Northern Colonies vs. Southern Colonies
From the first settlement founded in the 1600’s, the British colonies were a varied mix of communities that grew to distinct civilizations in the 17th and 18th centuries. Queen Elizabeth helped drive the colonization of Jamestown in 1607 and ultimately the creation of other Southern colonies to help Britain's economy flourish. In contrast, James I, Elizabeth’s successor, spurred the settlement of the Northern colonies for religious reasons when he “vowed to purge England of all radical Protestant reformers” (Davidson, et al 85). When the Pilgrims sailed the Mayflower in 1620, an error in navigation led them far north to New England, rather than the South. A second wave of Puritans led to the formation of the Massachusetts Bay colony and the growth of other Northern colonies. While the early settlers were all looking for new experiences, different types of people populated the Northern and Southern colonies. Although the two regions in the 17th and 18th centuries may appear to be similar on the surface, there are many obvious differences in economy, treatment of Natives, and stability, stemming from the reasons they were founded in the first place.
While the colonies differed in their economies and the reasons they were settled in the first place, they all benefited from “benign neglect” from Britain during much of the 17th and 18th centuries. Benign neglect was Britain’s policy of non-interference with the colonies (Davidson, et al 128). Britain was busy dealing with its own government issues and change in rulers and did not have the time to strictly administer the colonies. Because of this, both the Northern and Southern colonies flourished economically and established a relatively stable way of life. In addition, the first Colonial settlers and their descendents shared a desire for a better life, whether it was for land, money, or religious freedom.Without this benign neglect from Britain, the colonies may have never