Northern and Southern Colony Differences

Topics: Thirteen Colonies, Social class, Sociology Pages: 2 (531 words) Published: September 8, 2013
In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Northern and Southern colonies were extremely different. Each “section” of America was socially, economically, and politically dissimilar from the next. From the beginning, it was difficult to picture the colonies as their own separate nation due to a lack of colonial unity.

In the Southern plantation colonies, social structure was molded mostly by the emphasis on slavery and racism that was perpetuated. A hierarchy of status and wealth similar to that of the English social structure formed in place of the rough equality of poverty and disease of the earlier colonial days. Perched at the top of this social ladder were the wealthy, prestigious planters, who often owned slaves and sprawling estates. Beneath them were smaller farmers, making up the majority of the southern population. Underneath them were the landless whites and below that, slaves and blacks clung to the lowest rung. This was far different from the social structure of the North, which was extremely less rigid. In both New England and the middle colonies, there was a chance for ascension into higher classes, no matter who you were. Emphasis landed on the family instead of the economy, which left the social structure strong and tranquil. However, social conditions were not the only differences between the southern and northern colonies.

In the South, a plantation economy fueled wealthy landowners to continually export profitable crops such as tobacco and rice. This left a majority of the capital in the hands of a minority, whereas the “common people” were left with little to nothing; this created an aristocratic air that smothered the southern economy. Few cities emerged in the colonial South due to the distantly isolated plantations, unlike the North where both cities and small villages proved most prosperous. The northern colonies eventually developed a shipbuilding society where most profit came from naval stores and fish. This was essentially...
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