When the thirteen colonies were finally established in America, they were divided into three geographic areas. Two of them were the New England Colonies (Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts) and the Southern colonies (South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Georgia). Although they had many things in common, both of them had their own religious freedoms, crop harvests, economies, and lifestyles by the end of the seventeenth century.
The New England colonies were dominated by Puritans (reformers seeking to “purify” Christianity) who had come from England to practice religion without persecution. Unlike the southern colonies, they followed strict rules and were intolerant to other religions. Most people of the Southern colonies were anglican (Baptist or Presbyterian) though many of the people of Maryland were Catholic. Religion did not have the same impact on communities as it did in the New England colonies because people lived on plantations that were often distant and spread far apart. Farming in the colonies were very different from one another. The soil of the New England colonies was poor and completely infertile unlike the soil of the Southern colonies.
However, farmers could feed their families with the abundance of fish and what little they grew before the early and long-lasting winter set in. On the other hand, the Southern colonies could grow many things such as tobacco, rice, indigo, cotton, and corn. The economy of the Southern colonies was almost entirely based on farming. Crops were grown on large plantations where slaves and employed servants worked the land. The farms grew many things that were exported both to other colonies and back to the old world (England). However, the New England economy was largely based on the ocean. Fishing was the most important thing to the New England economy. Even the shippers grew wealthy trading rum for African slaves and then trading them for molasses in the West Indies. People of the Southern colonies lived in utter poverty and men greatly outnumbered women three to one. Children were taught manners, reading, and writing by their parents until the age of twelve or thirteen. After that, the boys either helped work on the family’s farm or (if the family was wealthy) were sent to college.
Girls didn’t not have the second choice. As an adult, the men would supervise the plantations while women quilted and raised the children. Children in the New England colonies were sent to school while few were taught at home. Men would do the hard work such as chopping firewood and working in the garden while women would teach the girls to make butter and spin wool. The New England colonies and the Southern colonies were alike in many ways but their differences outweighed their similarities. They each had their own religious freedoms, crop harvests, economies, and lifestyles by the end of the seventeenth century. Their geological location determined their crops and harvests while their economy defined their lifestyles.
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