New England Times

Editor in Chief: Melanie Powell

Push and Pull

The New World offered to European colonists the opportunity to explore the vast untouched wilderness of America, work to earn or search to find a fortune of their own, and the promise of refuge from religious intolerance, these factors pulled many toward the New World while in search of a new home. Factors that pushed people into this search and away from their home countries included the increasing unemployment rate in Europe due to a lack of jobs to employ the population, a continually growing population that made resources more scarce, and the lack of religious freedom with focus on national religion over personal religion.

Characteristics that attracted people to the New World included the large amount of unused land, the enticing tales of great wealth, and the practice of religious tolerance in a large amount of the colonies. Not knowing what the vast American wilderness contained intrigued many European adventurers and explorers and motivated them to leave their homes for a chance to discover new places. Explorers such as Coronado and Cabot were able to explore regions of North America previously unknown to the rest of the world. Coronado worked his way up through modern day Arizona, New Mexico, and Kansas while Cabot worked his way up the northeastern coast. Another large reason people began moving to the New World was due to the stories of unimaginable riches that were spread throughout Europe. A popular tale of such wealth was that of the Seven Cities of Cibola or the Seven Cities of gold that were said to be scattered across the desert and contain great and limitless riches. Tales like these drew explorers such as De Leon into a North American gold hunt. Another factor that pulled people to the New World colonies was the idea of it having religious freedom. In Europe whatever the national religion of the country you were living in was the only one deemed acceptable to support or be a member of. Religious intolerance in Europe led to many problems so when people discovered that the New World offered higher tolerance many took the opportunity to live with others who accepted them.

A few things that pushed people to leave there homes included a lack of employment opportunities, an increasing population, and a lack of religious tolerance. In Europe during this time there were fewer jobs available than there were people to fill them who all needed an income. Not being able to find work led to problems for families because without money coming in they could not buy the things they needed which led to many becoming extremely poor or homeless. This made the chance to escape to the New World which offered plenty of job opportunities one many could not pass up. Another factor that pushed people toward the New World was the extremely large and growing population of Europe. The quickly increasing population led to not only the previously mentioned job shortage but also a shortage of resources and housing. There were simply just too many people for the economies and industries to handle and supply for. This overcrowding of European towns made the wide open wilderness and developing towns of the New World more and more appealing to Europeans. A third reason people were drawn to the New World was to escape the religious intolerance of their European countries. Following the church of the state was an expectation that many did not want to adhere to if their religion was not the same or had variances from that of the state. Wanting to live peacefully without the disturbances that go along with religious persecution.

The North

Northern Life

The Northern Colonies included Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut and are obviously the farthest north of the colonies. They have extremely cold and snowy winters accompanied by hot and dry summers which along with the rocky dirt makes farming or cultivating anything rather difficult. The inability to grow crops for profit causes the Northern Colonies to have their own industries that are uniquely important to the region. The main industries of the Northern Colonies included fishing, timber, and ship building because they utilized two of the most abundant resources in the north, trees and fish. The north also contained a large amount of waterways and harbors making it a very popular region for sea trade. Which then led to the creation of large port cities around the most frequently used waterways.

Middle Life

The Middle Colonies included Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey and fell south of the Northern Colonies and north of the Southern Colonies. The climate of the Middle Colonies was perfectly temperate and the soil abundantly fertile which allowed for farming and the growing of crops. In fact the Middle Colonies produced so many crops, particularly wheat, that they were nicknamed the breadbasket colonies. The growing of wheat in these colonies among other agricultural products made the regions primary industry the export of natural resources. Some of the natural resources commonly traded from this region include corn, beef, pork, iron ore, and textiles. The Middle Colonies were the most diverse containing both the most ethnicities as well as the most religions. Which led to even more social outliers moving to the region to find a place to live that was overall socially accepting or tolerant.

Southern Life

The Southern Colonies included Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia and are the farthest south colonies. Although it is very hot in the southern colonies in the summer the heat creates a longer growing season which along with the fertile soil allows for extensive crop growing. Different from the Middle Colonies the Southern Colonies do not farm to grow food for sustenance they grow cash crops strictly with the intentions of selling them and making a profit. These cash crops are also not grown on an average farm to increase profits they are grown on huge plantations that speckle the south. Plantations were the foundation of southern society and almost everything was affected by an aspect of the plantation. Slaves were eventually brought in to work the extensive plantations to again increase profits for the landowners.