Differences Between Southern & Middle Colonies

young boy looking at map
... Ableimages/Photodisc/Getty Images

English settlers who arrived in America eventually formed 13 prosperous colonies. People who lived within these colonies had many similarities such as the freedom to worship as they believed; they shared the same goal about starting a new life that was full of promise and hope. They also had differences which included the governing of their societies and how they maintained their land. Colonists that lived in areas such as New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and others made up the Middle Colonies. Southern Colonies consisted of the regions of Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, North and South Carolina.

1 Religious Differences

cross on church
... Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Both the Middle and the Southern Colonies had their own set of Christian-based religious beliefs and their own way of practicing and worshipping God according to their denominations. Quakers dominated the Middle Colonies while the Church of England was the dominant religious force in the Southern Colonies. There were other denominations of Christians present within these two regions and they were given the freedom to worship as they pleased. Even though the Quakers were the most powerful religious group in the Middle colonies they made it a point not to completely take over society in their region. Many people were given more freedom to worship whatever or whomever they pleased within the Southern Colonies since religion wasn’t as important to their culture.

2 Economy

corn field
... Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Land and resources were two important factors of the Middle and Southern Colonies. These two regions had soil that was suitable for growing cash crops such as corn, fruit and grains. Tobacco and cotton were two dominant crops that grew in Southern Colonies and in time these products would help fuel their economy and promote slavery. Many people in the Middle Colonies established market towns or villages where they would trade their goods and food for a profit. Southern Colonies established the plantation system which produced many crops and helped pave the way for international trade. Agriculture dominated both regions. The Middle Colonies produced a large amount of food and these lands were also used for mining activities.

3 Trade

wooden trade ship
... Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

Southern Colonies had created powerful trade networks that extended back to England and to other parts of the world. They became so profitable that eventually the Southerners established a system of slavery that would go on to become an institution within America up until the Civil War. Many southern plantations had become very profitable from trade. Middle Colonies didn’t have an established trade network like the south, even though they traded products back to Britain and other colonies.

4 Social Structure

woman dressed in pilgrim outfit
... Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images

Society within the Southern Colonies was predominantly agrarian-based and many people did not form within close knit communities even though family was important. People within the Southern Colonies were also more prone to disease and death since the climate was warmer and more conducive to malaria and other ailments. Individuals that lived in the Middle colonies were craftsmen and merchants as well as farmers. Their families and society were closely knitted and resembled that of the New England Colonies. People that did not own land had to find work on farms, plantations, mines and in the towns. Laws and behavior was stricter in the Middle Colonies than in the south but each region maintained local governments that helped to keep their communities under control.

Steven Miller earned his associate degree in the field of education and is currently continuing his education at Ohio Dominican University. A freelance writer since 2010, Miller enjoys gaining valuable experience and growing as a writer.