Climatic conditions contribute to a certain way of living in various regions. If the climate is hot, the people have a different set of requirements as well as plantations and vice versa. Similarly, the climatic differences encourage or discourage certain economic activities. For instance, if a region has favorable soil and environmental conditions, the region would focus on agriculture, but if a region has many minerals and natural resources, mining and refining work would be preferred. It was the case for the Chesapeake and lower southern colonies and the Mid-Atlantic and New England colonies. They developed distinct economic bases due to differences in climatic and environment which also contributed to the changes in social life and economic trends in the regions.
Northern Colonies, also known as New England colonies, had a very cold climate with rocky lands and little fertile soil supporting only subsistence farming. It consisted of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The long winters and difficult conditions for farming restricted agricultural activity in the region. Although Maize was produced in the regions, wheat and other cash crops were unlikely to be grown in the cold weather of the region. The main crops of the regions were pumpkins, corn, beans, and squash were produced to meet the needs of their families. Therefore, the economy depended heavily on the production and trade. Fisheries, Shipbuilding, Rum exports, and lumbering were main economic and trade resources as crop such wheat and tobacco could not grow in the region. Moreover, the seaports made it a suitable place for trade activities. Hence they focused on building ships and other goods such as shoes, coaches and leather goods to sell in Europe. Rum was also manufactured and to be sold in Africa, and it was sold in exchange to the slaves, and the slaves were sold in West Indies. This was known as the famous triangle trade. Due to the available raw material in the Northern colonies, they were industrialized and focused on the manufacturing and trading, unlike their Southern counterparts which focused on tobacco and other cash crops to earn money(Coclanis). The harsh geographic and climatic conditions in the North had helped the colonies of South, Middle and north connect via trade links to fulfill their food and other requirements. Thus, their source of trade was either raw materials or the finished goods.
However, the colonies of the Mid-Atlantic had a moderate climate with fertile soil which was suitable for crops. It consisted of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Middle colonies had farming as well as trading of manufactured goods. They had many ship makers, coopers, shoemakers, carpenters to help the economy with their talent. They also had papermaking and textile products that were an integral part of the economic activities. The geography and climate conditions made it suitable for farmers and traders. The main crops included grains, fruits, vegetables, wheat, barley, corn, and rye. It was also rich with water resources providing easy access to ports and fish(Williamson).
In contrast to the Middle and Northern Colonies, the South had hot climatic and fertile geographic land which supported cash crops such as tobacco, rice, indigo, cotton, and wheat. It included Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Due to the long summers and hot weather South had suitable for farming and the economy of the regions depended on farming and production of tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, indigo, and rice. As the main economic resource was agriculture, they sold it and earned from it(Hughes).
Hence, the geographic and climatic conditions in the North, Mid and Southern colonies shaped the social lives of the people. For instance, the people living in the North were living in small villages and towns, had castles and other livestock. They also had talent in fishing and ship making. They focused on advancing industries and farming towns. They used indentured servants brought in from England to work in the industries like Southern cities. Indentured and slaves were crucial for the economic growth of the colonies. The cities in the North were near the seaports or rivers to gain easy access to ports and fish. However, due to the cities, people mostly lived in the cities, unlike South where people lived in the villages and farms. North colonies did not encourage mixing with other people and religious backgrounds although they had religious freedom for the Christians(Hughes; Coclanis; Williamson).
The Middle colonies lived in farms as well as in the big cities as the climate, and economic activities made it easier for the people. The climate was warmer than North with longer growing season but colder than South with shorter growing seasons. They had more people immigrants coming from outside for economic reasons(Williamson). Due to which it was the society was mixed with lesser restrictions on religion and people accepted the religious beliefs of others. They also had slaves of African origins, but the intensity was lower than the North and South. The women and men worked together and helped each other in Middle Colonies(Coclanis). The people had a rich culture of gathering dancing and partying. It was diverse compared to the two other colonies.
In Southern colonies, the agriculture and farming was the main economic activity. It also needed hard work to plant and grow tobacco, rice and other cash crops of the Southern colonies; they started using cheap labor indentured and African Slaves to gain economic benefits. They relied mainly on the African slaves due to their availability and cheap labor. Tobacco was the driving force of the southern economy. The lived in farms mostly in Middle and North Colonies. However, the Southern colonies suffered from diseases such as malaria and others due to hot summers. Unlike the Northern colonies, religion was not essential for the colonies although they had churches. The people lived far apart from each other due to which had little impact on each other’s religions. There was no industrial growth as it was an agricultural economy. They sold their crops in European Markets(Coclanis; Hughes).
Although most of the social and economic trends in the region are different, they are similar in some ways. The people in the North, Middle, and South all had a similar civic system with social hierarchy. In all the colonies the richer people had slaves, and they relied on them to advance their financial status in the society. Moreover, all the colonies had some form of education for elite or the talented people to advance the economy for the colonies, and mostly boys and male members of the society used to study and female members were restricted to the housework. Although South and North had many differences, Middle colonies shared many features with North as well as South. Middle colonies and Northern colonies were similar with regards to the freedom of the religion in their colonies, but southern colonies had religious freedom only for the Christians. Comparatively Middle and Northern colonies were diversified. Moreover, the three colonies had democracy, but women were not included in the democracy of the time(Hughes; Coclanis; Williamson).
To conclude the three colonies were different from each other in their economic trends and resources, climate and geography and social lives. However, the shared certain features with each other. The climate and geography have contributed to certain living styles in each of the colonies.
Coclanis, Peter A. “Tracking the Economic Divergence of the North and the South.” Southern Cultures, vol. 6, no. 4, 2000, pp. 82–103.
Hughes, Sarah S. Colonial Chesapeake Society. JSTOR, 1990.
Williamson, Hugh. “An Attempt to Account for the Change of Climate, Which Has Been Observed in the Middle Colonies in North-America.” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 1, 1769, pp. 272–80.
Second Essay: Religious Freedom
Religious freedom is considered to be the intrinsic part of American society. The example of it can be traced from seventeenth century when some of the people from England migrated to America to practice their beliefs independently. The religious refuge started in 1600 when first separatist Puritans escaped the religious repression under King James I and Charles I. They came to America and formed the New England. The various sects of Christianity such as Separatist Puritans, Catholics, and Quakers all came to America to escape prosecution and be independent in practicing their religion. Although all came for religious freedom, they all have different sets of belief systems that set them apart.
For instance, the Separatist Puritans came to America to practice puritanism without the strong control of the Catholic or the church of England. The Puritans emerge from the Church of England because they disagreed about the liturgy and rituals of the Catholic Church. When Henry VIII established the State Church of England, many of the dissenters thought it would be incorporate their ideologies regarding the liturgy, rituals, and beliefs. However, the church kept many of the rituals and liturgy of the Catholic church which is why the dissenters continued criticizing the protestant beliefs and the church of England. They opposed the practices of the Catholic church. During the reigns of Queen Mary, many of the dissenters were sent to exile or prosecuted for criticism and preaching puritans beliefs. But regardless, the dissenters stayed in England and preached. Initially, the Puritans remained with the church of England but worked to purify the Church of England from the influence of the Catholic Church. Their way of cleaning the Church of England was by making it less like the Catholic church. They believed in the scripture and considered bible the truth. They believed in the predestination. They believed the God has the power to send a person to hell or heaven and people cannot change it. They believed in the old and new testaments in the literal sense. However, some of them thought it was not used to stay with the church. Thus they decided to leave, and they are known as Separatist Puritans.
But their religious cause was politicized as they started supporting parliament to gain power than the monarchy. As the Puritans wanted parliament to be strong and powerful, they went against the crown forces. Nonetheless, the working against the crown forces created problems for the Puritans. The reformists did not stop advocating for the alienating the Church of England from the Catholic practices, but they did not succeed in persuading many people as they were scared of the crown. Hence, decided to separate from the church of England and establish a church based on their ideologies and believes. However, the crown did not like the separatist ideology of the Puritans and tried to suppress it. The crown executed many of the members of the Puritan members, to control the separatist endeavors of the Puritans. Also, it was all happening at the catholic-protestant tensions which escalated the religious oppression. Consequently, they decided to leave move to New England to be able to set up a church manifesting their belief system, and they were successful in building a church in New England or America based on puritans beliefs.
Similarly, the catholic-protestant disagreement started in the 1500s and 1600s when some groups tried to reform the Catholic beliefs and practices. The new group which was willing to control the powers of the Roman Catholic church was named protestants. The Roman Catholic churches of the time were powerful politically and spiritually. But some people such as Martin Luther criticized some of the practices of the Catholic Churches. For example, they believed the bible was the only way to instructions and people could change their final place in heaven or hell by working hard on good deeds. However, the reformists believed God has decided about a person’s faith life, and it cannot be changed. Since they had certain views on the belief system and practices of Catholicism, they promoted Protestantism. The Protestants broke away from the Roman Catholic church. The Elizabeth forced the catholics to the corners and tried to suppress the Catholics who wanted the traditional ways of Roman Catholic Church. In James, I reign the Catholics out of frustration conspire to kill him, but they failed. The Catholics hereafter were labeled traitorous, and all their freedom was confiscated by the king. They were forced to take an oath where they swore to forbade all the relations with the Roman Catholic church. Hence the religious freedom of the Catholics was restricted, and they were forced to follow the protestants way of living. Due to such restrictions, Catholics moved to America because they wanted to have religious freedom, but it was not provided by the crown.
Lastly, the Quakers who believe God is present in all the humans and humans can build a full relationship with the God and people can experience heaven or hell in this world. They wanted to make the world better place by ensuring human rights and social justice. It was formed because George Fox was dissatisfied by the teachings of the Church of England and other non-conformist groups. He believed people could experience the God without involving the clergyman and every person has something of God. His ideas infuriated the establishment because it was discomforting for the people and establishment as the society was divided racially and socially. It was posing a threat to social hierarchy and equalizing all the people due to which the Quakers were strongly denied the freedom to practice their religious beliefs. They were persecuted in Britain due to which they traveled to America in a hope to be free to adhere to their religious beliefs.
Hence all the three groups who escaped during the reformation of the 1500s, 1600s, and 1700s due to the oppression that they faced in Britain. However, it was not purely for the religious reasons especially in case of the first separatist puritans. The Separatist Puritans went to America seeking political, economic and social stability. Moreover, it was convenient for them to leave a place where they could establish a church based on their religious beliefs without any opposition. The reformists of the time sought religious freedom from state coercion and political oppression. Nonetheless, the state and the churches had a strong hold on the lives of the people. Therefore, they were able to suppress the dissent.
To conclude, the separatist’s puritans, Quackers and Catholics have suffered due to the state oppression, and they moved to American to escape the rivalry and oppression. However, it was not only because of the religious reasons. Rather it was because they had found a new place with better economic, religious and social opportunities for the people who arrived there later. Also, each of these groups left Britain to live in America gradually because they were scared to be prosecuted in England. Moreover, their right to practice the freedom of religion was confiscated. These reformists were crucial in changing the control of religion on the society by promoting democracy, spiritual freedom, and independence and paving the way for the future generations.
Essay 3: The American Revolution
Living as part of the Crown for several decades, the people of America were unhappy with the British rule. As the crown was trying to control its subjects, the subjects realized that the crown was a threat to their freedom and economic prosperity. Also, due to the constant war of British with France or India, the colonies in America were unhappy with the new policies. Many of the policies and events contributed to the dissatisfaction of the American people and made the crown unpopular among the people. The high taxes, constant wars, the killing of the civilians, stamp act, sugar act, quarterly act, the currency act and the Gaspee Affair lead to the revolution by adding oil to the unpopular sentiments.
The French and Indian war was costly for the British government due to which they started increasing taxes in American Colonies. The people of America or the colonist were unhappy with the raising taxes and many of the acts that confirmed to the fear of the greater taxes; people grew dissatisfied. Moreover, the British government tried to oppress the dissenters by sending troops and forcing the people to pay the taxes. Also, the constant war with French and Indian war weakened the control of Britain over American colonies, and they were able to plan and fight Britain effectively. Also, France was helping the colonists to fight Britain as it was dissatisfied with the Indian and American War. Hence, all these events contributed to growing the dissent among Colonists.
The British had taken debts from Dutch and British Banks to fight the war due to which several tax reforms were introduced in the colonies to pay the debts that enhanced the dissent. The Sugar, Stamp Townshend, and Tea Tax all aimed at raises direct on indirect taxes to pay for the British debts. However, people were unwilling to pay more taxes without representations. The people were not represented in the parliament due to which they argued the government cannot tax the colonies because they are not represented in the parliament. They demanded the representation to pay the tax, but the government was not ready to give representation to the people Americans. This helped the dissenters to mobilize. Moreover, the people who had left England for prosperity, the taxes were unfairly high, and the government was trying to tax sugar, tobacco, and tea. For instance, although the Sugar tax did not increase the tax, it made the laws strict and made it necessary for everyone one to pay the taxes. It gave custom officers powers to prosecute smugglers and to check the ships in details. It also banned some of the goods to be export to countries other than England. The producers were forced to sell their goods to a market which was not profitable for them. Similarly, the Stamp Act was taxing the printed paper such as newspapers, official documents or anything that was printed. The people feared that if they kept silenced the government might tax everything. The fears of being taxed took the Americans to the streets. The people protested against the taxes, but the government did not repeal the taxes that were costly for the people. The British Empire to grow their control over the colonies increased their rights to the tax. They tax the people to raise the salaries of the governors and officials in Britain. Through the Tea Tax, the British shipped its tea to North America without the export duties. But it was not received well by the merchants and provoked the people. The British parliament responded with the intolerable act to punish the people involved in Massachusetts revolts. The increased tensions between the colonies and the British Empire escalated and transformed to the war of independence.
Apart from the taxes, Britain was controlling and using coercive forces to further their agendas. For instance, the Quarterly act through which the parliament was forcing the local colonial governments to provide housing to the British Soldiers. The act gave the right to Britain to quarter the troops in public houses and barracks and to bear the cost of shelter and food for the troops. It also made it mandatory to house the troops in the uninhabited private homes, inns or outhouses. Britain is forcing people to house and provide food and shelter at the time of peace become the cause of discontent among the people. It was also raising the cost of the local people because they needed to bear the cost of British Army. Small tensions between the British government and local government aroused but it was suppressed. However, these acts added to the dissatisfaction of the people of America and helped them see the lack of freedom and agency in their country.
To top up all the dissents and lack of satisfaction in the 1970s the five of the civilians were killed in the hands of the British army in Boston. The event escalated already strained relationship between the government and the people of America. It increased the dissents and the willingness of the people to stand up against the unfair treatment from the British colonies. As the presence of increased army personals in America was unpleasant for the people, the killing of the five Americans dissatisfied the people greatly, and they grew apprehensive of the British rule in America.
The group Son of Liberty which was working against the British rule attacked the ship of the British army that was going for tax collection which created problems between the Government and the Americans. The Son of Liberty was a group who was dissatisfied with all the British brutality and unfair taxes. It provoked the American Revolution.
The British Army to control the uprisings sent troops to the American, and the Americans were also gathering ammunition if there is a clash. As the problems between the two groups had escalated, in 1975 the clash at Lexington and Concord happened when the British Army under General Thomas Gage, sent troops to catch the colonists who were collecting the ammunition to fight the army if necessary. However, when the troops reached there, the colonists were ready to receive them, and they confronted each other. Thus the revolutionary war began. It mostly occurred in the North initially but escalated to other states and France helped the Patriots in the war. Although Britain had was a great power and had greater forces to fight the Patriots, but with the help of France, the patriot gained ammunition as well as troops to fight Great Britain.
To conclude, series of events occurred that made the colonist dissatisfied with Great Britain and their rule. Some of the important events were the war that escalated dissatisfaction. The war also helped the people realized that they could be independent and survive without the assistance from Britain. Moreover, the war played a crucial role because it threatened the economic security of the people. Britain increased taxes and controlled their American subjects to pay without giving them rights and access to the wealth of Great Britain. The dissatisfaction grew with the increased debts and taxes that the people were paying. Additionally, the parliament confiscated many of the freedoms and economic rights of the people for which they had come to the US. The people grew unhappy about the growing control without rights and representations, and the dissenting groups escalated the dissatisfaction among people. Hence, the people of America fought the war to be independent of the British rule.