Team of Zach R and Brentyn F
map of the 13 colonies
map of the 13 colonies

The colonies in North America differed in how they survived economically from the northern colonies to the southern colonies. This was mainly due to the climate differences, population, and the types of farming that the north and south had during the colonial era. The north was not completely dependent on farming especially because the farming land was so poor and rocky, so they had to find alternatives to flourish. These alternatives included things such as finding natural resources that did not require farming, such as fish, whales, certain types of trees and animal fur that could be traded for the food that they lacked to farm. In addition to all of this the north was known for all of its manufacturing which they would then sell and trade to Great Britain and to the south in exchange for the necessities that they did not have at the time.(Fogel, Robert William) The south was the exact opposite of the north in terms of how they went about surviving economically. The south farmed on rich farm land which they were fortunate enough to live off at the time, so basically they continued with the Native American ways by living off of the land. The south flourished in the farming aspect of economics by farming things such as indigo, tobacco, cotton, and rice which they could then sell to the north, or trade to the north in exchange for the manufacturing that the north was doing at the time. The climate was also a huge factor in the way that the two economies developed, and climate was an advantage for the south, but a disadvantage to the north. In the south the climate was warm which allowed them to farm year round. In the north, because of the extremely cold winters, they could only farm during the summer, and they could only farm certain things. (Sage, J. Henry 2007)

In the map above, the thirteen colonies are separated into three areas, the north, the mid-Atlantic colonies, and the southern colonies. The cultures of the three separate areas differed from one another and thus made the way they function economically. In the north, the culture of the people inhabiting the area was much different than the culture of the people living in the southern states. The northern colonies were as follows, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. In the northern states, the people lived on small farms in small towns, but the farms they lived on did not exactly flourish due to the rocky soil that covered all of the northern colonies and this made it difficult to farm things that the south could farm. The mid-Atlantic colonies which included New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and Pennsylvania had culture that slightly differed from the north. In these colonies, cities, which were largely manufacturing based, dominated the area that was the mid-Atlantic colonies. The main reason why they settled in this area was to set up family farms and businesses which they eventually did, and this is how they flourished economically.(Foreign Policy Research Institute, 2001) The middle colonies traded wheat, barley and other grains for some of the things that they needed from the south, and other countries which included Great Britain and France. The middle colonies were sort of a mix of the northern culture and southern culture, although the middle colonies did not have rich farming land. The southern colonies consisted of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia when they were a part of the thirteen colonies. The south relied mainly on farming and trading the items which were farmed to places which needed it. The culture of the south much reflected what they did to survive economically, in the fact that they lived in small towns, but the land was large plantation which slave labor was induce. (Kulikoff, Alllan 1991).

Richard Derby (1712-1783) excelled as a martime trader during the colonial era
Richard Derby (1712-1783) excelled as a martime trader during the colonial era
During the colonial era, Massachusetts struggled to maintain a good economy; they tried several different routes in order to succeed including farming, fishing, and finally shipbuilding. Farming was extremely difficult to accomplish when they were living in the north due to the climate and the rocky soil that was inhabited by the colonists, so that idea went out the window quickly. The idea of fishing would have brought very little money into Massachusetts so that by itself was out of the question, so the people of Massachusetts turned to shipbuilding. By 1660, shipbuilding had become a major industry in several Massachusetts towns including New Bedford, Newburyport, Ipswich, Gloucester, Salem, and Boston. These major cities were the ones to get the industry of shipbuilding started, and once it started it was an instant success. This was one of the main reasons why maritime commerce was established in Massachusetts. Maritime commerce is when someone trades with another person or country using the seas, and this became very big in Massachusetts, and really got their economy going. Richard Derby, (in the photo above) excelled as a maritime trader and the people of Massachusetts based their performance in this business on how they were doing compared to Derby. Derby started off as a captain of a fishing vessel and he exported codfish, then as he gained success in this, he decided to buy his own fleet and led a class of merchants to the top of society. The result of what Derby accomplished was the economy of Massachusetts was in a state of exponential growth and therefore the north as a whole started to flourish. (National Park Service) During the colonial era trans-Atlantic trade was just another trade that helped out the economy of Massachusetts. The trans-Atlantic trade was the slave trade which was increasing in the colonies as years passed by. In fact at one point the number of slaves brought into the colonies peaked at an astounding number of six million. In Massachusetts it had its own effect on the economy, because in 1698 Great Britain legalized the slave trade in Massachusetts. The triangular trade was then established in Massachusetts, and this was a system that would send certain supplies to certain places in exchange for other supplies. The trade would start in New England where New England rum was sent to Africa in exchange for slaves, and then the slaves were sent to the West Indies for West Indies sugar and molasses. The West Indies sugar and molasses was sent back to New England in exchange for rum, so the system started over therefore creating a triangle of trade between these countries using maritime commerce. (Becker, Eddy 1999)
external image Cause-And-Effect-Of-The-Revolutionary-War.jpg

Breaking free from feudalism in Europe caused the thirteen colonies to discover widespread ownership instead of having "nobles" owning all of the land. In European feudalism, the "noble" owned all of the land, and the people living on the land payed the "noble" a certain fee to be able to stay on the land. When the colonies were settled in, everyone owned their own land which broke away from the conventional European feudalism, and it also benefitted more than one person. By living in small communities, and having everyone own the land, people were able to help each other out when they needed it, and there wouldn't be one person benefitting from a whole communities' hard work. Additionally by being free people also wanted to move up in life in now, which then fostered the idea of individualism. Individualism is working hard to benefit one's own situation, but collectively in this scenario it did help the people living in the same community. (Sage, J. Henry 2010) Once individualism started, people started to come to the realization that they wanted to be their own separate country, and not tied to Great Britain. When this feeling started to spread across the colonies, then the British started taking action by imposing ridiculous laws and taxes on the colonies. This only made the colonies angrier, and they started to revolt and cause what was known as the American Revolution. At first they tried to resolve things peacefully with Great Britain by asking them for their independence, Great Britain refused to let this happen, so they tightened their grip on the colonies. Again, this only made things escalate because the colonies wanted to become separate so they had to take things to the extreme, and thus the Revolutionary War. (Coclanis, Peter A., 2000).

A "graph" of the 13 colonies
A "graph" of the 13 colonies

Works Cited
Baker, Edward K. "Chronology on the History of Slavery 1619 to 1789." Columbia Heights Welcome Page. Web. 28 Aug. 2011.

Kulikoff, Allan. "Colonial American Culture — Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts." — History Made Every Day — American & World History. 1991. Web. 28 Aug. 2011.

"Maritime Commerce, Maritime History of Massachusetts--A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary." U.S. National Park Service - Experience Your America. Web. 28 Aug. 2011.

"The People of British America, 1700-1750." Foreign Policy Research Institute - FPRI. Web. 28 Aug. 2011.

Sage, Henry J. "The Puritans of New England." Academic American History. 21 May 2007. Web. 28 Aug. 2011.

Fogel, Robert William The Rise and Fall of American Slavery: Without Consent or Contract. W. W. Norton and Company. 1989.

Coclanis, Peter A. "Tracking the Economic Divergence of the North and the South - Southern Cultures 6:4." Project MUSE. 2000. Web. 01 Nov. 2011. <>.