less severe and worldlier than the Puritanical New England. All three religions in all three different societies differed majorly in their beliefs. The Puritans strict ways clashed with the Quakers diverse and open views. The Church of England conflicted with the goal of the Puritans to purify the Church. The varied beliefs of the people divided them into the three colonies in early America.
In addition, the distinct geography of each colony furthered the separation of their societies. The heavily glaciated soil in New England colony was filled with rocks. This rocky soil left New England less ethnically mixed. European immigrants were not attracted to the rocky soil of New England and decided to move elsewhere. Unlike the rocky soil of the New England colonies, the Middle colonies became known as the “breadbasket” colonies because of the fertile soil and heavily exports of grain. Rivers also played a vital role in the difference of the Middle colonies from the others.
The broad streams like the Susquehanna, Delaware and Hudson attracted fur trade and some adventurous spirits of the colonists. Unlike the New England’s many waterfalls, the Middle colonies waterways allowed little power with a water wheel. The Southern soil created a major difference to the rest of the colonies. The soil of the South was rich and fertile. Unlike New England’s hot summers and cruelly cold winters, the Southern heat was very humid and made the Southern colonies perfect for farming. The geographic differences between the colonies, including the variances of soil, rivers and weather, caused each colony to become more unique.
As a result of the geographic aspects of the three colonies, specific occupations were found more often in certain colonies. The New England soil and climate created a diverse agriculture and industry. Unable to farm on rocks, some New England people turned to the harbors for fishing while others turned to dense forests, to work on cutting down trees and building ships. These jobs created a town-like atmosphere in the New England colony. The Middle colonies occupations proved very similar to the New England colonies. With the dense Virginal forest many became a lumberjacks or a ship builders. However, the Southern colonies fertile soil and humid weather created a farming franchise. Men had big farms called plantations. They grew crops to get cash and sold these crops to Great Britain. Because of the demanding work of owning a plantation, many slaves from Africa worked for the English farmers.
The spread of slavery in the South created major gaps in their social structure. At the top of social ladder stood the small group of powerful plantation owners. Beneath them were small farmers, the biggest social group. Still lower on the social ladder were the landless whites, and beneath them were the indentured servants who were soon replaced with black slaves. The South created a separation between them and the other colonies because of their immigration of slaves. The variety of occupation types in each colony created majorly different societies. The major differences in each society helped evolve three distinct colonies.
Each society had different beliefs and religions. The strict ways of the New England puritans clashed with the free spirit of the Quakers in the Middle colonies and the Anglican ways of the Southern colonies. The variety of soil, rivers, and weather helped create three distinct colonies. The rocky soil in the New England colonies, large rivers in the Middle colonies, and good soil and humid weather in the Southern colonies also helped create a vast assortment of occupations in each colony.
With lumberjacks and ship builders in the New England and Middle colonies, and farming in the South, the jobs of the people in each society were majorly varied. The difference in each colony allowed groups of people to regulate their own lives. This later the creation of different states and governments, further separated the America. This separation in beliefs helped cause the civil war. The early difference in society in the 1700’s helped pave the way for many other conflicted views later on in America.